Just when you thought you were guaranteed a bit of sunshine by flying, sailing or training your way to warmer weather, the forecast calls for rain. Bummer. But hey! Don’t sleep away the afternoon just because you’re scared to get wet! Make the most of your travels despite the rain with a few tips from thefriendlygiraffe:
Choose all-weather apparel including jackets and shoes
Jackets and shoes are among the hardest items for a traveler to pack. Too big, too bulky and too many choices; it’s hard to find a jacket suitable for every occasion but whatever you do, don’t forsake function for fashion. Leather is great, until it rains, as is a winter jacket that isn’t water-proof. My advice is to invest in a rain-jacket that looks good and will keep you warm throughout your travels. This will end up being your main jacket whether you need something light, something to shield you from the rain or something to layer with added garments as protection against sharp winds and cold nights.
A great option one for people traveling to warmer climates is to buy a thin rain-jacket that rolls up into itself (pictured above during my trip to Cinque Terre) and dries quickly. The benefits? Well they extend farther than your sleeve cuff! A jacket that rolls into itself can be tucked into almost any corner of your backpack, saving you tons of space! But my favourite part of this jacket is that it doubles as a pillow on long flights, overnight bus trips, or long layovers or overnight adventures at the airport.
When it comes to shoes, rain boots are ideal but they aren’t the most practical item to carry with you in your backpack. Sneakers you say? They get full of water, and fast. Your best bet is to buy a pair of waterproof hiking boots. Hiking boots are a great investment for any travelers and are useful when on walkabout, hiking a jungle, touring a city, or trotting around in the rain. Don’t fear the puddle, face it head on! And maybe take an extra pair of socks with you in your day pack in order to avoid getting cold feet part way through your day. March on!
Getting a little wet isn’t a big deal, but getting a lot wet can really make you want to head back to the hotel and stay put until the sun comes up. To avoid getting soaked to the skin while touring the city, try to dress in layers! If your first one or two get wet, you still want something dry snuggling against your skin, keeping you warm. What’s worse than getting wet and being miserable? Getting sick and having to stay in bed once things turn around and the sun comes up.
Drink warm liquids throughout the day
While layering your clothes and having the right jacket on hand are important factors in staying dry once the rains hit, they won’t warm you up once the shivers set in. One of the best ways to enjoy a rainy day of sightseeing is to take breaks, and to take them often. Don’t walk around all day without pausing for coffee, hot chocolate, or tea! Anything goes. And if you can’t find something hot, you’ll just have to settle for something alcoholic. This will help warm you from the inside out and greatly complements your efforts to protect yourself on the outside.
Make a “rainy day” list before the bad weather hits
Sanctuary! Instead of brainstorming fun things to do once the rain has already begun to fall, compile a list of ‘rainy day activities’ the first day you set foot in a new city. If you plan to do most of these activities during the last day of your travels, you’ll be prepared whenever the rain hits. Places on this list should include museums, churches (as seen below), restaurants, cultural centres, cinemas, theatres etc. All venues that necessitate being indoors! Save long walks for guaranteed sunshine and plan ahead, so you don’t waste any minute of exploration.
I hate to state the obvious but…
Pack a small umbrella – you’d be surprised at how many travelers leave home without one. If you forgot yours at home, or at the hotel when the rain hits, be sure to carry some spare change so you can buy one on the street. Street vendors the world round appear like magic once tourists start to get wet, but they don’t normally accept plastic as a form of payment.