The two most common questions I get asked are, “When is the best time to go to (destination)?” and “Where is the best place to go during (month/holiday)?” You are in luck because I’ve scoured the globe to compile a month-by-month resource to make travel planning throughout the year easy. Here you’ll find the top vacation spots with the most sublime weather from January through December, as well as not to be missed opportunities to view natural phenomenon and wildlife as well as attend festivals and local events. I’ll even guide you on what destinations to avoid due to weather issues.
Keep in mind Covid restrictions, and be sure to check whether festivals will be taking place.
Need to escape winter’s chill? Head to popular warm weather destinations. Or take advantage of the summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, powder in the mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere, or opportunities to see the northern lights.
Skiing: Domestic-Vail, Aspen, Telluride (Colorado), Park City (Utah). International-Whistler or Banff (Canada). Courchevel, Mont-Blanc (France). Swiss and Austrian Alps. Bulgaria for those on a budget.
Americas: Canada-Jasper National Park is a winter wonderland (Jasper in January Festival). California (Palm Springs). Florida (Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale). Hawaii (peak season, though more rain, best time of year for surfing and whale watching). Park City, Utah (Sundance Film Festival). Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene. Bahamas and Caribbean. Mexico, to see the overwintering Monarch Butterflies and to visit Baja. Central and South America, for dry and sunny weather. Hiking and wineries in Patagonia (Chile and Argentina). It’s peak season in the Galapagos.
Europe: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, for the Northern Lights. Porto, Portugal (mild winters and epic surf season). Transylvania, Romania where castles and medieal cities are dusted with extra magic as snow frosts their rooftops – stay at the Hotel of Ice. Vienna – it’s ball season, so buy tickets well in advance and dress up.
Asia: Singapore. Thailand (Chiang Mai hosts the Bo Sang Umbrella Festival, a three-day celebration of colorful parasols with photo ops galore). Harbin Ice Festival in China. Bali-great for honeymoons. Maldives. Japan – reduced crowds, Mt. Fuji looks great in snow, hot baths will keep you warm.
Middle East: Oman (Muscat Festival) and Dubai (Shopping Festival).
Africa: Tanzania’s Serengeti (great migration of wildebeest). Capetown, South Africa (mild temps for summer). Ethiopia (cool, dry season).
Oceania: It’s peak season in Tasmania, New Zealand and Australia (Sydney Festival for three weeks)-best weather of the year, but beware the Outback will be HOT.
Antarctica: it’s summer season so relatively “warm” and clear. Penguin chicks have hatched and colonies are raucous.
Though it’s the shortest month of the year, I’m long on ideas. it’s a great time for romance travel and planning a getaway around President’s Day weekend. The Caribbean and Central America continue to be great warm weather destinations, northern lights continue to be visible as in the January locations, and skiing is still great as mentioned above.
Carnival: New Orleans (Mardi Gras), often in February. Venice (Doges Ball). Rio de Janeiro. Trinidad and Tobago. Colombia. Uruguay.
Celebrate Lunar New Year: Hong Kong (place your bets at Sha Tin Racecourse). Spring Festival in Taiwan. Tet in Vietnam. Bangkok. San Francisco’s Chinatown. Sydney, Australia (one of the largest Chinese expat communities). London throws the biggest festival outside Asia. Disneyland and Universal Hollywood, characters are decked out in costume and there are special parades and performances.
Americas: Florida’s Gulf Coast (swim with manatees as hundreds gather in Crystal River). Phoenix. Palm Springs. Death Valley. San Antonio. Big Sky, Montana. Hot Springs, North Carolina. Yellowstone (takes on a different beauty in the winter). Mexico (to see overwintering Monarch Butterflies). Quebec Winter Carnival. Colombia, South America (dry season, best weather of the year). Galapagos.
Europe: Paris, the City of Love, will be popular around Valentine’s Day, but it will be crowded, expensive, and cold. More mild locations are Cyprus and the Canary Islands (Tenerife).
Asia: Visit Sri Lanka now between the two rainy seasons.
Middle East: It’s a wonderful time of year to visit Egypt, and you can expect the most pleasant weather in February. And there’s also guaranteed sunshine with less rainfall than the previous months of December and January. It’s just outside of rainy season and just before the sandstorms of April and May.
Africa: Rwanda. Go on safari at Akagera National Park and gorilla trekking (best time is at the beginning of Feb) or chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe (best from mid-February onwards). It’s warm and dry in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Oceania: Catch the last moments of summer in New Zealand before golden hues of autumn descend. Stick around a few weeks into March and you will witness the most beautiful month of the year. In Australia see the Adelaide Fringe Festival (the whole city becomes an art installation, a mix of culture and creativity).
It’s the beginning of the shoulder season for many countries. If you don’t mind cooler temperatures and some rain, you will be rewarded with fewer crowds and lower travel rates at many popular destinations.
Americas: New Orleans (Mardi Gras is March 1 in 2022). There is pleasant weather along coastal cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York City. Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC and Japan. Perfect time of year for Las Vegas. Vail/Beaver Creek (even with the onset of Spring it is still possible to enjoy a winter wonderland here). Austin (South by Southwest pop culture festival). Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands have dry season, great weather. Colombia, especially Cartagena for its beautiful beaches-balmy weather makes it a perfect time to go hang gliding or kitesurfing. Galapagos, it’s a great time to visit on a budget. While it is the end of the rainy season, showers will be brief, and it is the beginning of the mating season. See birds, iguanas, sea turtles, tortoises and penguins exhibit nesting behaviors.
Europe: Ireland (celebrate St. Patrick’s Day). Italy. Spain (Semana Santa festival in Seville and Las Fallas Festival has 600 art installations with special pyrotechnic effects in Valencia). Portugal and the rest of the Mediterranean is warming up without the crowds. Brussels (Museum Nights Fever with 27 museums hosting edgy events on one night 4/22 and 4/23 of 2022)). The Mediterranean continues to be beautiful and not as crowded.
Asia: India/Nepal (colorful Holi Festival). Bhutan – this mountainous Himalayan country can be visited on a budget during this month when it is less crowded, but you can still appreciate the snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys. Southeast Asia is still good to visit but with fewer crowds than previous months. Uzbekistan – the whole of March, this country is preparing for Nowruz, one of the biggest festivals in Central Asia that welcomes Spring and the Persian New Year. Temperatures are just perfect after winter but before the stifling heat of summer.
Middle East: Egypt continues with beautiful weather, as does Dubai, Oman, and Jordan
Africa: Great time for South African Safari in Kruger National Park and a visit to Cape Town. Early in the month visit Southern Serengeti/Tanzania before the rains come. It’s a great time to experience the Migration, and you’ll still have your pick of accommodation. This is low season, which means crowd-free game viewing and pocket-friendly costs. It’s a great time to combine the Serengeti with the legendary Ngorongoro Crater. March is one of the quietest months for this Big 5 hot-spot and a blend of the two destinations delivers an unbeatable wildlife experience.
Oceania: In New Zealand and Australia, March is a great time to visit after the peak summer months of Dec-February. Less crowded but with pretty good weather overall. Check out the Pasifika Festival in Auckland.
The shoulder season continues, and with flowers in bloom and mild temperatures, it is a lovely time to travel. With the kids out of school for Spring Break, you have no excuse to stay home this month.
Americas: DC and Seattle are great early in the month for Cherry Blossoms. Napa. Charleston. New Orleans (Jazz Festival). Anchorage (start of whale watching season with cool but comfortable temps). Grand Canyon (perfect time to visit South Rim, but North Rim is still closed). Denver (mild temps, few crowds). Lake Tahoe (winter warriors can catch late skiing here). Palm Springs (Coachella Festival). Florida Keys. Boise (Craft Beer Month). Augusta, GA (Masters Tournament). Hawaii (great weather and relatively low prices, but make sure to avoid the crush of visitors and higher rates that Spring Break brings). Caribbean has perfect weather, in particular Cuba is warm without being too hot or humid. USVI celebrates its month-long version of Carnival in April. Machu Picchu, end of the rainy season and not as crowded as summer. In Patagonia (Chile/Argentina), it’s shoulder season and you can get better rates with fewer crowds. Galapagos water is clear and calm this month.
Europe: The Netherlands (think Tulips) – it’s mild and sunny with fewer tourists than summer. Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhofen, Austria (in addition to skiing and snowboarding activities, attendees can take part in all sorts of fun snow-themed activities like snow limos, snowlympics, cable car-aoke and “chair-lift speed dating.” London (tourists love this city in April, with its mild weather and beautiful blooms). Paris (flowers at Luxembourg Gardens). Florence (celebrate Easter here with an incredible fireworks display). It’s a great time of year to visit Turkey, and Istanbul has its own tulip festival. You can get great prices on Mediterranean cruises this time of year. Ships have just repositioned, it’s getting warmer, and you can beat the summer crowds.
Asia: Head to Kyoto, Japan and Taiwan for Cherry Blossoms in early April. The Philippines (it’s the last month of the dry season and end of peak season so fewer crowds). Singapore (World Gourmet Summit). Yangzhou, China – get a glimpse of stunning flowers and rare bonsai trees in full bloom. The Maldives, while great all year-round, April is just outside peak season, and you can get the best deals at the end of the month. It’s the start of the dry season in Bali.
Middle East: It’s an amazing time to visit across the entire region. Passover usually occurs this month, and Israelis are on holiday and traveling the country, so it may be challenging finding accommodations. Best to plan in advance.
Africa: Botswana for Safari. Namibia and Madagascar, it’s the beginning of the dry season. Morocco is beautiful and not as crowded as summer.
Oceania: In New Zealand and Australia autumn is beginning, a great time of year to visit.
One of the best times of year to travel, as it is still shoulder season with fewer crowds, and the weather is consistenly beautiful. Where will you go this month?
Americas: Visit the National Parks before the summer crowds. Savannah. Louisville (Kentucky Derby). Tucson (see the deserts in bloom). West Palm Beach (Sunfest of 50 bands across 3 stages). Canada (breathtaking scenery). Peru, either side of the dry season (May and October) is a great time to visit Machu Picchu. Mexico (Cinco de Mayo). Hike the Andes. Galapagos is warm, and you can see the courtship dance of the Blue-Footed Booby.
Europe: UK (see one of the coolest music festivals on the planet in Brighton, the Great Escape). Croatia. Beaches of Portugal. Prague (Spring Music Festival). Budapest. Montreaux, Switzerland. Monaco (Grand Prix). France (great for cycling in the south), the French Open (Paris), and Cannes Film Festival. Slovenia (amazing white water rafting). Greece (great for honeymoons). Turkey (Conquest of Istanbul Festival). Amsterdam (Rolling Kitchen Festival-celebrating street food from around the world). St. Petersburg (White Nights ballet and opera festival). Hamburg (Hafengeburtstag- this port festival starts with a jaw-dropping parade of ships and tugboats that “dance” to ballet music). Hike the Alps. See the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany.
Asia: Tokyo for Sanja Matsuri Festival, centered around the Asakusa shrine. Vendors will be set up selling street food with parades with portable shrines, music and dancing. China (comfortable weather in almost all regions). Borneo (see orangutans) and Bali (shoulder season). Nepal and Bhutan (best time to hike to Mt. Everest base camp).
Middle East: Israel and Jordan are still great.
Africa: Seychelles are in their prime, Botswana (May is all about Safari season with best viewing of the year here). Zambia (beginning of dry season with animals easily seen at watering holes and rivers), Morocco (Migration of the Berbers, an event taking place for the last 4,000 years and not to be missed).
Oceania: Nice time to visit Australia, though temps may be cooler. Good time for whale watching. East coast tends to be dry, clear and sunny. Rainy season is ending in French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora Bora) and Fiji. May be able to get some deals before peak season of June-Aug.
Everyone is going on vacation, and Europe is in peak season so go if you must. But I’ll help you pick a fantastic destination where you can avoid the crowds. Here are some gems…
Americas: Kauai (best sunsets of the year), Rocky Mountains, Smoky Mountains, Adirondacks (great hiking). Maine. Gatlinburg. Niagara Falls. Canada (comfortable temps to celebrate Canada Day, The Montreal Film Festival, and International Jazz Festival). Prince Edward Island. Uruguay (best weather). Galapagos (coolest and driest time of the year and good time to see humpback whales and go hiking). Costa Rica. Peru (see the Festival of the Sun, the religious ceremony of the Inca Empire). Visit Machu Picchu. Brazil (Boi Bumba Festival-taking place in the coastal town of Partinin-see processions of colorful outfits, giant puppet shows, and tribal rituals-with a fraction of the attendees of Carnival). .
Europe: Scandinavia: Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland (least chance of rain for the year). Ireland (take a driving tour). Ibiza. Greek Islands (perfect time but expect crowds). Ghent, Cologne and Zagreb are great cities to visit. Turkey (Cappadocia Festival-great combination of ballooning, music, and rock formations and Istanbul Music Festival with haunting acoustics in mosques, cathedrals, and ampitheaters). Paris (The French Open, Gay Pride Parade, and Fete de la Musique).
Asia: South Korea, visit now before the monsoon season begins. It’s a great destination for foodies and shopaholics. Bali and Malaysia. Beijing, with kids still in school and adults still working, few crowds and great weather. The Maldives.
Middle East: Visit Israel and Jordan as soon as school lets out if you must bring your kids. But be forewarned that it can be VERY hot, especially toward the end of the month.
Africa: Mauritius: this island nation is in the Indian Ocean. From May to December it is dry and sunny, perfect for the beach and hiking. Mozambique, with a long stretch of coastline, is the perfect exotic beach vacation and one of the few places in the world you can get up close and personal with sea turtles. Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia (Etosha National Park), and Uganda: great time for safari. Madagascar (great mix of jungle, safari, and beach during this dry month)
Oceania: Shoulder season in Australia so good prices. One of the best times of year to visit the Great Barrier Reef to avoid the wet season and the dangerous Box Jellyfish. In New Zealand, there’s the Queenstown Winter Festival. Perfect time for Fiji and Polynesia.
Arctic: great place for explorers
Europe and the USA are in the middle of peak season. It will be crowded and hot. Best to hit coastal areas. Crowds may be worth enduring to see a destination at its peak.
Americas: Grand Canyon and Yosemite are great for family trips. Comic-Con in San Diego. Half Moon Bay. Monterey. New England. Acadia National Park. Portland, OR. Finger Lakes of New York. Olympia National Park and Seattle. Lakes of Minnesota. Great Lakes Region. International Jazz Festival, Montreal. Cartagena, Colombia (city and beach, best of both worlds). Argentina-middle of ski season, then visit Cordoba where it can reach 80 degrees. Visit Machu Picchu.
Europe: In UK, visit Cornwall and watch Wimbledon, then visit Scotland for wonderful coastal views. In Finland, see the Wife-Carrying Competition, where husbands race with wives on their backs and compete to win the wife’s weight in beer. Bulgaria is great for hiking. Corfu. Turkey. In Spain, visit Barcelona and see the Running of the bulls in Pamplona. Verona, take in the Opera Festival held this month in an ancient Roman amphitheater. Get off the grid in the Albanian Alps, see some incredible wildlife and glacial lakes in this unspoiled wilderness. Dordogne, France – set between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees Mountains, this region is particularly lush this time of year. Resorts in the French Alps transform into outdoor adventure hubs. Some of the best places for white water rafting include Montgenevre or Thonon-les-Bains. Reykjavik, warmest temps of the year in this charming capital city.
Asia: Indonesia-Jakarta, Bali and Borneo (orangutan trek), Komodo National Park (dry season). Singapore is hot, humid and crowded all year, but this is the best time to take advantage of the culture with The Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Food Festival. Mongolia, see the great Nadaam Festival, spotlighting the beauty of the nomadic culture.
Africa: The Serengeti, Tanzania – see the Great Migration of 1,000s of zebra, wildebeest and antelope. Etosha Park, Namibia – continues to be great time for safari-take a sandboarding adventure while you are there. Ideal month to see Victoria Falls. Seychelles, best ocean conditions of the year. Mauritius.
Oceania: New Zealand and Australia, climate is cooler and with fewer crowds-you may experience some showers, but sunshine is still guaranteed. Tahiti, how ’bout a overwater bungalow during the warmest and driest time of year? Fiji is amazing in July (take in the Bula Festival).
Summer is almost over, and it’s time to squeeze that last vacation in. There’s no shortage of great destinations to visit before it’s back to school.
Americas: It’s prime time for visiting Alaska-to get the best of both worlds do a cruise and land package. Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are great places for families. Visit Duluth, MN, which becomes a beach town. There’s a gorgeous white sand beach that stretches along the coast, great shopping at Canal Park, and you may even get to catch the aurora borealis here in August! This month promises beautiful weather in Vancouver to explore the coastline and go whale watching, take a trip to Bowen Island, or walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. On the other side of Canada, visit Montreal for the perfect urban seascape. Nova Scotia is great for a taste of Scotland without crossing the Atlantic, and it’s prime time for whale watching. Great time to visit Ecuador in the middle of the hottest, driest season. Visit Belize and Brazil for animal trekking this month. Peru’s dry winter makes it a great time to visit. See the Buenos Aires World Tango Festival.
Europe: Participate in the world’s greatest food fight at La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. Hike the Scottish Highlands (see the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh). Notting Hill Festival in London. Visit Dublin for its speakeasies, canal cruises, and some of the oldest pubs in the world. See the Sziget Festival in Budapest with over 1,000 performances. Visit Poland’s Bialowieza Forest for hiking, cycling, and wildlife spotting. Bulgaria’s beautiful coastline is not to be missed. Slovenia comes to life this time of year with al fresco dining on the cobblestone streets, swimming in Lake Bled, and hiking in the Julian Alps. Boka Bay and Budvo in Montenegro make a great family vacation. Take a sailing trip through the lesser known Greek and Croatian islands. There are dozens of outdoor music opportunities in Helsinki this month. Iceland is amazing with lots of wide open spaces and little traffic on the Ring Road (Reykjavik Culture Night on 8/22/22).
Asia: Japan, it’s the hottest month of the year, so visit beach resorts with coral reefs and snorkeling. There are many festivals, and beer gardens are popular. Indonesia/Bali, perfect this time of year
Africa: Kenya, best time for safari on the Masai Mara after the animals of the great migration arrive from Tanzania. It is the driest season so less worry about mosquitos. The parks can get a bit crowded this time of year. Great time for gorilla trekking in Uganda. Mauritius.
Oceania: August skiing anyone? It’s the top month for the sport in New Zealand. Cool in Australia
This month marks the second shoulder season for many destinations. When school begins and families stop traveling, now is the time to get great deals while the weather is still mild.
Americas: Hawaii has a drop in popularity at this time though weather is still great, so deals may be good. Alaska is awesome to visit after kids have gone back to school and the days are still long for exploration. Head to New York for the US Open. Visit San Diego. The Outer Banks and Cape Mary will be crowded but may be worth a visit during prime season. Boston’s temps are cool and rarely climb above 80 degrees. Maine is lovely. Nova Scotia is even better than August thanks to fewer crowds. Still a great time to visit British Columbia/Vancouver. Whistler is fun in the sun. Argentina is nice for hiking. Great time for mountain biking in the Peruvian Andes. Visit Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Europe: Germany/Austria-Oktoberfest celebrations begin at the end of the month. Don’t wait until October, but experience it while the temps are warmer in September. Great time to visit all the Mediterranean countries. Drive the Ring Road in Iceland early in the month before the snow begins to fall. The island of Halkidiki is Greece’s best known secret and a lovely place for a September honeymoon. Also perfect for visiting Sardinia and Venice for the gondola races during the Voga Alla Veneta which takes place the first Saturday in September. Take in the art of Florence and the Grand Prix in Milan. See Gaelic sporting traditions at the Highland Games in Braemar, Scotland. Another not-to-be-missed festival is La Merce in Barcelona 9/24 and features elaborate lights, acrobatics. Also Correfocs, in which people dressed as devils wield burning pitchforks and march through the streets to an ominous drum beat as spectators run through a tunnel of fireworks.. If you are into architecture, it is a great time of year to visit the Georgian capital of Tblisi for a mix of Soviet, Persian, and art nouveau influences. Explore Slovakia this month, with its mountain trekking and Bratislava Castle. Turkey has cooled off, so think about a visit.
Asia: India has just come out of monsoon season, and September’s pleasant weather makes it a perfect time of year to visit. A great time to visit the Himalayas before winter isolates this part of the world. Visit Nepal for the Dashain festival’s great food, flower displays and kite flying. You can get some great deals in The Maldives, as it is the beginning of the “wet” season. You’ll still be guaranteed at least seven hours of sun each day. The resorts will clear out and you’ll have plenty of room to yourself. Beginning of autumn in South Korean and the month long festival of Harvest Moon takes place across the entire country. Though it can get humid, the coastal resorts of Busan and national parks can offer some respite. The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the most elite events in one of the most futuristic city-states in the world.
Middle East: Israel and Jordan are cooling off but consider that businesses in Israel may be closed due to the Jewish High Holidays.
Africa: Though Madagascar begins its rainy season, there will still be plenty of sunshine and since kids are back in school, beach resorts will be much less crowded. This is a great month for whale watching. Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Kenya are still great for safari at the tail end of the dry season with fewer crowds. South Africa returns as a great place to visit and drive the Garden Route’s 300 km of stunning coastline, climb Table Mountain, and visit wineries. Be there for the Hermanus Whale festival which celebrates the return of these great creatures to its shores. Hermanus, just outside of Cape Town offers the best land viewing of whales in the world. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania during the cool, dry season. It’s peak season for Morocco. Mauritius.
Oceania: Best season to travel cross country in Australia. Great Barrier Reef, best weather with fewest crowds. New Zealand has a mix of sun and rain this month, but expect it to be cold. Best month to visit French Polynesia to take advantage of Tahiti’s lower prices and quiet resorts after peak season and before the rains come in November. Fiji’s temps are in the high 70s and low 80s.
Now is the time to think about traveling to destinations where you can take in the sun before winter sets in. You’ll also want to catch the rich autumn hues as the leaves change.
Americas: New England for leaf peeping. Acadia National Park. Albuquerque, New Mexico for International Balloon Festival. Asheville, NC. Sonoma. Stroll along the uncrowded beaches of Nantucket. It’s Indian Summer in Canada with the leaves turning gold and blue skies. The Canadian Rockies are beautiful to visit at the beginning of the month. Take an expedition to Churchill, Canada where you can see polar bears. It’s a great time to visit Buenos Aires, Argentina and pair a visit to this country with an expedition to Antarctica. Santiago, Chile.
Europe: Catch the tail end of Oktoberfest in Munich. Put Ireland on your radar, as autumn on the Emerald Isle features mild temps. If you’re single, you must experience the Lissdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Ireland. Salzburg, Austria is beautiful this time of year. You’ll find great deals on the Aegean coast of Turkey, and the water temp for swimming is still pleasant! Spend a few nights in a glass igloo in Finland’s Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Experience the Palinka and Sausage Festival in the Buda Castle in Budapest. If you’re a chocolate lover, the Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia, Italy is not to be missed. It’s prime truffle season, and in Alba, Italy there are festivals every weekend. You’ll also get to experience the leaves changing in Tuscany. In Santorini the rocks and ocean still retain their warmth, but the crowds have thinned out.
Asia: India, experience Diwali, the Festival of Lights in Jaipur which coincides with the Jaipur Shopping Festival. Visit Kathmandu, Nepal. South Korea has pleasant temperatures and colorful fall foliage. Central Asia has cooled off and is a great option. China (Beijing Music Festival) and Japan offer great hiking and look lovely as the leaves change.
Middle East: Anywhere in the region is beautiful this month. Seriously think about a Nile cruise. If visiting Israel, note that sometimes the Jewish High Holidays fall in October, so businesses may be closed during that time.
Africa: Tunisia is beautiful as is Morocco. Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have dry and sunny weather, but may get cool at night. Cape Town has its International Kite Festival. Mauritius.
Oceania: It’s Spring at its best in New Zealand, and with snow gone and everything blooming, the trails have reopened for hiking. Best all-around weather in Australia if considering going cross-country. Last month to visit Polynesia before the rainy season begins next month.
Anarctica: Take an expedition as penguin mating season begins.
There are benefits to traveling at the end of the fall shoulder season as hotel rates are low and crowds are a thing of the past. Unless you are headed to India, which is in its peak season.
Americas: In the U.S., get some holiday shopping done in NYC and stick around for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you don’t want to be jostled by 3 million people during the parade, you can go to the free viewing event to see the floats the night before. Philadelphia hosts the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as the Philadelphia Marathon during the holiday. November is a great time to check out the lively arts scene in Denver during the weeklong Arts Festival. Still good to see Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba. It’s the last month of hurricane season in Mexico so you may want to consider visiting to experience the Day of the Dead on November 2nd if you dare. You can get some great deals in Costa Rica, and the Galapagos features turtle mating season and whale shark spotting, though it will be cooler with rougher seas.
Europe: Sardinia and Sicily are still mild in Italy, as is Malta. Switzerland is gorgeous before the hordes descend upon the Alps. You must see the Rabechilbe Turnip Festival to believe it. The Swiss carve incredible works of art out of this unappealing root vegetable. In Richtersil just outside of Zurich, 30,000 tons of turnips are carved into lanterns, and they are featured in an elaborate parade. Combine this with a visit to St. Moritz, Zermatt, Lucerne and Wegen, and you’ve got a dream vacation. The promise of good weather makes Crete popular. Spot the aurora borealis in Iceland. In Munich, it’s the start of the Bavarian Christmas Market, so grab some mulled cider and wrap up for some shopping. Spain holds Christmas markets in Madrid.
Africa: The exotic Marrakech is beautiful to visit this month, and deals can be found as this is Morocco’s wettest month, but rains come in short bursts. Same in Botswana as this is the end of the wet season and vegetation is lush. Kenya and Madagascar are still great, and Mauritius is paradise during this month.
Middle East: In Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and Oman, it’s the best time to visit and may be crowded. But in Israel it will be cold and rainy with a chance of snow.
Asia: It’s the arrival of winter in India and the best time for most of the regions, including the Taj Majal in Agra. The Pushkar Camel Fair with 30,000 of the beasts dressed in brightly-colored tassels is not to be missed. Same with Sri Lanka. Nature is at its best in Myanmar and South Korea. Seoul has the best of all worlds this time of year with mid-70s temps, fall foliage and a bustling city with close proximity to nature. Winter Light Festival in Kuwana, Japan. The island of Phuket in Thailand is lovely, and you won’t want to miss the Yi Peng Festival with lanterns floating in the rivers of Chiang Mai which marks the passing of the monsoon season. Vietnam promises perfect weather.
Oceania: New Zealand with its jaw-dropping scenery is a must in November. Average good weather across all regions of Australia, so great for cross-country trips.
Anarctica: Take an expedition, as the continent is most accessible now.
With the Festive season going on in much of the world, and prices jacked up, it’s hard to find any deals, but if you want to splash some cash, here are some suggestions.
Americas: Nothing beats NYC at this time of year, with its shops decked out for the holidays and the ball dropping on NYE. It’s peak season in Hawaii, and snowbirds love Florida. Salt Lake City is popular for skiing and holiday shopping. Las Vegas weather is great. Southern California is a December gem. Other hot spots are Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, Stowe, Santa Fe, New Orleans, and Charleston. Head to Alaska to see the northern lights. As an alternative to Europe, soak up the atmosphere of Quebec City without the expensive of crossing the pond. The whole city becomes a Christmas village, and it’s enchanting when covered in snow. December is fantastic for a visit to any Central American nation. Think Panama Canal cruise. Or a visit to Guatemala to explore the famous coffee and cardamom growing region of Coban or head to the Tikal rainforest to search for Mayan ruins. On December 13 attend the Festival de Santos Tomas where performers display their indigenous dances. Mexico and the Caribbean are popular escapes from the winter blues, and Puerto Rico is a great choice if you want to stay domestic. You’ll want to see the Junkanoo Festival in The Bahamas on 12/31 with parades and displays of costumes, music and dancing. Chile is a wonder in December for so many reasons: soak in the hot spring of Cajon del Maipo, explore Santiago, and visit Los Flamencos Reserve to see three species of flamingo. Brazil with its NYE celebration Reveillon on Copacabana Beach is a great destination. Summer is just beginning, and its warm and wet, but still with plenty of sunshine. It’s peak season in the Galapagos.
Europe: Germany is known for the festive lights and handmade crafts of its Christmas markets, but there are two standouts. Heidelberg’s takes place all throughout the city, not just in one main square. Right up there with it is Nuremberg’s market, one of the oldest. Other countries host markets as well, with the Czech Republic’s and Hungary’s cities coming to life with their amazing Christmas Markets. Hogmanay is the great Scottish three day celebration leading up to NYE with torchlit parades, music and fireworks. It continues to be a great time for a visit to Switzerland. Austria is also incomparable. In Konya, Turkey see the whirling dervishes at the annual Rumi festival. See if you can spot the aurora borealis in Scandinavia and Iceland. Try Italy or Greece off-season and see how they celebrate the holidays.
Asia: Visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia for a blend of nature and history. Thailand is a great destination with its cool, dry weather and calm water. Vietnam and the Phillippines are at their best.
Middle East: Dubai’s temps are in the upper 70s this month, so consider a visit for New Years Eve, as there is a great firework display. Though weather in Israel is not optimal, consider how special it would be to experience Christmas in the Holy Land.
Africa: Madagascar is still a great destination, but with fewer crowds. Mauritius and the Seychelles are in peak season. Cape Town is at her prettiest in December. Botswana, Kenya (see Masai Olympics), Tanzania safaris. It’s a challenging time for South African safaris as thick vegetation makes viewing difficult.
Oceania: Experience New Years Eve like no other in Sydney, Australia with fireworks over the harbor. It’s prime season in Australia and New Zealand so expect crowds.
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