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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A weather report: the results from my latest poll

So how much do you let the weather impact your travel plans? That's what I asked you in two recent posts (the weather, part 1: how much does it impact your travel plans & part 2: how much do you let it affect your enjoyment of travel?) and in a recent poll on Cool Travel Guide. I gave you a scenario - you were days away from travelling overseas on a big trip - and I asked you what you did about researching the weather. This is what you said: only 11% said you checked several weather websites and changed plans entirely if necessary; 55% said you checked a weather site or two and adapted the itinerary, skipping a destination, or changing direction if necessary; none of you simply watched the weather on TV and threw a coat in the bag; and 33% said you ignored the weather completely, that you'd been planning the trip for a while and nothing was going to stop you, not a little rain, a heatwave, nor even a flood or two. Fascinating stuff. One of the reasons I was motivated to explore the topic (aside from trying to prevent a young traveller from heading to a drenched Northern Queensland during the wet season!) was our own experience on a recent trip along Victoria's southern coast. Heavy fog and grey skies spoiled our experience of the normally stunning Great Ocean Road. This time the Twelve Apostles were uninspiring and the scenery drab. We were working, however, we weren't on holidays. We were updating a book, so it didn't really matter. And Terry and I had been before, over 15 years ago, when the weather was superb, and I'd also been as a child. They're the memories I'm going to hold onto!

Pictured? One of the most horrific thunderstorms I've ever seen roll in (quite literally) during the opera in the Arena at Verona, Italy, last summer. I'll tell you that story another time.

8 comments:

Postcards and Coasters said...

We were packed and ready to go to Hawaii in November then checked the weather the night before and learned they were having flooding. We didn't end up going. We drove to Mexico instead and had a good time.

I'm a flight attendant and I'll check weather before my work trips. If its really bad I'll change my trip to a trip with better weather. I don't like delays and don't like flying into hurricanes. ;)

Lara Dunston said...

Well, I'm pleased to see someone is sensible... I don't get people who continue with their plans when there are floods or fires.

And how fab you can change your schedule at the last minute! But what if everyone wants to change, and there's, um, no one left who wants to be on that plane? How do they decide who goes?

Thanks for dropping by! Love the name 'postcards and coasters' - takes me back to my 1970s childhood. Swizzle sticks also come to mind...

Sandy O'Sullivan said...

I reckon I would definitely change my plans if it was a flood or a fire... for sure. But I have to confess if its just weather that I don't like very much (but not really dangerous), I'm still likely to keep the destination. A few years ago I had an artist in residency in Halifax and it was scheduled to have shocking snow storms... I actually DID get in and out, no real worries, but for at least four of the days it was the worst snow storm in a hundred years, six feet of snow that looked like http://www.sandyosullivan.com/halifax/ THIS. Anyway, yeah, I think if you have a bit of a squizzy at that, you can see that I somehow thought it would still work. It was crazy, but then again, if I had known ahead of time that I would have to put up with that kind of weather I might not have gone and as someone who has no desire to either live in a snowy area or 'go to the snow'... I know I would have missed out on a magical experience.
So I also sort of hope that we don't lose the accidental downpour or the moment of magic that you do get with the unexpected city.

Lara Dunston said...

Beautifully said! And this is why I love the dialogue of a blog! As a travel writer - and more often than not guidebook writer - out to see that her readers have the best time they're ever going to have, and that they don't get into trouble in the meantime (you know, like caught in a flash flood or something), I'm always thinking of the practical stuff. So THANK YOU!

I've got to admit that I loved the spectacle of the storm at Verona, but being an opera-lover I was incredibly disappointed by the performance etc. Now had I have been at a football match, I probably would have enjoyed it all so much more.

Erica said...

So far I've never researched the weather before booking a trip and I've never had to cancel a trip because of bad weather. I think it's exciting if you're at a new destination and the locals tell you it's very unusual weather for that time of year. During a stay in a seaside town in Greece about ten years ago the town got the worst rain in...I don't know how many years. But even though we had expected sunny days on the beach this turned out to be one of my favorite trips ever. We spent many days at local cafés and did what the locals normally did during off-season.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Erica

I'm hearing you! I agree it can be lots of fun! I had a great time when I was on holidays in Venice a few years ago with my Mum and it rained for a few days and the city flooded and we were quite literally walking knee-deep in water most of the time, and doing a balancing act on planks to get across paths into shops and restaurants...

But it's completely different if you're working - particularly if you need blue skies in the photos you're shooting for books (editors don't like grey skies) - as was the case for us in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory in Australia a few months ago... the weather at that time was also dangerous...

Everyone was rejoicing because the ordinarily dry Todd River was in flow for the first time in a couple of years. The thing was that the same people who were delighted by the rain - the tourism office staff for instance - neglected to tell us that this tremendous amount of rain would mean that a road they'd just sold us a permit to drive on would be flooded! Some tourists actually got trapped on it for a few days. So that's a case of the kind of weather that definitely requires travellers to change their plans...

But in your case, that did sound like fun. It's one reason I really enjoy off season travel. Cause you get to experience a place more like a local and less like a tourist.

Craig in Cape Town said...

I live in Cape Town and recently (last January) went on honeymoon to Venice, I checked the weather everyday for two weeks before I went - I was trying to gauge if there would be any flooding over that time. Luckily there wasn't, but even if there had been I wouldn't have changed my plans, I would have simply take some wellie boots.

Lara Dunston said...

HI Craig

Well, congrats on the marriage! And could there be a more romantic place to spend a honeymoon?!

Well I'm glad to know someone checks the weather reports as much as my husband does!

Yeah, you know I probably wouldn't change my plans if it was Venice - I've been during the floods there and it was actually fun. But I'd change my plans if I was heading to Queensland and it was flooding. You'd need a lot more than wellies to cope with those! Poor people.

Thanks for commenting!