Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Wed July 15 2015

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | July 15, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    Rainy Day Adventures: 5 Travel Ideas When Stormy Weather Hits

    Rainy Day Adventures: 5 Travel Ideas When Stormy Weather Hits

    A temple in Macau functions as both a fascinating historical destination, and shelter from the rain

    Sunny days and outdoor fun are definitely popular elements for the ideal travel situation, but what about when the weather doesn't cooperate? What do you do when gloom is covering the sky and rain is pouring down with an unsympathetic vengeance?

    Well, I've managed to create good times during the rainy season in Costa Rica, a hurricane in Puerto Rico and non-stop sprinkles in Toronto. It's all about staying open and flipping expectations. Even if all you planned was to bask under the sun and sip cocktails, you can still experience this if you just re-work your vision. Consider these tips the next time your travel days turns stormy:

    Follow The Locals

    Guess what? Life doesn't stop because water is pouring from the sky. Locals just continue with their day and so should you. Ask a taxi driver or hotel clerk where locals go and what they do when it rains.

    When I was in London on an inevitable soggy day, I was intrigued when locals told me that they hung out at the covered markets in Convent Garden or Spitafields. The thing about markets is that you don't have to be into shopping, it's the perfect reflection of local tastes and habits — you can just stroll and observe.

    Movies are another practical option. It doesn't matter if you don't usually catch the big blockbusters at home, what's playing at a destination theater will most likely be something totally unfamiliar. It's also another chance to check out local preferences. When I ran into a local cinema house in Nassau during a storm, I was surprised to find out that the most popular movie snacks weren't popcorn and candy, but a full KFC meal eaten off trays in the theater seats.

    Recreate Your Day Indoors

    So you really wanted to relax by the pool and down fruity drinks? Head to an indoor pool or spa and lounge just like you were laid out in the sun. Plans for a city or monument tour? Tour the insides of historic buildings and museums. Many landmarks have much better views inside than out. Check out the interiors of castles, tunnels, and forts instead of gazing at outside views. If you wanted to visit a botanical garden, go to a conservatory, if you were considering a sports activity like tennis or golf, take it inside for table tennis or indoor golf.

    Wait Awhile Or Change Locations

    In my experience, rain in tropical climates rarely lasts all day. On some islands, it may rain for 20 minutes and then the sun is out for the rest of the day. Adjust your schedule and see if you can do your activities a little later. Another option is to move your plans away from where it’s raining. I live in Chicago, and it can rain on one part of the city and be clear in another. I alter my plans according to where the sun is out. So see if you can change your excursions to a neighboring town or section that has sunnier weather.

    Take a Cooking or Art Class

    A cooking class in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

    There's nothing like hands on learning about local culinary or artistic history. Chopping up local produce and following traditional recipes supplies a valuable window into a culture. Hanging out in an artist studio and absorbing creative techniques that relate to the location is another way to do this. Both of these activities will have you so invested in your creations that you'll forget all about the weather.

    Grab An Umbrella and Go

    Sometimes, when the rain is warm and the scenery is inviting, it's worth it to just splash in the streets and take in the views. People watching and observing nature offers a different perspective in the rain. Ducking into a cafe and taking rain-splattered photos is another option for embracing rainy weather during your travels.


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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