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Best places to travel in October 2021 & 2022

Whether you’re looking for spring blooms, autumnal foliage or prime wildlife-viewing opportunities, you’ll find plenty of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to travel in October. Below are just some of the places we feel are at their best at this time of year, along with our suggestions on the best things to do there.

You could make the most of excellent hiking conditions in New Zealand, go whale watching in South Africa, or indulge in fresh produce during harvest time in Vietnam, Japan or Italy. And, in many of our chosen countries, you’ll be visiting outside the busiest times of year.

Festivals and events around the world in October

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1. India

As the monsoon season ends, October heralds the return of warm, sunny days, particularly in the north of India. The south can experience showers, but this creates vivid-green landscapes and freshens the air, making it a great time to explore outdoors, albeit with a waterproof jacket to hand. Average temperatures fall between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F). Despite the pleasant conditions, visitor numbers are still lower than in the coming months of November to January, so you can enjoy popular sights without the crowds. Your visit might also fall during Diwali, when everywhere is illuminated with candles, lights and fireworks.

Leh Monastery, Ladakh, India
Leh Monastery, Ladakh, India

2. Australia

In the midst of Australia’s spring, October is warm but not sweltering. Its landscapes are often covered in a vibrant layer of wildflowers as a result of occasional storms in the more humid north, which also add to the lushness of the country’s rainforests and wetlands. It’s a good time for viewing wildlife whether you’re in the north or the south of the country, and conditions are excellent for following hiking trails through national parks and along the coast. We recommend taking the opportunity to explore the Blue Mountains’ well-marked trails before the summer visitors arrive.

Windjana Gorge, Devonian Reef National Parks
Windjana Gorge, Devonian Reef National Parks

3. New Zealand

As spring dawns, days get warmer and snowmelt feeds waterfalls and makes rivers ripe for white-water rafting. You can still expect rain, as with any time of year in New Zealand, but this isn’t a country you visit for the weather. With warm layers and a waterproof jacket to hand, you can take advantage of New Zealand’s mountainous landscapes, glistening fiords and volcanic parks without the same level of visitors that summer brings, driving quiet roads and enjoying the pick of hotel options.

Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

4. Japan

Autumn is unmistakable in Japan, with forests donning coats of bright red, blazing orange and warm gold. For the best displays during October, head to more northerly or high-altitude regions like Hokkaido. The weather is cooler than the summer, but still mild enough to enjoy time in the outdoors, making this a popular month for travel in Japan as people balance national parks with museums and galleries. October is also prime harvest time, so wherever you dine you can enjoy fresh, seasonal produce straight from the fields. You might also come across harvest festivals that range from low-key events to vibrant parades.

Flower fields of Furano and Biei, Hokkaido
Flower fields of Furano and Biei, Hokkaido

5. China

While China’s vast size means its climate varies by region, October is generally warm and dry. Visiting at this time means you’ll find a comfortable window between the humid conditions of summer and the cold winter months. We recommend avoiding the first week of October, when a national holiday means travel gets busy. But, the rest of the month is a good time to visit to enjoy autumnal displays in city parks and across rural landscapes, as well as mild temperatures and little rain.

Great Wall, Beijing
Great Wall, Beijing

6. South Africa

Whale watching, wildflowers and wildlife viewing are all at their peak in South Africa during October, making it one of the best months to combine regions. Temperatures begin to heat up across the country, but the rains have yet to fall in the north. It means safari areas like the Kruger are still dry, making wildlife easier to spot as animals gather around vital water sources. Along the coast, southern right whales have yet to migrate south, so you can often see them breaching offshore. And, the country’s renowned wildflowers are still in bloom, covering the west coast’s dry and dusty landscape in a colorful carpet.

Lion in the Kruger
Lion in the Kruger

7. Italy

With the heat of summer now faded, October makes for a more comfortable time of year to explore Italy, and you won’t see as many visitors flocking to the country’s attractions. As well as enjoying quieter city breaks in Rome and Venice, you could venture into the countryside, where harvest is in full swing. It’s a particularly good time to dine on a bounty of fresh mushrooms, olives, truffles and chestnuts. And, with festivals dedicated to food and wine taking place across the country, you can taste your way through its rolling hills, rustic towns and villages and verdant valleys.

Gondola, Venice
Gondola, Venice

8. Thailand

While the weather can be difficult to predict in Thailand during October — it depends on the length of the monsoon season — lower humidity and fewer visitors arguably make this a more comfortable time to visit. For the best chance of avoiding rain, aim for the end of the month. That said, the odd downpour shouldn’t affect your trip too much, and creates lush, green landscapes in the north, where you can explore forests and waterfalls. If you’re planning to relax on the beach, be prepared to balance sunshine with heavy showers — staying on the mainland rather than one of the islands gives you a better chance of settled weather.

Waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park
Waterfall in the Doi Inthanon National Park

9. Chile

Enjoying the warmth of spring, Chile in October sees brilliant wildflowers coating its central and northern regions, mild days ripe for exploring and a smattering of rain here and there. While southern Patagonia is still feeling winter’s chill, you’ll begin to experience less rain and longer daylight hours, so as long as you wrap up, it’s a good time for hiking. Elsewhere, the Atacama Desert is a year-round destination, while in cities like Santiago you’ll be rubbing shoulders with fewer visitors than you would during the upcoming summer months, and should get more for your money.

Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine, Chile

10. Peru

As Peru reaches the end of its dry season in October, wildlife viewing in the Amazon rainforest and the country’s cloudforests is at its best and trekking conditions are excellent. The Sacred Valley trails will still be relatively crowd-free compared to the summer (though booking in advance is still required), and you can usually enjoy bright, sunny days with clear blue skies, along with mild-to-warm temperatures. Along the coast, surfers can pick up the early summer swells, or you can simply relax as temperatures in the north become increasingly pleasant.

The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley

11. The US

In the northern half of the USA, October draws visitors seeking fall foliage, particularly in New England, though many national parks and cities like New York and Washington also put on a display. The weather is usually still mild, and you’ll often experience crisp, sunny days that bring out the autumnal colours even more. While some parts of the South experience hurricanes and storms, it's a good time to visit the Southwest, where temperatures are more comfortable than the hot summer months. Meanwhile, Hawaii sees warm, sunny days with fewer visitors than in the summer or the festive season.

New England Fall colours
New England Fall colours

12. Sri Lanka

While ranked as one of Sri Lanka’s wettest months, October can vary from one year to the next as it generally falls between monsoon seasons. The southwest monsoon fades off as the month progresses, replaced by a monsoon in the northeast, so you can expect sporadic rainfall wherever you are. However, with few visitors, you’ll get sights almost to yourself and can often find excellent value. When there isn’t rain, you’ll tend to experience warm, sunny weather, particularly in the Cultural Triangle of the north, which tends to stay hot and dry until the end of the month.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Sigiriya Rock Fortress

13. Safaris

Across sub-Saharan Africa, October falls within the ‘dry season’, which is widely thought to provide the best conditions for wildlife viewing. With little rain falling since June, parks and reserves have limited water resources, so wildlife congregates around precious waterholes and rivers. It means their whereabouts is more predictable, increasing your chance of seeing all the headline animals, from the Big Five to antelope species, giraffe and cheetah. The exception is Botswana, where water levels in the Okavango Delta are at their highest, making it a good time for exploring by boat and mokoro (traditional canoe).

Male lion, Masai Mara
Male lion, Masai Mara

14. Namibia

As you reach the end of Namibia’s dry season in October, the landscape is at its most arid and barren, with little vegetation, making it easier to spot wildlife. Temperatures are heating up as summer approaches, and the chance of showers begins to increase, though they shouldn’t impact your experience. Nights are still cool with clear skies, making for excellent stargazing opportunities. The dryness of the landscape can mean there’s more dust on game drives, but animals big and small tend to gather around vital water sources, which means it’s easier to know where to find them.

Giraffe in Etosha National Park
Giraffe in Etosha National Park

15. Mauritius

Dry, sunny and warm, October is one of the best months to visit Mauritius. It’s just before the main summer season, though still popular with visitors, particularly families visiting during half term. It’s a good time to relax on the beach, enjoy water sports in the warm waters offshore and go walking in the Chamarel Mountains, which remain lush and green throughout the year. The island has a significant Hindu population, and with Diwali falling in October, your visit could give you a chance to experience the celebrations held during the Festival of Lights, with candles and lamps illuminating towns and villages.

Chamarel waterfall, Mauritius
Chamarel waterfall, Mauritius
Last Updated: 22/06/2021 09:06:10