Once people learn we traveled on a nonstop 6 year trip to destinations around the world – the first question they always ask is, “Where was the best place.?” The question is always “WHERE?” Where, where, where…. But how about “when?”
Twice this month well-travelled friends have emailed us with questions about destinations they plan to visit next year. We sent back all the information they requested and in addition – gave them information they hadn’t requested: average weather reports for the months they plan to visit. Does that make a difference? Absolutely!
Had one friend chosen to travel for a bird-watching trip on his planned timetable, the chance of heavy rain most days would be high. He still plans to go – but sometime in the future during a month with less rain. That’s a wise decision for someone planning to spend time outdoors every day.
Virtually all destinations omit alerts for their bad weather season or extreme temperatures. It’s hardly in their interest to write about pouring rain and steamy heat. We’d never thought about this until we checked out of a little inn in Siena, Italy. Rain had been threatening, and we were in a hurry to have the hotel owner snap a photo of our small group in front of the inn. A few seconds before the photo was to be taken, we felt the first light drops coming down. The owner stopped, told us sharply to remove our umbrellas so they would not appear in the photo. Afterwards, in what had become a steady drizzle, Joe asked why we had to cast aside our umbrellas. The hotel owner patiently explained what was obvious to her: we would most certainly share the photo with friends when we returned home, and she didn’t want anyone to think it rained in Siena. Who would want to book a holiday in a rainy place?
We thought a lot about our “best” travel temperatures and how much rainfall was acceptable to be active and outdoors a great deal. A good example is Cairns, Australia.
In anticipation of this trip, we looked up the information online. The best months are June-September with average temperature of 78 degrees F (25 C) and 1.1” rainfall (3.5 cm). If we’d not checked and traveled in February or March, the temperature would have been just a few degrees warmer but there would have been considerable rain – averaging 14.2” (36 cm). What a miserable trip that would have been!
Wanting the best weather outcome on each trip, we made a chart of all the destinations we planned to visit and chose the best few months for each as possible times to visit. Whenever we planned where to travel next, we matched up the best time to go with a destination’s best months to be visited. If our chosen destination’s weather didn’t suit the months we had open for travel, we found another destination that did. It’s worth saving the spreadsheet and coming back for future looks in planning future trips.
Know that if your travel keeps you inside all the time, then consider travel in bad weather months when there will no doubt be a nice savings.
For every time of year there are numerous places where the weather is a perfect fit….and for every destination there is a perfect time for you to visit. It’s one step of preparation that can make an enormous difference in your enjoyment. Just as the innkeeper in Siena knew, your best vacation was probably not in a cool, pouring rain.