Ready for your next adventure, but not quite sure when to travel where? We’ve got you covered. There is a great, big world out there just waiting to be explored, and all sorts of climates that go along with it. Furthermore – you can experience wholly different climates within one country at the same time of year, depending on which part of it you visit.
In the USA, for instance, Alaska might be in the grips of a blustery -11°C in January, while the folks in California are quite comfy at around 12°C. Europe has similar weather discrepancies from one country to the next (and even within the same country!). In July, the average temperature in Sweden sits at a modest 16°C, while the Greeks are slathering on sunscreen in 28°C weather. Tall, skinny Italy, on the other hand, has extreme Alpine weather in the north, and temperate mediterranean climes in the south.
As such, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer variety of destinations on offer, a simple way to narrow down your options is to decide what kind of weather you want to enjoy. After all, the weather plays a role in everything from how you experience a given destination, to the food you eat and the activities on offer at a certain time of year. Here’s a concise breakdown of where you should go where, depending on the type of holiday you’d like to enjoy.
EUROPE: May to August (July & August are the hottest months)
Europe in summer offers great weather, but no matter where you go, it’s going to be super busy. Especially around August, when many countries have their annual summer school holidays and the locals are out and about with their families as well. The climate varies from one country to the next, but during summer you can expect temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties. The Netherlands come in at around 22°C, Germany at 24°C, Denmark at 21°, and Greece at 32°C.
USA: June to August (high season alert!)
The US is vast. The climate ranges from one state to the next, but summer tends to be high season no matter where you go. As such, attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, as well as national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, tend to be pretty crowded. You’re also likely to pay high season entry rates wherever you travel. June to August are very popular with travellers, since the days are warm across the country. During these months, the southern states like Texas and Florida are hot and even slightly tropical, while the northern states like New York and Washington experience warm days and cooler evenings.
SOUTH AFRICA: November to March (prime-time summer)
Summer in South Africa is the very best time to partake in the may outdoor adventures and activities the country has to offer. Whether you want to go hiking in the Knysna woods, visit an ostrich farm in the Karoo, or try your hand at surfing in the Eastern Cape, this is an excellent time to do it. The country falls across a few longitudinal sectors, so you’ll find that Cape Town and surrounds are dry and hot, while Gauteng and the safari destinations towards east experience summer showers. The weather around the coast tends to be pleasant and temperate.
NORTH AFRICA (Egypt): May to October
Really want to turn up the heat? Head to North Africa between May and October. At this time of year, you can expect temperatures to range between 40 and 50°C, which is pretty hot. Young children and older travellers seldom fare well at these types of temperatures, so perhaps schedule a visit to Egypt at a cooler time of year if you want to avoid the sweaty season.
MIDDLE EAST (Israel & Jordan): June to August
June to August is a water lover’s paradise in countries like Israel and Jordan. At this time of year, the beaches in these countries bustle with visitors who flock here to take advantage of the wonderful weather and waterside attractions like beach bars, etc. It’s also prime time for water sports like skiing and snorkelling.
EUROPE: December to February
Europe is in the grips of icy winter from December to February, but this is also the time of Christmas markets and winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing. If you’re keen on snuggle weather and lots of warming indoor experiences, this is an excellent time to go to pretty much any European country. It’s low season as well, so you will get great deals on accommodation and experiences. Just be sure to take note of the limited daytime hours and plan your outings accordingly. Larger cities still cater for visitors, but smaller villages may close certain attraction, so check before you make the trip.
USA: November to March
Winter in the USA runs from November to March, and (as with summer) prevailing conditions differ from one state to the next. The southern states don’t dip too low in terms of temperature, so you’ll be able to explore with a few light layers and a parka. In the north, however, things tend to get quite wet and snowy. You’ll also enjoy low season rates everywhere, apart from ski resorts and warmer getaway spots (score!). Larger cities like Chicago and New York embrace the cold weather with winter events and festivals, so there is plenty to see, do and enjoy no matter how cold it gets.
EUROPE: February/March to May/June & September to November
Shoulder season weather in Europe is, in one word, fickle. Depending on where you’re headed, you may encounter snow, rain, or sunny days on end. The one big advantage is that you’ll enjoy a more authentic travel experience. There are fewer tourists around, and the locals are going about their day without the hassle of holiday crowds, so you’ll be able to merge seamlessly with the fabric of their everyday life. If you do want a shot at warmer temperatures, opt for destinations in Southern Europe, like Spain, Portugal, Croatia or Italy.
USA: April to May & September to October
Shoulder season in the USA is synonymous with fewer crowds and milder temperatures. Springtime brings blossoms, and fall is quite spectacular, especially in the New England region, where the golden and amber hues of the changing leaves attract visitors from far and wide. Green spaces in cities like NY and Washington also put on quite the show. Hawaii stays balmy and tropical for large parts of the shoulder season, so if you want some sand and surf you can still enjoy fine temperatures on the island.
SOUTH AFRICA: April to August
Sunny South Africa has such mild weather that spring and autumn in places like Cape Town can actually feel like full-blown summer in Europe. However, as with the rest of the globe, the weather tends to be a little capricious, but if you go prepared with a waterproof jacket and plenty of light layers, you’ll do fine. These in-between seasons are also ideal for animal encounters. Safari destinations like the Kruger National have more wildlife sightings, since many species are calving and tend to stick closer to food and water sources.
There you have it – a concise guide to when to travel where if you’re planning your holiday according to the seasons. Keep an eye on the blog in coming weeks and months as we share more top tips on scheduling a holiday that ticks all of your must-have boxes.