Tag Archives: where to go when

Panoramic view of Fortresses Lovrijenac and old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Where and When to Travel This Year

This year is shaping up to be another huge one for international travel.  Travelers are booking trips farther in advance than in past years, and they’re headed to Western Europe in particular. We’re predicting that Europe’s most popular locales will be packed again this year, and that peak season will extend from late April through early October. Sadly, we’re not seeing any relief from the sticker shock that grew out of the post-Covid demand for travel, given the big events that will coincide with Europe’s summer season:  Add the Olympics in France (in July), the G7 Summit in Italy (in June), and Taylor Swift concerts all over the U.K. and Europe (from May through August) to the usual annual events in tennis (Wimbledon and the French Open), soccer (the Champions League), and Formula 1 racing.  If you’re seeking true value for your dollar, watch our WOW Week Travel Talk below (recorded on February 5, 2024), and read on to learn where and when to travel this year.

Fast-forward the video to 2:30 to skip the WOW Week preamble.  Scroll down for the list of the 20 most popular countries for 2024 that we refer to in our talk. 

UPDATES
We are continually updating this article, as the travel landscapes shifts, to alert you to your smartest moves in 2024.

5/15/24 Take advantage of low business-class airfare to Europe for fall and winter 
4/10/24 New international nonstop flights to make your travels easier
4/7/24  It’s now easier to pool your family’s airline miles
3/27/24 Think South America for this summer (winter in the southern hemisphere)
3/17/24 Right now you can get your passport renewed in just 2 to 3 weeks
3/13/24 Get to Thailand before the White Lotus crowds do
2/20/24 How the Olympics could affect your travels: Paris this spring and summer
2/17/24 Five great spring break ideas that combine relaxation, culture, and thrills
1/21/24  Why you should go to Europe this winter (before the spring/summer rush)
1/17/24  The key to big family trips in 2024
1/10/24  How to maximize your vacations this year
1/7/24  Spring break: Unexpected places where prices are not inflated in March/April
1/3/24  Wendy’s 2024 travel resolutions
11/8/23  Save on business-class airfares to Europe for 2024
10/29/23  How to ensure rain doesn’t ruin a winter trip
10/15/23 Time your African safari smartly to get the best value
10/22/23  How to travel safely now  
9/27/23  Europe in 2024:  Where and when you’ll find highest prices, worst crowds 
8/20/23  Europe’s high season is now May-Oct. Shoulder season is Nov-March.

Are you thinking about traveling in the Middle East?  Read these reports from WOW List travelers:
Just back from Egypt
Just back from Turkey
Just back from Dubai
Just back from Jordan and Oman
Just back from Morocco

Are you thinking about traveling near Ukraine? Read these reports from WOW List travelers:
Just back from Poland
Just back from Romania

 

SMART TRAVEL IN 2024

SOUTH AMERICA: Get it all close to home. South America continues to be an underappreciated destination—even though it has both staggeringly beautiful and enormously varied landscapes, and a cultural fabric that weaves indigenous civilizations with colonial influences. Many destinations there are no farther from home than Europe is, and there’s little to no jet lag (a big plus if you’ve got school-aged kids and you’re traveling during a short school break such as Thanksgiving week or spring break). Brook shares discoveries from her January trip to Peru here. Read WOW South America trip reviews.

ASIA: Japan is back. After finally reopening its borders in late 2022, Japan was our travelers’ favorite spot in Asia in 2023. If you’re keen to go in 2024, keep in mind that 5-star hotel rates are particularly high for popular periods such as the spring cherry-blossom season. Compare that with China, where luxury brands often charge less than half what they do in Europe. Opportunities also abound in Sri Lanka, which still struggles to attract visitors even though the political situation has stabilized since 2022’s unrest. Read WOW Asia trip reviews.

PACIFIC: Consider Australia and New Zealand only if you can travel at off-peak times. These countries are our travelers’ top two destinations for 2024. If you’re still thinking about traveling there this year, look to the “shoulder seasons,” when the weather is still good but the crowds aren’t there and prices are a bit lower. The good news is that the U.S. dollar is very strong compared to its Australian and New Zealand counterparts, so prices are lower than they were pre-Covid. Read reviews from travelers just back from Australia and New Zealand.

EUROPE: Choose your timing wisely.
The high post-pandemic travel demand for Europe that we saw in 2023 taught travelers that if they want a certain caliber of accommodations and experiences there, they must book farther in advance than before. The result: More of Europe has already been booked for spring and summer than was ever the case in past years. This demand, exacerbated by inflation, will assure that prices remain steep there. If you’re bound and determined to see Europe’s most popular countries—especially Italy, France, and Greece—you’ll find the best value in under-the-radar locations. Experienced local trip-planning experts know which hotels and other service providers most successfully handled 2023’s flood of travelers and are therefore the best bets in 2024. If you can only travel in summer, which in 2023 saw extreme heat and wildfires in southern Europe, learn how our travelers beat the heat in 2023 (hint: stay close to the water) and where you can go to avoid the crowds. If your schedule is flexible, get ideas for successful winter trips here.

Opt for nonstop flights. Every connection creates an opportunity for something to go wrong: a missed flight, lost luggage, an inconvenient delay. The good news is that there are more and more flights from U.S. cities to interesting international locales. If a stop is essential, choose one of the smartest airports for making connections in, and get as close to your destination as you can, as quickly as you can. (In other words, if you’re flying to Croatia and have to connect somewhere, do it in Europe rather than in the U.S.) If you must make a domestic connection to an international flight, consider overnighting at the connection point. (For instance, if you’re flying to Africa via JFK, missing your connection could seriously disrupt your safari plans, so consider spending the night in New York.)

The larger your group, the earlier you need to plan. Since Covid we’ve seen travelers bring more family and friends along—often because they are celebrating a milestone like a graduation, or making memories as a clan of grandparents, their adult kids, and the grandkids. When you only need one hotel room, it’s usually possible to develop the ideal itinerary to suit your interests and trip goals, and then book suitable hotels. But when you need two or more rooms, you may have to patch together hotel availability wherever you can get it and let that dictate your schedule. With a multigenerational trip or other large group, booking early will maximize your options.

Buy travel insurance and evacuation assistance. It can protect your financial investment, cover any medical expenses, and give you peace of mind. If you’re sick or injured, the right travel insurance policy will cover your care at the nearest appropriate facility; you need a second layer of protection if you want to be treated at home.

These are the most popular countries in 2024 (as of January) for our travelers:
1. Italy
2. United Kingdom
3. France
4. New Zealand
5. Spain
6. Vietnam
7. Australia
8. Costa Rica
9. Norway
10. Portugal
11. Cambodia
12. Greece
13. Japan
14. South Africa
15. Ecuador (and the Galapagos)
16. Chile
17. Switzerland
18. Thailand
19. Argentina
20. Iceland

 

Links to Useful Resources

Just Back: Reviews of our Travelers’ Recent Trips

Where To Go When: Ideal Destinations For Each Month of the Year

Nonstop Flights To Make Your Travels Easier

The WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

Brook posing above Lysefjord with snowy mountains in the background.

Live Answers to Your Travel Questions: Join Us on Zoom for WOW Week 2024, February 5–9

UPDATE: WOW Week 2024 is now over. Thank you all for joining us! We have posted the Zoom recordings below, in case you missed any talks or want to share them with your friends. Stay up to date by signing up for our newsletter

 


 

This year is shaping up to be another huge one for international travel.  We’re seeing more travelers booking trips farther in advance than in past years, as well as travelers taking more family and friends along.  Based on these bigger groups locking more trips in place earlier— especially to Western Europe—we’re predicting that Europe’s iconic locales, from Italy’s Amalfi Coast to the Greek island of Santorini, will be packed again this year, and that peak season will extend from May through early October.  Sadly, we’re not seeing any relief from the sticker shock that grew out of the post-pandemic demand for travel, what with Europe’s summer season coinciding with events such as the Olympics in France in July, the G7 Summit in Puglia, Italy, in June, and Taylor Swift concerts all over the U.K. and Europe from May through August.

Not to worry:  We’ve got solutions, and Brook (pictured above in Norway in November) and Hannah and I, plus special guests, will be sharing them during WOW Week, February 5-9, when we’ll host a Travel Talk every day at 7 pm EST.  Bring your burning questions!

NOTE: If you have trouble signing up for our Travel Talks, make sure you have a free Zoom account that is associated with the email address you are using. 

 


 

Where and When to Travel in 2024

Monday, February 5, at 7pm EST

Last year broke travel records, and you should expect—and prepare for—more records to fall in the year ahead. Wendy, Brook, and Hannah reveal what’s shaping up for 2024: opportunities to take advantage of, challenges to zap, and the coolest under-the-radar places, off-season values, foodie experiences, and more.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

South America Now: Smart Choices and Good Value

Tuesday, February 6, at 7pm EST

Wendy and Brook explain why the continent should be on your list for 2024, and WOW List experts for South America share what’s new, what’s best, what you haven’t thought of, and how to ensure your trip goes smoothly.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Successful Family Travel in 2024

Wednesday, February 7, at 7pm EST

WOW List experts with the latest intel for maximizing your travels and minimizing stress—in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and beyond—will share solutions. Learn how to keep everybody in your travel group happy, whatever their ages or conflicting needs and interests. Bring your questions!

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Travel Insurance and Emergency Assistance: How to Protect Yourself

Thursday, February 8, at 7pm EST

Learn how to prepare for the unexpected, from surprise injuries to natural disasters to political unrest. Experts explain and simplify how to minimize your risk, both financial and medical, and they’ll take your questions live, so bring your list of what’s been perplexing you!

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Take Better Travel Photos with Your Phone!

Friday, February 9, at 7pm EST

Photojournalist Tim Baker (a.k.a. Mr. Wendy Perrin) reveals simple tips to help you take much better travel photos with your smartphone–better action shots, group shots, food shots, night shots, video, and more. Tim’s advice is device-agnostic: Apple and Android users welcome!

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

A big thank-you to our WOW Week sponsor, Medjet:

Medjet is a global air medical transport and travel security membership program that can give travelers greater peace of mind. Their sponsorship enables me, Brook, Kristine, and the rest of our growing team to spend time answering your travel questions (via our Get a Personalized Trip Recommendation feature) and finding the smartest trip-planning specialists for you (see Wendy’s WOW List).

Don’t miss this special WOW Week discount:

Medjet is offering our WOW Week audience an exclusive discount of up to $50 off New Medjet Annual Memberships. The deal is available from Monday, February 5 at 9am EST till Monday, February 12 at 5 pm EST. You can learn more about Medjet and get the deal by clicking the red button below. 

GET THE DEAL

 

Walking in Hans's house.

Farm Visits: WOW Trips That Get You Back to the Land Around the World

My mentor in the cheese industry used to spread out a detailed map on our big conference table. “To say a cheese comes from France means nothing,” he would exclaim. Specificity meant everything. A big wheel of Comté from the Jura mountains couldn’t be more different from the fresh, delicate buttons of chevre from the Loire Valley. Each cheese was full of clues about its home’s unique geography, culture, history, and identity.

The team having dinner with Hans and his family at Grøndalen Gård in Norway.

The farm’s hospitable owners welcomed the WendyPerrin.com Team into their farmhouse for a dinner featuring their delicious Nýr cheese. Photo: Timothy Baker

I thought of his words as we changed into green jumpsuits in the freezing night at Grøndalen Gård in Norway—it was 4 PM, and the sun had already set.

Milking one of the happy cows.

Florie proved the most adept in the group at milking the cows. Photo: Timothy Baker

Hans, who grew up on the farm, showed us how to rub a warm cloth over the cows’ udders before making a fist and milking. He handed out teacups so we could taste the sweet, still warm milk. As fresh as it gets!

Wendy tasting the still-warm milk from a teacup.

Wendy tastes the freshest milk you’ll find anywhere. Photo: Timothy Baker

“The cows give us so much,” Hans told us. “It is only right that we give them something, too.” At the farm, the calves spend the first few months of their lives with their mother, which is almost unheard of at dairies around the world. But at Grøndalen Gård, the cows’ happiness is at the heart of everything they do.

Visiting the happy cows at the barn.

The team checks out the cows (and their extra-plush bedding of straw) in the barn. Photo: Timothy Baker

After milking, we warmed up by the fire in their gorgeous, cozy farmhouse. Hans and his wife Anne Birte Olsen showed us photos of their four adult children, including their son Lars Kristian Grøndahl who is carrying the baton of the family business. Their family has farmed this land since the 17th century.

Hans telling the story of how Grøndalen Gård started producing Nyr.

Farmer Hans Arild Grøndahl recounts the story of creating his Nýr cheese. Photo: Timothy Baker

Grøndalen Gård makes a fresh cheese called Nýr, which tastes a lot like labneh (but also very much unique): smooth, creamy, tangy, and bright. We tasted spoonfuls before sitting down to a delicious, homecooked meal: blueberry soup topped with Nýr to start, epicly tasty burgers, a kale pie made with a bubbly Nýr topping, and Nýr ice cream for dessert with Anna’s Christmas cookies. Hans and Anna told us how they had gone folk dancing on their first date and showed us videos of their family carrying on the tradition.

Blueberry soup topped with Nyr.

A delicious chilled soup of foraged blueberries, topped with a dollop of Nýr. Photo: Timothy Baker

Only late into the evening did Lars let slip that their Nýr won a silver medal at the 2018 World Cheese Awards—we were in the company of cheese masters, albeit very humble ones.

I thought about my mentor’s words, and how Nýr couldn’t be made anywhere else in the world. These happy cows—my favorite was Selma—this family who has been farming for generations, this cold, stunning land, even the folk dancing videos on our phones, was absolutely singular. Also key to the experience? An introduction from WOW Lister Torunn Tronsvang, whose travelers are among the only ones Hans, Anne, and Kristian welcome into their home.

Anna and Lars preparing our desert with Nyr ice cream and homemade cookies.

Kristian and Anne plate dessert: scoops of frozen Nýr and Anne’s traditional Christmas cookies. Photo: Timothy Baker

A joyful update: A month after our return home from Norway, we received an email from Hans. “A very nice and pretty little female calf was born early this morning at 6 o’clock,” he wrote. “We thought the calf should be called Wendy.” Here’s brand-new calf Wendy, the latest addition to Grøndalen Gård. Now it’s time for her to cuddle and nurse with her mom!

Newborn calf named Wendy at Grøndalen Gård.

Newborn calf named Wendy at Grøndalen Gård. Photo: Hans Arild

Many of you write in to say that your trip highlight was a visit to a small farm. You love spending time with a local food-producing family and learning about their lives over a meal.  Read on for a small taste of the large variety of farm experiences to be had around the world. When you take a WOW trip, those are the sorts of moments you remember long after a trip has ended.

START A WOW TRIP

 

Tuscany: truffle hunting and farmhouse lunch

Jessica Tolmach

Jessica Tolmach and family lunching at Agriturismo Torrenieri in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia. Photo: Chef Fabrizio Fe

“A highlight was an outing with a truffle hunter and his dog into the hills and woods where the dog found truffles and after we were hosted at their farmhouse overlooking the valley while they served us a multi-course lunch of truffle-focused dishes that were scrumptious, along with their own wines. We also adored a private tour and lunch prepared for us at a little-known but spectacular vineyard in Chianti, with tastings paired with each course.  And, last but not least, we will all remember forever our lunch at an agriturismo farm with a most generous host and chef that happily went on for hours, on a glorious afternoon, on their patio on the edge of their fields, where we were served mind-blowing grilled meats and the best lasagna and tiramisu any of us has ever tasted. My boys wanted to stay and work on the farm and never come home! And I got his grandmother’s recipes!” —Jessica Tolmach

START A TRIP TO ITALY

Spain: meeting Iberian pig farmers

“An exceptional day was a visit to a family-owned Iberian pig farm in the Basque Highlands. The family was delightful. The farm was beautiful and we were treated to the many types of pork products produced by the farm. The owners were 13th generation of the family on this land, literally spanning hundreds of years. Amazing.” —Ann Wilkinson

START A TRIP TO SPAIN

Peru: traditional Inca cooking techniques

“In Ollantaytambo on an organic farm, we learned the traditional Inca cooking technique of pachamanca and savored the delicious al fresco lunch while admiring the snow-capped peaks of Mount Veronica. Thank you, Wendy, for a delightful experience!” —Molly O’Neill-Emmi

START A TRIP TO PERU

Ireland: sheep farm, making soda bread…

“We spent a morning at Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, making (and eating) delicious soda bread, along with other delectables. Like all the folks we encountered, Tracey was an absolute delight, and we loved getting to go out to the countryside and spend some quality time with people who were so happy to share their lives with us…. Another absolute highlight of the trip is the Killary Sheep Farm. It’s on an absolutely beautiful fjord, and it’s fascinating to watch the sheepdogs in action and to participate in shearing the wool off the sheep. Tom, a 3rd generation proprietor, is eager to share his place, and it helps keep the lights on for these family businesses…” —Michael Kelberman

START A TRIP TO IRELAND

Sicily: vineyards, fruit orchards, pasta making…

“A visit to Santa Maria La Nave Winery is a must. This area is known for its fertile soils, orchards, and particular grape varietals located on the northernmost flanks of Mt Etna. Vera, our wine expert, explained the recovery project of previously abandoned varietals on the property and the Casa Decima vineyard. The Grecanico Dorato and Albanello grape varietals were new to us and not something that can be found easily in the US. After a tour of the vineyards, we joined Lucia, an amazing cook, and Vera in the Zen building (our name for the structure). You walk in and immediately feel at home. A wall of glass overlooks the vineyards and mountains. Now, we got down to business with a glass of sparkling wine and a pasta-making lesson. Suffice it to say that Lucia did most of the cooking, and Vera paired the wine for a delightful afternoon in a beautiful location.” —Joe Lyle

START A TRIP TO SICILY

Vietnam: rice farm, fishing with locals…

“Another highlight of the trip was a day we spent in Vietnam doing local things in the countryside; we rode water buffalo, went fishing in a small boat with nets, met local rice farmers and learned how they grow their crops. It was such a special day meeting real people and learning about their lifestyle, and it would be something that we would’ve never been able to do on our own…” —Tara Murphy

START A TRIP TO VIETNAM

Panama: coffee plantation

“Our hike ended at a lodge with a restaurant, where we enjoyed lunch and a beautiful view of the Baru Volcano. We were then met by our coffee plantation guide, who did an excellent job of explaining the unique coffee varieties of the area, including the famed Geisha, showing us each stage of the growing and roasting process and then sampling by smell and taste the varieties of coffees made by the Kotowa Coffee Plantation. We have since ordered many pounds of this coffee as Christmas gifts.” —Mary McDonald

START A TRIP TO PANAMA

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

Where to Go in November: The Best Places to Travel

While November can be a dreary time of year in the U.S., the weather in many other parts of the world is positively delightful. It’s also a smart time to travel—between the summer and holiday high seasons—given the current pent-up travel demand to many of these places during their peak seasons. If any of these destinations are on your must-travel-to list within the next year, you’d be wise to plan for November.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Northern Italy

view of Canelli, a town in the Piedmont region of Italy with greernery, old buildings and blue skies

November is truffle season in Piedmont.

In November head to Piedmont for truffle season (the White Truffle Fair in Alba runs the entire month). Try truffle hunting, taste the local Barolo wines, watch artisanal cheese makers, cycle among the vineyards (electric bikes are available!), hike the rolling hills beneath the crisp blue skies…or do it all with your family in a villa for Thanksgiving. This is also harvest time for olives and wine. Learn to cook al fresco in an olive grove, on a goat-cheese farm, or in a vineyard. November is when our editor Billie Cohen took her dream Italian cooking vacation.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Northern Italy. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Northern Italy

Provence, France

the hilltop village of Gordes, Provence, France

Provence and its pretty villages, like Gordes, are incredibly popular so try to visit in shoulder season. Photo: Pixabay

The light in Provence in winter is why so many famous artists moved there, and the sunshine makes al fresco lunches possible well into November. Provencal markets bustle in the fall, and truffle hunting starts in November. Hike amid the glorious autumn landscapes and hilltop villages of the Luberon, and cycle through the wine country around Gigondas and Vacqueyras, where there are few cars and great eateries.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Provence. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Provence

Andalusia, Spain

Skyline in the Old Quarter of Seville, Spain

Skyline in the Old Quarter of Seville, Spain. Photo: Shutterstock

One highlight of this magical part of Spain is the culture—an aspect that can be very hard to experience during the summer high season, when the numbers of tourists and residents are imbalanced. In November, by contrast, most of the visitors are gone, making it much easier to interact with locals (and to enjoy some breathing room in the region’s UNESCO World Heritage sites). The weather is still quite pleasant, with temperatures near 70 degrees during the day.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Spain. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Spain

Portugal

Beautiful nature view on Azores with small villages, tows, green nature fields. Amazing Azores. View of typical Azores village in Sao Miguel island, Azores, Portugal.

Sao Miguel island, Azores, Portugal. Photo: Shutterstock

Temperatures remain in the 60s well into November, when it’s still warm enough for dinner outdoors at the many restaurants that now have significant sidewalk seating; heat lamps aren’t needed till late in the month. Private river boats—which are much better for sightseeing than your typical river cruises—sail the Douro through the end of the month too. And the weather is even more mild on the subtropical islands of Madeira—known for outstanding hiking opportunities—and the Azores, where you can also hike, bike, and off-road around the postcard-perfect lagoons.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Portugal. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.

Start a trip to Portugal

Greece: Crete, Corfu, or Rhodes

Corfu is one of a few Greek islands that stays open and lively through the winter months.

Many Greek islands shut down in late October or early November, but Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes operate year-round, offering traditional cultural and culinary experiences and festivities in the winter months. November is a great time for sheep farms, olive orchards, and the wine harvest.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Greece. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Greece

Sicily

Aquamarine blue waters of sea near Taormina resorts and Etna volcano mount. Giardini-Naxos bay, Ionian sea coast, Taormina, Sicily, Italy.

Hike Sicily’s Mt. Etna in the fall. Photo: Shutterstock

If your goal is to combine culture and outdoor beauty, fall is this island’s best season. Autumn brings the olive, almond, and wine harvests, and sunny, mild weather. Outdoor activities include exploring Sicily’s Greek and Roman ruins, hiking Mt. Etna, and cycling though nature reserves and wine country.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Sicily. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Sicily

St. Barts

Le Guanahani, St. Barts

Le Guanahani, St. Barts. Photo: Le Guanahani

Come November, many resorts, boutiques, and restaurants that closed during the height of hurricane season have reopened, and everything feels fresh and new. The Saint Barth Gourmet Festival also takes place this month, attracting star chefs from France and elsewhere. Plus, hotel and villa rates don’t jump up until mid-December.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to St. Barts

Morocco

Earlier this year Wendy and her family traveled through the #2 country on our list: Morocco. Here they are at the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou.

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco.

The weather is perfect at this time of year: sunny days and crisp, clear evenings that make for great star-gazing in the desert. It’s also ideal for hiking in the Atlas Mountains, as it’s starting to cool down and the peaks are often photogenically snowcapped. Plus, it’s harvest time: You can see saffron being picked, and olives turned to oil, right in front of your eyes.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Morocco. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Morocco

Patagonia: Argentina and Chile

Torres del Paine National Park view of mountains and water

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile. Photo: Luis Felipa, Southwind Adventures

Most of Argentina and Chile are great at this time of year (think Buenos Aires, the Atacama Desert, even Easter Island), but Patagonia is an especially smart move in November because the lodges have a quieter, more relaxed ambiance and there is less traffic on the roads than during the busiest weeks of December and January. November is also the best time to spot Patagonia’s elusive wildlife, such as nandu, guanaco, puma, huemul, and condor, as all of the animals are more active during their breeding time. The region has a reputation for changeable windy weather, but November feels like spring, with snows melting off the high peaks and flowers beginning to bloom. Rates are sometimes also a bit lower this early in the season.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Patagonia, and elsewhere in Chile and Argentina. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Patagonia

The Brazilian Amazon

Aerial view of Anavilhanas National Park Islands, Rio Negro, Brazilian Amazon

Aerial view of Anavilhanas National Park Islands, Rio Negro, Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Shutterstock

River levels are lowest in November, so all of the beaches are out in their full splendor. (People are often shocked by the beauty of the white-sand beaches that form here, making a trip to Brazil’s region of the Amazon unique from the experiences one can have in Ecuador or Peru’s swaths of the same river system.) An ideal trip extends over five days, so it’s easy to fit into a Thanksgiving break. And the area around the Negro River, which is acidic, is not good for mosquito reproduction, so there is little chance of malaria or zika.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Brazil. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to the Amazon

Belize

aerial shot of Belize ocean with sailboat

Explore Belize on the water or in the jungle. Photo: Belize Sailing Vacations

Before Thanksgiving, hotel rates are at their lowest. The days are hot, but the humidity is dropping, and the evenings are cool and breezy. November 19 is Garifuna Settlement Day and is best spent in either Dangriga or Hopkins, where the Garifuna people celebrate—with drumming, dancing, and parades—the arrival of their Afro-indigenous ancestors more than 200 years ago.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Belize. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Belize

Mexico

Candles lighten up for Día de Muertos in Michoacan.

Día de Muertos in Michoacan. Credit: Journey Mexico

Day of the Dead (celebrated on November 1 and 2), is a significant cultural holiday deeply ingrained in tradition, and a time when Mexican families and communities unite to pay tribute to and commemorate their departed loved ones. Celebrations vary across the country, ranging from grand public festivities to more intimate private gatherings. Our WOW Listers can arrange culturally sensitive experiences in Mexico City, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Mexico. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Mexico

London (for Thanksgiving break)

christmas tree by London Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge at Christmas. Photo: London Perfect

November is a great month for museum lovers, as many of the blockbuster exhibitions open in the fall; there’s also the London Jazz Festival, where world-class stars and hot emerging artists share the bill. And the Christmas spirit is already in the air starting in mid-November, with holiday lights on all the shopping streets, a plethora of Christmas markets, high tea at gorgeous hotels, and holiday cheer everywhere. If you can’t wait until then, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks on November 5.
Read reviews of WOW trips to London. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to London

The Galapagos Islands

underwater photo of a sea lion in the Galapagos islands

Galapagos sea lions.

The Galapagos is a magnet for families with kids during summer and other school vacations; if you’re looking for a quieter time, think November (except Thanksgiving week). Blue whales, humpback whales, and whale sharks—the largest fish in the sea, growing up to 40 feet in length and weighing as much as 40,000 pounds—are most likely to be spotted in the Galapagos from June through November.
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Guatemala

A handmade kite at Santiago Sacatepéquez's Festival de Barriletes Gigantes in Guatemala.

A handmade kite at Santiago Sacatepéquez’s Festival de Barriletes Gigantes. Photo: Shutterstock

Every November 1 in Sumpago (about 30 minutes north of Antigua), the Festival de Barriletes Gigantes—Festival of Giant Kites—merges a Catholic celebration with a 3,000-year-old Mayan tradition of communing with spirits of the deceased (one that is less morbid than most Mexican Day of the Dead customs). Today, the handmade kites address social themes and the festival features lots of special dishes sold in restaurants and around the square. There is a sister festival in Santiago Sacatepéquez on the same day, which is a bit harder to get to but draws smaller crowds. November is the finish of the wet season, so plan to visit the festival early in your trip and take advantage of drier weather in the following weeks.
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Nepal

Durbar Square in Patan village Nepal

Patan’s Durbar Square, Nepal. Photo: Shutterstock

November is the perfect time in Nepal, whether you’re a trekker or just want to explore a fascinating culture. And there’s more to tempt the latter crowd than ever before, with roads leading to villages once accessible only on foot. In November, the air is crisp and clear, without the pre-monsoon dust, so the mountain views are best. And festivals abound: Near Everest, Manu Rimdu is an exorcism festival designed to purge evil from the area, ensure a bountiful harvest, and confer blessings on the villagers and all sentient beings with dancing, prayers, and comic relief. Then there is the very important Festival of Lights, or Tihar, honoring the gods, humans, and animals, which falls each year in either November or late October.
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Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Anantara

Much of Thailand is at its very best in November, when the mountains are lush and green from the recently receded monsoon, the mornings are diffused with a subtle mist suspended in the valleys, and the sun is gentler as the seasons ease into cooler weather. The rivers are deep and navigable, and the waterfalls are at optimum volume. All in all, it’s an ideal window to travel, before the crowds and costs rise in December.
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India

Drummers at the Kalapthy Festival in Kerala, India

Drummers at the Kalpathi Festival in Kerala, India. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

November is an ideal time to visit almost all of India—except the Himalayas—thanks to the temperate weather. The just-passed monsoon season has given way to relatively clear skies in Delhi and Mumbai, and there are festivals throughout the country, from the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan to the grand Kalpathi Chariot Festival in Kerala.
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Norway

Northern Lights, Norway

Northern Lights, Grøtfjord, Kvaløya, Norway. Photo: Gaute Bruvik – visitnorway.com

If you’re prepared for some unsettled weather, the benefits of visiting Norway in November include seeing the aurora borealis; trying out glass-blowing, ceramics, or knitting with local artists; and discovering the Norwegian art of “kos,” roughly translated as the practice of gratitude and of consciously appreciating one’s surroundings. During this quieter period locals have more time to share with visitors, now that the busy summer months have passed. There’s also plenty of hiking, kayaking, and even arctic surfing when the weather allows, and whales to be spotted along the country’s coast at this time of year.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Norway here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Australia and/or New Zealand

aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef from an airplane

The Great Barrier Reef, seen from above. Photo: Tourism Whitsundays

Australia and New Zealand were off-limits for so long that now everybody is clamoring to go; airlines are bringing back nonstop flights, making the long journey that much easier. This coming November is one of the few times when there is still availability, and it’s one of the best months for a wide-ranging trip to several different parts of these countries: The water around the Great Barrier Reef is calm, making for good visibility; and the weather is spring-time pleasant in Auckland, Sydney, Kangaroo Island, and the outback; and the peaks on New Zealand’s South Island are still picturesquely snow-capped.
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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why November is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

Arizona: Grand Canyon

Florida: Disney World, Orlando

Hawaii: Maui and Oahu (for whale-watching)

 

South America

Argentina: Mendoza

Colombia: Cartagena and Bogota

 

Europe

England: The Cotswolds

Greece: Athens

Iceland (for Northern Lights)

Sicily

Scotland

Malta

 

Asia

Cambodia: Angkor Wat

China: Beijing

Indonesia: Bali

Myanmar

Thailand: Bangkok

Vietnam (southern)

 

Africa

Madagascar: whale sharks

 

Australia and Pacific

Fiji (for November deals)

 

Cruises

Africa Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

 

 

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Atacama Desert Chile night stars

Where to Go in February: The Best Places to Travel

The depths of winter make for the heights of sightseeing in many destinations that are usually overcrowded; it’s also a prime time for extreme climates on either end of the spectrum, from the desert to Antarctica.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Belize

Tobacco Caye - Relaxing at Cabin or bungalow on small tropical island at Barrier Reef with paradise beach, Caribbean Sea, Belize, Central America

Picture yourself enjoying this overwater bungalow on Tobacco Caye, off the coast of Belize. Photo: Shutterstock

Nonstop flights to Belize take off from several U.S. cities that are only about three hours away. Once you’re there you can explore world-class coral reefs, visit uncrowded Mayan ruins, learn to scuba dive (as Wendy’s son did), fish for 100-pound tarpon (which kept her husband busy), and laze beside sparkling Caribbean waters—or you can charter your own private yacht, enjoying fabulous snorkeling, sunbathing, and kayaking.
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Chile and Argentina

Atacama Desert Chile night stars

Chile’s Atacama Desert is a stargazer’s paradise.

It’s summertime in the Southern Hemisphere: That means ideal weather just about everywhere in Chile and Argentina, from Chile’s Lakes District to Mendoza’s wine region to Patagonia. (But be warned: Temperatures in Buenos Aires can reach the high 90s.) If you’re headed to the Atacama Desert, time your trip for early in the month, when the lack of moonlight makes the night skies even more impressive than usual.
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Mexico

Monarch butterflies, Michoacán, Mexico

Monarch butterflies are in full display in Michoacán in February. Photo: Scott Clark/Flickr

February is the best time to see the monarch butterfly migration in the Oyamel forests of Michoacan. After a 3,000-mile journey from the U.S. and Canada, millions of butterflies start to arrive at their wintering grounds in mid-November. They stay until late March, but February is ideal because the butterflies flutter more in the sun as temperatures rise.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Mexico. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Nicaragua

floating dock in Lake Nicaragua of Jicaro Island eco lodge

Enjoy the tranquility of Jicaro Island, a private-island resort on Lake Nicaragua. Photo: Jicaro Island

February is the height of Nicaragua’s dry season, and the last month before temperatures get uncomfortably hot. The best-quality properties are small and intimate: comfy colonial restorations in cities like León and Granada, and ecolodges along the San Juan River, on an island in Lake Nicaragua, and on the Caribbean and southern Pacific coasts. Despite its reputation from decades past, Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in the Americas, with a very low crime rate. It’s not a democracy, but the only danger is for those in active political opposition to the government.
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Skiing in the Alps

Ski resort in the Alps in a sunny day during winter.

February is the ideal timing for a ski trip to Europe. Photo: Shutterstock

February is the sweet spot for European skiing: It’s late enough in the season that you can count on fabulous, well-manicured snow, and the longer days give you more time on the slopes (or strolling a charming Alpine village nearby). Whether your desired homebase is a ski-in/ski-out hotel or a staffed chalet with room for the whole family, we can connect you to the right expert.
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Costa Rica

Quetzal, Costa Rica. Photo: William Grandados R. Photography

February is the start of the quetzal’s mating season—and a great time to spot them—in Costa Rica’s cloud forests. Photo: William Grandados R. Photography

February falls in the middle of Costa Rica’s dry season. Fill your days with hikes through the jungle, birdwatching in the cloud forest, visits to small sugar-cane and coffee plantations—and of course, plenty of time relaxing along the country’s storied coastlines.
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Panama

The popular Red frog beach on Basimentos Island, Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Bastimentos Island is a 10-minute boat ride from the busier Bocas del Toro, off Panama’s coastline. Photo: Shutterstock

January and February see the best weather of the year in Panama, with less humidity and a cool breeze in the mornings and afternoons. The sun goes down a bit earlier, but the sunsets are amazing.
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Lake Titicaca, Peru

dancer in traditional Andean dress at the Fiesta de la Candelaria Lake Titicaca Peru

The Fiesta de la Candelaria is one of Peru’s largest festivals.

Every February, a mix of Catholicism and Andean traditions are brought together in the Fiesta de la Candelaria, which takes place in Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This is one of the largest festivals in the country, celebrated by dancers who come from all over Peru and Bolivia for several days of performances, processions, and competitions.
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Iceland

northern lights over snowy flat plateau and lake in iceland

Northern Lights. Photo: kamilgrygo/Pixabay

February is one of the darkest months of the year in Iceland, bettering your chances of seeing the spectacular display of the northern lights. It’s also when the Winter Lights Festival takes place, with beautiful art installations and cultural events happening all around Reykjavik. Winters can be harsh and unpredictable, and some activities will be unavailable, but the dramatic snowy scenery—not to mention the extra time that locals have available for visitors—can make this a particularly satisfying month to visit and enjoy glacier hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and heli-skiing, topped off with a dip in a natural hot spring (which you may well have to yourself at this time of year) to rest your weary muscles.
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Antarctica Cruises

Zodiac cruise through the ice, Antarctica. Photo: Abby Suplizio

Zodiac cruise through the ice, Antarctica. Photo: Abby Suplizio

By February the sea ice has melted, allowing for longer voyages and prime whale-watching when the humpbacks surface and feed. These shorter autumn days also allow glimpses of the Aurora Australis, or southern lights. What’s more, the icebergs have been beautifully sculpted by summer winds—reflecting the sun’s rays like giant crystal chandeliers—and special offers often come available for these late-season departures.
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Southern Thailand

boats on turquoise water of Ko Phi Phi Le with limestone cliffs coming out of the water in Thailand

Longtail boats off Ko Phi Phi Le, Thailand. Photo: Juan_Luis Pixabay

Southern Thailand is ideal in February, when the oceans are still relatively calm after the crowded peak season, and sunny skies and cooler temperatures prevail before the heat returns in April.
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Cambodia

Angkor Wat at sunrise

These monks have Angkor Wat to themselves at sunrise. Photo: Timothy Baker

In early February, the worst of the hot and steamy weather has not yet arrived—but the huge crowds that descend on Angkor Wat in January have already departed (just make sure to arrive after February 10 in 2024, to avoid the crowds that Chinese New Year brings).
Read reviews of WOW trips to Cambodia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Botswana

Elephants tussle in Botswana. Photo: Wilderness Safaris/Caroline Culbert

Elephants tussle in Botswana. Photo: Wilderness Safaris/Caroline Culbert

Prices are as much as 40 percent cheaper in February than during peak season, and the vegetation is lush and green from the rains. The periodic thunderstorms that roll through often provide beautiful rainbows, which form a great backdrop for your photos. Plus, many of the wildlife have babies—zebra, wildebeest, antelope—and the predators tend to be more prolific with the greater availability of prey. This is also a time when migratory birds in full, exquisitely colored breeding plumage are in residence.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Botswana. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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United Arab Emirates and Oman

Abu Dhabi Qasr al Sarab camel caravan

Qasr al Sarab camel caravan, Abu Dhabi. Photo: Timothy Baker

February is one of the cooler months of the year for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. This makes it a great time to camp out in Oman’s Empty Quarter, where the sand dunes seem endless; visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi (a good portion of which is outside); or stroll among Dubai’s towering skyscrapers.
Read reviews of WOW trips to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why February is a good time to go.

North America

British Columbia: snow sports & northern lights

Jackson Hole & the Grand Tetons: skiing

Oahu: whale-watching

The Rocky Mountains: skiing (first half of the month)

 

South America

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro and Trancoso

Colombia: Cartagena and Bogota

Galapagos Islands: swimming and snorkeling

 

Europe

Athens

Norway: winter activities

Paris: winter sales

Switzerland: skiing and winter fun

Venice: Carnevale

 

Asia

Asia Cruises

China: Yunnan Province

India: Delhi, Agra & the Taj Mahal and Mumbai

Myanmar

Nepal’s lower elevations

Seychelles

Sri Lanka

Vietnam: central coast

 

Africa and Middle East

Africa Cruises

Cape Town and Winelands, South Africa

 

Australia and Pacific

New Zealand: Bay of Islands and Queenstown

Sydney

 

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beach and rocks at Anse Source d'Argent beach Seychelles

Where to Go in August: The Best Places to Travel

A lot of people ask us where to go in August: It’s one of the few times of year when they can take a week or two off from work, yet it’s also when so many places are hot, crowded, filled with tourists, devoid of locals, and priced at their most expensive. If all you need is an easy beach escape with the family, consider the southeastern United States: Southeast kids are back in school by mid-August, which means lower rates at lovely, breezy, kid-friendly coastal resorts in places like Virginia’s Northern Neck and St. Simon’s and Sea Island, Georgia. If you’re itching for something more adventurous, though, consider the following options.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Newfoundland and the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland scenery

This is typical Newfoundland scenery. Photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Ever since Wendy went there one August several years ago, she’s been urging other East Coasters to flee to Newfoundland in late summer, as an antidote to the crowds, heat, and beach traffic that choke the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. You get a foreign island with dramatic sweeping landscapes, lighthouses and fishing villages galore, roads to yourself (well, you plus a few moose), a distinct local culture, and incredibly friendly people, all without having to schlep too far from home. (You can fly there via Toronto or Halifax from many U.S. hubs.) A must on any Newfoundland itinerary is the Fogo Island Inn, a fascinating five-star philanthropic experiment that Wendy says has the most soul of any hotel she’s ever seen. Read why Wendy loved it there.  
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British Columbia, Western Canada

Heli-hiking at Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park

Heli-hiking at Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park, British Columbia. Photo: Hello BC

August days are usually clear and sunny (ideal for seaplane and helicopter flights). It’s prime time for kayaking, hiking, fishing, and river rafting, not to mention bear- and whale-watching. August is when Wendy chose to take her family to Whistler (see We Had the Best Family Trip in Whistler and We Never Put on Skis and I Can’t Believe We Did This: Mountain Climbing in Whistler), as well as to the Discovery Islands (see My Extreme Week in Canada and 6 Otherworldly Escapes That Feel More Remote Than They Are).
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Iceland

Brook and family hike the path from Hellnar to Arnarstapi on Iceland’s Snæfellsness Peninsula.

Hiking on Iceland’s Snæfellsness Peninsula. Credit: Ryan Damm

Iceland’s high season starts to taper off in the second half of the month, meaning that you’ll find fewer crowds, more hotel availability, and somewhat better prices—but the weather is still pleasant for exploring the country’s awesome landscapes.
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London

A rib ride on the Thames River is a fun way to see waterfront sights such as the London Eye.

A rib ride on the Thames River is a fun way to see waterfront sights such as the London Eye.

England’s capital is a smart choice in August: It’s a short flight (relatively speaking), it’s not too hot or crowded, and London hotels that typically cater to business travelers have reduced rates (and many of the city’s museums are free). London in August is such a smart move that that’s when Wendy took her own family there—and you can read what each of her young sons had to say about it in Do’s and Don’ts For Your Trip To London.
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Austria

Wachau Austria view of village and green field

Summer in Austria is all about beautiful weather, long days, and festivals. Photo: Austria Tourism Board

The days are relatively long, the weather is great, and there are music festivals—especially opera—all over the country. Salzburg’s six-week classical music festival is one of the biggest in Europe.
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Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia

aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef from an airplane

The Great Barrier Reef, seen from above. Photo: Tourism Whitsundays

August brings clear blue skies, good visibility for divers and snorkelers, and calm seas (the wind usually dies down at the end of July). It’s also a great time to view wildlife: dwarf minke whales visiting the northern reefs, manta rays off Lady Elliott Island in the region’s southern zone, and humpback whales—including Migaloo, the world’s only known all-white humpback—on their annual migration to Antarctica.
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Alaska Small-Ship Expedition Cruises

Panoramic view of Glacier Bay national Park. John Hopkins Glacier with Mount Orville and Mount Wilbur in the background. Alaska

John Hopkins Glacier (with Mount Orville and Mount Wilbur in the background) in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Photo: Shutterstock

August is especially inviting for a small-ship expedition cruise to Alaska, as daylight remains long, wildlife is plentiful, and the glaciers are uniquely illuminated by the late summer sun. Stay up late at this time of year and you may even be treated to the gorgeous green glow of the northern lights.
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Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

In August you’ll find warm days and cool nights, wildflowers in bloom, and hiking trails mostly free of snow. Do keep in mind that this is the busiest time in Yellowstone, with prices to match, and skies may be hazy from wildfires. Things are noticeably quieter during the last week of the month, since families have headed home and retirees wait until after Labor Day to visit.
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Washington State: The San Juan Islands

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, Haro Straight, San Juan Islands, Washington

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, Haro Straight, San Juan Islands, Washington. Photo: Shutterstock

August brings the clearest skies to the San Juans, making it one of the most popular months to visit the region.
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Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons

kayaking in jackson lake grand teton national park

Grand Teton National Park is full of outdoor activities in the summer, including kayaking on Jackson Lake. Photo: Billie Cohen

July and August bring the best weather of the summer, with warm days and cool nights; wildflowers are blooming, hiking trails are usually free of snow, and rivers should be clear of spring runoff, making for perfect fly-fishing conditions. All other summer activities, such as biking, rock climbing, rafting, and horseback riding, are easily available. (Skies may be hazy from area wildfires in August.)
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Kenya Safari: The Great Migration

zebras drinking from a stream in the great migration of animals in Kenya

August and September are the best times to see the annual migration, in which more than a million animals pass through Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. Photo: Shutterstock

The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than two million wildebeest and zebra on the move and predators lurking nearby—is July through September, and the best place to be is in the Masai Mara National Reserve. There are more than 15 different river crossings in the Masai Mara (bottlenecks along the migration route where the animals must avoid hungry crocodiles and lions), with great names like Smelly Crossing, Rekero Crossing, Football Crossing, Helicopter Crossing, and Double Crossing. You need to be patient, and in the right location at the right time of day. To increase your odds, consider staying at two camps in different locations.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Kenya here, here, and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Costa Rica

Monteverde Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica. Photo: Shutterstock

Mid-June through midAugust is the middle of the rainy season, but prices are relatively low, everything is lush and green, and weather patterns are predictable: You get beautiful sunny mornings for adventure activities, and the strong showers in the afternoon give you time to rest while listening to the tropical rain that cools things off for the evening.
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The Seychelles

beach and rocks at Anse Source d'Argent beach Seychelles

Chez Batista Villas, Seychelles. Image courtesy of Torsten Dickmann – STB

August is one of the sunniest months in the Seychelles. Rain can occur at any time of the year, but storms are typically short and isolated. Bear in mind that seas can be a little rougher from May to September.
Read reviews of WOW trips to the Seychelles. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Rwanda and Uganda: Gorilla Trekking

gorilla group in the jungle, Uganda

The rewards of gorilla trekking in Uganda. Photo: EXPLORE Inc.

The best time for tracking the gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda is June through September, when it’s cool and there is less precipitation (but remember, this is still the rainforest, and storms can hit any day).
Read reviews of WOW trips to Rwanda and Uganda here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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New Zealand

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. Photo: Rob-Suisted/New Zealand Tourism

Summer skiing, anyone? August is the top month for skiing in New Zealand: You’ll get the most reliable heli-skiing conditions in August—and combining that with a tropical island like Fiji can be fun.
Read reviews of WOW trips to New Zealand. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Cambodia and Angkor Wat

silhouette Sunrise Fisherman fishing on the boat at Tonle Sap lake Cambodia

Tonle Sap during sunrise, Cambodia. Photo: Shutterstock

Late May through early September is Cambodia’s green season. It rains two days out of three, but the mornings are almost always sunny and bright, with rain clouds gathering toward the late afternoon; get out of bed early to explore when Cambodians are most active ahead of the midday heat, and you’ll enjoy far fewer crowds and vibrantly green rice paddies. Plus, the money you save on shoulder-season hotel rates you can spend on massages, world-class golf, and fine food.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Cambodia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why August is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

Washington: Seattle

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Trancoso, and the Amazon

Colombia: Bogota

Ecuador: Quito and the Andes

Peru

Europe

European Canal Barges

Norway

Scotland

Switzerland: hiking in the Alps

Asia and Pacific

Fiji

French Polynesia: Tahiti

India: Agra and Ladakh

Mongolia: camel trekking

Nepal: Upper Mustang

Papua New Guinea: trekking

Africa

Botswana

Madagascar

Zambia

Zimbabwe (second half of the month)

 


 

 

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip. 

Beautiful Trancoso beach near Porto Seguro in state of Bahia, Brazil

Where to Go in July: The Best Places to Travel

Even in the peak summer travel month of July, there are still plenty of places in the world where you can escape the heat, crowds, and beach-bound traffic jams. Here are ideas for you, gathered from our Insider’s Guides to destinations worldwide.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Newfoundland and the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada

Breaching humpback whale, Newfoundland

July is a prime month for spotting humpback whales in Newfoundland. Photo: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Ever since Wendy visited one summer several years ago, she’s been urging other East Coasters to flee to Newfoundland in summer, as an antidote to the crowds, heat, and beach traffic that choke the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. You get a foreign island with dramatic sweeping landscapes, lighthouses and fishing villages galore, roads to yourself (well, you plus a few moose), a distinct local culture, and incredibly friendly people, all without having to schlep too far from home. (You can fly there via Toronto or Halifax from many U.S. hubs.) A must on any Newfoundland itinerary is the Fogo Island Inn, a fascinating five-star philanthropic experiment that Wendy says has the most soul of any hotel she’s ever seen. Read why Wendy loved it there.  
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British Columbia, Western Canada

bear looking at camera on Nakina River in British Columbia canada

Summer is a good time for bear-viewing—just hopefully not this close. Photo: Entree Canada

The days are usually clear and sunny (ideal for seaplane and helicopter flights) and the seasonal wilderness lodges, which typically open in mid-May, have been operating long enough to work out any kinks. The summer months are also prime time for kayaking, hiking, fishing, and river rafting, not to mention bear- and whale-watching.
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Norway

Reine, Lofoten, Norway. The village of Reine under a sunny, blue sky, with the typical rorbu houses. View from the top

The village of Reine in Lofoten, Norway. Photo: Shutterstock

July brings Norway’s best weather. The days are endless, with almost no night, the nature is at its peak, the waterfalls are still large, and you still have some snowcapped mountains in the fjord area.
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Bora Bora, Tahiti, and French Polynesia

Fakarava island in french polynesia with canoe on turquoise blue water

Fakarava atoll, French Polynesia. Photo: Julius Silver/Pixabay

The “Heiva” festival falls during July, with local contests on outer islands early in the month and a culmination of ceremonies in Papeete, Tahiti around the 20th. July also falls during the “Trade Wind” season, when the breezes keep temperatures in the low 80s and the humidity is down as well. It still rains, but in 30- to 40-minute bursts, and then the sun comes out again (a cycle that can repeat a few times through each afternoon and evening). The lagoons can be a bit choppy, but are still great for kite surfing, catamarans, or outrigger canoes with a sail and, of course, sailing.
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Iceland

green hills and waterfalls by Kirkjufell mountain,Iceland

Kirkjufell mountain, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock

In July Iceland sees about 20 hours of daylight, so you can pack your trip full of the outdoor pursuits that the country is famous for. It’s also when the weather is mildest—which here means average temperatures in the mid-50s—and the roads, hiking trails, and lava caves aren’t blocked by snow.
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Belize

A row of thatched palapas on golden sand on the tiny island of Rendezvous Caye in the Belize Barrier Reef, off the coast of Belize, Central America

Rendezvous Caye on Belize’s barrier reef. Photo: Shutterstock

While July technically falls during the country’s rainy season, the showers are sporadic and typically not a daily occurrence. Hotel rates are lower at this time of year, and it’s also the beginning of lobster season—so you can fish by day and enjoy the freshest possible crustaceans for dinner that very evening. Wendy and her family have enjoyed two idyllic trips to Belize in July/early August, including one when her son got SCUBA-certified right on the dock of their boutique resort.
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Riviera Maya, Mexico

View from the beach in a quiet day at the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico.

A quiet day at the Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico. Credit: Journey Mexico

July is technically the rainy season in the Riviera Maya—but it often brings a pause from the spikes in precipitation that come in June and from August through November. Between the sporadic showers, you can enjoy fewer crowds at the archaeological sites, lush tropical foliage that has been revived by the summer rains, and lower rates at the region’s hotels. Plus, July presents the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks that congregate off the cost of Cancun at this time of year.
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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef aerial view

Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock

July is the perfect time for whale-watching on the Great Barrier Reef: You can go swimming or snorkeling with dwarf minke whales, and cruise alongside humpbacks on their annual migration. This being the southern-hemisphere winter, both the air and water temperatures are in the 70s, with plenty of sun and almost no rain.
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Trancoso, Brazil

Beautiful Trancoso beach near Porto Seguro in state of Bahia, Brazil

A Trancoso beach near Porto Seguro in the state of Bahia, Brazil. Photo: Shutterstock

If you are after a taste of the international party scene that put Trancoso on the map, you need to go from January through March. But if you are after peace and quiet, July is pure bliss: Temperatures are still in the high 70s to 80s, and you will often have mile upon mile of palm-tree-backed beaches all to yourself.
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Switzerland

Couple at hiking in the area of Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the background.

Hiking in Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the distance. Photo: Switzerland Tourism/Ivo Scholz

July brings the best conditions for hiking in the Alps. In the Appenzell, you can chat with farmers in their fields; near Interlaken, ride the gondola to the summit of the Jungfrau. After a few days on the trails, rest your legs and soak up the Italian-influenced culture on the shores of Lake Maggiore.
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Alaska

Guests explore on Zodiac in Southeast Alaska, Tracy Arm, calving ice

Guests spot calving ice while exploring in Southeast Alaska. Photo: Lindblad Expeditions/Michael S. Nolan

Until mid-July the mountains are still covered in snow, the flowers are emerging, and the animals have just given birth, so you might see moose out with their calves, as well as just-born fur-seal pups. Plus, the locals are happy that winter is over and that visitors have returned. Temperatures are typically in the mid-60s during the days (which are the longest days of the year) and you’re likely to see active, calving glaciers. All in all, it’s a great time to see the 49th state via a land-based stay, a cruise ship, or a smaller expedition-style vessel.
Read reviews of WOW land trips to Alaska here, and WOW cruises of Alaska here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Wildflowers blooming in Grand Teton National Park

Wildflowers blooming in Grand Teton National Park.

You’ll find warm days and cool nights, wildflowers in bloom, and hiking trails mostly free of snow. In the Tetons, rivers should be clear of spring runoff, making for perfect fly-fishing conditions. And it’s prime time for a huge variety of activities—biking, rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding. Summer can be busy, but there are creative ways to beat the crowds in national parks.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo: NPS/Tim Rains

High up on the Canadian border, Glacier has a very short season: The entire Going-to-the-Sun Road (the park’s star attraction, cut into an immense, craggy cliff with amazing vistas) is only open for a few months, typically from late June to October. In July, there will still be snow, but the weather is pleasant. These days, sadly, you’ll find only a few dozen glaciers left from the 150 that were here back in 1850. There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails to choose from, some of which skirt waterfalls and glacial lakes.

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Kenya and Tanzania Safaris

great migration, wildebeest, mara river, masai mara Kenya

Wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the Great Migration, Masai Mara, Kenya. Photo: Hippo Creek Safaris

The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than two million wildebeest and zebra on the move and predators lurking nearby—is the dry season, since the animals come out looking for water sources. The best place to be is in the Masai Mara National Reserve: There are more than 15 different river crossings—bottlenecks along the migration route where the animals must avoid hungry crocodiles and lions.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Kenya and Tanzania here, here, and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Fiordland Lake, helicopter

See Fiordland Lake by helicopter. Photo: Jean-Michel Jefferson

In the southern-hemisphere winter, Queenstown is a snow-capped beauty, and there are not many people around; it is cold but heavenly, and a great time for snowshoeing and touring Fiordland by helicopter.
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The Arctic

Polar Bear, cubs, Arctic

Summer in the Arctic means great photo opportunities. Photo: Ashton Palmer

The early summer months not only bring reasonably warm weather but also have the advantage of the midnight sun, when the near 24-hour daylight conditions make for superb photo opportunities.
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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why July is a good time to go.

 

North America and Caribbean

Caribbean Islands: off-peak rates

Seattle

St. Barts: off-peak rates

 

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazil: Rio, Pantanal Wetlands, and the southern Amazon region

Colombia: Bogota

Costa Rica: green-season deals

Ecuador: Galapagos Islands and Quito

Peru

 

Europe

Austria

England: London

European Canal Barge Cruises

Malta

Scotland

Sicily: first half of the month

Turkey: Istanbul and Aegean Coast

 

Asia and Pacific

Cambodia: green season

China: Yunnan Province

Fiji

India: Agra and Ladakh

Nepal: Upper Mustang region

Papua New Guinea

Seychelles

 

Africa

Botswana

Madagascar

Rwanda

South Africa: Cape Town

 

 

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Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Where to Go in October: The Best Places to Travel

Pleasant temperatures, fewer tourists, and shoulder-season deals make October a great time to travel to a large swath of the globe. Since you can’t go everywhere, we’ve pinpointed a few of the optimal spots. From vineyard-hopping in France to whale-shark-spotting in the Seychelles, the following destinations and experiences belong on your October travel list.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Italy: From the Cinque Terre to Puglia

Castello di Grinzane and village in Piedmont - one of the most famous wine regions of Italy

Castello di Grinzane and village in Piedmont – one of the most famous wine regions of Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

From the northern coastline to the boot of the heel—and just about everywhere in between—Italy is gorgeous in October. The weather is pleasant, hotels aren’t charging their peak-season rates, and you’ll enjoy a more authentic experience when the people dining beside you at the trattorias are locals, not tourists. On the Amalfi Coast, October is when the throngs of cruise-ship passengers have thinned, prices have dropped (a little), there’s plenty of sun, and the sea is still warm enough for swimming. In Tuscany, festivals for the olive and grape harvests abound, and the fall foliage is stunning. In Rome, you don’t need to wait in line for an outside table in the city’s iconic piazze.
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Burgundy, France

Burgundy's rolling hillsides

Burgundy’s rolling hillsides. Photo: Trufflepig

The chaos of harvest is over and the grapes are in—which means there’s still lots of activity in the wineries, since the wines are fermenting and the vinification is in full throe, but the winemakers themselves have a little more time to spend with visitors. It’s also the prettiest time: The leaves on the vines turn yellow and gold, and you realize why they call it the Côte d’Or (the golden slopes). And beyond the wines, it’s the most interesting time for seasonal produce: Mushrooms and squashes complement wild game on the menus of the local restaurants.
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Madrid, Spain

Old cozy street in Madrid, Spain. Architecture and landmark of Madrid, postcard of Madrid

Cultural events pick up in fall in Madrid. Photo: Shutterstock

In September and October, the blistering summer heat abates and cultural events pick up, with festivals, theater shows, and concerts. It’s also much easier to get a room at one of the new luxury hotels that has opened in the city in recent years, from the Four Seasons to the Rosewood to the Edition.
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Austria’s Danube Valley

The Wachau Valley, Austria

The Wachau Valley, Austria. Photo: Austrian Tourist Board

October is at the end of peak season, there’s gorgeous fall scenery, and it’s harvest time in the vineyards, which means that the Heuriger (wine taverns) are especially fun and lively and you’ll probably get to try new wines. More important, especially for wine buffs, many of the smaller (and better) Heurigers aren’t open year-round, but they’re all open in October.
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Sicily and Malta

Mt. Etna, Sicily.

Mt. Etna, Sicily. Photo: Pixabay

October is one of the most colorful and flavorful months in Sicily and Malta. It is the season of the harvest in Sicily, which means fresh olives, almonds, and chestnuts—not to mention wild mushrooms, prickly pears, and carob—complement the island’s always-bountiful variety of culinary offerings. In nearby Malta, it is still warm enough for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, or a romantic overnight sail to the island of Gozo with nobody else around. Throughout the region, the air and sea temperatures are still warm and inviting, flights and accommodations are less expensive than during the summer, and the fewer tourists mean you get a more intimate experience with the local people.
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Croatia

aerial view of Hvar island and surrounding sea Croatia

On Hvar, it’s still swimsuit season but the party crowds have gone. Photo: Exeter International

Visit Croatia in the first half of October and you’ll find good weather, fewer tourists, and lower hotel prices than during peak season.
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Greece

sunset over sailboats Naxos Town Greece

Boats off the island of Naxos. Photo: Billie Cohen

Smart travelers will let the summer crowds die down, then go to Greece in the fall. As with Croatia, at that time of year you’ll find pleasant temperatures, quieter streets, and lower prices.
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Turkey

rainbow umbrellas hover over a street of shops and restaurants in Istanbul turkey

Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Tim Baker

The fall shoulder season is a sweet spot for Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia are sunny and mild, while on the Aegean Coast, it’s warm but not sweltering, and the sea is calm.
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Utah’s National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Photo: Mark Campbell

October is one of the best months to explore Utah’s stunning national parks: The temperatures are generally moderate and the crowds thin. An insider can show you the parks on foot, by vehicle, and even from a helicopter.
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Big Island, Hawaii

Wai'pio Valley Lookout, Hawaii

Wai’pio Valley Lookout, Big Island, Hawaii.

October is the choicest month for the Big Island, as the weather is driest—with daytime temperatures hovering around 85 degrees—and families aren’t traveling, so prices are lower. (The only thing it’s not an ideal time for is surfing.)
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Olympic National Park, Washington

A beautiful sunset on the ocean among the rocks, Cape flattery trail , Olympic Peninsula, Washington state

Sun on the ocean among the rocks, Cape flattery trail, Olympic Peninsula, Washington state. Photo: Shutterstock

In October, the weather is usually pleasant across all three of the park’s environments: the Olympic Mountains, the temperate Hoh Rain Forest, and the rugged Pacific coastline. There may be snow at the high elevations and some rain lower down, but the waterfalls will be flowing, and the area is very lush. Sunsets also tend to be spectacular at this time of year.
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Japan

Kyoto, Japan gardens at Heian Shrine in the spring season. - Image

Cherry blossoms bloom around Heian Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Photo: Shutterstock

Autumn in Kyoto brings cooler air and bright red maples (which last into November), magnificent to behold alongside Zen gardens and royal villas.
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Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Hindu temple on Bratan lake landscape, one of famous tourist attraction in Bali, Indonesia - Image

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Hindu temple on Bratan Lake, Bali. Photo: Shutterstock

While October falls during the rainy season, showers are usually limited to a few hours in the afternoon or overnight. It’s also less busy than the high season, making hotel rates more attractive.
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Northern Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The view from Anantara Golden Triangle Resort in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photo: Anantara

Northern Thailand is at its best at the end of the green season: From mid-October to mid-December, the rains have diminished but the waterfalls and rivers are full, and the crowds and higher prices of the late-December to mid-January peak season have yet to arrive. The mountains are lush and green, and morning mists hanging in the valleys send shivers up your spine. (Bangkok is a year-round destination, and short bursts of rain can easily be dodged in the city.)
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Northern Chile and Argentina

the red sand of Chile's Atacama desert with tall mountains in the distance

The Atacama Desert of Chile has an otherwordly and beautiful landscape. Photo: Awasi

While both the Atacama Desert in Chile and the region around Salta, Argentina, are year-round destinations, October and November see fewer visitors than other times of year—leaving your vistas of these wide-open landscapes largely free of other travelers. (These are also excellent months to hop a flight to Easter Island, when the place is nearly empty and the weather ideal.)
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China

Aman Summer Palace, Beijing.

China is huge, of course, and has a wide array of weather patterns, depending on location and elevation. But for a classic China itinerary, October is hard to beat: Skies are blue in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an, and temperatures are so agreeable you won’t need heat or air-conditioning.
Read reviews of WOW trips to China. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Oman

Dhow boat Cruise in Arabian Peninsula, boat on blue water with desert mountains in background

A dhow cruise on the Arabian Peninsula in Oman. Photo: Shutterstock

From mid-September through October, Oman’s weather is perfect: It’s not too hot in the desert and not too chilly in the mountains.
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Mongolia

An eagle hunter on horseback in Mongolia holding an eagle

An eagle hunter in Mongolia. Photo: Chris Rainier/Nomadic Expeditions

October is when you can attend the one-of-a-kind Golden Eagle Festival—a colorful celebration of a centuries-old Kazakh hunting tradition in the Altai Mountains. When the festival was founded in 1999, only 40 families still hunted with eagles; today more than 400 do so, and many locals rely on the income they earn during the event. Our Trusted Travel Expert can even arrange for you to have dinner with the competitors.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Mongolia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Vietnam

Wonderful view of the East Gate (Hien Nhon Gate) to the Citadel and a moat surrounding the Imperial City with the Purple Forbidden City in Hue, Vietnam. Hue is a popular tourist destination of Asia.

View of the East Gate (Hien Nhon Gate) to the Citadel and a moat surrounding the Imperial City with the Purple Forbidden City in Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Shutterstock

Since the monsoons hit northern, central, and southern Vietnam at different times, weather across Vietnam varies widely. If your goal is to travel throughout the country, the driest months to visit are October and March. Fall is when you’ll find the best weather conditions in Ho Chi Minh City and the south.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Vietnam. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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The Seychelles

Maia Luxury Resort, Anse Louis Beach, Seychelles

October brings a mix of good weather and value. Photo: Maia Luxury Resort/Lindsey Wallace

October represents a nice balance of great weather (not too hot and little to no rain) and great value (since many of the resorts still have low-season rates). It’s also the best month for snorkeling and diving with whale sharks.
Read reviews of WOW trips to the Seychelles. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why October is a good time to go.

North America

California Coast

Hawaii: Maui

Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons National Park (first half of the month)

Mexico City (second half of the month)

Puerto Vallarta (second half of the month)

Riviera Maya (second half of the month)

Yellowstone National Park (first half of the month)

 

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazilian Amazon

Buenos Aires

Colombia: Bogotá

Costa Rica: fishing, wildlife and turtle hatching

Patagonia (second half of the month)

Peru

 

Europe

Algarve

Andalusia

Athens

Canal Barge Cruises

Cotswolds

Czech Republic

Hungary

Killarney and County Kerry

London

Paris

Portugal

Romania (first half of the month)

Scotland

 

Asia

Agra

Bhutan

China: Yunnan Province

Delhi

Laos

Mumbai

Nepal

Trekking in the Himalayas

 

Africa and Middle East

Botswana

Cape Town and the Winelands

Madagascar

Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains

 

Australia and Pacific

Fiji

French Polynesia (first half of the month)

Great Barrier Reef

Papua New Guinea: trekking

Queenstown hiking and cycling

 

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Wild caribbean beach of Manzanillo at Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Where to Go in January: The Best Places to Travel

Ring in the New Year at home, then get on a plane: Though prices are high through New Year’s, there are deals to be found starting later that first week in January. Tropical and Southern Hemisphere destinations work especially well for those needing a dose of sunshine.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

British Columbia

two people watching the northern lights in british columbia canada

You’re likely to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights if you visit British Columbia in January. Photo: Cyndie Martinez

January and February have the most reliable snowfall, making it ideal for not just skiing, but also ice-fishing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in Western Canada. You also have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Those looking for an extra dose of adventure can even mush their own dogsled team from lodge to lodge—led by an expert guide, of course.
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Costa Rica

Monteverde Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica. Photo: Shutterstock

January is one of the nicest times of the year weatherwise for a winter escape, right in the middle of the Costa Rican dry season. It is often the only time in the high season that you can plan a last-minute trip and still have your first choice of the top properties.
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Belize

Goff’s Caye Island, Belize.

Nonstop flights to Belize take off from several U.S. cities that are only about three hours away. Once you’re there you can explore world-class coral reefs, visit uncrowded Mayan ruins, learn to scuba dive (as Wendy’s son did), fish for 100-pound tarpon (which kept her husband busy), and laze beside sparkling Caribbean waters—or you can charter your own private yacht, enjoying fabulous snorkeling, sunbathing, kayaking, and plenty of distance from everyone except your captain and first mate.
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Mexico’s Interior

Guanajuato's historic center is full of colonial-era mansions and plazas.

Guanajuato’s historic center is full of colonial-era mansions and plazas. Credit: Journey Mexico

Mexico is much more than a one-dimensional beach destination. Sure, fabulous oceanfront resorts and sumptuous private villas abound on its long coastlines. But the country is also home to charming colonial towns such as Guanajuato, Morelia, and Oaxaca, captivating pre-Columbian ruins (especially in Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas), and a vibrant scene in Mexico City—and in January, these destinations have ideal temperatures and little rain.
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U.S. National Parks

snowy scene of hot spring steaming in winter in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park in winter. Photo: tpsdave/Pixabay

From snowshoeing in Yellowstone to hiking in Joshua Tree, adventures abound in our national parks—even in the middle of winter. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the Grand Canyon with a magical dusting of snow, or have a view of Yosemite Falls all to yourself.
Read reviews of WOW trips to U.S. national parks. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Argentina

vineyards with snow-capped mountains in background Mendoza Argentina

Mendoza, Argentina. Photo: Shutterstock

January is prime season for hiking in Patagonia, which gets just a bit quieter after the holiday rush. Meanwhile, at the foothills of the Andes, the grapevines in Mendoza sit heavy with ripening fruit. Temperatures hit the 90s in Buenos Aires, so the locals hit the beach—leaving the city easy to navigate, with so little traffic.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Argentina. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Italy’s Cities

Florence, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

Florence, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Rome, Florence, and Milan in January. Temperatures will typically be in the high 40s and 50s during the day, but plan on bundling up to fit in with the locals. Perhaps a new pair of leather gloves to complete your Italian look? They’ll be on sale. Italy generally has only two times during the year when they extend sconti (discounts) in retail shops: January and July. You can find deals at both boutique shops and international-brand stores after the holiday craziness, and you won’t have to fight the crowds so common at other times of the year. Enjoy Rome’s decadently rich hot chocolate as an afternoon treat, or post up next to a funghi (the mushroom-shaped outdoor heaters) and dine al fresco in one of Florence’s beautifully lit piazzas.
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Thailand

small boat on beach of Koh Phangan island Thailand

Koh Phangan, Thailand. Photo: Journeys Within

Southern Thailand is ideal from mid-January through March, when the oceans are still relatively calm, and sunny skies and cooler temperatures prevail before the heat returns in April. Bangkok, meanwhile, is a year-round destination: There’s always great food and off-the-beaten-path adventures to uncover, and short bursts of rain can easily be dodged while in the city.
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain and Botafogo Neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro by Sunset with Full Moon in the Sky

Sugarloaf Mountain and Botafogo neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Shutterstock

January is the best time to visit Rio—assuming you don’t mind temperatures that regularly hit 105 degrees: It’s the height of summer, Cariocas (Rio residents) are at their most relaxed, and the nightlife is at its peak.
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Nicaragua

Nicaragua mountains

Nicaragua. Photo: TPS Dave/Pixabay

In January, the country is lush and green, there is no rain, and the breezes keep temperatures in the high 80s during the day on the coast—perfect for chilling out by the ocean—and in the 70s in the mountains—ideal for hikes in the cloud forest.
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Sri Lanka

Adams peak also known as Sri pada in Sri Lanka over the Maskeliya reservoir and tea plantations

Adams peak, also known as Sri pada, in Sri Lanka over the Maskeliya reservoir and tea plantations. Photo: Shutterstock

The weather in mid to late January is delightful—spring-like temperatures and blue skies—and it’s a quieter period sandwiched between two busy times: Christmas/New Year’s and Chinese New Year.
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Dubai

Burj Al Arab hotel and beach in Dubai

In January, Dubai is still warm enough for beaches, but also has a shopping festival. Photo: Pixabay

January is the cooler season—which in this part of the world means temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Designers descend upon the city for the Shopping Festival, when shops and boutiques offer discounts all month long. Read how Brook spent a multi-day layover in Dubai’s desert.
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Sydney, Australia

boat sailing in water on Sydney Harbour Australia with famous bridge in background

Sailing on Sydney Harbour. Photo: Tourism Australia

Sydney’s summer months (December to February) bring beach weather, as well as festivals and harborside celebrations: After the world-renowned New Year’s Eve celebrations comes the Sydney Festival, a three-week celebration of the arts culminating with Australia Day on January 26. It’s also the right time to take a surfing lesson at Bondi Beach, go sailing in Sydney Harbour, hike waterside trails, picnic on city parklands, catch an outdoor movie screening or concert, or attend one of the city’s many professional surfing, tennis, cricket, and rugby competitions. (Remember that prices are also at their peak in summer, so book accommodations and tickets early, before they sell out.)
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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why January is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

Florida: Disney World, Orlando

Hawaii: Oahu (whale watching)

 

Central and South America

Brazil: Salvador and Trancoso

Ecuador: Galapagos

Panama

 

Europe

France: Paris apartment rentals

Iceland: northern lights

Norway: winter activities

 

Asia

Cambodia

China: Yunnan Province

India: Mumbai and Rajasthan

Myanmar’s tropical areas

Nepal’s lower elevations

 

Africa and Middle East

Abu Dhabi

 

Australia and Pacific

New Zealand: Bay of Islands and Queenstown

Papua New Guinea: diving in Milne Bay

 

Cruises

Africa Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

 

 

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Beautiful sandy beach near Lagos in Ponta da Piedade, Algarve region, Portugal

Where to Go in May: The Best Places to Travel

Mild. Temperate. Those are the words used to describe the agreeable climate in many parts of the globe come May. In many destinations, it’s an oh-so-lovely time to be hiking, sightseeing, or simply people-watching at an outdoor café.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Japan

Beautiful Cherry Blossom, Japan

Cherry blossom trees, Japan.

May (after Golden Week, which ends on May 5) brings great weather throughout the entire country. While the cherry blossoms generally peak in April, you can still enjoy the sweet scent and beauty of the blooms in May, but without the crowds.
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Scandinavia

Reine, Lofoten, Norway. The village of Reine under a sunny, blue sky, with the typical rorbu houses. View from the top

The village of Reine in Lofoten, Norway. Photo: Shutterstock

After months of darkness, May’s longer days bring locals out to soak up the sunlight, making the outdoor cafes lively. You’ll also find an abundance of freshly caught seafood, and celebrations throughout the countryside leading up to the summer solstice.
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Santorini and Mykonos, Greece

Oia town on Santorini island, Greece. Traditional and famous houses and churches with blue domes over the Caldera, Aegean sea

Oia town, on Santorini, is famous for its blue-domed churches and white houses overlooking the caldera. Photo: Shutterstock

May through early June is one of the most beautiful times to travel to the Cyclades—the group of Greek islands that includes the iconic spots of Santorini and Mykonos, but also less-crowded favorites of our travelers, including Naxos, Paros, and Sifnos. Days are warm, but the sun is not as relentless as it is in summer. Wildflowers blossom, beaches are empty, and locals welcome you with smiles.
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European Canal Barge Cruises

Wendy biking near a barge in the Burgundy canal in France.

Wendy biking near the barge canal in Burgundy, France. Photo: Timothy Baker

In May, the weather is best (not too hot, not too cool), and the crowds haven’t yet arrived, making this a perfect month to get to know a small slice of the Continent intimately and thoroughly. Read what Wendy loved about her own barge cruise in Burgundy in May.
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Portugal

Vineyards in the Valley of the River Douro, Portugal

Vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Photo: Shutterstock

The country’s weather is beautiful from March to mid-June. In the Algarve, the coastal towns are not too busy yet, so you can get a table in restaurants and enjoy uncrowded beaches. The Douro Valley’s rolling hills are lush and green from the winter rains, and there is excitement in Porto as the city prepares for summer festivities.
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Spain

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain

La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Ronny Siegel/Flickr

Café terraces open in May, and residents head outdoors to enjoy Spain’s beautiful cities before the heat sets in and the crowds arrive. Spring is the perfect time for strolling and picnicking in the sparkling Mediterranean light. In Madrid, everyone pours into the streets in mid-May to celebrate San Isidro.
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France

Burgundy's rolling hillsides

Burgundy’s rolling hillsides. Photo: Trufflepig

Paris is already crowded by late spring, but May is the optimal time to explore France’s countryside: Down south in Provence, the weather is lovely, there aren’t as many tourists, and fields of poppies are in colorful bloom. In Burgundy, temperatures have usually warmed up after the feast days of the Saint de Glace (which fall in the second week of the month and seem to bring showers or even frost). Later in May, flowers on trees bloom and the vineyards turn a bright springy green. May is also filled with bank holidays and tends to be any French person’s favorite—and it never hurts to see the French in the right mood.
Read reviews of WOW trips to France here, here, and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Croatia

view of water and town Rovinj Croatia

Rovinj, Croatia. Photo: Billie Cohen

In late April and May, you have glorious weather, the crowds are thinner, and prices are a little lower than at the height of summer.
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The Cotswolds, England

England, Cotswolds, Hidcote gardens. Photo: Jonathan Epstein

Hidcote Manor Gardens in the Cotswolds, England. Photo: Jonathan Epstein

By May, spring has taken hold, so flowers are blooming across the Cotswolds—fruit-tree blossoms, clematis, and wisteria are everywhere. The air smells fresh, and there are so many shades of green. Hotel rates are also lower than in the summer high season.
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Los Cabos, Mexico

a villa with a firepit and pool in Cabo Mexico

May in Los Cabos means less crowded beaches and restaurants—and more comfortable temperatures. Photo: CaboVillas

In May, the weather is mild and there’s little chance of rain. The bustle of spring break has passed, so it’s much less busy than just a month prior. That means less crowded beaches and restaurants—but more comfortable temperatures than the very hot summer months ahead. Plus, villa rates are lower than in high season (December through April), with great deals to be had.
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Peru’s Sacred Valley

Springtime at Machu Picchu Peru

Springtime at Machu Picchu. Photo: Luis Felipa

May is a wonderful month to be outdoors exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Choose from a wide variety of hiking trails for easy day hikes or overnight treks through the Andes. Skies are mostly clear, hillsides are green following the heavier rains that have ended by mid-April, and there are fewer crowds. Temperatures are also warmer on average than during the peak season (June through August). Base yourself in the Sacred Valley and enjoy convenient side trips to Machu Picchu and Cusco.
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Rio de Janeiro and the Pantanal, Brazil

a toucan in Pantanal, Brazil. Photo: Matueté Brasil Travel Design

Pantanal, Brazil. Photo: Matueté Brasil Travel Design

Given its large mass and varied geography, the perfect time to visit Brazil depends on what parts of the country you hope to see. May makes for a good city-country combo: some of the best animal sightings in the Pantanal wetlands, and the sunniest skies and a gentler mood in Rio.
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Atacama Desert, Chile

Atacama desert, Andes, Chile

Atacama desert, Andes, Chile. Photo: Shutterstock

This geological wonder is typically dry by May—though the Atacama is one of the driest places on the planet, in recent years it’s seen rain showers and even flooding from January to March—and many dormant desert plants are in bloom, transforming the arid landscape. Try to visit during the new moon, when the Atacama’s famously dark sky is at its prime for stargazing.
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Bolivia

small piles of sand dot the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. A snowy mountaintop is in the background

Salar de Uyuni salt flat, Bolivia. Photo: Shutterstock

May is the sweet spot at the Salar de Uyuni salt flats: It’s not too cold, not too crowded, and the Salar is dry enough to cross in a vehicle but you still get some reflections off its surface.
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Scotland

Kinnoull Hill tower ruins, Perth Scotland, overlooking the River Tay on a clear day

Kinnoull Hill tower ruins overlooking the River Tay, Scotland. Photo: Shutterstock

In May the weather is mild and even warm on occasion, and you won’t have to deal with the August crowds. Since this month falls before peak season (June–September), you can find some bargains, and the hills and roadways are dotted with blooming gorse, a bright-yellow flower.
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Mediterranean Cruises

Celebrity Reflection cruise ship

The Celebrity Reflection cruise ship. Photo: Celebrity Cruises

May is the sweet spot: The weather is gorgeous, temperatures are ideal for sightseeing, and crowds are not as abundant as in summer, when kids are out of school and both overseas visitors and Europeans flock to the Mediterranean.
Read reviews of WOW Mediterranean cruises here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Aegean Coast, Turkey

view from a wooden gulet boat on Turkey's Aegean Coast

A wooden gulet is an enticing way to explore the hidden islands of the Aegean. Photo: Sea Song Tours

In May the sun is out but it’s not sweltering, the sea is calm, and summer crowds haven’t arrived. Plus, rates are up to 50% lower than during the high season of July and August.
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Jerusalem

Tower of David, Jerusalem, Israel.

The City of David, in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, is an archeological site with remains dating back more than 5,000 years. Photo: Noam Chen

The optimal time to visit Jerusalem is after Passover—which ends on April 30 in 2024—but before summer: During this window, the weather is pleasant and the hotel rates are lower. Particularly wonderful is to be at any of the thousands of kibbutzes that dot the country for the festival of the first fruits for Shavuot.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Israel. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Fiji

aerial view of Savasi Island Fiji

Savasi Island is a 52-acre private island in Fiji with only seven villas. Photo: Savasi Island

May falls during the islands’ drier “winter,” but outside the peak months of June and July, when Aussie and Kiwi vacationers drive up airfares and hotel rates. During the winter, temperatures are at their coolest (with highs hovering around 80), and the occasional rain showers are brief. With less humidity there are also fewer mosquitoes.
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Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Quito plaza, Ecuador

Quito Plaza, Ecuador. Photo: Myths & Mountains

Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, is called the City of Four Seasons for a reason: The weather can change in the blink of an eye. May falls during the shoulder season, when the temperature is mild, usually reaching the high 60s, and there are fewer travelers. It’s also a great month to combine mainland Ecuador with the Galapagos Islands, before all the families descend in summertime, filling the boats there.
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A Safari in Namibia

Sorris Sorris Lodge, Namibia

Sorris Sorris Lodge, Namibia. Photo: Tino De Njis/Namibia Exclusive

In May, temperatures are mild night and day, the occasional rains tease the desert wildflowers into bloom, and the animals are fat and happy. Read what Brook and her son loved about Namibia in spring.

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A Safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe

two people paddle past elephants on the Zambezi River in Chiawa, Zimbabwe

Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is one of the continent’s most magnificent wildlife reserves, in one of its safest and most welcoming countries. Photo: Explore

In May, everything is still verdantly green from the rains and the temperature is delightful, but it’s dry enough that you see plenty of wildlife and there are virtually no mosquitoes or tsetse flies. Game viewing during this time is not quite as intense as later in the season, when it is very dry and dusty, but the landscape is more beautiful and the animals more at ease.
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Romania

The Corvinesti castle also known as the Hunyad castle, is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara (Transylvania), Romania.

The Corvinesti castle also known as the Hunyad castle, is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara (Transylvania), Romania. Photo: Shutterstock

May and June offer prime weather with the fewest crowds at the country’s dozens of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Available activities range from horseback riding and skydiving to truffle hunting and wine tasting.  Yes, we’re well aware that Romania shares its northern border with Ukraine, but Wendy and her family felt completely safe there last August, and even got to talk with refugees and hear about their experiences.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Romania. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Kolb studio.

Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

Beat the summer crowds and head to the canyon in springtime, when the weather is still pleasant. The right local fixer can have you flying over the canyon, hiking or riding mules into it, and gazing into its vastness from the best vantage points along the rim. (The South Rim is open year-round; the North Rim opens in mid-May.)
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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why May is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

Hawaii: Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island

Mexico: Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya

Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

St. Barts: beach and villa vacations

Utah’s national parks

 

Central and South America

Costa Rica: Pacific and Central regions

 

Europe

England: castles, manor houses, and gardens

European canal barge cruises

France: Paris apartment rentals

Germany: Bavaria

Hungary

Ireland: Killarney and County Kerry

Italy: Umbria and Venice

Malta

Norway (in late May)

Turkey: Cappadocia and Istanbul

 

Asia and Pacific

China: big cities and small villages, and Yunnan Province

India: Trekking and tiger reserves

Indonesia: Bali without the crowds

Myanmar’s higher elevations

Nepal

New Zealand, including Queenstown hiking and cycling

Papua New Guinea

Southeast Asia

 

Africa and Middle East

Madagascar

Morocco

Oman

Seychelles

South Africa: Cape Town and Winelands

 

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Lupins bloom above the ancient Inca ruins of Choquequirao in the Andes, Peru

Where to Go in April: The Best Places to Travel

Flowers in full bloom, festive celebrations, and mild temperatures make April a lovely time to visit many parts of the globe. The best deals usually appear starting one week after Easter (which falls on March 31 in 2024).

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

empty Beach at Caribbean sea in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with footprints

Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

Starting a week after Easter Sunday and running through May, rates are low, resorts aren’t too crowded, and the weather is pleasant (mid to high 80s) with little rain.
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Hawaii

Makena, Maui beach Hawaii

Makena, Maui. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

April means an optimal combination of great weather and relatively low prices in the islands. (Just make sure to avoid the crush of visitors and higher rates that Spring Break brings.)
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Belize

Tiny island with coconut trees and boat in Belize

Belize. Photo: Shutterstock

In April, the trade winds are fresh, rains are rare, there are barely any bugs, and high season is winding down. Explore world-class coral reefs, visit uncrowded Mayan ruins, learn to scuba dive (as Wendy’s son did), fish for 100-pound tarpon (which kept her husband busy), laze beside sparkling Caribbean waters—or charter your own private yacht.
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Paris

view of the Eiffel Tower across the green treetops of the Tuileries Garden taken from a balcony at Le Meurice hotel

View from Le Meurice, Paris. Photo: Billie Cohen

Discover the first hints of spring in Paris while strolling through the Tuileries or pausing a moment under the blossoming trees by Notre Dame Cathedral; in April, the weather is usually mild and the city is bedecked in blossoms. You’ll beat the tourist crowds before they arrive later in the spring and likely catch some excellent art exhibits, too.
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Southern Spain: Seville and Andalusia

City Of Cazorla And Yedra Castle - Cazorla, Jaen, Andalusia, Spain, Europe

City Of Cazorla And Yedra Castle – Cazorla, Jaen, Andalusia, Spain, Europe. Photo: Shutterstock

Come April, the temperatures throughout Andalusia are pleasant, the aroma of orange blossoms is in the air, the light is beautiful, and there are fiestas (and bullfights) all over the region, including all the events during Easter Week.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Spain here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Morocco

camel trek through the Sahara Desert, Morocco.

Wendy and family on a camel trek through the Sahara Desert, Morocco.

Contrywide, the weather is comfortable in April. Temperature extremes are common in the desert, but at this time of year days are warm and nights are just chilly rather than unbearably cold.
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Peru

Lupins bloom above the ancient Inca ruins of Choquequirao in the Andes, Peru

Lupins bloom above the ancient Inca ruins of Choquequirao in the Andes, Peru. Photo: Adriana Von Hagen

April sees the best mix of weather both inland and on Peru’s coast; it’s sunny and warm in Lima, and dry and temperate in the Andes. Since the rainy season has just ended, the air is clear, and the fields are green and lush, dotted with the yellow, pink, and mauve hues of quinoa, amaranth, lupines, and potatoes ready to harvest.
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The Netherlands

tulips and windmill at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

Spring is tulip time in the Netherlands. Photo: Keukenhof Gardens

April is bright and pleasant, and it’s prime time for Tulipmania, when the Keukenhof — one of the world’s largest flower gardens — is full of blooms. King’s Day (on April 27 in 2023) is the biggest street party of the year in Amsterdam; it’s very busy, but a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Dutch joie de vivre (you can also enjoy the parades and festivities in a more rural setting). By traveling in April, you’ll also miss the public holidays in May that bring out large crowds.
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Crete

The island of Spinalonga, Crete, Greece. Photo: Blue Palace Resort and Spa

The island of Spinalonga, Crete, Greece. Photo: Blue Palace Resort and Spa

Renowned for its rich local culture, Crete is a wonderful place to visit in April when Greek Orthodox Easter falls during that month. Experience renowned Cretan hospitality throughout the festive celebrations, which are distinctive to Greece’s most southern (and thus warmest) island. There are also beautiful wildflowers in April, fewer crowds, and lower hotel rates than you’ll find later in spring.
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Istanbul

gardens and flowers around a pond at Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul.

During the annual tulip festival in April, the city is awash in millions (literally) of colorful blooms. The weather is temperate, perfect for visiting the outdoor ancient sites that can be scorching in summer — and the tourist hordes have not yet arrived. Since it’s shoulder season, there are deals to be had at hotels.
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Mediterranean Cruises

Seabourn Ovation cruise ship

Seabourn Ovation anchored off Montenegro.

April is the perfect month to enjoy the brilliant blue skies in the Mediterranean, when the sunny days start to outnumber the cold and cloudy ones of winter. Cruise ships have just repositioned to the region, so you can explore iconic ports such as Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, and Venice without the crowds and heat of summertime. And fares are lower, since this is considered the off-season.
Read reviews of WOW Mediterranean cruises here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

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Maldives

overwater bungalow at Joali resort in the maldives

The cantilevered hammocks at JOALI Maldives’ villas. Photo: Ryan Damm

European vacationers drive up prices from Christmas through Easter, but for the few weeks after this period, you’ll find a sweet spot of lower hotel rates and ideal weather: Temperatures are consistently in the high 80s year-round, but in late April there is almost no rain or wind, so the water is calm for snorkeling and diving.
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Namibia

Namib Desert, Namibia

Namibia’s Namib Desert is right on the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Shutterstock

Starting in mid-April, the temperatures are mild night and day, the occasional rains tease the desert wildflowers into bloom, and the animals are fat and happy. (Brook took her own family on a fun-filled trip to Namibia in April.)
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Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos - 26 November 2016: Buddhist monk and the details of architecture of Buddhist temple Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wat Xieng Thong Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo: Shutterstock

Songkran, the Lao New Year, is celebrated in mid-April with a whole week of parades, street markets, and concerts. Tradition holds that revelers douse one another with water in order to wash away the past year’s sins; unlike in Thailand, where you might well be ambushed outside your hotel in the morning, in Laos the locals usually ask before splashing you. (See photos of Brook’s experience in Laos over New Year.)
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Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic

Cityscape views of one of Europe's most beautiful town- Vienna. Peoples on streets, urban life in Vienna Austria

Vienna’s city streets, Austria. Photo: Shutterstock

April means mild weather, springtime flowers, and no bus-tour crowds in Central Europe. In Budapest, the Spring Fair runs all month long with folk music, dancing, and concerts. Crowded summertime destinations, such as Lake Balaton in Hungary and the Wachau Valley in Austria, are relatively tranquil. In the Czech Republic, all the countryside castles are just reopening from their winter dormancy.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Central Europe. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Central Europe

Papua New Guinea

mean with lakatoi boats on beach of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea. Photo: Pixabay/freesally

In April the rainy season is just ending, so prices are better than in the high months of May, June, and July.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Papua New Guinea

 

Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why April is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

California: Yosemite National Park

Mexico City

St. Barts

Utah’s national parks

 

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro

Colombia: Bogota

Costa Rica: Pacific and Central regions

Ecuador: Galapagos family travel

Patagonia

Peru: Machu Picchu

 

Europe

Croatia (second half of the month)

England: Castles, Manor Houses, and Gardens

European Canal Barge Cruises: deals and tulips

Germany: Bavaria

Greece: Athens

Ireland: Killarney and County Kerry

Italy: Amalfi Coast, Florence, Lake Como villas, and Sicily

Portugal

Romania (second half of April)

Scotland: wildflowers and deals

Spain: Madrid

 

Asia and Pacific

Asia Cruises

China: big cities and small villages, and Yunnan Province

India: trekking and tiger viewing

Indonesia: Bali without crowds

Myanmar

Nepal

New Zealand, including Bay of Islands and Queenstown hiking and cycling

Seychelles

Vietnam: north and central regions

 

Africa and Middle East

Israel and Jerusalem (after Easter and Passover)

South Africa: Cape Town and Winelands

Zambia (second half of the month)

 


 

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip.

Fakarava island in french polynesia with canoe on turquoise blue water

Where to Go in September: The Best Places to Travel

Leisure travel usually slows down after Labor Day, as kids go back to school and adults go back to work. But September is a smart month for many places around the world, thanks to fewer tourists and shoulder-season deals. Here is a sampling of the best places to travel in September.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Norway

Northern Lights, Norway.

September is the sweet spot for Norway, when it’s still warm enough to spend your days exploring the fjords but the night sky gets dark enough that you have a good chance of catching the Northern Lights.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Norway. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Norway

Mediterranean coastlines and islands

colorful boats in Marsaxlokk Harbour, Malta

Marsaxlokk Harbour, Malta. Photo: Exclusively Malta

In September, the Mediterranean region is still sunny (but not too hot) and it’s warm enough to go swimming—and yet the crowds have thinned because kids are back in school. From the Algarve in Portugal to the French Riviera to the Cinque Terre in Italy to Turkey’s Aegean coast, the weather is great for strolling through villages and indulging in the local culinary treats. Don’t forget about islands like Corsica, Sicily, or Malta, either: On the latter, there are village feasts happening in September, with parades, concerts, and even fireworks.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Portugal’s Algarve, France’s Riviera, Sicily, Malta and Turkey during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a Mediterranean trip

Ireland

Sheep grazing in Killarney National Park Ireland.

Sheep grazing in Killarney National Park, Ireland. Photo: Celebrated Experiences

September and October, when the summer crowds have gone but relatively warm weather remains, is one of the best times to visit. It certainly might rain—this is Ireland, after all—but that just means you’ll have rainbows!  In September, which is considered high season, leaves start turning, ushering in fall.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Ireland during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Ireland

Tuscany

tractor harvesting grapes in a vineyard in Tuscany Italy

Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy.

Come September, the vineyard-covered hills across much of Tuscany come alive for the vendemmia, or grape harvest. The rumble of small tractors rolling along the long rows of vines, the chattering of families and farm hands as they snip off individual clusters by hand, the tinkling of glasses and forks against plates as long tables are set up outdoors for everyone to take a break for lunch al fresco…these are the sights and sounds of autumn in Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and the rest of Tuscany’s wine country.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Tuscany. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Tuscany

Porto and the Douro River Valley, Portugal

Grape harvest in the Douro Valley, Portugal

Harvest in the Douro Valley, Portugal. Photo: Porto Tourism

Late September and early October are typically the time for the grape harvest in the Douro. You can participate by picking grapes (more fun than it sounds) or—better yet—stomping the fruit à la I Love Lucy with your own two feet. There are also some amazing hikes just north of Porto, which are at their best in fall when the weather and landscape are starting to change; options range from easy strolls to expert-level routes.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Portugal. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Portugal

Germany

Bamberg Bavaria, Germany. Photo: Claudia Schwenger

Bamberg Bavaria, Germany. Photo: Claudia Schwenger

September hits the sweet spot of pleasant weather and minimal crowds, and there are many charming, open-air harvest festivals taking place. Plus, there’s Oktoberfest, most of which actually falls during September.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Germany. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Germany

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon view of the watchtower.

The watchtower in Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

After Labor Day, the Grand Canyon gets much quieter, prices fall from the highs of summer, and the weather is still pleasant.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to the Grand Canyon

Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park in fall, Wyoming.

Grand Teton National Park in fall, Wyoming. Photo: NPS

From mid-September to mid-October, the aspens are golden, the area isn’t crowded, and hotels often discount their rates; plus, the grizzly and black bears are more visible as they stock up prior to hibernation, and the elk are bugling. While the weather can be cooler, it’s a good excuse to take advantage of the fireplace in your room.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton

Cruises: Alaska, Eastern Canada, Mediterranean

Star Breeze

Setting sail on the Star Breeze. Photo: Windstar Cruises.

As the summer winds down, you can often find the lowest pricing on cruises in iconic destinations like Alaska and the Mediterranean. For those seeking a getaway that’s closer to home, many ships sail routes through New England and Eastern Canada, stopping in places like Boston, Nova Scotia, and Quebec City.
Read reviews of WOW cruises. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a cruise trip

Mexico City

Mexican national symbol among colonial buildings on Independence Day.

This Independence Day light display in Mexico City shows an eagle devouring a snake—a popular national symbol. Photo: Shutterstock

Mexico City and the country’s colonial heartland (San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Puebla, Queretaro, Michoacan) come alive for independence celebrations, which fall on September 15 and 16. Throughout the month of September, cities and plazas in the region transform with patriotic fervor, commemorating the start of the Mexican War for Independence in 1810. Visitors will find a jubilant atmosphere, and the festivals and parades typically bring with them some of Mexico’s most traditional street snacks.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Mexico. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Mexico

French Polynesia

The Brando Resort, French Polynesia

The Brando Beach Villa, French Polynesia. Photo: Brando Resort

Humpback whales approach the islands (mostly Rurutu and Moorea) to give birth and feed from August to October. The waters hold a lot of food that fatten up the babies before they head to the Antarctic. If the whales are calm and the weather is good, you can even snorkel with them and listen to the sounds they use to communicate with each other; it’s really quite an amazing experience.
Read reviews of WOW trips to French Polynesia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to French Polynesia

Kangaroo Island, Australia

kangaroos on kangaroo island Australia

Kangaroo Island, off the coast near Adelaide, is a top destination for animal lovers. Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s own Galapagos, a time capsule of the region’s native plants and animals, largely undisturbed by civilization for thousands of years. Kangaroos, wallabies, echidna, koalas, dolphins, sea lions, fur seals, and scores of birds can be seen in their natural habitats all year round; however, antipodal spring is a particularly special time to visit, with clear and warm days returning, wildflowers blooming, and joey kangaroos emerging from their mothers’ pouches. (It’s also before the Australian school holidays hit and families start arriving in October.)
Read reviews of WOW trips to Australia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Australia

Trancoso, Brazil

The beach lounge at Villas de Trancoso Brazil

The beach lounge at Villas de Trancoso. Photo: Villas de Trancoso

If you are after peace and quiet, Trancoso’s off-season (i.e., June through September) is pure bliss: Temperatures are still in the high 70s to 80s, and you will often have mile upon mile of palm-tree-backed beaches all to yourself.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Brazil. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Brazil

South African Safaris

Elephants, Singita Kruger, South Africa

An elephant family at Singita Kruger, Kruger National Park.

September is glorious in South Africa. The winter chill has left, and spring is on its way. The grasses that grew high after the rainy season have been chomped down, leaving the animals in full view. Cape Town is warming up, and the rains have more or less gone for good. Whales can be seen off the coast, the vineyards are green, and safaris are spectacular throughout the parks and reserves.
Read reviews of WOW trips to South Africa. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a South African safari

India

Agra Fort - Medieval Indian fort made of red sandstone and marble with view of dome at sunrise. View of Taj Mahal at a distance as seen from Agra Fort.

Agra Fort, with a view of Taj Mahal in the distance. Photo: Shutterstock

September is ideal in Northern India: In Delhi, the monsoon rains have given way to clear skies and pleasant temperatures. At the Taj Mahal, you’ll find the fewest people and the best photographic conditions. It’s also a good time for trekking, with fall color in the Himalaya.
Read reviews of WOW trips to India. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to India

Uzbekistan

View over the mausoleums and domes of the historical cemetery of Shahi Zinda through an arched gate, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

View over the mausoleums and domes of the historical cemetery of Shahi Zinda through an arched gate, Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Photo: Shutterstock

After the summer heat, Uzbekistan’s weather is once again comfortable for touring the ancient cities of Bukhara, Samarkand, and Khiva, and for hiking in the mountains or camel riding in the Kizil Kum Desert. Click here to read about the trip Wendy and her family took to Uzbekistan.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Uzbekistan. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Uzbekistan

 

Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why September is a good time to go.

North America

The California Coast

Maui

Newfoundland and Labrador

Yellowstone

Central and South America

Argentina: Skiing in Mendoza

Bolivia

Brazilian Amazon

Chile: Atacama Desert

Colombia: Bogota

Ecuador: Quito

Peru

Europe

Arctic

Croatia

Czech Republic: second half of the month

European Canal Barges

Hungary: second half of the month

Iceland: northern lights

The Italian and Swiss Alps

Italy: Florence

Italy: Lakes Region

Italy: Umbria

Italy: Venice

London

Paris

Romania

Scotland

Spain: Andalusia and Madrid

Switzerland

Turkey: Cappadocia

Turkey: Istanbul

Asia

Bali

Beijing

Bhutan

Mongolia

Myanmar

Nepal

Seychelles

Thailand: Bangkok

Africa and Middle East

Botswana

East Africa Safaris

Jerusalem

Madagascar

Morocco: second half of the month

Oman: second half of the month

Rwanda: Gorilla Trekking

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Australia and Pacific

Fiji

Great Barrier Reef

New Zealand: Queenstown

Papua New Guinea: Trekking

 

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip. 

Iceland waterfall Skogafoss in Icelandic nature landscape. Famous tourist attractions and landmarks destination in Icelandic nature landscape on South Iceland. Aerial drone view of top waterfall. -

Where to Go in June: The Best Places to Travel

In much of the northern hemisphere, June is an excellent time weather-wise to squeeze in a trip before most school vacations start, the summer crowds surge, and the heat descends. In some places, it’s also a great month for hiking and spotting elusive beasts of the wild. Here are our Trusted Travel Experts’ recommendations for the best places to travel in June.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

Iceland

View of basalt stacks Reynisdrangar, black sand beach near Vik and violet lupine flowers and lonely church, South Iceland

The black sand beach near Vik with violet lupine flowers. Photo: Shutterstock

Around the summer solstice (June 21), Iceland offers 24 hours of sunshine and an explosion of wildflowers as far as the eye can see. It’s also a good time for animal lovers: There are day-old foals, lambs, and wild chicks, and eggs visible in ground nests.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Iceland. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Iceland

Canada’s Maritime Provinces, including Newfoundland

The coastline of Twillingate, New World Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The coastline of Twillingate, New World Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

June is typically an optimal month for iceberg watching—a popular pastime in Newfoundland. On a warm day, you can watch these majestic mountains of ice flow along the province’s northern and eastern coasts.  It’s also the start of the summer season of food, festivals, and spectacular scenery in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Atlantic Canada. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Canada’s Maritimes

San Sebastián, Spain

Beach and colorful houses of San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain, is ideal in June. Photo: Shutterstock

June is a great time in San Sebastián: The weather has cleared but it’s not yet warm enough for beach-goers, so the crowds are manageable. Enjoy the top pintxo bars while they are still filled with locals—most of whom will be replaced by tourists come July and August. And a lot of produce comes into season now, making the many Michelin-starred menus even more delectable than usual.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Spain. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to San Sebastian

The Mediterranean Island of Malta

Xlendi Tower, Malta

Xlendi Tower, Malta

If you must travel in summer and you want ocean temperatures that are warm enough for swimming, plan your Malta trip for the second half of June, when the island isn’t as busy—and the weather not as hot—as later on in the summer. There are also village feasts happening around the country just about every weekend from May through October, with parades, concerts, and fireworks. (If swimming isn’t a prerequisite for your trip, March is a fabulous time for Malta.)
Read reviews of WOW trips to Malta. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Malta

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon view of the watchtower.

The watchtower in Grand Canyon. Photo: Mike Buchheit

The peak of summer sees crowds almost as huge as the Grand Canyon itself, which is up to a mile deep and 18 miles wide; go in June and you’ll have much more breathing room, as well as access to the far less visited North Rim (which is open only from mid-May to mid-October). The right local fixer can arrange helicopter flights over the canyon, mule rides down to where the rocks are 1.8 billion years old, float trips along the Colorado River, and behind-the-scenes tours of sites not accessible to ordinary travelers.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to the Grand Canyon

Alaska Cruises

An adult humpback whale breaching

An adult humpback whale breaches in Southeast Alaska.  Photo: Lindblad Expeditions/Michael S. Nolan

The first two weeks of June in Southeast Alaska—the region also known as the Inside Passage—typically offer drier days and better wildlife spotting on the beaches at low tide. This is also a prime time to spot transient orcas, migrating humpback whales, and hauled-out harbor seals. Winds coming off the snow-covered mountain peaks make the air crisp, and the forests showcase an abundance of colorful and diverse wildflowers.
Read reviews of WOW Alaska cruises. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start an Alaska small-ship expedition cruise

Cappadocia, Turkey

Balloons over Cappadocia. Photograph courtesy of Earl Starkey

Balloons over Cappadocia. Photograph courtesy of Earl Starkey

In June the wildflowers are in bloom and everything is still green. The light is ideal for photography, the days are long, and the nights are lovely. It is also a perfect time for balloon flights over the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Turkey. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Cappadocia

Italy’s Dolomites Region

The Dolomites, Italy

The craggy peaks and verdant valleys of the Dolomites, a.k.a. the Italian Alps, provide some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. In June you are guaranteed sunny days and warm evenings, with not too much humidity. Enjoy hiking and biking into the UNESCO-designated landscape, and afterward sample the local culinary delicacies over lunch at a mountain rifugio or from a picnic basket.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Italy. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to the Dolomites

Bali

Uma by Como, Ubud, Bali

Uma by Como, Ubud, Bali. Courtesy Como Resorts

June is the calm before—and after—the tourist storms that hit this island during the Christmas/New Year period and in July, August, and early September. It also has the most reliably pleasant weather (daytime temps in the 80s and gentle breezes to keep the sun from feeling too hot) and decent prices (high-season hotel rates don’t kick in until July).
Read reviews of WOW trips to Bali. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Bali

Koh Phangan, Thailand

small boat on beach of Koh Phangan island Thailand

Koh Phangan, Thailand. Photo: Journeys Within

While the rest of Thailand is entering the rainy season in June, the island of Koh Phangan is still sunny and dry, making it ideal for snorkeling, diving, and lounging on the beach. As it’s high season on Koh Phangan, you won’t see deep discounts for your stay there, but if you’re pairing the beach time with a larger journey around Thailand you can take advantage of the “green season” specials in the rest of the country.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Thailand. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Koh Phangan

India’s Himalaya Mountains: Trekking and Tigers

royal bengal tiger in the ranthambore tiger reserve in rajasthan india

A royal Bengal tiger stretches in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India. Photo: Sanjay Saxena

June is an excellent time for hikers, as many Himalayan trekking routes are open, and the mountains (up to about 14,000 feet, at least) are covered with rhododendron blooms and other wildflowers. And while it’s very hot in the central plains, it’s also the best time for visiting that region’s wildlife parks—especially the tiger reserves.
Read reviews of WOW trips to India. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to India

Rwanda and Uganda: Gorilla Trekking

gorilla group in the jungle, Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda. Photo: Explore Inc.

Gorilla sightings are equally good all year long (though never guaranteed). However, the best time for gorilla tracking is June, when it’s cool and there is less precipitation (but remember, this is still the rainforest, and storms can hit any day).
Read reviews of WOW trips to Rwanda and Uganda. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Rwanda and Uganda

Borneo

Malaysia Sabah Borneo Scenic View of Tun Sakaran Marine Park tropical island (Bohey Dulang) Semporna, Sabah.

Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Photo: Shutterstock

Borneo’s dry season (if you can have one in the rainforest) runs from May through September, and by June the fruiting season is in full swing; this is the ideal time to see orangutans and other animals swinging through the trees.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Borneo

Yakushima, Japan

forest river in Yakushima Japan

Japan’s sub-tropical island of Yakushima is ideal for intrepid travelers. Photo: Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima

This sub-tropical island, located in the waters just south of Kyushu, is ideal for intrepid travelers: Its mountains and vast forest of ancient cedar trees are crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails, from easy walks to challenging ascents. June signals the end of the rainy season, so you’ll find stunning waterfalls along the trails; it’s also when endangered loggerhead sea turtles return to Yakushima’s beaches to nest.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Japan. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Japan

Bhutan

Punakha Dzong Monastery, one of the largest monestary in Asia, Punakha, Bhutan

Punakha Dzong Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Asia, Punakha, Bhutan. Photo: Shutterstock

In June the higher mountainsides are dressed in the pinks, whites, reds, purples, and oranges of Himalayan rhododendron flowers. Iris, orchids, primula, and other flowers are blooming, spring plantings are poking their leaves up out of fields, and migratory birds are heading north across the mountains. Many travelers have gone home, so roads are not teeming with buses and other tourist vehicles (which is very important in a country with only one east-west road). Moreover, with fewer visitors, Bhutanese locals have time to sit and chat or cook special meals instead of the typical tourist buffets. Yes, you may have some clouds or perhaps a shower, but the more peaceful countryside makes the trade-off well worthwhile.
To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Start a trip to Bhutan

Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why June is a good time to go.

North America and Caribbean

American West: river rafting

Canada: British Colombia

Caribbean: off-season rates

Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

St. Barts: value season and annual sales

Utah’s National Parks

Washington: whale watching in the San Juan Islands

 

Central and South America

Bolivia

Brazil: Pantanal wetlands, Rio de Janeiro, southern Amazon, and Trancoso’s off season

Colombia: Bogota

Costa Rica: green season

Ecuador: family trips to the Galapagos

Peru

 

Europe

England: London

France: Paris, Provence, and canal barge trips

Germany: Bavaria

Italy: Florence’s Festa di San Giovanni, Sicily, and Umbria’s festival season

Norway

Portugal, including the Algarve

Romania

Scotland

Switzerland

Turkey: Aegean Coast and Istanbul

 

Asia and Pacific

Australia: Great Barrier Reef

Cambodia: green season

China: Yunnan Province

Fiji

French Polynesia (second half of the month)

Laos: green-season deals

Mongolia (first half of the month)

Nepal

New Zealand: winter activities in Queenstown

Papua New Guinea

Seychelles

Uzbekistan

 

Africa and Middle East

Botswana

Egypt: value trips

Madagascar

Namibia (first half of the month)

South Africa: whale watching and shark-cage diving

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

 

Be a smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. Read real travelers’ reviews, then use the black CONTACT buttons on Wendy’s WOW List to reach out to the right local fixer for your trip. 

Aerial view of a river and mountains in New Zealand

Live Answers to Your Travel Questions: Join Us on Zoom for WOW Week 2023 January 23–27

UPDATE: WOW Week 2023 is now over. Thank you all for joining us! We have posted the Zoom recordings below, in case you missed any talks or want to share them with your friends. Stay up to date by signing up for our newsletter

 


 

This year is shaping up to be a huge one for international travel. Now that so many countries have dropped their Covid entry requirements, many more people worldwide will be traveling abroad. And in some countries—all in different stages of ramping back up post-pandemic—local inflation and staffing shortages mean higher costs, longer lines, and trickier logistics. Not to worry: We’ve got the solutions, and we’ll be sharing them during WOW Week, January 23 – 27, when we’ll host a Travel Talk every day at 7 pm EST and answer your burning travel questions.

 


 

Where and When To Travel in 2023

Monday, January 23, at 7 pm EST

With many more people worldwide making international trips this year than last, prices will be higher and logistics more challenging. It will be especially important to choose your destinations wisely and time your trips smartly. Wendy, Brook, and Carolyn shared dozens of tips for doing so.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Fly Smarter This Year: Best Flights, Seats, and Fares

Tuesday, January 24, at 7 pm EST

Will airfares ever drop, and to where? Which parts of the world will be the best value to fly to in 2023? When should you book your summer flights? Airline expert Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Concierge, answered these questions and many more.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Protect Your Trip—and Your Health—in 2023

Wednesday, January 25, at 7 pm EST

Too many people find out too late that they should have bought travel insurance or an emergency medical-assistance membership. So we brought in experts to demystify these seemingly complicated topics, and to help you understand how you can—and can’t—protect your health and your financial investment.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

New Ways to See the World by Water

Thursday, January 26, at 7 pm EST

There are parts of the world that are best seen from the water, and there is a growing array of unusual itineraries and small ships for doing so. Cruise expert Carolyn Spencer Brown, joined by Wendy and Brook, talked about cool ways to explore the world’s waterways in 2023.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

Get More for Your Miles and Points in 2023

Friday, January 27, at 7 pm EST

You could be saving thousands of dollars on better award flights and nicer lie-flat seats in premium cabins. Gary Leff, writer of View From The Wing and founder of Book Your Award (now merged into Point.me), shared dozens of tips for maximizing your miles and points.

WATCH THE ZOOM RECORDING

 

A big thank-you to our WOW Week sponsor, Medjet.

Medjet is a global air medical transport and travel security membership program that can give travelers greater peace of mind. Their sponsorship enables me, Brook, Carolyn, Kristine, and the rest of our growing team to spend time answering your travel questions (via our Get a Personalized Trip Recommendation feature) and finding the smartest trip-planning specialists for you (see Wendy’s WOW List).

Don’t miss this special WOW Week discount

Medjet is offering our WOW Week audience an exclusive discount of 10% off New Medjet Annual Memberships. The deal is available from Mon January 23 at 9am ET till Mon January 30 at 5 pm ET. You can learn more about Medjet and get the deal by clicking the red button below. 

GET THE DEAL

 

Skyline in the Old Quarter of Seville, Spain

Where to Go in March: The Best Places to Travel

It may still feel like winter at home, but March finds wildflowers blooming in many parts of the world, and festivals of all sorts happening around the globe. Here’s a round-up of destinations that are at their prime in March.

To understand what makes a trip WOW, read these recent reviews from our travelers. And don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

The Galapagos, Ecuador

underwater photo of a sea lion in the Galapagos islands

Snorkeling with Galapagos sea lions

In March, water temperatures and clarity are the best they get all year, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. It’s also hatching season for Galapagos tortoises, and male frigate birds can be seen with their telltale neck pouches puffed up and flared out to attract females. Adults who don’t want to travel with lots of kids should avoid the spring-break weeks that range from late March to mid-April. The opposite is true for families: Book way ahead for those peak spring-break weeks that often feature family-focused departures.
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Cartagena, Colombia

Islas de Rosario, Colombia

Islas de Rosario, Colombia, near Cartagena. Photo: Shutterstock

March is a great month to visit Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast: You’ll find sunny days, clear skies, and a fresh breeze that makes the temperature much more comfortable.
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Belize

A row of thatched palapas on golden sand on the tiny island of Rendezvous Caye in the Belize Barrier Reef, off the coast of Belize, Central America

Rendezvous Caye in the Belize Barrier Reef. Photo: Shutterstock

The Caribbean trade winds that prevail in March and April make for ideal sailing conditions. The summer humidity hasn’t yet arrived, and evenings are fresh and breezy. You can charter a crewed catamaran that will take you wherever you want to go: tiny, palm-studded islands with hardly another soul in sight, or spots with open-air beach bars and restaurants.
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Andalusia, Spain

Skyline in the Old Quarter of Seville, Spain

Skyline in the Old Quarter of Seville, Spain. Photo: Shutterstock

By late March in southern Spain, temps are in the 60s, the aroma of orange blossoms is in the air, the light is beautiful, and there are fiestas (and bullfights) all over the region. Before the crowds descend for Holy Week and the spring festivals, March is a great time to visit the iconic sites in Seville and Granada, or go off-the-beaten path in Ubeda and Baeza.
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Puglia, Italy

Polignano a Mare, puglia, italy, seaside village

Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy. Photo: Pixabay/newneo47

Many of Puglia’s charming boutique hotels and seaside osterias reopen in March after the winter off-season, making this a lovely time to visit while the locals are still well-rested from their time off and the summer crowds haven’t yet arrived. Learn the art of making burrata—a local speciality of this food-focused region—picnic in an olive grove, and visit a glass artisan’s atelier. (Just don’t expect to go for a dip in the ocean, as water temperatures are in the 50s.)
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Crete, Greece

Elouda villa, Crete, Greece. Photo: Blue Palace Resort

Elouda villa, Crete, Greece. Photo: Blue Palace Resort

While many Greek islands go into hibernation in the winter, with resorts and restaurants shuttering for the season, Crete is large enough that it stays vibrant year-round. It’s also Greece’s most southern—and thus warmest—island. Not everything will be open in March, but it’s a great time to get a dose of local culture, and hotel rates are lower than you’ll find later in spring.
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London

The London Eye Ferris Wheel

The London Eye Ferris Wheel. Photo: Celebrated Experiences

If you think Notting Hill couldn’t get any more colorful, you should see it in the early spring, decked out with blossoms on its tree-lined streets. March brings glorious fields of daffodils to Kensington Gardens too—and everything’s in bloom in Chelsea. The icing on the cake is Kew Gardens, just a short trip outside central London and the perfect spot to celebrate the arrival of spring.
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Malta and Gozo

Ancient walls and streets of Valetta, the capital of Malta. Photo: Shutterstock

The ancient walls and streets of Valletta, the capital of Malta. Photo: Shutterstock

March sees few of the cruise-ship visitors who arrive daily in Malta come summer. With highs in the mid-60s and a lush green coating on the hills brought out by winter rains, this is a particularly great time of year for countryside walks and cycling on neighboring Gozo, which is smaller and more rural than Malta.
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Chile

A view of Torres del Paine's lakes from the French Valley

A view of Torres del Paine’s crystalline lakes from the French Valley in Patagonia.

Chile is roughly twice the length of California, so it covers vast latitudes and corresponding climates. March sees some of the best weather throughout the country: warm temperatures in Patagonia, dry days in the Lakes District, and lacking the oppressive summer heat in central Chile and Easter Island. You’ll also avoid high season, which starts before Christmas and lasts through February.
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Jordan

Alone in Petra at sunrise

The ruins at Petra, Jordan.

By March, the weather is warming up—making it possible to spend a night out in Wadi Rum—the almond and olive trees should still be in blossom, and the crowds are thin.
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Cape Town, South Africa

harbor of Cape Town, South Africa with boats and table mountain

Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: HPBotha/Pixabay

By March, temperatures have begun to cool, and the fierce southeasterly wind calms down—which means that outdoor activities (sea kayaking, shark diving, trips to Robben Island) are seldom canceled due to weather. It’s also one of the best months for hiking and cycling, and the “March lilies” are flowering all over the city. This being harvest time, there is frenetic activity at the nearby wine estates, accompanied by many jovial festivals.
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Norway

Northern Lights, Norway

Northern Lights, Grøtfjord, Kvaløya, Norway. Photo: Gaute Bruvik – visitnorway.com

In March there is still a lot of snow for all of Norway’s great winter activities—skiing, of course, and also dogsledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, snowshoeing, and so on—but also lots of sunshine, average daytimes highs in the 30s, and long days. Statistically, this is also the best month to see the Northern Lights.
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Queenstown, New Zealand

Mount Nicholas Station, Queenstown, New Zealand

Mount Nicholas Station, Queenstown, New Zealand

It’s the end of summer down south, and the weather is just warm enough: around 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the day, with nice cool evenings. You have access to all of the back-country activities that bring people to this world capital of outdoor adventure.
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Northern India

Holi Festival at Nandgaon temple complex, Uttar Pradesh, India

Holi Festival at Nandgaon temple complex, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Abhijit Kar Gupta/Flickr

The date for Holi—India’s famous festival of colors—is set by the Hindu calendar, but it almost always falls during March; in 2024, the date will be March 25. (This is one celebration where you simply can’t be a bystander, and you don’t want to show up in your best attire: Everyone throws vibrantly colored powder and water at one another.) Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur are all great places to be during the merriment that is Holi.
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Other Smart Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why March is a good time to go.

North America

Alaska: winter activities

Canada: British Columbia spring skiing

Hawaii: Oahu whale-watching

 

Central and South America

Brazil: Salvador and Trancoso

Colombia: Bogota

Panama

 

Europe

Portugal: Algarve’s almond blossom

 

Africa and Middle East

Dubai

Israel

Morocco: Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains

Oman

 

Asia and Pacific

India: Mumbai and wildlife parks and Himalaya hiking

Nepal

Sri Lanka

Seychelles

 

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