It’s rainy season somewhere.
Bad weather spells a bad vacation. The very outdoor activities that anchor our vacations (golf, boating, sunbathing, diving, swimming, and poolside relaxing, to name a few) come to a screeching halt at the very onset of dark skies. While nobody has quite yet tapped into the climate’s crystal ball, a few excellent resources are available to statistically gauge weather trends across the world and quite possibly prevent a travel washout—even during hurricane season.
As basic as it may sound, just because it’s a sunny and warm across the U.S. doesn’t make it summer everywhere else in the world. Beyond recalling the rule of opposite seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, it pays to do detailed research on seasonal variations within your intended destination. For example, August is cold and rainy in Cape Town, South Africa, but it also happens to be the most pleasant time of year to visit South Africa’s east coast. Commence your due diligence on the “When to go & weather” sections of myriad locales on Lonely Planet’s destination pages (lonelyplanet.com).
While weather.com is the primary go-to source for our weather in the U.S., the website lacks statistical data on monthly temperature and rainfall averages for a vast number of exotic locales. A better resource for weather trends outside North America is holiday-weather.com, which provides a wealth of charts and graphs that detail annual average weather conditions, including temperature, sea temperature, rainfall, humidity, daily sunshine hours, average rain days, and average fog.
Absolute versus relative
Not all rainy seasons are created equal. Usually, the best way to understand what “rainy season” actually means is to do a bit of comparative analysis between destinations. Consider both absolute rainfall (sheer quantity) and relative rainfall (quantity compared to another destination) on holiday-weather.com. For example, the peak of rainy season in Ko Samui, Thailand, averages 16.9 inches of rainfall in November, nearly twice as wet as that of Miami during its peak rainy season in October (9.2 inches); therefore, going to Ko Samui in November is pretty much a guaranteed washout.
Hurricane season (June 1 through October 31) translates to bargain basement prices at the finest resorts across Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico. While risk-lovers reap great rewards traveling during this time of year, some destinations are far less risky than others. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, the so-called “ABC Islands,” fall out of the hurricane belt, making the islands quite popular in late summer. Elsewhere in the world, our hurricane season coincides with the superlative—and dry—weather on islands such as Bali.
Even with all the advances in meteorology and excellent online tools, often the age-old adage holds true: “You can’t predict the weather.” Regardless of how well you think you’ve timed your holiday, always bring a few books, board games, or other diversions for when you’re kept indoors.