It’s never ever a bad time to travel. Yes, even during the off-season. Admittedly, it is trickier to plan and enjoy travelling during typhoon season. Downpours are always a possibility, and stronger typhoons can be dangerous. Thus, planning is especially crucial. If you’re not letting the rain put a damper on your wanderlust, make sure you’re equipped for the typhoon season. Read on to find out how to make the most of your vacation, even when the weather isn’t in your favour.
1. Keep track of the weather forecast
Staying on top of weather reports is the most important thing to do when travelling during typhoon season. In fact, it’s good practice any time of the year. Check the forecast a few days before leaving for your trip, then keep tabs on weather reports while on your trip.
Some drizzle won’t hurt, but heavy downpours and torrential winds may make it dangerous to roam around outdoors. Typhoon warnings will tell you when it’s safe to proceed with your plans and when it’s better to stay indoors. It’s also a good way to choose your activities. No rain today? Heading to the beach may be ideal. Thunderstorms expected tomorrow? It may be better to plan a trip to the museum or explore local cafes instead.
2. Pick the right place to go
Some destinations are more suited for rainy day travels than others. For instance, food is one thing travellers can enjoy, rain or shine. If you’re up for a gastronomic adventure, visit Pampanga, the culinary centre of the Philippines. Bacolod is another foodie favourite where you can feast on delectable local delights even through downpours. Picturesque mountain destinations with cooler temperatures — such as Tagaytay and Baguio — are fantastic vacation spots for a cosy weekend indoors.
Meanwhile, beach lovers shouldn’t let the rain keep them from getting a dose of some vitamin sea. Typhoon season isn’t the ideal time for scuba diving, snorkelling, or island hopping, but it is a great time for surfing. During the wet season, huge swells make their way to the Philippine coast. Head to the surf breaks at Siargao for the best waves in the country.
3. Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Unfortunately, the rainy season equals mosquito season. Keep yourself protected against dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases by coating yourself with insect repellent. Moreover, treat it like sunscreen, and remember to reapply religiously!
Some travellers find it best to sleep in air-conditioned accommodations during dengue season. If you’re sleeping in a room with open windows, opt for a kulambo (mosquito net) to prevent mosquito bites while you’re sleeping.
4. Plan indoor activities
When there’s a deluge outside, don’t force yourself to push through with your tour of the great outdoors. Safety should always be a priority! But that doesn’t mean you have to waste your time in the hotel room when you’re travelling during typhoon season (unless you want to, of course).
Eating is a fantastic way to enjoy the locale safely during thunderstorms, and you can also hang out at cute cafes to immerse yourself in the local scene. If you’re in a big city, there are usually a couple of museums around where you can explore the place’s history, culture, and art. Rainy days are also a great time to get an early start in souvenir shopping at the mall.
5. Pack thoroughly
Expect a longer packing list when you’re on the road during the rainy season. You’ll have to stuff an umbrella in your suitcase, a windbreaker, a cap, and maybe even a dry bag for your valuables. When it comes to clothing, opt for lightweight synthetic fabrics that dry faster after getting wet.
Another must-have when you’re packing for a rainy season getaway: Extra medication and other personal essentials. Flight delays and cancellations are more likely during the rainy season, so travellers should be prepared to stay longer if necessary.
6. Know the area’s typhoon protocols and evacuation measures
Wherever you’re going, you should always know what to do in an emergency. And it’s especially important if you’re travelling during typhoon season to another country. During many tropical storms, local officials will only advise travellers to stay put in their hotel or homestay. But just in case a particularly bad one occurs, it’s always good to know where the nearest evacuation centre is. (Go where the locals are heading, if you don’t know where it is.)
7. Prioritise safety when choosing accommodations
Staycations during the rainy season are extra cosy and comforting. Just make sure you’re staying somewhere safe, too. Look past the five-star amenities and huge beds — although those are super important, of course — and be practical when choosing your hotel, resort, or homestay. Find somewhere you’ll be comfortable even when the weather isn’t at its best.
For instance, clifftop accommodations offer amazing views but can be difficult to access if a storm hits. Similarly, a remote private island isn’t the best place to be during monsoon season, when choppy waters can make it difficult to travel. Roads become more slippery when you’re travelling during typhoon season, so it’s ideal to limit long drives.
8. Stay in touch with family and friends
Even when you’re on your great solo escape, it’s important to touch base with family and friends every now and then. Keeping communication lines open isn’t just for the peace of mind of your loved ones, but as a precaution for emergency situations. Let them know if a typhoon or tropical storm is expected in the area that you’re in, then reach out again once you’re okay.
Before leaving for your trip, give the people at home the contact details of your accommodations and the people you’re travelling with. Handing over your itinerary — even just a rough draft — may also be a good idea, just so your family and friends know how and where to reach you.
9. Watch out for great deals and discounts
Here’s the reason why a lot of savvy globetrotters love travelling during typhoon season: cheap costs and amazing deals. After all, this is when many tourists stay at home. Due to scant crowds, it’s usually easier to find inexpensive flights and accommodations during monsoons. Keep your eyes peeled for marked-down prices — for budget travellers, every centavo counts!
10. Go with the flow
Travelling means never really knowing what to expect, and this is especially true during the rainy season. Expect the unexpected: flight delays, tour cancellations, inaccessible tourist spots, etc. Don’t let these changes ruin your trip! Instead, embrace spontaneity. Go on a rainy day stroll in the city, stay indoors and play board games with fellow travellers, or opt for a spa day when island hopping isn’t possible.
Also, don’t be afraid to call the whole thing off when the weather forecast is particularly treacherous. Travel opportunities are always out there, and your safety should be at the top of your priority list.
Do you agree that there’s no such thing as a bad time to travel? If you’re like us, there’s no way cloudy skies are keeping you from the next destination on your list. Travelling during typhoon season may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be just as fun and fulfilling as any other trip.
Featured image credit: Ryoji Iwata | Unsplash