Looking for some inspiration on where to go when? Travel writer Sarah Baxter shares her month-by-month favourites to get you started... so now you can get adventurous all year round.
January – Patagonia & Antarctica
The deep south of South America is at its warmest – good for wild treks in Torres del Paine or up-close encounters with enormous glaciers. It’s also a good time to set sail from Ushuaia for Antarctica, where there’s 24-hour daylight, incredible icebergs and hatching penguins.
February – Mexico
The Caribbean coast is glorious and hurricane-free, and temperatures aren’t too oppressive – all the better for exploring Mayan ruins. Plus the forests of Michoacan are a-flutter with billions of monarch butterflies, readying for their migration north.
March – India
The monsoon rains are still a few months off, and temperatures are rising – but aren’t yet stifling: perfect for sight-seeing in Rajasthan. Plus the grasses have died back in tiger reserves such as Bandhavgarh and Rhanthambore, making big cats that bit easier to spot.
April – Japan
See the cherry trees in full blossom in Kyoto and Tokyo, and make the most of warming spring temperatures for exploring cities, dipping in onsen (hot springs) and visiting temples. There are festivals too, such as Kanamara Matsuri – the Festival of the Steel Phallus or, as it’s otherwise known, the ‘Penis Festival’.
May – Andalucía, Spain
Southern Spain is splendid in May: temperatures are balmy, making for more comfortable city-strolling in glorious Granada, Córdoba and Seville, or hiking in the Alpujarras; the beaches aren’t yet crowded with holidaymakers; and there are festivals a-plenty.
June – Iceland
As Iceland lurks just below the Arctic Circle, midsummer brings lovely looong days, giving more useable hours for exploring the volcanoes, hot-springs, waterfalls and wonderfully weird landscapes. Temperatures are mild, and whales and seabirds are in abundance too.
July – Kenya & Tanzania
The action is afoot in the Masai Mara and Serengeti. July sees the Great Migration hit the Mara and Grumeti rivers, where the frenzied crossings of innumerable wildebeest – observed by hungry lions and crocs – provide some of the most dramatic scenes in the natural world.
August – Alaska, USA
There’s only a short window of opportunity for summer adventures in the USA’s northernmost state. Now, temperatures are at their highest, melted snow allows greater access to remoter areas and the grizzly bears are hungrily snatching salmon.
September – Western Cape, South Africa
Southern hemisphere spring sees lovely temperatures (ideal for strolling Cape Town), blooming wildflowers and whales passing by the coast.
October – Italy
Bliss! Most of the tourists have gone, autumn colours flare and new foods (think truffles, mushrooms and chestnuts) hit the menus. Temperatures are ideal for not-so-sweaty city breaks too.
November – Indochina
Perhaps the best month for a South-East Asian combination. Laos and Cambodia are deliciously warm and rain-free, with brimful rivers and waterfalls; Vietnam’s north is a bit damp but the south is delightfully sunny and dry.
December – Germany & beyond
You can almost smell the mulled wine and gingerbread... From late November, many European cities go Christmas market crazy. Good choices include Nuremberg’s Christkindlmarkt and Dresden’s Striezelmarkt. Or look beyond Germany to sparkly cities such as Stockholm, Tallinn and Prague.