Bodegas Ysios, La Rioja

Best Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Travel Bloggers Share Their Favorite Travel For All Seasons

If you’re like me, you’re constantly daydreaming about upcoming travel plans, with the ultimate question: where nextMost of the time our travel plans revolve around breaks in our work schedule that allow us to plan escapes throughout the year and much of our choice of where to go revolves around when we can go. I’ve teamed up with other travel bloggers from around the globe to highlight great destinations for every month of the year! As you begin brainstorming your 2017 getaways, here’s some destination inspiration:

Where to Travel in January: New Zealand

New Zealand and Other Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

With summer in full swing, New Zealand’s warmest temps are found during January and into February. With long days and the tourist season in full swing, you’ll have endless options outdoors from hiking, kayaking, surfing, or beach time lazing. While you’ll be there when NZ sees some of its greatest number of tourists, the January summer time temps are perfect for those that typically are looking for an escape from the cold temps of January in other parts of the world! Plus, with music festivals, outdoor events, and food festivals on offer during the month, it’s a great time for on-the-go travelers to pack some unique experiences into their itineraries.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in January: Smack dab in the middle of its dry season, Myanmar is a great destination that has continued to gain traction from culture-seeking travelers since it opened its borders to tourism a few years back. With a New Year’s celebration and a Full Moon Festival taking place in January, it’s a great place to kick off a year of travel!

Where to Travel in February: Thailand

Phuket and Other Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Soraya Nicholls, Hello Raya

Have you ever seen those photos of white sandy beaches with turquoise blue water rolling in? What about cliff top villas, with infinity pools overlooking lush greenery and the turquoise ocean? There’s a solid chance that you have been looking at photos of Phuket in the South of Thailand. Between the months of December to April, the weather in Phuket is at its high. Picture clear blue skies, blue as blue can get water, and white sandy beaches that line the coast for kilometers…

While December and January might be a more convenient time to visit because of the holiday season, Phuket gets extremely busy with tourists. This also means high season pricing as well. In February, the weather is still fantastic but there are fewer tourists and the prices of accommodation and tours are much more affordable.

My favorite thing to do in Phuket is to plan a sailing trip. There are plenty of day tours on offer, but I highly recommend joining a sailing trip on a catamaran that runs between 3-7 nights. By opting for a boat-based excursion, you’ll skip the mass amount of tourists and you’ll peacefully get to explore this magical part of the world.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in February: Want a wintry escape complete with great snow sports plus luxurious pampering? Head to Aspen where outdoors activities are matched by its après ski scene, which ranked supreme in North America according to Conde Nast.

Where to Travel in March: Washington, DC

Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Charles McCool, McCool Travel

Washington, DC is incredible during spring time, and while April is usually more predictable, March can sneak in some great weather. People from around the world flock to the area to bask in the glory of the cherry blossoms. Whether we have had a devastating or mild winter, spring signifies a time of renewal and there is huge attitude shift—people are happy, days are mild and long, food trucks have growing lines. My best McCool Travel tip? There is so much to do around and near Washington, DC! For instance, visit cherry blossoms in nearby Kenwood, Maryland to avoid hectic crowds and view just as stellar (if not better) cherry blossoms.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in March: If Vietnam has been on your bucket list, March is a great time to head to Southeast Asia to take in all that Vietnam has to offer. With warm temps and low rainfall, you’ll be able to comfortably explore destinations across the country.

Where to Travel in April: South Korea

Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Samantha Applewhaite, Expat and the City

Spring is my favorite time of year. During April, we say goodbye to the cold weather, welcome the new, and watch the leaves and flowers bloom. I’ve been lucky to have lived in South Korea for two spring seasons and it’s such a beautiful time to explore the country, especially in April. The cherry blossoms are out in full effect and will leave you in awe! You can do your own walk-about to find these beautiful cotton-candy pink trees. Head to Gwangan Beach area in Busan to explore or if you would prefer some photo-shoot-worthy pics, you can visit the Cherry Blossom Festival, held every April in Jinhae. Both locals and foreigners from all around the country (and internationally) flock to this popular locale to enjoy the pretty petals snowing down (it really does look like snow when they fall from the trees!). Spring is a perfect time to be in Korea to enjoy the great outdoors and everything that Mother Nature has to offer.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in April: Head to Portugal in April for fewer tourists, spring weather and Easter celebrations taking place mid-month. ICYMI, Portugal was named Travel & Leisure’s Destination of the Year!

Where to Travel in May: Japan

Best Destinations for Every Month

Inspiration from Annemarie Strehl, Travel on the Brain

Cherry blossom season is a draw around the globe during springtime, but Japan has so much more to leave you in awe. Head to Kawaguchiko near Mount Fuji in the first week of May to catch the fields tinted in vivid pinks, purples and whites for a spectacular flower show. There is even food that matches those colours! If you’re lucky, you can catch the magical wisteria lanes, such as at the Ashikaga Flower Park outside of Tokyo or the Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo. You will walk beneath garlands upon garlands of radiant flowers, including roses. There are festivals around the flowering times and you can see them illuminated at night! A big plus is that the weather in May much more reliable with lots of sun and warm days. If you happen to arrive at the end of May, you may be able to experience the wild and wonderful Sanja Matsuri, one of the biggest temple festivals in Japan’s capital. The streets are full of people playfully fighting over carrying shrines, food stalls will pop up around Sensoji Temple, and there is live music and performances, such as of traditional temple maid (miko) dances.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in May: With summer on its way in the northern hemisphere, days are getting longer and temps are warming up. Head to Scotland where you can make your way from Edinburgh up to the Highlands for long days filled with exploring historical towns and enjoying outdoor activities. Golf, fish, or enjoy the many festivals – from whisky festivals to celebrations of the arts – scheduled during the month.

Where to Travel in June: Georgia

Georgia and Other Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Georgia has put itself on the map recently as an up-and-coming destination for travelers looking for something off-the-beaten-path with opportunities for cultural and gastronomic immersion. June brings warm temps without the deep heat of July and August so trekkers will find opportunities to explore outdoors during the early summer period.  Unbeknownst to many, Georgia is actually the oldest wine-producing nation in the world with a unique food scene that represents and interesting fusion of cultures. Taste Georgia,  a food and wine-focused tour company based in the region, offers cooking classes and market tours through the area for a little culinary edification during your adventure.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in June: Most people think of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada as a wintry skiing destination, but head there in June for crisp alpine air and temps that are comfortable for hiking and boating.

Where to Travel in July: Bosnia

Bosnia and Other Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Ariana Kajic, The Bosnian Aussie

With old stone cobblestone streets, coloured houses on narrow windy streets, an old mosque with amazing views and an iconic bridge connecting the two banks of the emerald-green Neretva River, one would think they have stepped into a fairytale land when in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Two decades ago this beautiful place suffered so much during the war, but in the last few years tourism has picked up and it’s rapidly become a hot spot for travellers, with everyone coming to see the iconic arch bridge.

The Stari Most “old Bridge” was originally built in 1566 and stood for 427 years until 9th November 1993, when the Croatian forces bombard it with grenades and bullets and it fell into river below. In 2004, it was finally rebuilt and again is the main attraction in town. A tradition as old as the old Bridge is what all tourists  are amazed by; young men jumping into the freezing river some 24 meters below.

Every summer at the end of July, these local men as well as men from neighbouring countries compete for first place in two different styles: head first jump and legs tucked in style. This all day event brings travellers from all across the world and with some paid training from the locals, you can try this jump yourself and have your name in the record book. Though I would not recommend this unless you are a very strong swimmer, I would recommend a visit to Mostar at the end of July. Besides the gorgeous fairytale setting, Mostar during July offers a typical Balkan lifestyle of chilling out with a traditional coffee by the river, and lounging around drinking cocktails with friends at night. Sometimes the religious holiday Ramazan (Ramadan) falls on July and the Bosnian Muslims fast all day and have all big feast at the end of the fast which is signaled by a firework best seen while on the bridge. This continues every night for a month until Bajram (Eid) is celebrated.

With so many beautiful places near by, a few days stay is recommended to see and experience it as a local. They say it’s not the sound that wakes you up in Mostar but the light. Experience a sunset and sunrise in this gorgeous city, and be in awe of its beauty.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in July: Interested in a traditional safari? You can enjoy a safari during many months of the year, but head to Kenya to see the Wildebeest Migration which happens beginning in July.

Where to Travel in August: The California Coast

California and Other Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

California runs almost 800 miles from North to South. As you may expect, the climate and landscape changes as you make your way down the California coastline. Rent a convertible and drive the Pacific Coast Highway for an epic summertime road trip. Summer months in California mean very little rainfall if any, and the coastal towns will still provide cooler temps at night and some much-needed seaside breezes to help cut the heat. Enjoy the upscale beach vibe in Carmel, take in the rugged coastal views in Big Sur, enjoy the Spanish architecture and beach scene in Santa Barbara, and take in the Danish-inspired town of Solvang while you make your way south to San Diego. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the nuances of California’s varied landscape, and be sure to include some time in Napa and Sonoma for some wine tasting on the front end of your trip!

Other Great Destinations to Consider in August: If a boat-based safari on the Okavango Delta in Botswana has been on your bucket list, August is a time when water levels are still high and wildlife is active making it a great time to visit. Just keep in mind that nighttime temps can be extremely chilly so pack accordingly!

Where to Travel in September: Ireland

Best Destinations for Every Month

Inspiration from Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

Whether you’re traveling as a couple, as a family, or as a group of friends, Ireland has plenty on offer to cater to every group – or solo! – dynamic. To me, it’s an unassuming destination that brings serious wow factor, and there’s no better time to visit than in September, when the weather is at its best and summer vacation tourism has slowed. Spend a few days in Dublin to enjoy the capital city and its tourist highlights before exploring further afield. Much of Ireland’s beauty lies in the countryside where emerald green landscapes go on for days and the landscape is peppered with castles, ring forts and quintessential Irish pubs perfect for a mid-day pint. If you have the confidence to rent a car and explore independently, do it. Having the independence to explore and enjoy at your own pace makes the journey that much more beautiful. Take the time to drive the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara where the vistas will wow you at every turn. It’s tempting to try to cram in the entire country into a two-week trip, but narrowing down the focus and delving into a few regions in-depth will allow you to enjoy a more insightful Irish travel experience.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in September: Head to Croatia and other destinations on the Adriatic Coast for a seaside fix after the summer crowds have left and before the chill of fall sets in. As a bonus, you’ll also score shoulder season pricing! 

Where to Travel in October: Southern Italy

Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Jerome Shaw, Travel Boldly

Any time is a great time to visit Italy but the summer crowds can be daunting especially at some of the well-known attractions. Let summer slip away and visit in autumn and you’ll find much more relaxed pace even in Florence and Rome.

October is the perfect time to visit Southern Italy. Sicily and Puglia are wonderful this time of year. The weather is still warm and the fall harvest makes the foods even more spectacular. The crowds are lighter and you can still find festivals like the one I stumbled upon on a Sunday evening in the village of Felline, Salento near Lecce, Puglia. The town square was filled with lights and music, and later in the evening town’s orchestra held a concert.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in October: Summer hasn’t quite set in yet, but head to South Africa as things begin to warm up! Flowers are in bloom, temps are comfortable for walking, and the beach is still enticing for a daytime rendezvous.

Where to Travel in November: Malta & Gozo

Top Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

For an escape laden with sun and sand even into November, head to Malta and Gozo for moderate temps as autumn comes to a close. Malta has plenty on offer for culture enthusiasts, history buffs and nightlife lovers, but the neighboring island of Gozo is a less-trafficked gem worth a couple of days on its own. Rent a farmhouse in Gozo, explore some of the world’s most ancient temples, visit the jaw-dropping Azure Window, and take in the scenery as the heavily Catholic island begins to prepare for Christmas celebrations.

Other Great Destinations to Consider in November: To kick-start the holidays, head to New York City for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and to see the city turn into a holiday wonderland during the Christmas tree lighting at the Rockefeller Center.

Where to Travel in December: Eastern Caribbean

Best Travel Destinations for Every Month of the Year

Inspiration from Tom Westerhof, Beach Bar Bums

Our family has been traveling to St. Kitts for over a decade and always visit sometime between Thanksgiving and mid-December. Typically referred to as the “shoulder season” due to the fact that it falls after hurricane season but before the high season, the period between mid-November and mid-December offers discounted off-season pricing to a warm weather getaway (daily low and high temps normally range between mid 70s to mid 80s) at a time when winter starts clawing its way into your life. Even though there are fewer tourists on the island, all of the businesses are still open as the island is a major cruise ship destination. Less tourists also means more room on the beach, shorter lines at restaurants and deals to be had with the tour operators. Throw in holiday decorations, music and cheer as the island gears up for Christmas and you have quite the festive atmosphere!

Other Great Destinations to Consider in December: If you’re a holiday lover, head to Quebec City where the old town ups the charm factor with gorgeous Christmas decorations in a Europe-meets-North America setting. Sip mulled wine, nosh on gingerbread, listen to carolers, or go dog sledding for the ultimate wintry escape!

✸ ✸ ✸
Which of these is on your 2017 travel list? Do you have your own favorites to add?

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.