October is an opportune time to travel: fewer crowds and moderate temperatures make for perfect conditions in many regions around the globe.
Finding the right destination at the right time is not always straight forward. Tropical weather can be fickle, and there is more to finding the best climate than simply heading south. Here is our guide to the best destinations for October sun, with various options depending on how hot you like it.For poetic souls who care not a jot about beach holidays, October brings a more wistful, painterly beauty; while spring is springing in the southern hemisphere. Here are our 10 top holiday destinations in October.
October is officially part of the wet season in Cancun, but if you know about tropical “wet seasons” then you know that rain tends to come in short bursts and sometimes that happens overnight. In other words, it will be warm and dry for at least 23 hours of each day in October, yet hotel rates are at their yearly lows because kids are back in school and few people are looking for sunshine trips this month.
Not only can you get a cheap flight into Cancun from most anywhere in October, but resorts charge around half what they were charging only a few months earlier. There are well over 1,000 hotels in this large area, which also includes Playa del Carmen and the nearby island of Cozumel just to the south. Even the all-inclusive resorts are unusually cheap in October, so if you mainly want to relax on a warm beach on your holiday, Cancun could be an ideal and cheap choice.
Anyone who believes the sum total of Catalonia’s appeal is in the bars and eateries of Barcelona reckons without the Costa Brava, 100 miles of coastline from the pretty port of Blanes up to the French border. Here, on Spain’s north-eastern shoulder, are some of the country’s most unspoilt beaches, as well as popular resorts such as Cadaques, L’Escala and Lloret de Mar.
Tutti Italia is on holiday all month long in August. You might think that would make Rome relatively quiet, with every Roman gone to the beach, but it's not; it's unbearably busy and unbearably hot. July, too, is unbearably busy and hot; so is much of June. May and September used to be quieter, but lots of people realized that and now they are busy too. Winter can be a bit miserable, though Christmas is quite busy. So October, by default, becomes our month of choice to visit Rome, when it is less busy, still lovely and warm, and you can selfie at the Trevi Fountain in that magic late-summer sunlight without quite so many tourists ruining the view. Read our features on Rome.
The beauty of this sliver of the Cyclades archipelago is a literal case of rising from the ashes. Once upon a time, Santorini was the ancient civilisation of Thira, until a colossal volcanic eruption (probably in the 16th century BC) semi-obliterated the island. What remains is a wonder: steep cliffs plunging to the Aegean; the elegant towns of Oia and Fira perching on the lip; balconies, verandas and restaurants gazing west into the sunset.
MAURITIUS, INDIAN OCEAN:
It's springtime in Mauritius in October; the weather is warming up after a long, warm winter. But it's not yet humid or rainy. Huge Indian Ocean-sized flowers are bursting in bloom and animal hoots and chattering come riffling out of the rainforest. If anyone offers you a trip to Mauritius at any other time of year, we urge you not to turn it down. But October is definitely a goodie. Find flights to Mauritius, Indian Ocean.
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS:
Out of this world all year round – there is no other wildlife like this on earth. However for maximum nature shows, it's peak season for fish and birds from June til the end of October in the Galápagos Islands. It's also when there's least rain. Wait til October and most of the other tourists will have gone back to work; plus the sea should have warmed up a bit in case you were thinking of taking a dip (and you should) to get up close to the phenomenally varied marine life.
There are few more reliable destinations for an escape into the heat than Nevada’s most famous city. True, Las Vegas can dip as low as 15C in December, but the vibe in a metropolis of charismatic casinos, huge hotels and brilliant bars is rarely less than hot. You can, of course, bet it all on black (or red) in this den of hedonism, but galleries, museums and restaurants also abound in a place of often unappreciated depth.
While it can get a bit cool toward the end of October in Istanbul, it's one of the best months to visit the city in general. It's still warm enough during the way but never sizzling, and rain isn't much of an issue either. Best of all, the massive summer crowds have thinned out quite a bit and hotel prices have also eased off their summer peaks.
Hotels still can be more expensive than you might think in Istanbul, so it pays to book something early if possible, or even look into the many hostels throughout the city. The most popular tourist districts have prices that compare to Madrid or Barcelona, but at least food can be found at bargain prices if you look around a bit.
Things are even warmer in nearby Marrakech, so either one is a good choice in October. The cities have quite a few similarities so many people are better off just choosing one or the other and spending more time there, but those with more time could enjoy visiting both.
Since summers can be brutal this time of year in Northern Africa, the high season for hotels actually begins in October. Still, prices are quite low here compared to Europe so you'll find something within your budget for sure. Be warned that the lowest rungs on the quality scale might be lower than you are used to, so it could be worth paying a bit more for a nicer place.
October is one of the best few months of the year to visit New Orleans, so schedule a trip if you can. The temperatures cool off considerably so you are likely to be quite comfortable day and night, and this is the single driest month of the year as well, which is helpful in this city that gets more rain than most people expect.