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Where to Go in October: The Best Places to Travel

Brook Wilkinson | September 25, 2018

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 (sad, I know), 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.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)

New York City

Manhattan skyline from Governors Island with Staten Island Ferry

The downtown Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. Photo: Billie Cohen

Right after Columbus Day weekend is prime time in New York City. The locals are back from their summer vacations and the city is buzzing along, business as usual. In October, park woodlands and tree-lined promenades are dressed in warm, rich colors, and the fall exhibitions have been open for a few weeks, so lines have shortened.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to New York City, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Utah’s National Parks

The Castle, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Photo: National Park Service

The Castle, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Photo: NPS Photo

Spring and September (post-Labor Day) through October are best: The temperatures are generally moderate and the crowds thin.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Utah’s National Parks, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Big Island, Hawaii

Waipio Valley lookout, Big Island, Hawaii

Waipio Valley lookout, Big Island, Hawaii. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

October is the choicest month for the Big Island, as the weather is driest—with daytime temperatures hovering around 85 degrees—and the crowds are thin, so prices are lower. (The only thing it’s not an ideal time for is surfing.)

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Big Island, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

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.)

Ask Wendy to find the right Trusted Travel Expert to plan your best possible trip.

Madrid, Spain

madrid city scape at night

Madrid at night. Photo: Jaime Gros

In September and October, the blistering summer heat abates and cultural events pick up, with festivals, theater shows, and concerts.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Madrid, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Burgundy, France

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 in the menus of the local restaurants.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Burgundy, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Sicily

Mountain village Novara di Sicilia, Sicily, Italy

Mountain village Novara di Sicilia, Sicily, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

October is one of the most colorful and flavorful months in Sicily. It is the season of the harvest, 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. The air and sea temperatures are still warm and inviting, while the breathtaking array of ancient cultural sites are bathed in a crisp autumn light. Both flights and accommodations are less expensive than during the summer, and the fewer tourists mean you get a more intimate experience with the people of Sicily.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Sicily, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Rome

Via dei Prefetti, Rome

Balcony with a view, Via dei Prefetti, Rome. Photo courtesy Homebase Abroad.

Rome is best in October, when the weather is still warm but you don’t need to wait in line for an outside table in the city’s iconic piazze. The first ten days of November are wonderful, too. Marked by the Feast Days of San Martino (named for the patron saint of winemakers) and celebrated by the nineteenth-century poet Giovanni Pascoli as a brief return to summer, these days are always sunny and mild, and yet they fall in the slow season, which means cheaper hotel rates and flights.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Rome, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

amalfi coast italy photo by andi peh pixabay

The Amalfi Coast. Photo: Andi Peh/Pixabay

October is when the throngs of cruise-ship passengers have thinned, hotel prices have dropped (a little), there’s still plenty of sun, and the sea is still warm enough for swimming.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guides to the Amalfi Coast and Italy Villa Vacations, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Austria’s Danube Valley

Wachau, Austria

Wachau, 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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Austria, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Pylos, Greece

A view over Pylos, Greece from the rooftop bar of the westin resort costa navarino

A view over Pylos, Greece. Photo: The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino

Pylos is the gateway to the Peloponnese, an unspoiled region of southern Greece. Come in October and you can explore Pylos’s natural beauty, stroll the cobblestone streets of nearby villages, learn about the historic naval battle that took place here in 1827, and swim in the still-pleasant waters of the Ionian Sea. You don’t even have to be a hardcore runner to join the Navarino Challenge, which offers three noncompetitive routes ranging from a 5k to a half-marathon.

Ask Wendy to find the right Trusted Travel Expert to plan your best possible trip.

St. Petersburg, Russia

Church of the Resurection, St. Petersburg, Russia

Church of the Resurection, St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Exeter International

October through May are the ideal months in St. Petersburg. That’s when the cruise ships are gone, theater is in season, and local children are in school. Russia does cold better than hot—imagine shuffling through the Hermitage in 90-degree heat with tens of thousands of other tourists. If you just can’t bear chilly weather (St. Petersburg is about as cold as New York City in the winter), October is the month to go.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to St. Petersburg, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Jordan

The dunes in Wadi Rum

Jordan is ideal in October, when the heat of summer has passed but the cold of winter—which can be particularly harsh in desert regions such as Wadi Rum—has not yet arrived.

Ask Wendy to find the right Trusted Travel Expert to plan your best possible trip.

China

Hangzhou west lake with Banyan tree and boat

Hangzhou Lake, China. Photo: WildChina Travel

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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to China’s Big Cities and Small Villages, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Vietnam

Vietnam infinity pool view over jungle

Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam. Photo: Journeys Within

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 (October through December) is when you’ll find the best weather conditions in Ho Chi Minh City and the south.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Vietnam, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Japan

A Buddhist monk contemplates the zen garden at Zuiho-In Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Photo: Ben Simmons

Zuiho-In Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Photo: Ben Simmons

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

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Classic Japan, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

The Seychelles

Fregate Island, Seychelles

Fregate Island in Seychelles. Photo: Fregate Island

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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Seychelles, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Mongolia

An eagle hunter on horseback in Mongolia holding an eagle

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

September is the perfect month for camel trekking, but 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 who rely on the income they earn during the event. Our Trusted Travel Expert can even arrange for you to have dinner with the competitors themselves.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Mongolia, and use Wendy’s trip request form to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Other Good Options This Month

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

American West: River Rafting

Argentina: Buenos Aires

Australia: Great Barrier Reef

Bhutan: River Rafting

Bolivia

Botswana

The Brazilian Amazon

The California Coast

Chile and Argentina: Patagonia

China: Yunnan Province

Costa Rica: fishing, wildlife and turtle hatching

Croatia

Czech Republic

Cuba

Egypt

England: The Cotswolds and London

European Canal Barge Cruises

Fiji

France: Paris

French Polynesia

Hawaii: Maui

Hungary

India: Agra, Mumbai, Delhi, and Trekking in the Himalayas

Indonesia: Bali’s rainy season

Ireland: Killarney and County Kerry

Israel

Italy: Florence

Laos

Mexico: Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and the Riviera Maya

Morocco: Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains

Myanmar: tropical areas

Nepal

Netherlands: Amsterdam

New Zealand: Hiking and Cycling in Queenstown

Papua New Guinea: Trekking

Peru

Portugal

Romania

Russia: Moscow

Scotland

South Africa: Cape Town and the Winelands

Spain: Andalusia

Thailand: Bangkok and the North

Turkey: Cappadocia, Istanbul, and the Aegean Coast

Washington, D.C.

Wyoming: Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons

Wyoming and Montana: Yellowstone National Park

 

 

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

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2 Comments

  1. Ellen Korval

    We used Caroline Bach Wood for our family trip to the national parks . She was extremely helpful and knowledgable!! The hotels that she suggested we use were wonderful and she was very accessible and easy to work with. I would certainly recomnend her to friends and she stands as a good representative of your company.

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