The Consummate Traveler: Why Sightseeing in the Rain Is Not Such a Bad Idea

June 25, 2015 Updated: February 28, 2019

What would you do if you were planning an exciting trip, but the weather forecast was looming with threats of rain and clouds? Would you throw your hands up and mope around in museums, shopping malls, and your hotel? Or, would you be ready to take on the elements and enjoy yourself anyway?

On a trip, I encountered torrential rain storms twice in one day while strolling down the lovely streets of Rome and Vatican City. Although I had seen the forecast, my colleague and I were determined not to let the rain get in the way of a good time. Despite getting completely soaked from head to toe, this experience brought to light a few important tips when dealing with challenging weather and also allowed me to see the positive side of sightseeing in the rain.

Here are a few pointers on how to approach a rainy vacation forecast.

Crowd Control

The most significant benefit that became apparent immediately is that the extremely overcrowded streets and tourist attractions cleared out in a matter of minutes when the heavy rain struck. This was actually a very welcome miracle, because the city of Rome is flooded with wall to wall visitors in the summer months. The exhausting tasks of trying to getting a good view of a key monument or walking down popular tiny cobblestone street suddenly became effortless.

Picture Perfect Moments

Another advantage to a gray backdrop is that the dramatic skies offered quite interesting artistic natural lighting for photography. Try wearing a bright colored shirt or jacket on a dark and gloomy day, and you will stand out in all of your pictures. My only other suggestion is to make sure that you have a good waterproof smartphone case to protect your phone in case you drop it.

Opportunities for Pleasant Discoveries

When the first deluge began, my colleague and I were starving and we asked a store clerk in the boutique where we were shopping for a restaurant recommendation. We bravely ran through the streets and stumbled across a cozy bistro café where we had a wonderful lunch of grilled sole and curry chicken. There was also a simple yet amazing dessert of wild strawberries and vanilla ice cream that I will remember forever. Keep in mind that a rainstorm may lead you to unexpectedly find your favorite café or restaurant when you least expected it.

Pack Waterproof Shoes

The most uncomfortable consequence of getting caught in two bad rainstorms were that my feet began to chafe in my leather ballerina flats and I formed blisters after walking. If the weather is calling for rain, keep a pair of rubber sandals with you so that you can easily handle puddles of water without ruining your feet or your good shoes. If possible, carry a small terry cloth towel in your bag to dry off dripping wet feet.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels.