If there's one thing that the Covid lockdown taught us it's that you never know when you will be able to take that trip you've been putting off. As countries open their borders travelers are whipping out their Bucket Lists and are ready to start planning their getaways. But a question we often get is when is the best time to go? The answer, of course, depends on where you are going. If you have time set aside for a holiday and not sure which Trip of a Lifetime you are ready to check off our guide may help. While it's not all inclusive it does offer suggestions for the best times to visit certain destinations. We will be happy to help you fine-tune your list and plan for the years ahead as well (as many of these destinations require advance planning).
What better way to begin the new year than with a new experience. Whether you are looking for a winter wonderland, an off-season escape, or you prefer the warmth of the Southern Hemisphere, January has something for everyone. While rates remain high and some destinations remain crowded through the first week of the month, the crowds begin to thin as kids head back to school and adults head back to work making mid-to-late January a great time to travel. Kick off a new year of wellness at a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, hit the slopes in Colorado or Wyoming, go shopping in Dubai,
For Cold or Cool Weather:
For Warm Weather:
Australia (three-week long Sydney Festival begins right after the New Year)
Kalahari, Botswana - while still rainy season, southern Botswana is less rainy this time of year
By February you may be ready to escape the long, cold, dark days of winter. It’s the perfect month to head to one of the Caribbean islands, explore the warmth of Patagonia or the Winelands in Chile, or head to Costa Rica where the crowds are small and the sun is plentiful. Further afield, February is a great time to take advantage of the shoulder season in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya or head East to Cambodia and Vietnam. If you would rather embrace the cold, hit the slopes with the family over the long President’s Day weekend or follow the Aurora Borealis in the Scandinavian Lapland.
Looking for Cold? What about:
Jackson Hole, WY
Looking for Warmth? Try:
March is the perfect month to take advantage of spring blooms in the Northern Hemisphere and cooler temperatures of Fall in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a great time to explore deserts across the world – from the Atacama desert in Chile to Joshua Tree in California, to the Sahara Desert in Morocco. If you’d rather be surrounded by mountains, head to Nepal in March (no need to scale Everest) or enjoy the warmer days of spring skiing in the Rockies, Tetons or British Columbia. As the temperature begins to climb, Southern Spain – Seville and Granada – comes alive with pre-Holy Week fiestas while, South Africa begins to cool, bringing better weather for outdoor activities and harvest season in the Winelands.
Galapagos (book early for Spring break dates)
India (Holi Festival can be crowded so plan ahead)
Japan for the start of Cherry Blossom season
Spring festivals abound in April making it a very festive time to travel. The warmer weather brings even more travel options but beware of spring break dates and Easter holidays as these dates also draw big crowds. See the tulips in Holland, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto and the beauty of spring in Paris. On the flipside of the globe, fall brings out some of the best weather in Southern Australia, South Africa, and the beaches of the Maldives.
Other places to consider for April travel:
India tiger trekking
US National Parks of Utah and Arizona
Washington DC for the cherry blossoms
Beat the crowds and head to the countries along the Mediterranean as the weather warms and the days get longer. Explore the magical cities of Croatia, Greece, Italy and Portugal and bask in the warmth on their spectacular beaches. Or head to the Northern European countries of Finland, Sweden and Norway as they come alive of shake off the cold and dark days. May is also the time to head to China where temperatures tend to be pleasant across the entire country making touring easier.
Other countries to consider:
Scotland (beginning of the Highland Games)
Japan (without the crowds looking for cherry blossoms)
Israel (after Easter and Passover)
Zambia and Zimbabwe (as the rains taper off and the mosquitos start to disappear)
Barge cruises in Europe (water levels are higher)
Rafting in the Western US (as the snow begins to melt)
Peru’s Sacred Valley
Bolivia (when a thin layer of water persists across the famous salt flats adding a mirror-like reflection to the flats)
Sure, you have the usual suspects in Europe for June travel – Greece, Italy, England, France, and Portugal are never a bad idea – but consider Switzerland, which is still straddling the shoulder season meaning fewer crowds and great weather for outdoor trekking. Scandinavia still shines as well, with long days and spectacular scenery. June is the official start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere bringing cooler temperatures and drier weather to parts of South Africa and Kenya, perfect for animal sightings on safari. June also offers skiing in New Zealand and Chile and it’s the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef (when the water is not as rough) and the Northern Territories in Australia (when the temperatures are comfortable for sightseeing)
San Juan Islands, Washington
Banff and Lake Louise
This is the height of tourist season across most of Europe but that doesn’t mean you have to wait in long lines or pay too much for hotels. If you are willing to explore areas beyond the Capital cities and typical islands you will be pleasantly surprised. Instead of the Cycladic islands of Greece, explore the Ionian Islands for calm water, clear turquoise water and ancient ruins. In Andalusia, Spain, go beyond Seville and Granada and explore Cadiz, Jerez and the white villages. July is the best time to see the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania so plan in advance for this trip. And don’t discount North America for amazing summer travel – while the Grand Canyon and Utah’s National Parks are usually full (and HOT) in July, head to Glacier National Park in Montana or British Columbia for terrific hiking, fishing and rafting. And, if hoping to catch a photo of a polar bear, July is the time to head to the Arctic when the temps are warm enough for boats to navigate the area and the midnight sun (24-hours of daylight) make for great photo opps of walruses, seals and maybe the elusive polar bear.
Japanese Alps and Hokkaido’s wild national parks (July is one of the best times to climb Mount Fuji, if you are so inclined)
Skiing in the Southern Hemisphere
European cities tend to empty of locals in August so restaurants, shops may close up. Avoid the disappointment of traveling when things are closed and either explore destinations that beyond Europe or travel at the end of the month. For instance, if Iceland is on your list mid to late August will be less crowded. August is a great month to visit Scandinavia where the sun never sets and the weather is still warm. In Africa, safaris in Kenya, South Africa and Botswana are still great options, while across the world you can heli-ski in New Zealand and pop over to Australia to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef (or bask on a beach in Fiji).
Alsaka cruise or land-based trip
Brazil and Northern Amazon
Switzerland – hiking the alps
Hike the Italian Dolomites
After Labor Day leisure travel begins to peter out and destinations around the world have fewer tourists making September a great time to travel. In the US, the crowds begin to thin and the temperatures start to drop in the National Parks making this an ideal time to visit Utah’s National Parks and the Grand Canyon. For those who travel for the food - September begins Harvest Season across the Northern Hemisphere and it’s the ideal time to explore all things culinary in from California’s Napa Valley to Portugal’s Duoro Valley to the wineries across the rolling hills of Tuscany. Taste the bounty of the harvest and even participate in the grape picking and stomping! in some places. Southern Italy and the Greek islands continue to welcome tourists into mid-October, so this is the month to visit Santorini, Crete and the Amalfi Coast without the crowds.
Other options: Morocco
Italian and Swiss Lake District
Skiing in Mendoza, Argentina
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for few crowds and bargain stays
October is the sweet spot for travel – the weather is nearly perfect around the globe – spring in the Southern Hemisphere and vibrant fall in the North. You'll find leaf-peepers road tripping and train tripping along the East Coast during October in a quest for the perfect fall scenery (and there is nothing better than that!). Destinations that are unbearably hot in the summer see weather cooling in October bringing perfect temperatures for travel – Egypt, Morocco and Jordan are just a few. India’s monsoon season ends turning the weather pleasant and comfortable and the mountain views in Nepal are the best this month. This is the best month across Australia from the Northern Territories to Tasmania (and a stay at Saffire-freycinet!) to the west coast of the country you will find pleasant weather and few crowds.
Coast of California
Hawaii – Maui
Canal Barge cruises in France
Bangkok and Northern Thailand
New Zealand hiking
Hudson Valley, New York
Asheville, North Carolina (for gorgeous fall foliage)
November offers so many opportunities before the onslaught of the Festive holiday season. Enjoy sunshine at the beaches in Thailand, gorgeous foliage in Japan, and dry and warmer days in Australia and Chile. The popular cities in Europe are quiet before the rush of the holiday season, giving you a little elbow room at museums across the continent. Central and South America still enjoy the tail-end of the dry season making treks to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley or visits throughout Argentina enjoyable as the crowds are thin. The high temperatures in places like Morocco and Egypt decline, making it a great time to explore the cities and sights.
Vietnam (dry and cool in the North)
Buenos Aires – shoulder season but the weather is sunny and sporting and cultural events abound
Northern Thailand – Chiang Rai – monsoon season has subsided bringing an abundance of blooming plants and lush greenery
Best time to travel to Nepal
Egypt – getting busy but not at busy as December
Caribbean islands reopen after hurricane season
Whether you are looking to embrace the festive winter ambience in the Northern Hemisphere or hoping to enjoy the warmth of the Southern part of the globe, December offers something for everyone. If you really want to embrace the holiday season look to Italy, Austria and Provence for Christmas markets and holiday lights. If you are trying to escape the winter chill, Cabo, Belize and the Maldives may be the call. Cambodia is especially nice in December with low humidity and cooler temps.
Skiing in the Western US
Skiing in Canada
Atacama Desert, Chile