Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

It’s August and You Should Be Planning These Trips Right Now

Brook Wilkinson | August 2, 2016

August is a great time to start thinking about travel plans for the rest of the year, and into the next one. We know, we know—you’re still focused on summer and not quite ready to start planning for the winter. But now is the window when smart travelers can get good deals and choice accommodations in certain destinations. That’s why we offer this monthly series on when to book various trips—to help you get the most value for your money and the most worthwhile experiences for your time.

Below you’ll find a list of the places you should be booking trips to right now. Follow our advice and you’ll still have a range of accommodations to choose from, the best guides won’t already be taken, and our Trusted Travel Experts will have enough time to work their magic and optimize every aspect of your trip.

(Don’t miss the rest of our series on what trips to book in each month of the year. If you prefer to know which destinations are ideal for traveling to in any given month, see our Where to Go When series, and don’t miss our comprehensive guide to the benefits of booking early.)


Milan, Italy

For: September

Milan’s Fashion Week takes place this year from September 21st to 27th, with fashion shows featuring Gucci, Versace, Moschino, and Armani. Though the official calendar hasn’t yet been published, with Andrea’s expansive network of contacts, she can get you invitations to the shows you want to see.

Why book in August? Fashion-industry insiders don’t book far in advance for the shows, so there’s still time to arrange a V.I.P.-style trip. If you wait till next month, though, it will be very tough to find a room and impossible to get near a catwalk.

—Andrea Grisdale, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy

Contact Andrea through our site to get the best possible trip.


Guizhou, China

For: September–November

China’s subtropical Guizhou province, with its colorful tapestry of minority villages, is host to a number of festivals each fall, including the musical Lusheng festival in October and the vibrant Miao New Year in November; it is Miao tradition to clear the streets and make way for long banquet tables heaving with fresh produce to celebrate the year’s bountiful harvest.

Why book in August? Since Guizhou is well off the beaten track, you don’t have to plan a year ahead to attend these authentic festivities—but by September, all of the best hotel rooms and guides will already be reserved.

—Mei Zhang, Trusted Travel Expert for China

Contact Mei through our site to get the best possible trip.


Central Italy (Rome, Tuscany, Umbria)

Christmas in italy santas on horseback

Christmas in Italy’s cities and small towns still feels authentic and homespun. Photo: Concierge in Umbria

For: December

In the small towns and even the major cities of central Italy—Montepulciano, Perugia, Rome, Florence—Christmas continues to have a homespun, traditional feel, without the crass consumerism that surrounds the holiday here in the U.S. Many towns, and the larger piazza in big cities, have enchanting Christmas markets where you can buy artisan crafts and handmade decorations.

Why book in August? To fully soak up the holiday ambiance, you’ll want to stay in a city apartment or smaller hotel where you can stroll through town right from your doorstep; since this narrows the options, it’s wise to book now for the widest choice of accommodations.

—Brian Dore and Maria Gabriella Landers, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy

Contact Brian and Maria through our site to get the best possible trip.

Note: If you’re looking for a countryside villa to celebrate Christmas in, read The Rewards of an Italian Villa Vacation in Winter.


Patagonia, Chile

Cerro Torre, Patagonia

Cerro Torre, Patagonia. Photo: Johnno49/Pixabay

For: December 2016–February 2017

Hikers flock to Chile’s flagship national park, Torres del Paine, in the southern-hemisphere summer, when the weather there is at its finest. If you want to be in Patagonia with penguins and glaciers over the holidays, or early in 2017, you’d better act fast.

Why book in August? The park’s three high-end lodges have just 101 rooms between them; by September, they are often fully booked for those peak travel dates.

—Tom Damon, Trusted Travel Expert for Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Patagonia

Contact Tom through our site to get the best possible trip.



Bagan, Myanmar, Southeast Asia

Bagan, Myanmar. Photograph by C. Kennerly.

For: February 2017

February is the most popular month to visit Myanmar: The weather is cooler and dry, ideal for both trekking to see hill tribes and visiting the major sites of Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake.

Why book in August? The country’s top hotels are not big, so they fill up quickly; if you want a room with a view of the sunset on Inle Lake come February, you’d better book now. Additionally, the country’s top guides are really limited in number and, thus, are in very high demand. They often prefer to work with large groups rather than individual travelers. By booking early, you can be assured that you’ll have access to the most experienced guides.

—Antonia Neubauer, Trusted Travel Expert for Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal

Contact Antonia through our site to get the best possible trip.


Galapagos, Ecuador

Gardner bay, Galapagos Island, beach

Gardner Bay, Galapagos Islands. Photo courtesy Alan Lambe.

For: March–April 2017

Spring break is a great time to take the kids on an educational journey to the Galapagos: They can paddle with marine iguanas, play with sea lions, and tread next to bobbing penguins. Some ships offer specific family-friendly departures during spring-break weeks, and those fill up especially quickly.

Why book in August? This far in advance, Allie can match you to the ship that best fits your traveling style and specific travel dates (the latter being particularly important when working with school schedules); plus, you can still snag the inter-connected or triple cabins that are most convenient and economical for your family.

—Allie Almario, Trusted Travel Expert for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Contact Allie through our site to get the best possible trip.



Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan. Photo courtesy Antonia Neubauer.

For: February–April 2017

Witnessing a Bhutanese festival is a bucket-list experience, and spring planting season is one of the best times for it; it’s also when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom, making the countryside an incredible riot of colors. One of Antonia’s favorite festivals—and perhaps one of the most colorful—is Gomphu Kora, usually held in late March or April at a small temple in eastern Bhutan.

Why book in August? Only one airline, Druk Air, flies into the country, so you need to reserve now to get the flights you want for next spring. Bhutanese hotels also tend to be quite small; if you want to attend the Punakha Tsechu in March, for example, the very best hotels nearby have only eight and 11 rooms respectively.

—Antonia Neubauer, Trusted Travel Expert for Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal

Contact Antonia through our site to get the best possible trip.


Northern Territory, Australia

For: July–September 2017

Peak safari season in Australia’s “Top End”—the uppermost section of the Northern Territory, home to Kakadu National Park and the city of Darwin—runs from July through September. Here you’ll find abundant wildlife (wallabies, crocodiles, buffalo, and prolific birdlife), a rich indigenous culture and its accompanying rock art, and stunning outback scenery.

Why book in August? Since the region’s much-buzzed-about lodges have only 10 to 20 rooms each, you need to book a year in advance to get the accommodations you want.

—Stuart Rigg, Trusted Travel Expert for Australia

Contact Stuart through our site to get the best possible trip.

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.


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