Where to Go When? With help from Lonely Planet

♦ Where do you go when you have a certain vacation window open to you, but not sure how to maximize this time to find the perfect travel destination for that time of year?

What to do if you have a broad travel region in mind but aren’t quite sure what the best time to go is?

So, let’s say you have a week or two in January to take a trip and don’t want to go the usual route of a Mexican beach resort to escape the cold. Some exotic ideas from Where to Go When: Sydney (for the Sydney Festival and midsummer warmth), Uganda (the rare chance to see, up-close, an endangered mountain gorilla in dry season), Slovenia (cheap European skiing without the crowds), Grenada (for sun, snorkeling, and spice), or Budapest (for thermal baths, nightlife and an elegant city).

This year, we plan on taking a few weeks off in late September to early October for a major trip, but we’ve debated between places in both Asia and Europe at that time and wonder what would be our best of many, many options. Let’s look at September. For Asia that month, Where to Go When suggests South Korea for fall-foliage temple stays, Beijing for the Great Wall in autumn for mellowing temperatures (but avoid the national holiday during the first week of October!), Sumatra & Java in Indonesia (best overall conditions in September, mostly dry with great surfing, fewer visitors, and cheap prices), or even traversing the exotic Silk Road in Central Asia.

For Europe in September, the book highlights Corsica, France (Lonely Planet suggests driving and exploring the Mediterranean island in September where everything is still warm but the beaches are empty); Madeira, Portugal (for warm autumn hiking and wine); the Costa Brava in Spain (great beaches and amazing food); the Cotswolds in England (best time to visit the countryside at its finest while avoiding the crowds); Munich, Germany (for Oktoberfest! — primarily held in September, not October); and Dublin (September is often the sunniest month without as many tourists).

In the book, the weather chart for each month (one of many graphical features) denotes destinations by temperature highs from that month, everything from “Brrrrrr..”(for instance, in September, Sweden and Ireland are among the colder destinations, around 16 °C) to “I’m Melting” (i.e. Turkey at 33 °C, Arizona & Utah at 30 °C, and Indonesia at 31 °C). Each destination’s blurb has a diagram represented by a suitcase which shows the proportions representing the main selling points of each spot – i.e. Sumatra & Java, Indonesia’s, suitcase is divided into 5 evenly divided slices: Journey, Wildlife & Nature, Cultural, Adventure, and Value. What more do you need in a vacation?

Where to Go When is a nice hardcover book full of photos, charts, short blurbs on different destinations, and bright ideas. It’ll work to supplement other resources and help you find the ideal vacation destination. For help building your own itinerary ideas, go and pick up Where to Go When.

(See the Daily Mail‘s writeup for some photos from the book and more detailed ideas for each month. For where-to-go-when planning, check online resources for weather and ideal travel times; for example, Selective Asia’s Thailand weather page gives monthly weather info with maps that indicate the best parts of the country each month. Also, please note the Kindle version of this book has gotten some iffy feedback so you may want to consider sticking to the hardcover for now.)

BUY IT: Lonely Planet // Amazon.com // Amazon.ca  // Chapters.ca

See some more recent travel book reviews from Let’s Get Away (including more Lonely Planet titles).



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WIN a hardcover copy of Lonely Planet’s new Where To Go When. You can see our review here. Enter below (please email us with any issues or questions about the contest or book!).

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  1. I haven’t had a vacation in over 15 yrs. Would love to go somewhere hot with a beach.

  2. The next vacation I want would be to go to Ireland – maybe in September.

  3. Haven’t planned anything yet, but I’d like to go to Asia. I travel ideally late summer or early fall.

  4. I’m leaving next month for Dominican Republic and then 2.5 months in Colorado!

  5. I am going to be going to St. Maarten on my next vacation next month.

  6. Great resource!! Planning a trip to either Vancouver or California

  7. Planning our family vacation to go to either Europe or Australia for summer, so would be a great help!

  8. We don’t have any big trips planned but would love to go to New Zealand planning a short stay in BC in July

  9. We’d really like to go back to Europe… Rome actually and would love to go in the summer but really struggling with it because of the safety issues lately. So that might mean just a trip to Orlando to check out the new Avatar park in Disney and a cruise.

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