There’s an ideal time of year to visit every destination around the world. So if you’re planning your 2018 getaway for a certain month, check out which cities, countries, and regions fit your calendar best.
While the Northern Hemisphere is in the midst of winter, head south for warmer weather. You’ll find plenty of sunshine in Costa Rica, where dry season coincides with the first month of the year. The same goes for Nicaragua, Bali, Thailand, and Australia, though you may experience crowds when you get there. South Africa is also lovely in January, when summer in the Cape is in full swing. Finally, while India’s many regions have specific times of year that are considered “best,” generally, visiting Delhi or Rajasthan in January is always a good idea.
The second month of the year brings Valentine’s Day, which pales in comparison to the Carnevale festivities you’ll find in Venice. The two weeks of masked celebration vary depending on the year — in 2018, Carnevale begins on January 27 and ends on February 13 — but are always a special experience for all in attendance.
You could also skip Monsoon Season in Sri Lanka and book your trip there for February, when the north is lovely and cool, and the southern beaches sunny. Or, witness springtime in New Orleans, enjoy the tail-end of winter in Norway, experience Oman without the summer humidity, or avoid the crowds during Singapore’s off-season.
Head to Washington D.C. in March to beat the summer crowds and witness the blooming of the city’s iconic cherry blossoms (check the yearly schedule so you know when to expect the arrival of the pink flowers).
For other outdoor adventures, think about motorbiking through Vietnam, taking in the culture of Spain, or spotting wildlife in Tanzania. Buenos Aires is also a great choice for March — when prices are lowest, crowds are thinnest, and fall creates the ideal atmosphere for wandering.
For April, you’ll want to visit a place known for its springtime. Need some advice? Paris is lovely in the spring, Morocco is ideal before it gets too hot, Copenhagen is cheapest during this time of year, the Netherlands is awash in colorful bulbs, and hilly Lisbon is airy and inviting. Japan is also a great April destination, as the sakura (cherry blossoms) bloom in cities and regions around the country.
Or, head out on a safari in Namibia. April is situated between the rainy and dry seasons, which means you’ll be met with lusciously green environments while animals care for their newborns.
April showers bring May flowers, so pick another lovely springtime spot somewhere around the world. Tuscany is gorgeous year-round, but even more so without its summer crowds. California is also an ideal May destination, when the weather is temperate but nice before the summer heat waves roll in.
Visit Louisville, Kentucky, if you want to witness the Derby, or Shanghai if you’re looking for pleasant weather in the major Chinese metropolis. In Tel Aviv, everyone migrates to the beach and outdoor dining areas, and Istanbul is alive with energy before the summer heat sets in. Or, for another gorgeous trip, venture to the Scottish Highlands, where nature is in bloom and the weather is chilly, but perfectly bearable.
To celebrate the start of summer, pick a place with plenty of sunshine. Croatia is lovely during the month of June, so hit the beach, island-hop, and enjoy as much seafood as you can. Alternatively, travel to the south of France for a more luxurious riviera vacation, or the Amalfi Coast for stunning views and small coastal towns.
The capital of the United Kingdom will also be a great June destination — London comes alive as the days begin to last longer. Copenhagen is also wonderful at the start of summer, when the weather is ideal for biking and beer-drinking by the canals. Or, head for the mountains of Peru to see Machu Picchu and explore the Amazon Rainforest.
Though you’ll miss out on the opportunity to see the Northern Lights, July is the perfect time to visit Iceland. The northern country experiences nearly 24 hours of daylight in the middle of the summer thanks to its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which means you’ll have plenty of time to road-trip the entire Ring Road!
For more mid-summer fun, head to Brazil, where Americans can enter visa-free from the months of June to September. Or, choose Helsinki, where you’ll find lower prices as locals venture off on their own holidays. Other great July destinations include Kenya, Colombia, Seattle, and Stockholm.
As summer wraps up, the Scots in Edinburgh go all-out with the world-renowned Fringe Festival, capping off several months of many themed celebrations. And, while the weather in Ireland may always be a little unpredictable, you’re likely to experience a mostly temperate climate in August — perfect for grabbing a pint in Dublin or road-tripping around the Emerald Isle.
Other great August destinations include the International Beer Festival in Berlin, the waters of the Galàpagos (which are full of wildlife near the end of the summer), the crisp breezy atmosphere as fall begins in Vancouver, and the outdoor coffee shop culture in Portland, Oregon.
When autumn descends, choose your travel destination wisely. It’s shoulder season in Rome, so take your Italian vacation during September and avoid the typical summer crowds of Italy. If you have more time, head north to Florence as well, which is also best after the crowds have thinned.
Other perfect fall locations include Hong Kong, New York City, or Mexico City — all of which are pleasant as temperatures drop and leaves begin to change color. For a more outdoorsy adventure, plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park. The first national park in the U.S. is a great destination for September, when the weather is ideal for hiking, picnics, and wildlife sightings.
Take advantage of all that fall has to offer in October by heading to Nashville or Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The autumn colors during this time of year are beautiful in many locations across the U.S., notably Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina (especially Great Smoky Mountains National Park), New England, and Northern California.
Alternatively, hop over to Ireland for festival season, enjoy perfect weather in Taipei, or visit Transylvania for a bit of spookiness in the region home to Dracula.
Give thanks for the opportunity to travel in November. Many places around the world experience a break in tourism before the end of year holidays, making this month a great time to travel. Hit up Toronto for lower prices and plenty of open reservations, Seoul for art and nightlife scenes, or New Zealand for outdoor adventures. Or, find blue skies and fewer crowds in Athens, a break in the high temperatures in Las Vegas and at the Grand Canyon, and perfect hiking weather in Nepal.
As the end of the year nears, plan a holiday getaway. A host of major European cities feature wonderful Christmas markets, so if you’re looking for holiday cheer and shopping opportunities galore, head to Prague, Budapest, Frankfurt, or Vienna. If you want to hit the slopes, pick a destination in Switzerland and pack your skis for some good ole outdoor recreation.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more tropical end to the year, consider destinations in Florida, Hawaii, or the Caribbean. Those looking for something more adventurous should think about exploration in Cambodia or hiking opportunities in Chile.