Worldwide

2021 travel calendar: where to go and when


For many of us, travelling right now is still very much up in the air. With uncertainty over which countries will be open, what the restrictions will be on the ground, and what the quarantine implications are for travellers on their return – it’s hard to know what to plan for.

That said, the travel community is an itchy one. And if you have itchy feet, what do you do? Stick them in some sand. As lockdown starts to ease in South Africa and borders start to re-open around the world, we took some of the top destinations searched on our website this month and put them into a calendar based on the best times to visit.

FYI. This guide is based on customer research, and factors such as the weather and price. Some of these destinations aren’t currently open for travellers, so always check our advice for travelling around COVID-19 or speak to one of Travel Experts.

JANUARY

Thailand
There’s a reason why Thailand is a post-festive favourite. The Land of Smiles has jungles to hike, coral reefs to dive, and enough palm-fringed beaches to find a quiet one if you need it – or a beach party if you don’t. Southern Thailand rarely drops below 27°C and so is visited all year round. However, you’re likely to experience daily bursts of rain from Apr-Oct on the Andaman Coast, and from Sep-Dec on the Gulf Islands. From Dec-Apr, it should be dry everywhere with comfortable temperatures on the mainland.

FEBRUARY

India
From the snow-capped splendour and yoga ashrams of the Himalayas, to the cow-swerving chaos and cultural riches of Rajasthan, India is a land of extremes. Predictably, this formula also extends to weather! It’s best to avoid monsoon season (Jun-Sep) when the southern beaches around Goa and Kerala can be washed out, and the melting-pot cities in the Golden Triangle quite literally, melt. The rest of the year, you’re good to go, with February being a particularly pleasant to travel.

MARCH

New Zealand
There genuinely isn’t a bad time to visit New Zealand. The summer months (Dec-Mar) bring long days exploring coastal trails and sun-drenched wineries, while the winter months (Jun-Sep) can bring snow to the slopes and… well, more wine drinking. That said, after the summer rush, March can be a prime time to travel. There is more accommodation available, fewer campervans on the road, and quieter walking tracks; yet still plenty of sunshine and daylight to enjoy New Zealand’s spectacular scenery.

APRIL

Australia
Because of its sheer size and multiple climate zones, travellers visit Australia all year round. However, Australia does have four seasons in the southern states, and wet and dry seasons in the north. Waiting out the summer (Dec-Mar) for April has its benefits. There will be less humidity and drier weather in the tropical north, fewer crowds in the cities, beaches and wineries of the south, and more manageable temperatures in the Outback. Shoulder season fares can also help with the longhaul price hit!

MAY

Spain
“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”. Good for Audrey Hepburn’s elocution in My Fair Lady, but a fairly useless meteorological indicator as to Spanish weather. In fact, other than low level rainfall in the north, Spain is relatively mild and dry all year round. The height of the peak season (Jul-Aug) can be sweltering in southern Spain, with many Spaniards fleeing the cities. Whereas the Apr-May and Sep-Oct shoulder seasons are hot in the day and mild in the evenings, with fewer holidaymakers in the resorts.

JUNE

Peru
With adventures spread across Amazonian rainforests, snowy Andean peaks and Pacific surf beaches, Peru’s climate varies with its geography and altitude. While travellers flock to Peru to trek all year round, the dry season months (May-Oct) bring the sunniest days and clearest skies – but with it, the biggest crowds around Cusco and the Sacred Valley. However, don’t be put off, it really is an amazing time to travel. Just book in advance and consider an alternative Machu Picchu trek that won’t require permits.

JULY

Tanzania and Zanzibar
Where to travel in July can often cause minor headaches for travellers. It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, much of Asia and the Americas are heating up into storms, and even southern European cities can be too hot. Tanzania’s long dry season (Jun-Oct) brings ideal conditions to go on safari, trek Mt Kilimanjaro, and enjoy long days lazing or snorkelling on Zanzibar. It’s also the start of the annual migration (Jul-Oct), so the game viewing in the Serengeti should be out of this world.

AUGUST

Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island most famous amongst sunseekers and backpackers as a go-to destination. It’s placed between Java and Lombok in the Java Sea. If you want blazing sunshine and hot temperatures, head to Bali during the dry season between June and October. May and November are cheaper and less busy but you may experience warm showers (mostly at night) whereas the wet season sees a high humidity and tropical rainfall – this is the ideal time if you want to see Bali in it’s lushest state as the rainforest flourishes and the waterfalls roar. Like South Africa the entire island is bursting with natural beauty, which Saffas easily fall inlove with!

SEPTEMBER

USA
Whatever time of year you travel to the USA, summer or winter, there are benefits. However, we’re prepared to split the difference and back September. While parts of the south may be best avoided due to hurricane season, elsewhere, the shoulder season brings falling prices, cooler temperatures in the cities, and less people in the national parks after the peak season rush (Jul-Aug). It’s a great time to visit seasonal parks such as Yellowstone. Fewer crowds, but still warm enough to camp.

OCTOBER

South Africa
It is the start of the summer season here at home, so why not take a quick trip locally? There might be a small amount of rainfall, but most days are sunny. You may opt for an easy safari over a few days in the Kruger National Park, or head to the coast along KwaZulu-Natal or the Western Cape. A scenic trip along the Garden Route is always a winner for those that prefer a great outdoor local getaway. Go ahead and discover what’s right here on our doorstep.

NOVEMBER

Europe
We just love Europe we couldn’t decide on only one country or decide in which month to put it! Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Greece and Croatia are at their best during the summer months, but be warned the crowds are huge. When it comes to colder months such as November, don’t let the winter weather put you off, here is when you will discover the charm, romance and secrets of Europe. Try countries such as Berlin for the markets, spend nights partying in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, hit the slopes in the French Alps or explore Rome’s winding streets with less crowds.

DECEMBER

The Philippines
There are multiple reasons to visit the Philippines in December. Not least because Filipinos celebrate Christmas with gusto, beginning their countdown from the 1st September! Other reasons why you’ll have happy holidays in December include the weather. Although the weather in the Philippines can be unpredictable, December is in the middle of the dry season (Nov-Apr) where temperatures hover around a manageable 30°C, making it perfect for diving, island hopping and trekking.

P.s. Us again, hi! Sooo, Mother Nature and climate change can be a cruel mistress. Some weather patterns and wet seasons that annually ran like clockwork, are becoming increasingly unpredictable. Our advice? Hope for the best, pack for the worst.