When planning the perfect vacation, it’s not just about where you go – it’s about when you go. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone complain about the weather in Cuba during their vacation because they inadvertently went during storm season, or regretted that they just missed that awesome festival in Croatia because they didn’t plan their trip accordingly.
From New Caledonia’s perfect shoulder season and London’s whimsical holiday vibes to Croatia’s best music festivals and the driest time of year to travel to Thailand, we’ve got you covered so that once you figure out when you can travel, you’ll know exactly where to go.
Some destinations such as Hawaii offer travelers perfect weather and virtually the same vibe all year round, and those destinations aren’t on this list for that reason. In this article, we’re getting specific with what’s different during these particular months and why it’s the best time of year to visit, mmmkay?
Below you’ll see that all twelve months of the year have been matched with the perfect destination to travel to for that particular month. Let’s get started with our month-by-month travel guide:
September: Los Angeles
Los Angeles never comes up short when it comes to offering its visitors plenty to see and experience. LA is home to the world’s best theme parks, some of the world’s most famous beaches, iconic hotels, plenty of entertainment, Hollywood glamour, celebrity sightings, a thriving nightlife and perfect sunny weather. Some tourists find California summers to be too hot, but September weather is perfect as it’s end-of-summer sunshine is warm without being too hot, yet the fun summer vibes are still in full force all over the city. Being an ingredient-rich city, the dining experience in LA will always be fantastic and California vineyards produce some of the best-tasting wine in the world.
Hotel recommendation: The Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows. (This chic and elegant hotel boasts beautifully manicured grounds and exquisitely designed, stylish hotel rooms. It’s also the perfect location in the heart of Santa Monica right near the promenade.)
October: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Located just east of Australia, New Caledonia’s tropical climate is best enjoyed during a fall month like October, when it is warm and sunny (but not too hot) with temperatures ranging from 26- 30°C. This French territory is known for its pristine palm-lined beaches and being home to the world’s largest marine-life-rich lagoon. A World Heritage Site since 2007, the Caledonian lagoon is a natural wonder and a must-see. The beautiful capital, Nouméa, is home to gourmet French restaurants, luxury Parisian boutiques, five star resorts and beautiful beaches. In New Caledonia, the sea is like a natural aquarium and the stretches of gorgeous beaches are lined with charming cafes and bars. Activities include world-class snorkeling and diving, kayaking, caves and shipwrecks, sailing and more.
Hotel recommendation: Le Meridien Nouméa. (This beachfront hotel boasts beautiful French-inspired architecture, lagoon views and stunning landscaped gardens.)
November: Los Cabos, Mexico
The weather in sunny Los Cabos, Mexico is fantastic in November. It’s always nice to get away to a hot and sunny destination during a gloomy and cold winter month like November. Cabo is a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, and it’s known for its postcard-perfect beaches, fun water-based activities and thriving nightlife. The water is also the perfect temperature in November, so swimming and floating in the gorgeous Sea of Cortez is a treat. Although Los Cabos can see some rain during some of the other months of the year, November averages only half an inch of precipitation, so expect plenty of sunshine!
Hotel recommendation: Dreams Los Cabos Suites. (This ocean-front resort is a luxurious all-inclusive complete with three pools and two swim-up bars. The renovated suites feature rain showers, private balconies and breathtaking views.)
December: London, England
London does the holidays right, which is why December is the most magical month of the year to visit London. Yes, it’ll be cold, but generally-speaking, people don’t really go to London for the weather (it’s never that great.) Tourists visit London for the sight-seeing and for the experience – and they’re fine with bundling up in layers while they explore this legendary city. London is known for its vibrant history and culture, complete with plenty of museums, galleries, parks, unique dining culture and attractions. It makes sense to go in December, because that’s when London has so much to offer in the form of all-out winter festivals, holiday displays and awesome Christmas markets. The capital’s biggest Christmas Tree is a sight to be seen at Trafalgar Square, and the city’s Christmas lights and holiday displays are delightfully over-the-top. The famous Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a winter village market complete with ice skating, a Ferris wheel, festive shows, artistic crafts, holiday eats and warm mulled wine all under glittering Christmas lights.
Hotel recommendation: The Dorchester. (This iconic luxury hotel is located in central london, steps from Hyde Park, and is the epitome of timeless glamour.)
January: Costa Rica
Weather-wise, January is one of the best months to travel to Costa Rica for a perfect-weather vacation. Plenty of sunshine, wildlife sightings, blue skies, tanning weather and lovely green foliage are things to expect in January. The first week of January is also the fiesta Santa Cruz complete with bull fights, parades, food, fireworks and concerts. The 2nd week of January is the Dia de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas which consists of fiestas and dancing in Alajuelita, Dulce Nombre, and Santa Cruz.
Hotel recommendation: Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve. (Experience the sounds of the rainforest and stay way up high in the tree-tops and be greeted each morning by wild monkeys, sloths and toucans. The luxurious bungalows are nestled along a ridge in the 1000-acre Rainforest Reserve and each has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean or Golfo Dulce from the spacious private decks.)
With world-famous beaches, stunning scenery, affordable prices and friendly locals, Thailand is a bucket-list worthy travel destination. February is the last month of Thailand’s dry season, which means lots of sun, beach weather, and very little rain. The famous monthly full moon party is thriving in February. There are other cool events and festivals in Thailand in February too, such as the annual flower festival and the blues festival. While you’re in Thailand, be sure to explore multiple islands. For about a $10 boat ride, you can easily island-hop and explore. When you’re island hopping in Thailand, be sure to include the Phi Phi Islands near Phuket and check out Maya Bay (where the movie The Beach was filmed) and Pi Ley Bay. The water is crystal clear in these bays and you’ll be surrounded by colorful, tropical fish and enveloped by jaw-dropping, massive cliffs and stunning rock formations. In February, the sea is calm and access to the bays will be easy.
Hotel recommendation: Phi Phi Island Cabana Hotel. (This hotel is nestled in the Phi Phi Islands National Park, its own heaven of natural tranquility and close to Maya Bay. The rooms are spacious with panoramic views and the location is perfect, close to the ferries and directly on a beautiful beach.)
March: Buenos Aires, Argentina
In March in Argentina, you’ll get mild fall weather that’s not too hot. This is perfect walking-around-and-exploring weather, which is exactly what you’ll want to do in a place like Buenos Aires. There is so much to see and do in this elegant old-soul city, but it’s not as comfortable in the sweltering heat, which is why a March visit is so appealing. An extra perk is that it’s cheap to travel there in March, so you’ll definitely find deals on your flight and on your accommodation.
Hotel recommendation: Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. (A legendary style of a 20th century french mansion, this hotel will surpass your expectations with it’s modern and renovated pool, world-class spa and sophisticated beauty.)
April: Varadero, Cuba
April is one of the best months of the year to travel to Cuba because it’s guaranteed sunshine and hot without being uncomfortably hot. Crystal clear and bright turquoise Caribbean waters are the perfect swimming temperature in Spring time. Price-wise, it’s pretty good in April, too. Sunwing Vacations offers cheap all-inclusive vacations to Cuba and you can never go wrong with their low prices. In Varadero, you’ll be spoiled with gorgeous white sand beaches, crystal-clear sea, and you’ll be a short drive from the colorful culture of old Havana. Old Havana is a vibrant gem with tons of culture and unique old-style charm. It may rain (even pour) some of the other months of the year in Cuba, but not in April!
Hotel recommendation: IBEROSTAR Laguna Azul. This luxury Cuban all-inclusive resort features 6 pools, swim-up bars, a nightclub, a theater, 5 restaurants and is situated in one of the best locations in Playa Varadero, right on a gorgeous stretch of beach.
May: New York
Weather-wise, New York in May is pretty perfect. It’s now warm enough for a picnic at Central Park, but not too hot yet. In May, you can comfortably walk around and explore the city streets and all that bustling NYC has to offer. The city isn’t as overly packed with tourists as it is during other months, and May offers visitors lots of cool food festivals, art exhibits and carnivals. During some of the other, busier months of the year, top tourist attractions are ruined which is why I prefer a month like May to visit renowned NYC.
Hotel recommendation: Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. (You can’t go wrong with a room near the iconic Central Park, and the luxurious Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a beautiful hotel in a fabulous, central location in the heart of NYC.)
June: Paris, France
Paris is absolutely beautiful in the spring-time. Warm weather, beautiful greenery and gorgeous scenery await. In Paris, it’s nice to be able to walk around and visit tourist attractions such the Eiffle Tower and the Louvre in warm weather, and in June you can sit outside and dine on rooftop patios and have breakfast at a charming outdoor restaurant in Montmartre. June also happens to be the month for the Fete de la Musique as well as the Paris Jazz Festival, where you’ll get to enjoy free outdoor concerts on a gorgeous, sunny day at the Parc Floral de Paris
Hotel recommendation: Hotel Le Meurice. With a blend of 18th century charm, contemporary chic and views of the Tuileries Garden, Le Meurice has been ranked among the most elegant hotels in the world. Located between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre, it’s ideally located for exploring all Paris has to offer.
Croatia should definitely find its way to the top of your bucket list. With stunning Game of Thrones scenery, beautiful architecture, secluded caves, unparalleled cuisine, the perfect climate and a legendary music scene, there are countless reasons why Croatia is becoming such a travel hot spot. The Yacht Week is a company that lets you sail around crystal-clear, stunning blue Adriatic Sea with your friends on a yacht, stopping at all of Croatia’s gorgeous beaches, caves and beach clubs. If you prefer to explore by land, Oh, So Croatia! organizes bus tours of Croatia including every hot spot, so that you can sit back and be taken to all the must-see destinations. Often referred to as the new Ibiza, Croatia is a music mecca that’s quickly becoming the ultimate destination for music lovers seeking out top DJs and popular artists. Croatia boasts unbelievable festivals located at world-class venues under the sun in paradise. In July, the famous Ultra music festival happens in Split, Croatia. Last year’s lineup included David Guetta and Deadmau5. After you get your festival fix, hop on a ferry to Dubrovnik to check out some Game of Thrones scenery and the charming old city. Some of the best restaurants in Croatia are sequestered within the side streets of this historic walled city.
Hotel recommendation: Prijeko Palace. (An iconic 15th century palace hotel. Remarkable hotel rooms, each named after well-known international artists, and each room is uniquely decorated with said artist’s original creations. Real grapes grow from vines on your 15th century balcony, and your view is of the charming streets of old town Dubrovnik.)
This Mediterranean Island offers travelers much more than they bargained for. Malta lies 50 miles south of Sicily, Italy and boasts some of Europe’s most beautiful and cleanest beaches. With dramatic cliff faces, charming architecture, stunning beaches, a spectacular coastline and colorful boats – Malta certainly has it all when it comes to scenery. Plus, the Maltese are especially known for their delicious cuisine. Unparalleled Mediterranean food and wine is abundant in Malta. With clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine every day, August is a hot and sunny month to enjoy this island. Gozo is a must-see while you’re there, as it’s a beautiful and serene island a short ferry ride away from main island Malta. It’s known for its beautiful beaches with clear and warm waters perfect for swimming.
Hotel recommendation: Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz. (This luxury hideaway resort is set amidst elegant tropical gardens and is located close to the iconic ‘Azure Window’ on Malta’s idyllic sister island Gozo.)
Do you think we’re missing a fantastic destination for a particular month of the year? Add your tips in the comments below!
Erica Gordon is the author of Aren’t You Glad You Read This? The Complete How-To Guide for Singles with a History of Failed Relationships Who Want their Next Relationship to Succeed, available here.