The days are shorter, jackets are thicker and our lattes are suddenly full of pumpkin. Fall has finally arrived.
Lucky for you, October is one of the best months to travel abroad. October is off-season virtually everywhere in the world, which means that flights and accommodation hit rock bottom. On top of that, everyone who went away in the summer, or traveled in the shoulder month of September is home now, so you’ll find minimal crowds.
October should be filled with trekking through snow-capped mountain ranges, exploring ancient cities and celebrating dead people (it’s a Mexican thing).
It would be a crime not to take advantage of the cheap travel and fantastic adventure opportunities in October.
1. Nepal for Epic Hiking
October is hailed as the ultimate month for treks in Nepal, as the monsoon rains have dried up and the weather is mild. On top of that, this month often has excellent visibility, making the views of the Himalayas all the more impressive.
The number one adventure activity in Nepal is the trek to the base camp at Mount Everest, the world’s largest mountain. Altogether this trek takes around 14 days with a maximum walking time of five hours per day.
The number of walking hours each day is limited to five to allow you to acclimatize to the altitude gradually. After all, you are hiking up 17,600 feet. Moving slowly and adjusting to the elevation will prevent you from getting altitude sickness, which is pretty nasty.
Fortunately, the air is easier to breathe in October since it sits comfortably at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
If you have more time, there are several detours you can take on the way. One of the most popular is the trek that leads to the stunning Gokyo Lakes. These lakes are the brightest turquoise you have ever seen and are flanked by jagged, mountain tops that are still snowy in October.
The dry air since monsoon seasons ceased in September makes for prime visibility of them, too. But this will add an extra three or four days on to your trek, depending on your pace.
Of course, there are other famous treks you can take beyond Everest Base Camp, as well. Other popular treks include the Annapurna Circuit (about 15 days), Annapurna Base Camp (about 10 days), Poonhill (about four days) and Langtang (about seven days).
2. Taiwan for Pride Celebration
Every year, on the last Saturday of October, Taiwan plays host to one of the world’s most spectacular Pride parades. Welcoming at least about 80,000 people each year, the capital, Taipei, erupts with color and sound as the parade snakes through the city. It’s the largest gay pride event in Asia.
Two groups of participants start the parade from Kaidagelan Boulevard, move through the streets of Taipei, and end up back where it started about two hours later. One group heads north and marches down Xinyi Road, Linsen South Road, Zhongxiao East Road, Jinshan South Road and Renai Road before returning to the boulevard.
The other group heads south and parades along Zhongshan South Road, Roosevelt Road, Hangzhou South Road and Renai Road before also finishing its march on the boulevard. The main parade is then followed by a huge dance party in the Gay Pride Village.
The parties will actually rage on over the entire weekend. Some of the most popular of the parties happen on Saturday night at the W Hotel Taipei, where famous DJs from around the world spin music. There are more parties happening in the at all of the gay bars and clubs in Ximen’s Red House District.
Taipei boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with over 20 gay bars and three gay clubs, so Pride weekend is nothing short of a good time.
Be sure to pack something rainbow colored to show support for the parade, and be prepared for a long weekend on your feet marching and dancing.
3. Mexico to Observe the Day of the Dead
Mexico City, known as simply La Ciudad (The City) by Mexicans, is teeming with adventurous possibilities. From its bustling streets to its mountainous outskirts, there’s always something on offer to raise your heartbeat. And, you’ll get to refuel every day with authentic Mexican food, which is every foodie’s dream come true.
The main draw of traveling to Mexico in October is the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and it’s one of the country’s most colorful and exciting festivals. It starts on October 31th and goes on through November 12.
And while it’s the same day as Halloween, let’s be clear: This is not just a Mexican version of it. Rather than spooks and pranks, the Day of the Dead is an ancient celebration to pay homage to deceased ancestors. Parades of dancers dress up in elaborate costumes and fill the streets in a display that represents remembrance for lost friends and relatives.
Of course, if you can’t make it for the festival, there is a myriad of other activities awaiting you in Mexico’s pulsing capital. October is a prime time to go climbing up mountains because the rainy season will be nearing its end, so the trails will be cooled off and you’ll find far less foot traffic than you will in the summer months.
Just two hours from the city center is the formidable Iztaccihuatl Volcano (don’t even bother trying to pronounce that). Iztaccíhuatl’s mountain was called “La Mujer Dormida” (which translates to “The Sleeping Woman”) because it bears a resemblance to a woman sleeping on her backside.
The hike to the top of it takes three hours and is challenging, so you’ll need a decent level of fitness to get to the snow-capped summit at 17,159′ feet.
4. Romania to Visit Dracula
Where better to spend Halloween than Dracula’s motherland? Romania is gradually rising in popularity among the travel community—and rightly so. But, it is still one of the lesser-visited countries in Europe, meaning you will find cheap prices and virtually no crowds year-round.
The draws of visiting Romania in October are numerous, but the main benefits are the cool weather and the spookiness of Transylvania at Halloween. Transylvania is a region in central Romania that’s known for its medieval towns full of bloodthirsty vampires, howling wolves and castles like Bran Castle, a Gothic fortress associated with the legend of Dracula.
Dracula’s Castle sits on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. You might have convinced yourself that Dracula is just a fictional character, but you will certainly leave the castle with a “what if…” floating around in your mind. And what better time of year to spook yourself than October?
The hike up to the castle, from the parking area, is along a very steep slope and takes around 10 minutes. But, the views of the lush valley that surrounds the castle will distract you from your burning glutes. To the east of the castle are the Carpathian Mountains, “the land beyond the forest,” so the views are worth it.
Yes, Transylvania is most famous for its association with Dracula, but once you venture into the heart of it, you’ll find that it’s actually one of Europe’s hidden gems.It also hostst to some of Romania’s most interesting historical cities, like Timisoara, Brasov, Arad, Sibiu and Sighisoara. It’d be wise to rent a car and drive around the region for a few days.
5. Germany for Partying at Oktoberfest
Weirdly enough, Oktoberfest starts in September (but it goes until October 6th, so fret not!). The beer festival originated in Munich, Germany, and it has since spread all over the world—though Munich’s is still the largest and craziest of them all. We’re talking six to seven million visitors every year who consume over six million liters of beer during the event.
Beer starts flowing every weekday at 10 a.m. and weekend day at 9 a.m. At 10:45 a.m. on the first day of the Oktoberfest, the brewer’s parade travels through the city to Wiesn. That’s where they tap the first keg.
And last call isn’t until 10:30 p.m. That leaves you more than 12 hours to make probably poor decisions with your buddies.
As Oktoberfest partiers will still be taking over Munich in early October, the entire city feels alive. The beer halls hum with drunken energy and the parties are world class. Yes, you will wake up with a hideous hangover every day, but it won’t be anything a bratwurst can’t fix. Or a little hair of the dog.
Even after Oktoberfest ends, there are still loads of opportunities for you to drink delicious German beer to excess. Beer biking might look silly, but you won’t care by the time your second glass of beer comes around.
Picture eight adults sitting around a table on wheels that they are pedaling around the city while they drink beer. Yes, it’s a real thing and yes you can do it in Munich.
6. Jordan for Witnessing the Wilderness
Jordan is a pocket of calm in an otherwise chaotic region, and October is a shoulder season, which means that the temperature is manageable and you should be able to find some delightfully cheap flights.
You are going to want at least two days to explore the enormous Wadi Rum. It’s a protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan. It’s uniquely full of prehistoric inscriptions and carvings in rocky caverns and steep chasms. Red sand dunes simply beg for you to drive over them in a big, powerful jeep. And that’s exactly what you should do.
Spend your days riding through the immense desert. Stop at famous landmarks (without all the tourists!) such as the dramatic sandstone mountains. These include the Jebel Um Ishrin and natural arches such as the Burdah Rock Bridge. The Burdah Rock Bridge is the tallest natural arch in Wadi Rum.
Have you ever visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World? If you haven’t, now is your time to change that. Petra, also known as the Rose City is an archaeological site that dates back to around 300 BC. The site is surreal to behold, which means that it sees a lot of visitors during other peak tourism months.
The builders designed the main temple into the face of a pinkish brown cliff. Gigantic rocky mounds surround it. Wander through leisurely or get your adrenaline pumping by leaping across the rocks of Petra.
Then, you have the Dead Sea, which is technically a lake. Regardless of the time of year, no trip to Jordan would be complete without bobbing around like a cork in this body of extremely salty water.
7. Tahiti, French Polynesia for Surfing
This paradise island belongs to the French Polynesia Archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. In fact, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. And October is the very end of Tahiti’s high season, so the number of tourists is beginning to dwindle, but the rainy season is still at bay.
Tahiti really only has two distinct seasons: winter and summertime. Temperatures in Tahiti are balmy year-round, but Tahiti’s winter season enjoys far less humidity and less rain, The summertime (November through April) can be hot, sticky and rainy.
The months between May and October make up Tahiti’s dry season when average temperatures lull around the upper 60s to the mid-80s. Of course, there is a downside to optimal beach weather, however: tourists and peak prices. So go in October when everyone else starts to head home.
As with most island destinations, there are dozens of water-based adventures available to you in Tahiti. Surfing is great in October especially, which usually sees impressive waves. Taapuna boasts three- to 10-feet-tall waves about a 20-minute paddle offshore. Maraa boasts three- to 10-feet-tall waves that are right off the shore, but they’re a bit more difficult.
And Teahupo’o has three- to 12-feet-tall waves that are about a 30-minute paddle offshore if at all accessible by paddling. Sometimes the waves get too intense that you can only get out there by boat, which is why this spot is recommended only to avid surfers.
Sure, you can spend October drinking pumpkin spice-everything, or wandering through haunted houses and corn mazes on the weekends. But if you really want to boost those endorphins and get your adrenaline pumping, go for a real adventure.
There’s always next year to waste your hard-earned paychecks on overpriced costumes. Spend it on a vacation instead. And, yes, I’m sure you can find pumpkin pie elsewhere (I know that’s a tough hindrance).
So where will you be traveling to this October? Let us know in the comments!