If you’re tied to school vacations, keen to miss the monsoon season or hoping to snag an off-season bargain, our month-by-month guide on when to go on vacation where will help you navigate your way around the world, and let you know whether to pack a bikini – or a brolly.
Where to go on vacation in October
The Middle East is a good bet for October: temperatures are finally cool enough to enjoy sightseeing, but the deserts aren’t yet at their bone-chilling winter night lows. India emerges from monsoon season looking fresh-faced, and it’s the final weeks for cruising in southern Europe. Where shouldn’t you go? If you want sunshine, you won’t find much in Northern Europe. Towards the end of October, worse weather hits mountain regions like Slovakia’s High Tatras and the first snowfall stops hikers. Hurricane season is still underway in the Caribbean in October and monsoon season still affects mainland Southeast Asia.
The monsoon rains have come and gone, and by October India is suddenly looking green and fresh. October is the start of the season for visiting the Golden Triangle in India, but don’t be under the illusion that it will be quiet. Diwali can fall in October or November each year, a special – but busy – time to visit the country.
Japan experiences four distinct seasons. Temperatures cool in autumn and by October the traditional bathhouses start to look increasingly tempting. Trees start to turn towards the end of the month, starting in the mountains, and maples across the country go as red as Japan’s distinctive tori. October is at the tail end of typhoon season – but the worst weather tends to pass in September.
By October the Red Sea’s marine life is said to be at its peak, making October a great time for scuba divers. If you want to explore dry land (and it doesn’t get drier than Wadi Rum) then you’re escaping the peak summer temperatures – making October a great time for heading to the archaeological sites at Petra and Jerash, and to explore café culture in Amman.
Anyone who wants to tour Morocco’s highlights has a balancing act on their hands. The Moroccan Sahara is best visited outside of summer, as it can get unbearably hot. But many people forget that you can ski in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains in winter. October is your ‘Goldilocks’ month for enjoying both sand dunes and summits between their temperature extremes; in Marrakech it’s a lovely 27°C.
5. Southern Europe
Whilst it’s never cold on the Mediterranean, October does bring cooler evenings – light jacket weather, if you will. The beaches are nearly empty, so this is a brilliant time for a walking, cycling and multi activity breaks. October is considered a ‘shoulder season’, meaning there are lower prices and fewer tourists about. It’s a great time to reclaim the roads by bike.
Turkey is a great place to seek autumn sunshine, but there’s another reason to go in October: walking vacations. The 540km-long Lycian Way offers brilliant views over the Turkish Riviera, whilst you can walk the valley trails in Cappadocia under the gaze of hot air balloonists, and join them in admiring the area’s fantastic rock formations.
Our Best places to go in October Vacations
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October vacation advice
We’ve spoken to our expert travel partners to find out where they recommend traveling in October. Here’s what they say…
Julie Slade from The Ultimate Retreat Company reveals her favourite months to book in for a retreat in Spain: “Thanks to our lovely and very special microclimate, Alicante is lovely through all months of the year, but my personal favourites are... May and October. The glorious warm sunny days and cooler evenings are ideal for a wellness experience.”
Sophie Hartman, from our India travel experts Chinkara Journeys, recommends India just after the rainy season: “I love it in October – it is still hot, but everywhere is green and lovely after the monsoon. But anytime between October and April is great for visitors.”
Anne Smellie, from our volunteering specialist Oyster Worldwide, doesn’t mind a bit of rain in Costa Rica: “Late September and early October it can rain really heavily for an hour or two and then carry on. It’s not the sort of rain that stops play. It’s warm, tropical rain and it’s a genuine pleasure to sit on the porch in a rocking chair with the rain hammering down. You also get amazing thunderstorms out to sea which you can see at night when you’re patrolling the beach [for sea turtles].”
David Thomson, from our adventure experts Intrepid Travel, knows the best time to visit Uluru if you’re heading to Australia: “I love to visit the Northern Territory in the shoulder seasons. In the Red Centre, April and October are my favourite months. The summer months can have temperatures up to 40°C and winter months can have nights below zero – it’s a semi-arid desert region after all. The ‘in-between’ months are not too hot, not too cold and not too busy.”
More about Best places to go in October
Overwhelmed with the world? Can’t decide where to go? We’ve asked the experts, consulted the guides, and whittled down the best places to visit in October. Have an awesome autumn, thanks to our definitive destination list.
We’ve whittled down our list to bring you the top 10 October vacations. These places are big hits with travelers at this time of year – whether for nice weather, cool wildlife, or good value shoulder season escapes that range from Croatian cruises to hiking in Morocco.