With so many places on your bucket list, it can be tough to work out what to squeeze into your limited vacation days – and when. The world is a big place: while it might be peak season for where you live or “vacation season”, it will be the height of a monsoon or the dead of winter elsewhere around the world. So it’s important to know where are the best destinations for what time of year. Thus, we are proud to present to you, the best guide for where to travel every month of the year.
In January you should go to…
It may be peak season in this legendary Southeast Asian country, but it’s worth it for the great weather, at a lovely average of 27 degrees Celsius or 80 Fahrenheit. Besides, the mayhem of Christmas and New Years is over, so you’ll certainly be avoiding the worst. In January, Bangkok is pleasant, the islands on the Andaman Coast (Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lanta) are ideal and although Koh Samui, Phangan and Koh Tao are wetter, they tend to be intense short rain ralls, and then everyone’s back out on the beach for that liquid sunshine.
Travel to: Thailand
Talk about perfect weather. Costa Rica is generally a wet country, so timing your trip well is vital – so say hello to January in this stunning Central American country! What to expect: 30 to 35 celsius or mid 80s to low 90s, plenty of sunshine, an abundance of wildlife, tanning weather yet verdant foliage and blue skies to see those perfectly formed volcanoes at their best.
Travel to: Costa Rica
In February you should go to..
Whistler, Canada or Aspen, USA
If January’s the time to lift your spirits on a warm vacation, February is the time to embrace it to the extreme with a ski or snowboard adventure. Head to Whistler in Canada or Aspen in the US for great snow conditions and entertainment abound like mountainside cafes, spas, restaurants and nightlife (so even if you’re not one for the slopes, this is still a worthy getaway).
New Orleans, USA
We’ll take any excuse to make ourselves feel alive and happy in February (worst month there is for Northern Hemisphere-dwellers, anyone?) and there’s perhaps no city that does energy quite like New Orleans. The Mardi Gras takes place in February over the course of two weeks, and while it’s hectic, you’ll be seeing the city at its finest. As well as exploring the French Quarter, going on a cocktail tour and experiencing all the jazz you can shake a stick at, you’ll get the unique Mardis Gras shebang with showers of multi-coloured beads, vibrant carnival outfits and street parties.
Travel to: New Orleans from New York City
In March you should go to…
March and April have the lowest rainfall across all destinations within Vietnam and temperatures are moderate. The sticky humidity disappears in March and there’s lots of sunshine, making Vietnam ideal for lazing on the beach as well as trekking the northern mountains.
Travel to: Vietnam
Colombia’s peak season is December to February when prices soar, so March is a great time to visit for slightly cheaper rates but the same weather. There isn’t the copious rainfall of April-June and the temperature is warm and sunny. When there in March, you’ll happily be able to explore the towns and cities, the coffee district and while the days away on the Colombian beaches.
In April you should go to…
The end of March and the first half of April is when you’re most likely to see the famous and captivating cherry blossom season in Japan – first in Tokyo, then the rest of the country. As a friendly warning, you have to keep an eye out for the Sakura forecasts as they shift every year depending on how the weather has been, and they only last for about two weeks – so keep that credit card out, ready to purchase flights and a tour in order not to miss them!
Travel to: Japan
Spring happens relatively late in Morocco, in April and May, but it’s the best time to visit for the ease of travel throughout the country as summers are too hot and winter temperatures drop down significantly. April has a summer climate in the south, the mountains and the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. Exploring the Atlas Mountains will reward you with the blossoming fruit trees.
In May you should go to…
Lisbon and the Algarve, Portugal
All other cities should envy Lisbon in late spring/early summer: it’s by the sea, the days are long and sunny, it’s beginning to get warm and you can happily relax on the many rooftop bars without the crowds. As for the Algarve, you’ll have more of the beautiful coastline to yourself in May than in the summer.
See Also: Why You Need to Visit Portugal Right Now
The Peruvian winter starts in May, and while that might strike terror into the hearts of some of us, in Peru this is a good thing. Winter is the driest season and temperatures are enjoyable in the highlands, so it’s the best time to visit Machu Picchu. If you want to do the Inca Trail, get planning for May as soon as you can as there are limited permits (but you can do other treks to get to Machu Picchu without a permit, like the Quarry or Lares).
In June you should go to…
Before Italy gets trampled with peak summer travellers, do yourself a favour and tour this incredible country in June. As well as avoiding the crowds, the temperatures are lovely and the rural colours are richer after the spring. This is a great time to see the Amalfi Coast – it will be busy, but still manageable and truly beautiful.
The main reason you should visit Iceland in June is the summer solstice. On the longest day of the year, you’ll experience the sun barely setting before it rises again – it’s a unique, utterly surreal phenomenon. June also offers slightly warmer temperatures and great hiking as the landscape comes alive. It’s a great time to snorkel between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, however if you’re looking for the northern lights, it’s best to put off your trip until September and October.
Travel to: Iceland
In July you should go to…
The Swedish do summer well. The weather is warm (seriously, don’t trust these stereotypes of constant cold), they spent their time outdoors riding bikes or going swimming in Stockholm’s city centre, jump in the surrounding lakes or kayak the archipelagos of Stockholm and Gothenburg.
July is the beginning of peak season (you want to definitely avoid November to April when there are tropical storms) when the weather is exactly how you’d want it for an island getaway: hot, dry and sunny. July in Fiji is when the water clarity is perfect for diving and snorkelling – there are over 1,000 species of fish, and you may even be in with a chance to swim with manta rays.
In August you should go to…
Temperatures at sea level are always between 21 and 33 degrees celsius, but the country is divided into wet and dry season, and we suggest August because, obviously, it’s the dry season. Going at this time of year will allow you optimum island-hopping – i.e. don’t stick only to Bali, at this time of year travel around to the Gili islands and Sumatra.
One of the biggest reasons people go to Kenya is for a safari (although there’s so much more to this amazing country) and for wildlife sightings, August is a solid choice. It’s the dry season and coincides with the wildebeest migration, which reaches the Masai Mara in July and stays until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania.
In September you should go to…
September is a great time to see the Rockies (Banff and Jasper National Parks), with fewer crowds, completely blue lakes, green foliage and no mosquitoes to ‘bug’ you. In the cities like Toronto, the humidity has gone and the fall colours come out – head to Algonquin at the end of the month for beautiful foliage.
See Also: 17 Reasons to Visit Canada in 2017
Ibiza in September, you can finally get a spot on the beach, a table for lunch, it’s still hot and the closing parties at clubs happen which are the true highlights to the famous party season. If that’s not your style, then you still get the advantage of beautiful, private spots to yourself on the island. It also becomes a lot more affordable, and the rest of Spain is quieter too yet still warm, so you can even double up your Spanish trip with a visit to the mainland.
In October you should go to…
Like the spring months, a great time to visit China is September and October. Places which are usually incredibly hot and humid and a little too cool in spring, like Xinjiang, are perfect at this time of year. The same goes for a lot of the country, including the major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It starts to get chillier in the evenings, so take extra layers, but October is a lovely time to explore multiple areas. Make sure to hike the Yellow Mountains!
New England, USA
Whether it’s Boston, Vermont or Maine, New England is a beautiful part of the US and the world, but never more so than in the fall. There’s a whole coined phrase for this fall extravaganza: leaf-peeping. Some of the best places to check out are the Green Mountains in Vermont, Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region in New Hampshire, the Acadia National Park Loop Road in Maine and Old King’s Highway in Massachusetts. Mid-late October is a great time to see the red, orange and yellow colours, and there are plenty of breweries and towns to visit in the area.
In November you should go to…
Some will say summer (December to February) is the best time to visit New Zealand. Others will say that fall (May) is the best. Well we’re bucking those trends and going with our gut: November for New Zealand. Why? On the South Island, you can get your adrenaline fill in the morning then sunbathe for the afternoon, while on the North Island, go for the hot springs and beaches. These are when the islands are at their most Middle Earth-esque.
The north of India offers clear, blue skies and it’s warm, dry and sunny. This is great for India when the heat can become really unbearable, so November (and December) is perfect. It’s also usually the month of Diwali (it changes each year), the Hindu festival of light, celebrating new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil. Some places to go to in India ideal for the month of November: Rajasthan, Coorg, Goa and Kerala.
Travel to: India
In December you should go to…
It might be hot and it might be busy, but New Year’s in Australia (particularly Sydney, but to be honest, why would you complain about anywhere else Down Under?) is like no other. You’re bound to be overwhelmed when those legendary fireworks you always see on the TV screen are actually in real life. Make the most of a December trip and go on a coastal road trip from Sydney to Cairns, stopping at Byron Bay and the Gold Coast in between.
See Also: Introducing: the Ultimate Aussie Burger
Germany and Austria
The reason for the doubled-up suggestion for December is because of one thing: Christmas Markets. Germany and Austria have some of the best Christmas Markets in the world, all over each country, and involve huts dedicated to everything from decorations to delicious, warming food. For Germany, go to Cologne and Berlin. For Austria, Vienna comes out top, with Salzburg and Innsbruck also ideal to get you into the festive feeling.
See Also: The Best Danube Christmas Markets