They say nothing is certain in this world. I disagree. It is absolutely, 100% certain you will experience weather no matter where you travel. You never know if you’ll get the perfect temperature, sunny, hint-of-a-breeze day we all crave when we’re wandering some new place or if you’ll get cold, just-on-the-edge-of-frozen, windy, chill-you-to-the-bones kind of day we all fear.
I say embrace whatever comes. Be ready for it and don’t let it slow you down!
A couple of years ago, Greg and I were on a river cruise in Europe. It was the first two weeks of November and we expected those chilly (even cold), often rainy, gray days. We packed appropriately. I had sweaters, layers, a raincoat, warm socks and boots. I was ready for European cloudy days.
Somehow, the vacation weather gods smiled on us. We ended up with unseasonably warm, sun-filled, perfect days. The only drizzle we saw was on the last day of our vacation. It was almost like Europe was sad to see us go. But, that perfect weather was utterly unexpected. I had to find short-sleeve shirts and a light weight, cardigan-style sweater. I needed regular socks so my feet wouldn’t get all hot and sweaty while I was out sightseeing. I wasn’t prepared for the weather.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, poor you. The weather was perfect for your vacation.” And you’d be right. The lesson here is, you can’t always be ready for unusual weather. We got lucky and it was GOOD weather that surprised us. But more often than not, the surprise goes the other way and you find yourself slogging through unexpected, off-season slushy snow in cute little springtime flats while you wrap your unlined jacket tighter around yourself in search of a store to buy warm clothes.
Either way, the best way to deal with it is to implement Plan B. Spend a little of your souvenir money on one or two pieces of clothing that will get you through the surprise weather. Spring for a new jacket or pair of shoes. Then get back out there and keep exploring. Now that you’re dressed for the weather, you can relax and enjoy the sights. Bonus: you’ll look more like a local if you bought your clothes where you are.
When you find yourself in unseasonable snow, do what we did. Buy a new ski jacket, find a slope and spend a day slaloming down a mountainside instead of checking out paintings and sculptures in a museum. A few years ago, we had a glorious day skiing in the Alps — a bucket-list item for Greg. We woke to heavy fog and opted to take a lift up above it. We found a place to rent boots and skis and headed for sunshine and NO lift lines!
Not expecting a tropical storm on your island getaway? No problem! Grab your camera and get some cool and unusual shots of the beach in stormy weather. Spend a little time in a local bar trying out a cocktail or two you wouldn’t normally order. Go see what you planned to see in the rain like we did in Hawaii.
Of course, there is another way to keep the weather from ruining your plans. Check the weather at your destination before you leave home. Here in the US, the National Weather Service is a great resource. Just pop in the zip code where you’re going and you get a week-ahead forecast that tends to be pretty spot on. You’ll be able to pack what you need knowing things are likely to be pretty close to what you expect. Headed overseas? Check Weather.com for the same info.
One final tip: Sing in the rain. Throw your head back and catch snowflakes on your tongue. Bundle up and embrace the brisk chill of a cold wind in your face. Peel off your layers and let the warm sun shine down on you. No matter what the weather is like, enjoy it.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. You’re gonna get weather, so you might as well enjoy it.
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