Let’s be honest, rain can bring the downfall to a great tip. Or at least, that’s what a lot of people think…

Bad weather doesn’t have to ruin your vacation – take it from me, I love in Scotland! Over the years of living and holidaying on Scotland’s rainy west coast, I have changed my attitude towards bad weather dramatically. When it rains as much as it does here, you need to change the way you think, or else every single one of your staycations is ruined. I’ve also developed a number of coping strategies and in this guide I’ll share ten of them with you. Find out how to get the most out of a rainy day during your travels, and discover ten ideas for rainy day activities to turn your trip around!


1) Visit a museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

Duh – I know, what a no-brainer. I’m not usually the one who looks up what’s on at local museums when I’m on a holiday – I prefer spending time out and about. On rainy days, however, I love visiting museums and spend some time learning more and expanding my horizon.

No matter where you go, there will most likely be a museum somewhere nearby. On a city trip, you might even have several to choose from. Try to find a museum that is to your liking. If you don’t normally enjoy art museums, that probably won’t change on your vacation… But what about a museum about rock history, like Rockheim in Trondheim? Or a museum about shoes – yet, it exists, in Toronto! The world is full of unique and quirky museums, and with a bit of research, I’m sure you’ll find some crazy museum near to your holiday destination.

If all you can find is a good ol’ art or history museum, see of you can join a tour or if there are any special exhibits that are only on for a limited amount of time.

In other news, museums are often free (or cheap) to enter, and often even guided tours are free and are hosted by volunteer guides. It’s a great way to learn, chat with locals and understand the context behind some of the items on exhibit.


2) Play an Escape Room

Playing an escape game at Pollok House in Glasgow.

Escape Rooms are increasingly popular around the world and most cities will at least have a zombie apocalypse-like escape game on offer. The great thing about these games is that a) they are indoors, and b) they are rarely language-based. As long as the game master is happy to give explanations in English, you shouldn’t have any problems.

As they grow in popularity, escape rooms also expand thematically. Back home in Glasgow for example, you can play an escape game at Pollok House, a historical mansion, which takes you back in time to prevent a murder from happening.

If you’re traveling alone, try and find travel buddies to join your for a game, either in your hostel or via our Facebook group!


3) Coffee shop hopping

Coffee in Manchester.

Rainy or snowy days are ideal for coffee shop hopping. Find yourself a cosy cafe, order a cup of coffee or tea, and relax into an afternoon of doing barely anything.

Now is the time to read that book from the bottom of your backpack; or write those postcards your family is awaiting so impatiently; or people-watch and figure out how the locals manage to look so effortlessly stylish all the time…

When you’ve had enough of that or simply can’t handle anymore coffee, simply head on to the next place – maybe a smoothie bar or a local pub will do?


4) Go shopping

Vintage shopping on a rainy day in Manchester.

…just don’t tell your credit card we’ve told you to!


5) Have a spa day

Treating yourself to a spa day.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

When it’s cold and wet outside, it’s important you make sure that you stay warm and hydrated. A spa is the perfect place for both. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage and a soothing steam bath; get a facial or a manicure; drink all the cucumber water and mint tea you can get your hands on; and listen to the local people around you go on about their business.


6) Learn something new

A jewellery making workshop in Shetland.

I love taking classes when I’m traveling – whether it is a cooking or a language class, a creative session with an artist, or another learning opportunity with a local.

You could also try to find a local yoga studio, take a barista class or learn how to make cocktails. If you’re in a remote place, find an online course on platforms like Skillshare or Udemy. Your learning opportunities are literally endless, you just need a rainy day to empty your calendar and finally take the time!


7) Try all the food & drinks

An Italian feast at Eusebi's Deli in Glasgow.

From all the things that are entirely independent of weather, food and drinks are my favourite. Tasting different foods and drinks is always exciting, come rain or shine. Join a food tour introducing you to some of the local delicacies or the food philosophy of your destination; visit a brewery or a distillery, if you can find one near you; or simply look up a few restaurants you thought you wouldn’t have enough time to try anyways, and go to each, but just for one course!


8) Be flexible

Visiting Culzean Castle instead of a hike in the gardens.

The reality of travel is often that you’ve got your whole trip planned in advance, and every day another activity is on your schedule. If the forecast says rain or snow though, or if you’re going to a destination where the weather is generally unpredictable (very much like the weather in Scotland), then it’s important to stay flexible.

One rainy day, doesn’t mean it will rain the entire trip, so being able to shuffle plans about and waiting for a better day to visit that amazing viewpoint or beach or roof top bar is the best thin you can do.

And if it rains all week, then you have to be flexible too. Even if you don’t manage to do all the things on your list and get all the photos you wanted to take, I’m sure you will be able to fill your days with alternative activities and locations that will make for a trip just as unforgettable!


9) Embrace it

Embracing the rain at Culzean Castle in Scotland.

Or maybe you don’t mind the bad weather after all? Then, embrace it! Jump into that puddle. Let the rain drops fall on your face and the wind mess up your hair.

Commuting to work by bike in Glasgow, I’ve learnt to appreciate the cool feeling of rain in my face, when my body is otherwise warm from pedalling. Can you manage to do the same?

Rain can be great for photos, either to photograph colourful umbrellas in grey cities, find reflections in puddles or capture that mysterious feeling of a city in the rain. The stark contrasts between the cloudy sky and the dark landscape works wonders for black and white photography as well!


10) Wear the right equipment

Wearing waterproof hiking boots in Scotland.

My last tip is a practical one – it had to be. In my opinion, rain can only ruin your day, if you let it affect you mentally and physically. I’ve covered the mental aspect above, but for the physical side of it, it is really important that you bring the right equipment.

Wear waterproof shoes and a good waterproof jacket, to begin with. Make sure you have a spare pair of socks in your bag, so you can change them if necessary. Pack all your things in a watertight bag, and avoid getting your camera or phone wet. Maybe even carry an umbrella, depending on how windy it is. If you manage to stay dry underneath your outer layer and keep all your stuff dry too, you’ve already won half the battle!


How do you turn around a rainy day on your travels and make the most out of it?

This is a post by Kathi Kamleitner.

Kathi Kamleitner was a regular contributor at Travelettes from 2013 to 2019. Originally from Vienna, Austria, she packed her backpack to travel the world and lived in Denmark, Iceland and Berlin, before settling in Glasgow, Scotland. Kathi is always preparing her next trip – documenting her every step with her camera, pen and phone.

In 2016, Kathi founded Scotland travel blog WatchMeSee.com to share her love for her new home, hiking in the Scottish Highlands, island hopping and vegan food. Follow her adventures on Instagram @watchmesee!