Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat; there’s no such thing as bad weather- just a bad mindset.
Sure it sucks that your perfect vacation has been spoiled by a snowstorm or rain (and trust me, I know the pain- it rained for two of the three days that I spent in Sydney, Australia of all places), but that doesn’t mean that your whole trip is ruined- and god forbid you spend time sitting around complaining.
There are a few strategies I’ve found to make the best of unexpected weather:
First, and probably the most obvious- find something to do indoors! This is, of course, easiest to do while spending time in a town. Find refuge from the rain sampling delicious local dishes, or warm yourself up in a coffee shop and people watch out the window. I also enjoy spending rainy days in museums- whether it be a cultural museum about the location I’m visiting or an art museum with pieces from around the world, I always love the experience. If you’re unsure about where to go, you can always ask your hotel concierge for suggestions. They get these questions all the time and always have a ton of ideas to help you figure out something to do. If all else fails, try striking up a conversation with a stranger or playing a game with friends.
Sometimes you’re just not in a place with these types of refuges- or maybe you overestimate your ability to stick it out on- for instance- a walking tour in the frigid Czech winter. In this case, preparation is key. Check the weather in advance and plan accordingly. When I travel in the winter, I almost always have a stash of handwarmers and ultra warm base layers tucked into my luggage. In rainy weather, I recommend wearing work out gear. Hear me out- its comfortable, water-wicking and quick drying. Sure, running around in a rain storm might max out those abilities for a while, but you’re not going to have to deal with uncomfortable and slow drying denim while you’re trying to have a nice time. Even shorts can be a good idea in the summer- skin dries off faster than jeans! I also always carry around a plastic grocery bag for emergency weatherproofing of my camera and phone- it’s cheap and does the job, though I am on the lookout for more sustainable options.
Lastly, what if you don’t have appropriate clothing and you can’t escape the weather? Well kids, this is what I like to call Type Two fun. Maybe you weren’t enjoying the experience while you were in it, but damn if it isn’t a great story. Listen, these things happen- especially when you’re just starting out traveling and haven’t yet had nature give you a swift and uncompromising lesson in preparedness. (Anyone else out there forget to bring a raincoat to Scotland? Just me?) The important thing is to not let that affect how you’ve enjoyed your trip.
Weather can change how people experience a trip, but with the global climate becoming more and more unpredictable it’s important to know how to make the best of any situation. Sometimes that means you have perfect weather in Patagonia (of all places), and sometimes that means you get hit with two different Tropical Storms in a single trip to New Zealand. No matter the weather, a good mindset is the ultimate key to a good trip.
Drop your favorite traveling mishaps in the comments below! I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where we thought we could beat Mother Nature and were quickly taught otherwise- please enjoy some photos of my own struggles!