October means autumn for much of the Northern Hemisphere so it's a wonderful time to visit the Far East, which is often carpeted in beautiful autumnal colours of red, orange and gold with countries like South Korea at their most scenic. Temperatures are cool but the skies are often clear and the Croatia sailing season will end mid-month. It's still the rainy season across Southeast Asia so expect showers if planning a visit to the region. Rains and strong winds are also targeting Central America at this time of year so for guaranteed dry weather and some sun, head to the Middle East where temperatures are pleasantly warm.
If you're looking for inspiration for where to travel to in October 2017, take a look at our top recommended destinations and experiences that this month offers around the world. We've also compiled our best October beach destinations for those looking for a bit of sun, sea and sand, as well as a guide to where best to head for wildlife adventures.
When? 19th October 2017
Celebrating the victory of good over evil and the triumph of light over dark, the ancient festival of Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India. Millions of candles are lit across the country and arranged alongside decorations made from coloured powder in front of family homes, temples and even shops. It's a particularly pretty and welcoming time to visit as families gather together to celebrate.
Where? Phuket, Thailand
When? 20th-28th Oct 2017
Devout carnivores will be surprised to learn that this is one of Thailand's most lively festivals. Held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, it's a time for the local community to cleanse their bodies and souls with ten days of strict vegetarian diet. A host of extraordinary events take place during this time including firewalking, body piercing and razor blade ladder climbing as well as less gruesome parades.
When? 21st October 2017
Twice a year the sun aligns to illuminate the inner sanctum of the incredible Abu Simbel temple. Built by King Ramses II, the temple was specifically designed so that this alignment would occur on the date of the king's coronation (21st February) and his birthday (21st October). This extraordinary feat of ancient engineering has to be seen to be believed and it's the perfect time to visit the rest of Egypt with pleasant temperatures for sightseeing.
When? 31st October 2017
Known as Día de los Muertos in Spanish, the Day of the Dead is Mexico's most famous and popular festival. It's a time for friends and family to remember those that have passed, honouring dead relatives with private altars and decorating graves with sugar skulls and marigold flowers. Spectacular parades are held in the larger towns and cities with people dressing in fine attire complete with decorative skull masks.
It's the final month of the monsoon season in Southeast Asia so there'll still be high rainfall across the prime beach destinations, however, East Africa's coast is still a reliable option as is the Middle East with pleasant temperatures and lots of sunshine. Central America is best avoided at this time of year as hurricanes and typhoons are likely to be hitting the region.
It's spring in the Southern Hemisphere and this means cool and dry weather perfectly suited for a Zanzibar holiday. The sandy shores are drenched in sun, the waters are warm and there will be little rain. October is also a great time for diving off the north coast of the island and if you're thinking of combining beach with a safari adventure, the Great Wildebeest Migration is in full swing in Tanzania so an ideal time.
October brings with it much cooler temperatures across Egypt so it's a great time to head to the Red Sea for some sun, sea and sand. Expect sunny, dry days perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling with great diving opportunities year-round. With the bi-annual Sun Festival happening in Abu Simbel, it's an ideal time to combine beach with culture and the delights of the Red Sea with the ancient wonders of Egypt from Cairo to Luxor.
With a sizeable slice of Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline, Morocco has a great selection of beach resorts to choose from whether it's Tangier on the Strait of Gibraltar or Essaouira with its beautiful walled medina only a few hours' drive from Marrakech. October is also a good time for surfing with Taghazoute the country's premier surfing destination providing large swells and plenty of surf points to try.
Peak safari season in Africa is coming to a close as October marks the final month of the dry season - soon the rains will return causing vegetation to thrive and creating more water sources for the animal population. Elsewhere, the Amazon is still relatively dry with great fishing and jungle trekking opportunities while the cool and dry season across the Galapagos is ideal for diving and there's always some activity in the wildlife world. In Costa Rica it's nesting season for Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles.
The monsoon rains have petered out come October and India's national parks reopen for business. The landscapes are lush with foliage and rivers full with water so it's a great time of year for landscape photography with the added bonus of the chance to spot a Bengal tiger in the wild along with plenty of other wildlife including sambar, chital, nilgai, wild boar, leopard, sloth bear and myriad birdlife.
October is the final month of Sri Lanka's wildlife spectacle - the annual 'gathering' of hundreds of elephants that flock to Minneriya National Park looking for a reliable water source as the rains stop across the North Central & Eastern provinces. The majestic creatures gather around the centrepiece reservoir and come November will disperse across the region as the approaching rains create more varied water sources.
It's the last month of southern Africa's dry season so it's a good time to head to the region on safari before the rains begin. In Botswana you'll find large herds of elephants gathering in Chobe National Park while in Namibia the Namib-Naukluft is a good choice with the coastal winds keeping it cooler. By now many habitats have gone without rain for almost five months so vegetation will be at its thinnest, ideal for spotting wildlife.
By and large this is the last month that herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle will attempt to cross the Mara River from the northern region of the Serengeti into the adjacent Masai Mara. This is one of the most impressive times to visit Kenya and Tanzania during the Great Migration as come November short rains will begin, encouraging the growth of vegetation that makes wildlife viewing more challenging.
Here's a selection of our tours perfectly suited for October travel from the Himalayas to the south of Africa.
Our Active range brings you thrilling trekking and cycling holidays to some of the world's most popular destinations. Whether it’s trekking to the Lost City of Petra in Jordan or cycling around the Angkor temples in Cambodia, you’ll get to explore more of your chosen destination than just the standard highlights, either by bike or on foot. There will still be lots of cultural experiences and even the occasional wildlife encounter along the way. You'll need a good level of fitness and an intrepid spirit.
Group sizes are small and average around eight travellers. The accommodation you’ll be staying in reflects the off-the-beaten track nature of these trips with simple hotels, wild & fixed camping, homestays and local guest houses for value and convenience.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Adventure range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
Our Adventure range takes you overland to the true heart of adventurous destinations. Whether camping in the Okavango Delta, staying in rustic accommodation in the Peruvian Amazon or camping under the Saharan stars in Morocco, this range forsakes just a little bit of the comfort of our Signature range, ensuring we deliver you the best value possible for your holiday.
Adventure tours takes you straight into the centre of where it’s all at, typically using local transport or overland style vehicles and stay at simple, clean and locally-owned guest houses, haciendas, eco-lodges and simple hotels to maximize the opportunity to interact with the locals.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 18 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.