Best time of year to solo travel

Deciding when to go can make such a difference to your trip. If you’ve only got a few weeks then timing is more important than if you are away for months on end, especially if you want to return with a tan. If you’re not looking to sunbathe then the cooler weather may be better for trekking or walking around and sightseeing. Camping in rainy season isn’t too much fun either unless you’re really adventurous.

Prices

The benefit of travelling solo is that you have the flexibility to go whenever you want (unless you’re restricted by work of course). It’s always better to avoid the school holidays between June to August, and the Christmas period from mid-December to 7th January. Not only do airlines hike up the price of flights but so do hostels and hotels, and you may find accommodations booked up if you haven’t already pre-booked.

If you have to travel during this period then book as early as you can. Avoiding cities on weekends can save you weekend supplements on Fridays and Saturdays especially if you’re visiting European cities.

Travelling during the shoulder seasons, either spring or autumn will also save you money. There are less crowds and even less prices and visiting countries as you come out of the high season can be even more spectacular than seeing them in the summer months. This is especially true in places like Liechtenstein or Japan when it’s the cherry blossom season. Finding accommodations at the end of the summer season can be cheaper but if you do have to travel during the summer months book well ahead for the best price.

Events

Maybe you’re travelling to attend an event in your chosen country like a music festival or a huge sporting event. If this isn’t your purpose for visiting a place then it’s wise to check if there are any events or festivals happening at the time you want to go. Travelling to a country when the Olympics is on may mean that there is no accommodation and you could find yourself paying a small fortune just for a dorm bed.

Europe is renowned for its festivals, and avoiding areas such as Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls, and Munich during Oktoberfest ensures that you won’t pay over-the-odds for a hostel or tent whilst you’re there.

Check for traditions within the countries too. Some Spanish businesses close for siestas in the afternoons and also in August when locals shut down and go on holiday. Visit Israel during the religious festival of Passover and you could find nearly all the shops and restaurants closed (not ideal if you only have a few days in the country).

Ramadan

Travelling to Islamic countries during Ramadan will also affect your trip. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims and takes place during the ninth Islamic month which means it occurs on different dates each year (although it’s generally around the month of June). It is a time of prayer and fasting from dawn to dusk.

If you visit Islamic countries such as those in the Middle East during this time, then it’s not permitted to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. Restaurants may be closed, and entrances to mosques may not be allowed, so it’s wise to check dates before you travel.

Best Places To Go

If you are limited on time and can only travel during certain months, here are the best places to go for each month of the year:

January

Caribbean, Central America, India, Myanmar, New Zealand, South America, Southern China, Thailand, Vietnam

Activities – Chinese New Year in the Far East. Northern lights in Northern Europe. Skiing in Europe.

February

Africa, Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Caribbean, Egypt, Kenya, Nicaragua, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago.

Activities – Dog sledding in Quebec. Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico. Music festival in Zanzibar. Whale watching in Argentina.

March

Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, North Africa, Oman, Patagonia, Sri Lanka.

Activities – Skiing in Europe. Tiger spotting in India.

April

Cambodia, Jordan, Namibia, Nepal, Spain, Zambia

Activities – Cherry blossom season in Japan. Iguazu Falls in Argentina / Brazil. Star gazing in Chile. Whale watching in Hawaii. Wildlife spotting in the Galapagos Islands.

May

Bolivia, Caribbean, Central America, China, Europe, Indonesia, Mauritius – low season, Namibia, Seychelles, Tahiti.

Activities – Visit the Panatanal, the world’s largest inland wetlands in Brazil. Walk the Great Wall of China. Whale watching in Canada.

June

Alaska, Aruba, Australia, Chile, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Peru, Seychelles, Tanzania.

Activities – Diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Midnight sun in Scandinavia / Alaska. Okavango Delta in Botswana

July

Bolivia, Budapest, Europe, Indonesia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Peru, Uganda.

Activities – Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Ski season in Argentina and Chile. Trekking in the Andes in Peru. Visit the Red Centre in Australia.

August

Bali, Europe, Fiji, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Indonesia, Israel, Morocco, Rio in Brazil, Tahi.

Activities – Dive on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Drive the Garden Route in South Africa.

September

Bermuda, Canada, Europe, Maldives, Namibia, North America, Seychelles, Zimbabwe.

Activities – Cruise the Galapagos Islands. Sunbathe in the Mediterranean. See wildlife in Madagascar.

October

Argentina, Asia, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Maldives, Mauritius, Patagonia, Seychelles, South Africa, Southern Italy and southern Spain, South of China, Tunisia, USA.

Activities – Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Trekking in Rajasthan, India. Trekking in Nepal.

November

Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Japan, Madagascar, Mali, Tunisia.

Activities – Northern Lights in Norway or Sweden. Thanksgiving in USA. Whale watching in New Zealand.

December

Australia, Cambodia, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Ivory Coast, Lapland, Laos, Maldives, Mexico, New Zealand, Seychelles, Sri Lanka.

Activities – Christmas markets in Europe.

Seasons

If you’re limited by the amount of time you can take off from work then checking the season before you go is recommended. The Caribbean may sound amazing but avoiding hurricane season will ensure that you have a better trip (and that you don’t get caught up in a natural disaster).

Some countries are so large that the weather can change depending on which area you travel to within it. Don’t expect the temperature in Russia or Canada to be similar to that of Europe in the winter, or a sizzling summer in Africa to be the same as it is in Scotland. And remember that the higher the elevation the colder it can get at night.

Countries such as Australia and New Zealand in the Northern Hemisphere have opposite seasons to Europe with their summer beginning in December through to February – perfect for those wanting a hot Christmas on the beach.

In the Northern Hemisphere winter begins on the winter solstice – December 21st / 22nd, and summer begins on the summer solstice – June 20th / 21st. Seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are the opposite.

Northern Hemisphere

North America, Central America, Caribbean, Europe, Africa (two thirds) Asia (two thirds).

Southern Hemisphere

South, America, Africa (one third), Antarctica, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand.

Rainy Seasons

If you’re venturing somewhere tropical watch out for rainy seasons, although seeing a country during its wet season is often cheaper and more spectacular with its lush greenery and cooler evenings. Just because a country is listed as having a rainy season doesn’t necessarily mean it is monsoonal or that it rains constantly throughout the day. It may only rain for a few hours at night before the sun comes out so you can still be on the beach during the morning or afternoons.

Some countries have more than one rainy season and travelling within these months doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to have to have a wet trip as days can differ depending on climate change and unpredictability.

Here’s a general guide to the rainy seasons in each continent:

Africa

  • Equatorial Africa: Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia – February to April, then September to November.
  • West Africa – June to October.
  • East Africa – March to June.
  • South Africa – October to March.
  • Zanzibar and Seychelles – Mid March to May.

Asia

  • South East Asia – June to October.
  • East Asia – March to June (longer rainy season) then September to November (shorter rainy season).

Australasia

  • French Polynesia – November to April.
  • Northern Territory – November to April.
  • Fiji – November to April.
  • Cook Islands – December to March.
  • Papua New Guinea – December to March.
  • Solomon Islands – February to April then September to October.
  • Northern Australia – November to March.

Caribbean

Mainly May and June (light rain).

Hurricane season between August to October.

Central America

Mainly May to September/October.

Belize and Honduras – Hurricane season from October to November.

Europe

There isn’t a specific rainy season as it can rain throughout the year, although the winter months from October to March can bring more rain.

Middle East

Although it states there is a rainfall, it is still the Middle East known for its desert and won’t be monsoonal as you’ll find in Asia.

  • Israel – October to May.
  • Jordan – October to March.
  • Oman – Mid June to August.

North America

  • Southern United States – May to September.
  • Canada – March to May.

South America

Mainly November to May.

  • Bolivia – November to March (in the lowlands).
  • Brazil – November to May (in the Amazon).
  • Ecuador – December to May.
  • French Guiana – January to June.
  • Guyana – May to July, then November to January.
  • Paraguay – December to April.

Best Times To Go

So now you know the rainy seasons, when are the best times to go? Obviously this depends on taste and whether you’re a beach Girl about the Globe or a hiking Girl about the Globe. Some summers can be too hot even for the locals, so these months have the most pleasant temperatures when you won’t be sweltering from the heat or freezing from the cold.

Africa

East Africa – July to September.
Indian Ocean Islands – May to September. South Africa – June to September.
West Africa – December to February.

Antartica

November to March.

There isn’t a specific rainy season as it can rain throughout the year, although the winter months from October to March can bring more rain.

Asia

  • Armenia – May to July.
  • Bangladesh – October to March.
  • Bhutan – February to September. Borneo – May to September.
  • Brunei – May to September.
  • Cambodia – November to April.
  • China – March to May.
  • Hong Kong – October to December.
  • India – October to March.
  • Indonesia – April to October.
  • Japan – March to May.
  • Laos – November to March.
  • Malaysia – May to September.
  • Maldives – December to April.
  • Mongolia – June to September.
  • Myanmar – November to February.
  • Nepal – February to May.
  • Philippines – December to March.
  • Singapore – April to August.
  • South Korea – April to June.
  • Sri Lanka – February to June.
  • Taiwan – November to March.
  • Thailand – November to March.
  • Vietnam – January to March.

Australasia

  • Australia – March to October. October to March for the Red Centre.
  • Cook Islands – May to October.
  • Fiji – June to October.
  • New Zealand – All year round.
  • Papua New Guinea – June to August.
  • Samoa – June to August.Solomon Islands – June to September.
  • Tonga – May to October.
  • Vanuatu – May to October.

Caribbean

December to April.

Central America

  • Belize – February to April.
  • Costa Rica – December to April.
  • El Salvador – November to April.
  • Guatemala – October to April.
  • Honduras – December to April.
  • Mexico – All year round.
  • Nicaragua – November to May.
  • Panama – December to April.

Europe

April to September.

Middle East

  • Egypt – October to March.
  • Israel – March to November.
  • Jordan – April to June.
  • Lebanon – April to October.
  • Morocco – April to October.
  • Oman – December to March.
  • United Arab Emirates – October to April.

North America

These countries are so huge that it can differ depending on which state you want to visit.

  • America – May to October.
  • Canada – April to October.

South America

  • Argentina – October to June.
  • Bolivia – April to October.
  • Brazil – March to June.
  • Chile – September to April.
  • Colombia – December to February.
  • Ecuador – June to September.
  • Falkland Islands – October to March.
  • French Guyana – August to December.
  • Guyana – January to April.
  • Paraguay – June to August.
  • Peru – April to May.
  • Suriname – August to November.
  • Uruguay – December to March.
  • Venezuela – December to April.

Everyone is different and this is just a guide for the best times to go. Some may prefer to travel when it is cooler and there are less people around; others may prefer to travel during the peak seasons for the chance to meet more people. Knowing when to go helps maximise your time so that you can make the most of your solo trip. Safe travels 🙂

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