Summer heat and humidity can get absolutely brutal in South Carolina, even in the coastal town of Charleston. However, with temperatures now dropping, Charleston makes the perfect getaway before winter sets in. (For the record, the city is beautiful in the winter, too, but you won’t want to limit your outdoor activities by waiting too long.) In addition to heaping servings of delectable, low-country cuisine, Charleston has scenic beaches, informative walking and carriage tours (thanks to tons of local history), lots of shopping, hip art galleries, interesting museums, and plenty of places to get your drink on.
Lamenting the arrival of the colder months? Then head down to Ecuador, where the equatorial location leads to consistent temperatures of around 66 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. September through November also happens to be the country’s dry season, so you can probably leave the umbrella at home, and you’ll be free to explore the rainforest and lowlands with a sure foot. If you plan to explore the Galápagos Islands off Ecuador’s coast (well, about 650 miles off the coast), you should be delighted to know the waters actually warm up a bit when October rolls around.
Think all this adds up to higher prices? Surprisingly, this time of year is actually Ecuador’s off-season, so the crowds will be smaller and the prices will be lower. Round-trip flights from either coast of the U.S. can be found for less than $450 and four-star hotel prices in Quito drop to about $100 per night.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is very important in Chinese culture, and it is celebrated enthusiastically on the mainland, and in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, where it happens to be the second most popular holiday. (Bad news: The festival occurred quite early this year, on Sept. 15. Good news: It will be much later next year, on Oct. 4 — in case you want to plan ahead.) If you have the time and money, a trip to all these places would be wonderful, but if you have to pick just one, opt for Hong Kong. Even without the festival, you’re sure to enjoy the bustling city, breathtaking views of both the skyline and surrounding landscape, and the ability to easily obtain both Cantonese cuisine and most any other ethnic foods. Numerous festivals also make fall the best time to visit this city. From Oct. 3 to Nov. 5 is the 10th Annual International Comedy Festival; Oct. 8 to 16 is the Hong Kong Tennis Open; Oct. 21 to Nov. 12 is the Marco Polo German Bierfest; and Oct. 27 to 30 is the annual Wine & Dine Festival.
We said it earlier in the year and we’ll say it again: Iceland is the No. 1 place to travel this year. On top of it being relatively affordable and not too far away (round-trip flights from the East Coast drop as low as $300 for a five-hour flight), late September is the best time for checking out aurora borealis, the geothermal spa temperatures will still be in the high 90s (Fahrenheit, of course), and you’ll have time to check out all the glaciers, volcanos, waterfalls, and wildlife before it gets too chilly.
It doesn’t take a travel pro to know that Munich is the place to be in September and October for all the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. Of course, you’ll have to act quickly if you want to make this year’s event (Sept. 17 – Oct. 3), which marks the 500th anniversary of Bavaria’s 1516 Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot) that dictates how beer can be made. If you can’t pack your lederhosen or dirndl dress quickly enough, there’s always next year!
Like Munich, this one is a mainstay on annual fall travel lists. When the leaves start changing, there’s no better American destination than New England. Whether you opt for Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine, be prepared for prime, colorful fall foliage (though the locals may call you “a leaf-peeper”), coupled with apple picking, cider donuts, and pumpkin spice everything.
Although it sometimes seems like Paris is constantly crowded with locals and tourists alike, the latter group tends to trail off in the fall (even though plane and train fares start dropping in early October), making it the perfect time to visit the City of Lights. We can’t say enough about the food, but there’s also designer shopping (and even a Louis Vuitton museum), art museums, famous landmarks, delicious coffee for warming up, and we heard the country’s wine is apparently pretty good, too.
Is Savannah, Georgia, similar to Charleston, South Carolina (see earlier in this list)? You bet. Should you actually consider visiting both? Absolutely. If you dig the food and old-timey Southern vibe in Charleston, Savannah (only two hours away) will be just as satisfying, and it seems there’s always something going on in town. Currently, the 35th Annual Savannah Jazz Festival is in full swing (Sept. 18 – 26), Oct. 6 – 9 is the Tybee Island Pirate Fest (yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds), Oct. 7 – 9 is Oktoberfest, the 2016 Pride Festival and Film Festival both start on Oct. 22, and if you’re looking for something to do for Halloween, there’s no better place to be than Savannah.
The city is considered to be one of the spookiest in America, and it capitalizes on that each year with haunted tours (many of which actually operate year-round), themed pub crawls, festive races, and parties galore.