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Best Online Weather Tools

1-Mar-2017

Weather affects all your travels in the biggest way possible. It can make the difference between having a glorious basking-in-the-sun trip and one where you’re trapped inside for days on end, looking out at a torrential downpour. Plus, the annual climate patterns of a location are almost always directly correlated with peak, shoulder or off season demand. This of course makes a huge cost difference for your stay. Will you have money left over at the end of the month? Or will it cost your entire monthly budget to stay only a week in high season? Fortunately, there are online weather tools that help you make the best choices.

Do some research before you go

Most of the weather sites do a good job of telling you what’s happening right now. They forecast a week or two into the future but after that it gets sketchy. Some have a little historical data as well. My favorites for weather are:  AccuWeather and Wunderground. You can display temperatures in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

But for traveling, it’s much more important is to know the overall annual climate pattern for your desired location. You can go online and do a search on “best time to visit” and the name of the city/country you want to know about. But you’ll only get a general idea. The sites are varied, and the information rudimentary.

How would you like to visit just one website that reliably presents everything you need to know? Here it is… the absolute best climate info website ever:

Tool #1:  WeatherSpark

WeatherSpark is jammed packed with more than you’re ever going to want to know.  They cover the overall annual climate of roughly 150,000 places world-wide. A nice summary of each place tells you what and when the major seasons are (like hot/cold or dry/wet) and the overall average temperatures.

But what I love most is the easy to read color-coded by-month graphical charts covering things like:

  • average high/low temperatures
  • hourly temperatures
  • cloud cover
  • precipitation & average rainfall
  • average hours of daylight
  • average humidity
  • wind speed and direction
  • topography
  • water temperature (if near ocean or large lake)

And if you think that’s too much data to comprehend, it really isn’t. WeatherSpark has figured out how to present the data so it’s super easy to understand. For example, the temperature chart displays color coded bands labelled Sweltering, Hot, Warm, Comfortable, Cool, Cold, Freezing, etc. The humidity chart shows Dry, Comfortable, Humid, Muggy, Oppressive, Miserable.

You can see quickly what months the best time to visit depending on the general sort of weather you personally prefer. It’ll also help you greatly in determining what to pack.

Reminder:  Altitude affects packing and health

Remember that climate varies dramatically by altitude. You’ll discover this quickly if you visit countries in Central America or Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in South America. For example, Quito Ecuador sits right on the equator. But you better pack a sweater and warm jacket. It’s cloudy and cool the majority of the year, rarely even popping up into the “comfortable” temperature range. That’s because Quito sits at nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) elevation.

But head due west to the Pacific coast and visit Pedernales. At sea level you’d be hot and dripping with sweat nearly every day of the year.

Traveling to high altitudes can also pose potentially serious health ramifications. This is especially true if you’ve lived most of your life at sea level or have a history of smoking or breathing problems. There’s less oxygen, so you may find yourself very tired and constantly struggling to breathe. It can also have negative affects for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Longer stays at high altitude can even affect heart and kidneys.

I’m not a doctor, so can only tell you to please, do your own homework on this topic! There is plenty of online information available that has been written by qualified medical professionals. Find it and read it. You are the one that knows best your own health history. Take it into consideration when making your choices. If you have questions, consult your medical doctor.

Tool #2:  The best time to visit anywhere

Maybe you are really clear about what sort of weather you want to experience. But you can’t decide (or don’t care) where to go to experience it? Well, there is now a perfect online tool to help you figure out where to go!

Ryan Whitacker is a digital nomad that got really tired of experiencing unpleasant weather as he traveled around the world. He had the same problem that I talked about above… just searching on “best time to visit xyz” gives you very unsatisfactory results. Undaunted, Ryan built a tool to figure it out for him. He loaded in 10 years of weather history from over 10,000 weather stations. Over 35 million lines of weather data! Now he’s graciously made his personal travel tool available for everyone.

All you do is set the high/low/mean sliders to the temperatures you want. Set the number of days of rainfall that will be OK, and select the week you are traveling. The system then sifts through all the data to find what you want. The map is updated with little red circles for each place that meets your criteria. Zoom in to get a closer look.

This is a totally FUN tool to play with. Head on over to  http://decisiondata.org/the-best-time-to-visit-anywhere/ to read more about Ryan and discover new places to visit that have your favorite weather.

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