A woman standing in front of a lake in the Falll

The Best October Vacation Destinations in 2019

For some, October may be when the work year starts to wind down, for others it may be simply when the seasons start to change and get cooler. You may be preparing for a big Christmas with your family or for a wild New Years Eve with your friends. However, by looking ahead to holidays you miss some of the best times of the year to go travelling. Read on to find the Top 10 Destinations to visit in October.

1. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

  • September 21st to October 7th, 2019

You may have a version of this massive event in your own city but there’s nothing better than the original. With a history dating back to the early 1800s, Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world. Originally celebrating the marriage of German royals, today the 18-day festival is one long party to drink beer, eat German food, and wear traditional Lederhosen. There is plenty to do, with countless fairground attractions and amusement rides, as well as more modern parties and nightlife events to attend. Plus, if you only want to attend for a few days of the festival to see what it’s all about, you can easily then head to another neighbouring country with Germany sitting at the centre of the European continent.

2. South America

October offers ideal travelling conditions for most South American countries. Weather is temperate and tourist numbers are lower as Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay are all in their shoulder season. October is Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, so you are likely to be treated to colourful flowers in Chile and Argentina and animals starting to come out of hibernation in Patagonia. Further North in Bolivia and Brazil, summer hasn’t hit yet and the weather is still dry, offering a great chance to see the Bolivian Salt Flats and get perfectly clear skies around the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, and in Uruguay you are likely to find the beautiful beaches almost deserted. The Galapagos islands offer cooler weather with energetic wildlife in October, while the mysterious Easter Island hasn’t reached the tourist season yet and prices are cheaper – plus you might be around to witness the Rapa Nui Pro Surf Championship, held yearly on the remote island. 

A woman standing on the Bolivian Salt Flats
Salar de Uyuni is beautiful in October! | © Jeison Higuita/Unsplash

3. Fiji

Some say mid to late October is the best time of year to visit the gorgeous islands of Fiji. This is not only due to the dry, warm (but not too hot) weather; Fiji is one of the most popular vacation spots for Australians to take their families when the school holidays come around. When school is out in Australia, the little Fijian islands burst at the seams with large families, and prices soar. However, if you miss the holidays, you are treated to a white sandy paradise, with countless coral reefs to snorkel and some of the friendliest locals you will ever meet. Whether you want an adventure-filled getaway or a relaxing escape, Fiji has it all. And don’t worry if you do need to take the kids, Fijian culture revolves around children and caring for them is a whole community’s job.

4. Morocco

Morocco is a beautiful country with a rich history, best visited at its less hot times of the year. October is Autumn in Morocco, when the days cool and allow travellers to explore the colorful local markets and incredible buildings. The bustling city of Marrakech has finally tempered after it’s hot summer months and many of the tourists have departed from Marrakech, the famous Casablanca, the must-see Fes, and Ouarzazate, Morocco’s most filmed location. If you wish to camp under the bright stars in the Sahara Desert, two or more nights in early October is best. 

For a small country, there are so many intriguing cities in Morocco, from the music centre of Essaouira to the capital city of Rabat.

Tamnougait, Morocco
Stunning Tamnougait, Morocco | Sergey Pesterev/Unsplash

5. Migration Safari in Masai Mara, Kenya or Serengeti, Tanzania

  • Animals head south in October

Safaris can be found on many bucket lists. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime adventure. The only thing that could possibly make this dream holiday better is by scheduling it around The Great Migration. The Great Migration includes many animals, but the wildebeest take the spotlight due to the sheer number of them. The migration spans a number of months but if you want dry weather and a less tourist-heavy time of the year, October is when the Wildebeest head South and cross back through Masai Mara and the Serengeti. Not only can you see this amazing natural phenomenon, you can also find the legendary Big 5 in these two parks, plus a multitude of other wildlife such as Giraffes, Zebras, and amazing birdlife.

Compared to the popular Kruger National Park in South Africa, which is the most commonly visited for Big 5 Safaris, with its heavily wooded and hilly landscape, the landscape in Masai Mara and the Serengeti varies, from the plains that stretch on for miles with vast skies above, or the savannahs dotted with Acacia trees. You can even find accommodation in viewing distance of the wildebeest’s migration path so you can look out your window in the morning to see them thundering past.

Wildebeest running in the Masai Mara during the Great MIgration
Marvel at the Great Migration in Tanzania | © Harshil Gudka/Unsplash

6. Japan

Japan gets a lot of attention in April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but prices often skyrocket and the hotels fill up. If you have ever thought about visiting Japan, October is the time to do it. Autumn has just begun, and the trees can be found in an array of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, particularly in the north or in the mountainous regions. The climate is cooler and the cities are more temperate.

If you’re a sports fan, this October will be the best time ever to visit Japan with the Rugby World Cup being held in various Japanese cities from September 20th to November 2nd, 2019. This will be the first time the Rugby World Cup has been hosted by a country in Asia.

7. Diwali in India

  • October 25th to 29th, 2019.

Instagram is often full of colourful pictures of the Holi festival, where locals and tourists throw rainbow powders into the air, but did you know this is actually considered the second most important festival in India? The most culturally significant festival of the year and often the biggest is October’s “Festival of Lights,” Diwali. This religious festival, observed by followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism, is a celebration of good triumphing over evil, or in some locations, a celebration of Lakshimi, the goddess of fortune, and marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It is most widely known for the thousands of small oil lamps that are lit and placed around the towns or left to float along rivers. People give gifts, have feasts and set off a lot of fireworks. It is a beautiful, peaceful time to visit India and a must-see for festival fans.

Red and orange lights during Diwali in New Delhi
Diwali in India is not to be missed | © Pratham Gupta/Unsplash

8. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (or PNG) is another great October destination in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a shoulder season for PNG where temperatures are generally between 23°C and 31°C (73°F to 89°F) and the wet season hasn’t hit yet. The most popular time to visit is May through September, so you will be able to see most locations at their most peaceful. Water activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking can be found at many of the local beaches, while the famed Port Moresby Nature Park is in full bloom. If you’re looking for adventure, this is one of the best times to hike the Kokoda Trail, an integral part of Australia and New Zealand’s World War II History, and a challenge for any avid trekker.

9. Italy

Some would argue that there’s never a bad time to visit Italy, but October’s not a bad place to start. Most first time travellers make the mistake of coming in July or August (myself included) when the weather can be scorching hot and the crowds and hustlers are everywhere. A shoulder season is always a better time to visit, as the weather is milder but not lacking in sun and blue skies. The seaside towns are still gorgeous at this time of year, and all the famed cities of Rome, Venice, Pisa, and Naples, are much more enjoyable with less people around. 

Fall is also the time of the Harvest Festivals throughout the country, with white truffles taking centre stage. White Truffle Festivals (yep, they have festivals honouring truffles) are held from mid-October to November in the regions of Tuscany, Piedmont, Umbria, Molise, and more. But don’t be mistaken, you won’t be dining on just truffles, as the festivals also offer up their best wine, cheese, pasta, nuts, salami, and chocolate. A food lover’s dream!

Beautiful Italy in the Fall | © Vincentiu Solomon/Unsplash

10. Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos), Mexico

  • October 31st to November 2nd, 2019.

Okay, so it’s basically November, but if you don’t get there for Halloween night, you’re missing out. Day of the Dead is an important cultural festival celebrated in Mexico to remember and honour deceased relatives, ancestors and friends. Celebrations start on the 31st, with the 1st of November, Day of the Little Angels, reserved to deceased infants and children, and finally with Day of the Dead held on the 2nd of November. This time of the year is commemorated as a time to welcome back the souls of deceased loved ones by holding feasts, and making offerings. Day of the Dead is celebrated in many parts of Mexico (and some parts of the USA), but is arguably best observed in Mexico City, where there are huge parades and celebrations are often the most elaborate.

Whether you’re North or South of the Equator, near or far from home, there are so many destinations perfect for visiting in October. The festivals are in full swing and the weather is temperate in many countries. The only hard part is narrowing it down to one place!

Lucy is a Business Development Coordinator in TourRadar’s Brisbane office. When she’s not working or travelling she enjoys reading, writing, and looking after her plants.

A man wearing a green backpack carrying skis walking through an ice tunnel
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