Okay, it’s never ideal when it rains on a vacation. When I book a trip, I spend so much time planning the activities (which are almost always outdoor related) or finding the best beaches or making reservations at al fresco restaurants. In fact, I recently went away to Aruba with my husband and it never rains there (they are outside the hurricane belt, so they pride themselves on over 360 rain-free days a year), and yep, the week we were there it rained every day. But that didn’t stop me from having a great time.
I realized that the whole point of a vacation is to relax, take a breather, and unwind. There are plenty of ways to do that even if it’s pouring rain outside. In fact, finding these alternate rainy-day activities will in essence slow things down. Creating “lazy” days is the upside to bad weather. Here, some of my favorite things to do when it rains on your vacation.
- Spa: A massage or facial is great anytime, but for some reason I feel slightly guilty getting treatments when it’s gorgeous outside (I feel like I should be at the beach). If it’s miserable outside, it’s the perfect reason to get a little pampering.
- Trying a new class at the resort’s fitness center: I’m a workout fanatic. I love to hit the gym every day. It’s hard when on vacation, though, and my fitness routine often goes out the window. But a rainy day is the best motivator. Plus, it’s a great way to check out the resort’s fitness schedule and try something new, like a yoga class or an introduction to Pilates.
- A bath and a book: I have two young boys, so when I get away without the kids, nothing says relaxing vacation like a bubble bath and my favorite novel (and ideally, a glass of white wine). It’s simple and fabulous.
- Hitting a museum: In theory, I should hit museums and cultural centers when traveling, but I often prefer to do things outside (like biking), so if the rain sets in it’s a perfect excuse to get in some local culture. Pretty much every destination has some unique version of a local museum or art center.
- Ignoring the rain and going for a walk or hike: I recently went to Kauai for a week. It’s known as the “garden isle” because it’s so lush. Of course the reason it’s so green is because it rains. A lot. So I just put on a lightweight windbreaker and continued with my already planned out itinerary: horseback riding, kayaking, and even hiking. In the rain. It puts a different spin on things, but it was actually quite fun trudging through the mud with new-found friends. (Group tours are a great way to meet like minded people…and those willing to do outdoor activities in the rain are my kind of people.)
- Snuggling up with my mate: My hubby and I can barely keep our heads above water working full time, raising two high energy boys, and managing our lives. Sometimes we forget to make time for just us, no distractions. A rainy vacation is the best excuse to stay in bed, order room service, and remember why we love each other.
- Finding a great restaurant and enjoying a long, leisurely meal: Living in New York, I’m always in a rush. Meals are often quick jaunts to fuel my body. But when on vacation, I love trying out new eateries. Rain is a great excuse to linger, try a bunch of different appetizers, and maybe even talk to the chef about his favorites.
- Using the hotel pool: I loved swimming as a kid. As an adult I almost never get the chance to just float on my back and veg in the water. A rainy day allows me to do just that. For as long as I want. Just like a kid.
- Sleeping in: Vacations are usually packed full of things to do. And yet, sleeping in (not setting the alarm) or taking a nap in the middle of the day is one of life’s most decadent, and often-needed, luxuries. I love to indulge in this most underrated, but important, non-activity.
- Go to the movies: I see about one movie a year. It’s not that I don’t like movies, I just like so many other things more. However, there’s nothing better than hearing the rain coming down on the ceiling while I’m snuggled inside with some hot buttery popcorn and a good flick about to come on. It’s pure escapism.
- Sitting on the balcony and watching the rain fall: I love, love, love balconies. Whether it’s drinking my coffee while the sun rises or having a cocktail when the sun sets, I can spend most of my day hanging on the balcony, taking in my surroundings. Doing so on a rainy day is actually really calming. Whether I’m enjoying a soothing cup of chamomile tea or simply daydreaming, it’s a great way to still my mind and quiet my body.
Photo: Getty/Jekaterina Nikitina