When L.M. Montgomery wrote “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” in Anne of Green Gables, she noted the delightful complexity of the month that’s so often watered down to a one-dimensional celebration of pumpkin spice. While we love a good latte, we know there’s more to October than that.
Around the world, October showcases its complexity in myriad ways. In the southern hemisphere, the month marks the start of spring in places like Australia and New Zealand, where snow melts away to reveal yellow daffodils. In Asia, it’s when the seasonal rain stops hydrating the lush, green land. Throughout the northern hemisphere, warm-colored foliage marks the start of autumn. No matter what you wish to experience, chances are October can offer you what you’re looking for somewhere around the world.
This makes the month a prime time to travel. October is often overlooked as a vacation month since many focus on summer. How many times have we faced crowds, unrelenting heat, and peak seasonal prices to fit in a trip in July? Travel is a great way to stretch yourself, but it should also be enjoyable. To showcase the variety of destinations ideal to visit that time of year, we’ve found the 15 best places to travel in October. Your pumpkin spice latte will probably taste better with your passport in hand anyway.
While it may be famous for tea parties, lobster, and clam chowder, New England is also known as one of the best areas on the U.S.’s East Coast to experience fall foliage. Whether you choose Maine’s Acadia National Park or the Vermont countryside, where you can pick up some fresh maple syrup, you’ll experience a traditional fall and have an excuse to try that new scarf-and-boot combo.
October in Vietnam marks the dry season, so you can explore without getting rained out, especially if you travel to northern cities like Hanoi. There, the weather reflects that of a typical fall, with cooler temperatures and leaves changing to yellow.
All roads lead to Rome, especially in the summer. That’s why you should hold off until October. Not only will you experience lighter crowds at all the best Instagram spots, such as Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum, but you’ll still get some warmth without the unbearable dry heat of the summer months.
While it may be fall in North America, October marks the spring season in Australia. Crisp air will welcome you to traditional favorites such as Sydney and Melbourne or the trending wine-producer Adelaide. Whether you decide to hit the beach or sip the wine, you’ll likely find springtime down under to be different from your home weather.
Traveling to the land of William Wallace in October is an ideal opportunity to take in the vibrant foliage and National Historic Landmarks before they close in November for the winter months. While rain is not uncommon in October in Scotland, it adds to the charm. What better weather to drink tea with shortbread or go for the heavy Haggis Scotch combo?
Perhaps the least discovered of its Asian capital city peers, Taipei is a blend of old Taoist temples, new skyscrapers, and flashy shopping malls. In October, the oppressive humidity relents to serve up clear skies, so you can take in the modern metropolis while enjoying fried cuttlefish on a stick and cheap street-side beer.
While the argument is “it’s always a good time to visit California’s wine country,” taking a trip to Napa in October is ideal for experiencing the harvest season. If you’d like to participate in more than just wine tasting, you can also join in picking the grapes and smashing them during harvest season.
The oppressive heat that causes most madrileños to head to the coast in August is gone, but the flamenco dancing and late-night dinners are still in. Enjoy rooftop tapas or a hunt through El Rastro market without breaking a sweat.
Known for its safaris, Botswana starts to warm up in October, making it less popular for tourists but better for catching glimpses of elephants, rhinos, and crocodiles. Who knows? You might catch a royal sighting, too.
Catch the tail-end of ski season with an October trip to Queenstown. Through early October, the area’s ski fields remain open, so you can ski and either golf, bike, or hike in the afternoons. Alternatively, take the 45-minute trek to Glenorchy, one of New Zealand’s World Heritage sites. The lush natural area is also known as Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings.
Albuquerque is known for its stunning high desert landscapes, but in October, the countryside is filled with colorful hot-air balloons for the International Balloon Fiesta. Wake up early and grab a breakfast burrito before sunrise to experience the “balloon glows,” the illumination of the mass launch against the night sky.
Gone are the summer crowds and the rain. The holiday buzz is still around the corner, leaving a perfect pocket of time to embrace the aloha lifestyle. Head to Kauai for secret swimming holes or Oahu to surf and eat the top fare. If the beach is calling, consider Maui, with its 30 miles of shoreline.
If you plan a trip to Mexico City toward the end of the month, you can experience Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The traditional observance honors the lives of deceased loved ones and dates back to Aztec times. Experience the richly colored altars made to remember friends and family members, or catch a parade.
Whether you’re there for the art, wine, or natural landscape, Cape Town will welcome you with warm spring temperatures in October. Settled where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, the cosmopolitan city is within a cable car’s reach of Table Mountain and a boat ride away from Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated before it became a museum.
Visiting Petra, one of the new seven wonders of the world, might be on your bucket list, and Jordan sees enough sunny days in October to still light the rock comprising Petra its signature rose red. Outside of Petra, Jordan boasts a number of spectacular sights and experiences, such as swimming in the Red Sea, spending the night in a Bedouin camp, or journeying into the Valley of the Moon, also known as Wadi Rum, on a camel.