Tips for Staying Curious When Your Travel Is Rained Out

No matter how well you plan a trip, as of yet, you can’t control the weather. Plans to hit the streets to explore a new city, or to trek out to visit a far flung landmark can be completely derailed by rain, snow, and other inclement weather conditions. It’s even harder to get off the beaten path when it’s half-flooded from rain. So what do you do to keep your travel curious when your plans get rained out? Let’s talk about the tips and experiences you’ve come up with for when your well laid plans get derailed by the weather.

(Image: Izzy Gerosa/Public Domain)

Maybe you’ve used it as an opportunity to talk to some locals in your hotel, or you have a go-to indoor back-up like museums or libraries. Maybe the rain was actually what you were hoping for, and you like getting soaked while exploring, so you alter your plans accordingly. Whatever it is, we want to find out how you keep the wonder and curiosity alive when your travel plans get rained on.

Share your favorite tips, tricks, and stories of what you’ve done when you got rained out in the comments below. Your submission might be included in an upcoming roundup article on Atlas Obscura. The rain can be a bummer, but it can’t wash away the spirit of discovery.

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I’m ridiculously stubborn and live to defy the bad weather that brings me down. (Seriously, I reckon I’m one of the most acute cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder living and I’m ridiculously sensitive to meteorological variations.)

If it’s raining (never what I hope for), I will venture out regardless. On a practical level, I’ll take it as an opportunity to visit museums and galleries if shelter is called for, as in if there’s heavy rain or I’m just too cold and tired. Otherwise, I’ll mooch on through the elements and appreciate the experience of a new place in variant conditions.

I did this with Barcelona last month and it made the Gothic Quarter even more gothic. Outlandish and colourful architecture appeared even more bold and outrageous juxtaposed with grey skies and teeming rain. Every gallery felt like more like a sanctuary of human warmth and creative spirit in contrast to the merciless, cold storm outside.

In conclusion, don’t stay in when it rains! If you can, venture out anyway!

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I concur! A little rain has never stopped me. Storms, however…

We do always have a Plan B in case it’s impossible to venture outside. Since we plan for both indoor and outdoor activities, we simply switch days when we’d visit a museum versus watch the changing of the guard. Sometimes, having to switch up our plans makes us discover an out-of-the-way gem or extraordinary experience that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. Like afternoon tea served in the evening at a very fashionable restaurant or a store with rare antiquities.

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Yes! I’ve always found that it’s just the opportunity to discover something I wouldn’t have planned on… like staying at a museum longer than I intended and checking out a wing I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I also find that if you don’t mind the rain it clears the streets and makes any place a little more personal.

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No rainfall bar an El Niño event or a flood/ landslide is going to stop me from going out and exploring where I want to go. If it looks like its going to rain I just take a waterproof or waxed jacket , my backpack is waterproof so theres no problem there either.

Having said that I think I’m sort of used to it because heavy rain is a cotidian reality in the rainy season in Latin America , UK is also as pretty rainy and I’ve been hardened to it from a lot of field work experiences.Plus I sort of love the rain , it clears the air in big polluted cities and keeps the vegetation green and verdant.

What does keep me in and stops me from doing things is when it is way too hot outside , that saps so much of my energy and enthusiasm for doing anything except just sleeping or sitting by a fan and reading.

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Some of my most memorable experiences in travel came with some rain. One that stands out left my umbrella pretty much useless. I missed my stop and had to walk quite some distance back to the station while dripping wet. My shoes were also squeaking while I was on the train. But weirdly enough, I remained in high spirits, which a friend I met that day noticed too. I thought I was just happy to be away from home for a while. This was in Taipei.

Also, as an amateur photographer, I see the rain as a chance to take more interesting photos. While I like the typical golden and blue hour pictures as much as the next traveler, rain poses a little more of a challenge which I’m willing to have.

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I agree with many above. Just have a good rain coat or poncho so you can still visit gardens and other outdoor venues. I like to go to galleries and museums when it is raining or snowing too. Also a good time to find a good coffee shop and take a book, but also chat up the locals and make friends (and get their advice about what to do in rainy weather).

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I’m absolutely with you when it comes to rain, @Monsieur_Mictlan, but I’ll leave you to indoors resting when it’s way too hot! As a summer child with no problem at all with heatwaves, I’ll happily be dancing in blazing sunshine while everyone else is enjoying an enforced extended siesta… :smile:

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Well I guess I can invoke the socio-cultural pretext of the siesta as a justification for my warm weather laziness hahaha :stuck_out_tongue:

No , but seriously, joking aside , I have to say that the siesta is pure wisdom in the full heat of the Spanish sun in summertime. I did fieldwork there non stop once in the full sun and got sunstroke that made me ill for about 4 days.

Not a trained anthropologist but my conclusion is that the siesta is probably a cultural practice that evolved from a biological rationality to avoid sunstroke. That also gives a convenient scientific/ academic justification for my laziness haha :stuck_out_tongue:

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For a photographer, the rain and clouds can be a great opportunity for capturing a unique shot. I was on a photo tour in Scotland a couple of weeks ago and had planned to take a side road I had learned of for some scenic views of Loch Levin, prior to touring the much larger and more well-known Glencoe area just to the south. The road I took was constructed during WWII by German POWs who were imprisoned nearby. The day was all rain, clouds, and fog (hey, it’s Scotland!), and I thought I would not even get to see the Loch, but the gloom suddenly broke open and I pulled over and had this scene appear before me. If I had stayed in or gone inside for the day, I would have missed it and many other iconic Scottish views that day.

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That sounds intense! Of course, you don’t need a scientific/academic justification for ‘laziness’. I probably need one for my meteorological denialism and sheer masochistic lunacy. :laughing: You’ll find me burned out or, most likely, drenched and shivering in a corner. Actually, thinking about it, this is a very frequent occurrence on my travels… :neutral_face:

No, I’ve never got the hang of downtime during travel. The downsides are numerous but, hey, on the upside I’ve indulged my curiosity and - coming back to the weather - had memorable moments in spite of the elements. I guess I should be curious and engage with siesta-style practices as well… :kissing_smiling_eyes:

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No , I really wish I had that love of heat and sweltering temperatures as it would make things much easier during heatwaves and summer in tropical regions.

By the way, how was your trip to Spain ? Did you get to the Prado ? I remember you saying on the forum that you were planning a trip to Madrid to check out the museums and art galleries.

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My Barcelona trip was excellent, thanks! :smiley: I got to do enough Atlas Obscurarish things for my liking but am eager to soak up more Catalonian culture and hope to return soon. Beyond that, Madrid is on my mind as I work out where I’m going on my next trip. If I do go back to Spain in the summer - especially if I venture further south in Sevilla (another idealised destination of mine) - I may end up sampling those siestas after all… :slightly_smiling_face:

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I took my first trip to New Orleans last fall and it turned out to be a rather rainy week. It didn’t stop me from seeing what I wanted to (and visiting great restaurants). The only change I made was to Uber instead of waiting in the rain for a trolley or bus. I did have to skip the cemetery tour because it was pouring that day but that was the only thing I had to cancel.

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I’ve been tracking the weather for an upcoming trip to Glacier National Park in Montana later this week and I’m heartbroken that it’ll be raining all four days. We were planning to hike and kayak for most of the weekend. Anyone have any tips and tricks for outdoor activities in the rain? For now I’m hoping for a sunshine miracle…

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I also pay attention to the weather ahead of time but I always pack a rain poncho and waterproof backpack. I don’t know when I’ll be going back to that particular location if ever so I don’t want to let a little water dampen my experience or trip.

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I once went tent-camping with my husband and a good friend of ours in a thunderstorm because we stubbornly wanted to keep to our annual camping trip. They kept the fire going, believe it or not. It was IHOP all the way for breakfast after breaking down our campsite, and now it’s tradition. We’re going to pitch our tents the week after next this year so hoping that the weather is good.

Are there any cabins you can opt for? Maybe you can at least use it as a base to keep your things dry while hiking in the rain.

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When I was staying in a Youth Hostel in Warsaw, Poland in November 1976 it rained almost every day. Like many Youth Hostels, most of the daytime hours we were locked out, so I did what I could to see the city. Still, I learned one place to get out of the rain was the cheap cafeterias. I used to dislike cabbage, but now the smell of boiled cabbage brings back good memories of that trip to Poland.

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Nice pic, and if one goes to Scotland they sure better be ready for rain on any/every day.

My Plan B is always to try out the Hop On/Off Bus Tours of a city when it’s raining. Learn all the historical highlights, see what different areas have to offer and find your bearings. Bonus is that if the rain lets up you get off and carry on with your walking plans but jump back on if it rains again. Visiting museums and indoor exhibits too but sometimes I’ll find a local pub a block or two off the main through-fares and drop in for a meal/beer and chat with locals. Great way to get info on less touristy features in the area and ask about your upcoming route out of town “any interesting sites or worthy detours?” - locals know it.

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