We’ve all been there. You spend months planning and looking forward to a special holiday ― only to arrive and discover that it often rains.
No matter how many sacrifices you make to the weather gods, the reality is that sometimes the radar just isn’t on your side. But that doesn’t mean your trip isn’t ruined in any way.
Below, travel experts share their advice to make rainy days more enjoyable.
Take this time to recharge.
Don’t let the stress of unexpected rain take away the relaxation of a vacation. You can still use this time to recharge, especially if you’ve taken time off from work.
“Nobody wants it to rain on their trip, but it’s important to remember that any time you’re away is still a vacation,” Casey Brogan, a consumer travel expert at Tripadvisor, told HuffPost. “Use rainy days to relax and truly unwind, whether it’s streaming a show you’ve been dying to finish, playing games with your loved ones, or even enjoying an afternoon at a nearby spa. “
Consider going to a full self-care day and focusing on being kind to your mind and body. Take a long bath, read a nice book, or spend some time keeping a journal.
“If the rain has dampened your tropical vacation, take a spa day — or, for the more active type, hit the gym,” said Laura Ratliff, TripSavvy senior editor. “Some resorts even offer fitness classes tailored to the destination — think Muay Thai in Thailand or yoga in India.”
Connect with your travel companions.
“Understand a rain event as an opportunity to spend even more personal time with the people you’re traveling with,” says Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer. “Whether you are with a partner, your children, relatives or friends, take the extra time to enjoy the moment of just being together. Don’t sulk about the rain, instead spend some carefree time with the people who matter most to you.”
He stressed that you should take the opportunity to really enjoy your conversations. If you are with small children, make up a fun game about staying indoors and spending quality time together.
“The day could end better than if there were no rain and you were doing activities,” Dengler told HuffPost. “And when you’re alone, take a moment to reflect and enjoy your own company.”
Konrad Waliszewski, co-founder and CEO of Tripscout, said that sometimes rain also provides an opportunity to connect with strangers.
“Some of my best travel memories came about when a group of random people escaped together to the nearest shelter, such as spending an afternoon making new friends in an Irish pub or playing board games in an island hut,” he said. “In both examples, I met more people and learned more about culture than if I had been able to stick to my original plan.”
Plan some epic food and drink experiences.
“A lot of outdoor activities can be moved or refunded,” Dengler said. “If it rains, see how you can adjust your schedule to planned activities and do things that are weatherproof instead. Eating and drinking is fun for almost everyone.”
He suggested taking a tour of a brewery or winery and trying local foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do your research and make a list of interesting dishes you would like to try while in town.
You can arrange a guided – or self-guided – culinary tour or book a tasting at a restaurant. You can even go to the grocery store and buy local ingredients to make a special meal with your travel companions if you stay in a place with a full kitchen.
Get to know the local culture indoors.
Brogan pointed out that many indoor cultural activities are available in most travel destinations.
“Museums, eg. [and other] theater or indoor entertainment options are a great way to learn about a destination’s culture,” she said. “And of course, for the non-history or art buffs, you can’t go wrong shopping or eating out.”
Browsing through local shops, especially vintage stores and thrift bookstores, can provide an interesting insight into the local culture, and you may find some truly unique items to take home.
“It would be really cool to take virtual or indoor classes in local cuisine cooking, pottery, or other art,” says Stephanie Be, a travel blogger and founder of Buena. “My personal favorite is using the time to write postcards to my favorite people. It would also be a good time to rethink your travel planning to prioritize how you spend time outside of the rain.
“Checking the weather conditions where you visit is so important,” said Michael Lindsay of travel content duo Michael & Matt. “If the goal is to be outside most or all of the time, you really want to pick the seasons of travel. This is especially true in tropical places. We always look for the rainy season and try to plan around it.”
Even if you travel to a destination during a less than ideal weather situation, knowledge is power. Lindsay noted that even though he and his husband’s honeymoon in Thailand took place during the rainy season, they were prepared.
“We didn’t have a lot of money to spend and the rainy season is off-season for tourists, so things were much cheaper,” he said. “It wasn’t raining constantly, but we were in a pretty warm environment with high humidity most of the time. Umbrellas and ponchos were our friends. If you know you’re going out of season to avoid crowds or get value for money, make sure there are indoor activities you enjoy.”
Ravi Roth, a queer travel expert and host of “The Gaycation Travel Show,” stressed the importance of packing the right gear to prepare for rain — from socks and shoes to a good jacket.
“Research the destination and if you know you’ll be there during the rainy season, try on your wellies first the trip,” Roth told HuffPost. “I learned it the hard way rocking new boots in Glasgow, Scotland. As cute as my boots were, my blisters weren’t. Rain can often be fun if your socks don’t get wet and you have the right jacket and bag have.”
Spend time outdoors anyway.
“First first: who said everyone hates the rain?” to be said. “By the way, discussing expectations with your travel companions is a must for any trip. Maybe your wanderlust warrior doesn’t mind getting a little wet. It’s okay to want different things, so setting a tone of ‘I don’t like the rain’, ‘I expect XYZ excursions/activities vs. total relaxation time’ or ‘This is how I think about the budget’ , prevent problems come to life.”
So if your group doesn’t mind going ahead with your plans despite the rain, go for it. You might even find that certain outdoor attractions are much less crowded in wet conditions.
“As long as it’s warm and there’s no thunderstorms, there’s nothing wrong with being in the water!” said Jessica from Dop DeJesus, a travel media specialist and blogger at The Dining Traveler. “You will catch me on the beach under a deluge!”
If you have kids and the conditions aren’t unsafe, they might enjoy running and playing outside in the rain. This can be a fun way to reminisce as a family.
“If your plans get smashed by the rain, embrace it!” said Waliszewski. “Travel isn’t about seeing the perfect postcard expectation you had in mind. It’s about experiencing the world as it is. And that means it sometimes rains.”