Why Your Next Trip Should Be During The Rainy Season
Ideally, all travel would happen during the “on” season. However, when time or money is of the essence (as it too often is), chances are, you might just have to buckle down and travel through — gasp — the rain. Fortunately, inclement weather doesn’t have to dampen your travel plans.
In Southeast Asia, monsoon season runs from June through October, and I decided to book a weekend trip right in the middle of it, knowing full well that I’d most likely be meeting one of these infamous storms. Although this meant I wouldn’t be spending as much time soaking up the sun as I normally would on a beach holiday, it gave me room for bigger, better plans.
The first day of my trip took me on a rainforest hike to a waterfall. The hike itself was a bit damp, as the rain really started to come down, but I’m still one of those kids who love splashing through puddles and came prepared already dressed in my swimsuit.
The hike wasn’t particularly gruelling, and there’s definitely a feeling of freedom in letting go and simply embracing a rainfall. Being able to let go of all your worries and just letting it rain is one of life’s simple pleasures. Being able to accept what nature can dish out is invigorating. I didn’t just conquer the hike and the waterfall (where the extra rain made the natural pool below it deep enough to jump into), I conquered the world.
Conquering the world clearly isn’t a very realistic reason anyone would want to go on a trip, so the next day brought something even better: surfing! Embracing the rain (and conquering the world) have always been favorite pastimes of mine, but surfing is a relatively new love. Fortunately, this worked quite well for me in monsoon-season Malaysia.
Compared to Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia isn’t exactly a well-known surfing destination. It’s only possible to surf in certain locations along the east coast and only during the rainy season. Even then, most of the waves are smaller and better for beginners.
Although these criteria eliminate Malaysia as a destination for most surfers, they fit my needs perfectly. Not only was I able to take advantage of some great waves and make some (admittedly much needed) improvements on my technique, I was also able to do it on a beach I had almost all to myself. As a new surfer, learning is much easier when you have room to fall off your board without falling on top of someone (which has been known to happen one more than one occasion at popular destinations during peak seasons). Plus, getting to ride any wave I wanted to maximized those fleeting moments I was actually able to connect with the wave and get up and ride. For every surfer, these are the moments you live for, and any place that gives me as many of these as possible is a good destination in my book.
So if you find you might need to face a storm during your next trip, here are some of my tips to make sure your fun doesn’t get drowned out.
Do Your Research
Getting caught in a storm unexpected is the worst. Check the weather before you leave and pack some rain gear if there’s a chance of storms.
Catch Some Deals
Since less people travel during off-seasons, you should be able to find some good deals on flights, and up to 50%-off deals on hotels, restaurants and tours. You can also travel during the shoulder season to maximize you savings and your chances of catching some good weather are still pretty good.
Check Out Local Museums or Other Indoor Activities
Lots of museums or galleries are free to get into during the off-season, and spending time there rather than the beach will give you the chance to learn more about the place you’re visiting.
Waterproof Your Electronics
If you’re anywhere close to as much of a shutterbug as me, invest in a waterproof camera case and make sure other electronics like phones and iPods are kept in a dry bag.
Take Advantage of the Sun
Rainy seasons have unpredictable weather, so if the sun decides to peek out, take advantage right away because you never know how long it’ll be around for.
Niche travel like photography or surfing can benefit from a trip during the off-season. Fewer people, cheaper prices and more freedom can make you forget about the few rainclouds you encounter.
Hit Up a Festival
Even though November is typically the off-season in places like Thailand, the country hosts several festivals like Loy Krathong (the festival of lights) and the monkey buffet festival.
By Judi Zienchuk
[Summer Storm by Iker Urteaga/Flickr]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judi Zienchuk has recently relocated her life at Ryerson University in Toronto to Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management (being severely bitten by the adventure travel bug might also have had something to do with it). To get more personal, check out her blog, TravvelSized.wordpress.com.