Deciding when you should jet off can make or break a holiday. After weeks or months of planning, the last thing you want is a holiday plagued by monsoon rains or unbearable heat and crowds. Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and found the best times to visit all your favourite destinations. Pick your continent, find your country and get booking.
Photo credit: Tokyo – Jezael Melgoza
As the world’s largest continent Asia has both a temperate seasonal climate to the east and a year-round summer in the south. You’ll be able to experience wet and dry seasons, avoid the monsoons and find the sun as you reach the equator – Asia has something for everyone.
– Before booking your travel, make sure you take Hong Kong’s national holidays into consideration: Golden Week (usually the first week of May), National Day (1 October), and Chinese New Year (which changes annually but falls between January and February) is when the locals are celebrating and travelling with attractions and businesses changing their working hours.
– Although the high season of July and August brings more crowds, it also offers more parties and festivals for you to enjoy.
– Avoid Golden Week (normally the last week of April – beginning of May) when the country celebrates four national holidays in one week and the Japanese take advantage of travelling around the country to visit friends and family.
– Winter brings snow to the region whereas summer can be uncomfortably hot with temperatures reaching 40ºC. Travelling between May and October brings warm, pleasant weather across most of the country.
– It’s worth seeing Singaporeans celebrate Lion Day, their National Day, on 9 August with parades, festivities and fireworks.
– The only day this busy hub really shuts down are the first two days of Chinese New Year (which falls on a different day each year but always over January or February) – all other national holidays often result in busier crowds as locals eat, shop and visit friends and family.
– Sri Lanka’s prime weather and therefore ultimate visiting time depends on which coast you’re visiting. For the east coast visit from April/May–September and for the west, you’ll want to travel from December–March.
– For whale watching from the south of the island, visit from November to April to see Blue, Humpback and Sperm whales migrating (and when the waves aren’t quite as choppy as other months).
UAE – Dubai
– Visit in the cooler climates of March-April and November-December.
– As a Muslim country, the religious fasting month of Ramadan, which runs from 6 May-3 June in 2019 means you can expect some altered opening times. Attractions operate shorter days and some restaurants remain closed until after sunset.
Photo credit: Kilimanjaro, Kenya – Sergey Pesterev
Africa brings to mind dry open plains and hot, really hot, temperatures, perfect for those summer travels. From once-in-a-lifetime safaris to the perfect white sands of the Seychelles here are the best times to visit Africa.
– June to August can be overwhelmingly hot especially once you move away from the coast. Daily temperatures exceed 30ºC but if you’re looking for a hot, relaxing beach holiday, this may suit you nicely.
– Shops, restaurants and attractions may have different opening hours during Ramadan (6 May-3 June).
– The wet season is divided into the long rains (April-June) and the short rains (November-December) but the added green landscapes and smaller crowds mean it’s still a good time to visit.
– The wet season runs from late December-March and often includes cyclones.
– Spring is ideal for hiking activities when the mountains are green and lush but not too hot.
– Summer in November and December can be very hot and you’ll find that the majority of visitors arrive around the Christmas holidays.
– For a successful whale watching trip, visit from July-November.
When is the best time to visit… Europe?
Photo credit: Lisbon – Sean Pavone
We’re all too familiar with the European climate, and its unpredictability, in the west. That’s why it’s imperative that you get the booking right. From snow sports in the Alps to tulip spotting in the Netherlands, here’s all you need to know about the optimum time to visit Europe.
– Winters are mild in Cyprus and spring can arrive bright and early from February onwards on this Mediterranean island.
– However, winter has the highest rainfall which is worth bearing in mind if you’re on the hunt for winter sun.
– For plenty of snow sport options, the Alps have guaranteed snow with ski resorts open from late December to April.
– As many of the French like to holiday in their own country (and who can blame them, it’s beautiful) the tourist peak season of mid-July–August is busy and often more expensive. Instead holiday from April–June or September–November for pleasant weather and less crowds.
– For le capital, take your umbrella in May as Paris can be sprinkled with showers.
– Forget the summer holidays, Germany is also worth considering later in the year especially for Oktoberfest (which you guessed it, occurs in October) and the many Christmas markets that pop up in December.
– If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list (and they really should be), your best viewing opportunities are from late September to late March.
– You’ll have an even higher chance during the Equinox (when the centre of the sun is directly above the earth’s equator). The Equinox occurs twice a day in March and September.
– Italy has a selection of mountain resorts with snowboarding, skiing and après ski options. January–March has the best weather but it’s worth avoiding the February half term when school trips descend on the slopes.
– As the nation is known for its tulips, arrive between mid-April and mid-May to see the famous flower in bloom.
– Amsterdam’s Tulip Festival takes place between March and May every year 35 km from Amsterdam in the town of Lisse.
– While you’ll get snow-sprinkled Insta pics, the day time temperature from December to February hovers just above freezing.
– Holy week (the week preceding Easter) is celebrated across the country with each city and town holding a procession. The best celebrations of Semana Sanata take place in Seville, although be aware that some businesses and restaurants may close early for the national holiday.
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North America’s climate drastically differs from Canada’s subzero winters to the humid tropics of the Caribbean. Then you’ve got the whole of the USA to consider. So whether you’re after a fly-and-flop beach getaway or an ice cool skiing holiday, there are many options available to you.
East – Toronto:
West – Vancouver:
– April to October has the most enjoyable weather (after the freezing winter has passed).
– The whale watching season lasts from March to October as the Humpback, Orcas, Grey and Minke Whales migrate through Vancouver waters.
USA – Boston
USA – Chicago
USA – Los Angeles
– Spring gives you the opportunity to go whale watching while Autumn is a surfer’s paradise with waves galore at the beaches. Although we’d recommend avoiding the Thanksgiving and Halloween rush in October.
USA – Miami
USA – Orlando
– For Orlando’s theme parks visit in January and February when the kids are in school and you’ll have shorter queues. Disney World’s Epcot also runs its International Festival of Arts towards the end of February.
USA – San Francisco
– The cheapest time to visit the Big Apple is from January to mid-February – but you’ll have to wrap up warm.
– May gives you Fleet Week and Memorial Day (27 May) celebrations across the city. While September boasts one of two annual Broadway Weeks, where smash-hit shows are on a 2-for-1 offer.
Photo credit: Panama – Pablo García Saldaña
Central America has only two seasons – the dry and the wet. But even in the wet season you can have days of sun and blue skies… just with an hour of heavy rain in the afternoon. The cheaper wet season prices are still worth considering for a bargain trip, but we’d recommend packing your raincoat.
– The wet season (May-December) may be cheaper but be warned if you’re around the forests as rain comes in by the bucket load.
– The wet season (May–November) differs by coast. The Pacific coast often sees rain in the afternoon while the mornings remain sunny and dry. The Atlantic coast is more prone to tropical storms in September and October, but can be hot and humid year-round.
– As May to December is when the tropical rains arrive, April is viewed as the midpoint between the busy dry season and before the wet season really gets going. Plus, Easter processions across the country add a celebratory touch to an April trip.
Photo credit: Chile – O’car Johann Campos
It may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering the seasons of South America are the opposite to the northern hemisphere – winter is from June to August and summer takes place between December and February. Although the closer to the equator you are, the more consistently hot it will be.
– If you’re keen to climb the Andean Mountains, summer (December-February) is the only time to climb the highest mountains.
– Peru’s winter (May-September) is the dry season and the ultimate time to hike the Machu Picchu trail.
– The summer months (December-March) may be warmer but also bring strong rainfall across the region.
When is the best time to visit… Oceania?
The land down under is on it’s head to Europe, with summer running from December to February and winter from June to August. Spring and autumn switch places too. Australia’s large land mass plus New Zealand’s North and South Islands create a range of climates from the tropics to the snow covered mountains.
– For such a big country it’s worth remembering the tropical climate of Queensland is a lot hotter than Victoria’s Melbourne.
– Winter (June-August) can bring cool temperatures to the south but summer can bring temperatures above 40ºC.
– Spring and autumn have more pleasant temperatures across the country, with spring awakening local wildlife.
– Australia’s summer (November-February) brings more crowds and higher prices in the south of the country with long school holidays and locals traveling for Christmas and New Year.
– For the Great Barrier Reef, avoid the stinger (jelly fish) season of November-May, and rainy season (January-March) has less visibility in some areas.
– Avoid schoolies or leavers week (a week long party in late November/early December of high-school leavers celebrating the end of their exams). If you’re planning a trip then, you’ll want to avoid the Gold Coast in Queensland and Victor Harbor in South Australia.
– February, as the last month of summer, has fewer crowds and some of the warmest temperatures. Waitangi Day on 6 February is New Zealand’s National Day.
– Visit from November-February for the warmest weather (with November and December the more expensive and busiest months).
– Queenstown kicks off snow season with a 10-day winter festival in June. Then skiing and snowing activities can take place up until August.
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All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 16 April 2019.