Family

Make the most of a rainy family vacation

April 26, 2013 at 5:24 PM ET

Image: Rainy day with kids
Jody Halsted
A rainy day at Birr Castle in Ireland.

Even the most prepared traveler can’t control the weather. You need not let a little rain spoil your hard-earned family vacation. Instead, follow these tips from travel experts on how to make the most of a rain-filled holiday.

Have a back-up plan
Keryn Means, author of the Walking On Travels blog and resident of rainy city, Seattle, says, “I recommend having a back-up plan of at least three indoor places to go in case it rains.” Means suggests exploring such indoor options as children’s museums, science centers and indoor garden conservatories. She believes a rain shower is also a good excuse to slow down and savor the local cuisine, “rather than grabbing something quick on the go and rushing off to the next activity.”

Bring the fun indoors
It rained nonstop during Rainer Jenss’ weeklong Cape Cod vacation, but that didn’t stop his family from having a memorable stay. To make the most of the soggy weather, Jenss (special correspondent for National Geographic Traveler - Intelligent Travel) purchased arts and crafts activities and baked cookies to keep his then-preschoolers busy in their vacation rental home. They also visited indoor attractions like lighthouses, a nature center museum, and movie theatres.

Every rain cloud has a silver lining
When Green Global Travel Blogger Bret Love’s family family spent two rain-filled weeks in Costa Rica, they filled their time with video games, playing card games like Uno and Go Fish, and shooting pool. He said the best part about a rainy vacation is, “just spending time together as a family, focusing on each other instead of go-go-going all the time. Adventure is great, but making time to just hang out and be together is priceless.”

Pack the right gear
Creator of the Ireland with Kids website, Jody Halsted, says, “There is a saying in Ireland that goes, If the Irish waited on the weather they would be forever waiting.” When traveling somewhere that gets a lot of rain, like Ireland, Halsted advises, “The best thing you can do is just realize that you will likely have some rainy days and pack for them. Pack a weather resistant jacket and shoes, extra socks and an umbrella that will condense down to pocket size.”

When headed to a rainy locale, Love says vinyl ponchos are a must. To snap vacation photos in inclement weather, he recommends a submersible waterproof camera case, “which allows you to take pictures when it's raining without worry about your camera getting wet. Not quite sure how I ever got by without one!”

Get wet
After a few days of indoor activities, your family may get restless. During Jenss’ rain-filled Cape Cod vacation, he says, “We eventually sucked it up, put on the rain gear and headed for the beach.” Visiting a bay beach where his young children could explore tide pools and search for crabs and seashells provided hours of entertainment. “Suddenly we didn't care it was raining. We were just happy to be outside!”

With a little planning, some rain gear and the right attitude, overcast weather doesn’t have to ruin your vacation. Take it from Means, who says, “If it rains, roll with it…you’re not going to melt!”

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor of TravelMamas.com. Her new book,“The Travel Mamas’ Guide,” will be available May 2013.

TOP