The 8 best destinations to visit in October – The Points Guy

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

If there are any remnants of summer left by the end of September, October will likely wash them away. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the world’s top destinations.

In fact, it might be a preferable time to plan a getaway as popular destinations cool down and crowds thin out. It’s also the beginning of fall-favorite activities like leaf-peeping, Halloween celebrations and annual harvests.

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You could also score some savings as October is considered shoulder season in many parts of the world. If you have the flexibility, consider booking international flights during the week of Oct. 10, when average ticket prices are projected to be 20% lower than during the summer.

While most destinations are now open to visitors and COVID-19-related restrictions have lifted, it’s still important to remain vigilant about your health and safety. Hopefully, the risk will stay low with the new vaccine booster and no other major variant on the horizon. However, always check the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any restrictions in international destinations.

So, if you decide to book a trip, where should you go? Here are TPG’s eight best places to visit in October.

Napa Valley, California

Beautiful golden colors of a vineyard late afternoon on an autumn day in Napa. LEEZSNOW/GETTY IMAGES

Fall is the ideal time to visit Napa, with the harvest season in full swing. Wineries are bustling, and you can taste some of the first bottles of vintages ready to hit the market.

For example, Mayacamas Vineyards allows travelers to take a trip through over 125 years of winemaking history and taste the new 2018 cabernet sauvignon. Ballentine Vineyards hosts the “Cowboys & Cabernet” event (think live bluegrass, country and barbecue), while Benessere Vineyards has a “Harvest Party & Grape Stomp” event.

And though it’s the perfect place for wine lovers, there’s plenty to do during this stunning time of year that’s not vino related. October is when the annual Napa Half Marathon takes place, and the St. Helena Harvest Festival is an event for the whole family. Also, antique fans will get a kick out of the Vintagelandia Market that also happens during this prime autumn month.

TPG tip: Book a stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley for 80,000 Hilton Honors points or $383 per night. Or, opt for a room at Hotel Indigo Napa Valley for $208 (or 35,000 IHG One Rewards points) per night.

English countryside

Village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire, England, in autumn. JOE DANIEL PRICE/GETTY IMAGES

It’s hard to choose just one city or town because the entire English countryside is heavenly in the fall. Foliage in the forests peaks from September to November, making for a perfect fall escape.

Additionally, the Cliveden Literary Festival happens in October. This will evoke the spirit of the great writers and potentates who stayed here while gathering creative inspiration. Finally, the beginning of the month is when the Goose Fair — a 700-year-old event with a mix of historic tradition and modern attractions — pops up in Nottingham.

TPG tip: If you want to immerse yourself in the fall colors fully, book a stay at the award-winning Chewton Glen country house hotel, on the edge of the New Forest in rural Hampshire. It features treehouse suites overlooking a stunning wooded valley of orange and yellow. What’s more, average ticket prices for round-trip flights to London are down around 20%, according to Expedia. If you travel in mid-to-late October, you can get round-trip nonstop flights from New York for $555. Even traveling from Los Angeles, you can score tickets with one stop for around $663.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. BUSAKORN PONGPARNIT/GETTY IMAGES

If you were ever looking for a reason to visit Albuquerque, , this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Fiesta is the premier international ballooning event, made possible by the typically perfect October climate and a phenomenon called the “Albuquerque Box” (a combination of weather patterns and the landscape). That makes it ideal for both spectators and balloon pilots as they can take off and land at the same location. This year, the Balloon Fiesta aims to break its world record with even more balloons.

TPG tip: Stay at Hotel Parq Central from $205 or overnight it at TownePlace Suites Albuquerque Old Town for $343 or 15,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Dallas

The Texas Star, the Ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. CAROL M. HIGHSMITH/BUYENLARGE/GETTY IMAGES

The saying “everything’s bigger in Texas” rings true, especially when it comes to the Texas State Fair. Hosting barbecue competitions, live music and rodeos, the 23-day festival (that kicks off Sept. 30) is a can’t-miss event this fall.

While you’re there, check out one of the many attractions in the area, like the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Arboretum, Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Zoo and the School Book Depository museum for some American history. The temperatures are also ideal, with average highs of 79 degrees and lows of 58 degrees, so you won’t have to experience that summer Texas heat.

And all of this is available for lower prices than usual. Dallas is one of the top 20 cheapest places to visit and fly to, with average nightly hotel rates around $175 and round-trip airfare around $311, according to new Priceline data.

TPG tip: The perfect home base for all activities is the recently opened Kimpton Pittman Hotel (around 40,000 IHG One Rewards points or $256 per night), about 10 minutes from the fairground in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas. The neighborhood also offers excellent shopping and restaurants, including Sneaker Politics, famed barbecue house Pecan Lodge, throwback candy and novelty shop Rocket Fizz and custom sports store Warstic, among others.

Sydney

A sculpture by Italian artist Maurizio Perron at Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach. BROOK MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES

Australia was one of the countries that held out the longest in terms of welcoming visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that it’s open, popular events that haven’t happened in years have returned.

Back for the first time in two years, Sculpture by the Sea will return to Bondi from Oct. 21 to Nov. 7, featuring the world’s largest free outdoor sculpture exhibition. From Bondi to Tamarama, the coastline is transformed into a 1.2-mile-long sculpture park featuring more than 100 weird and wonderful sculptures by Australian and international artists. That’s in addition to the classic attractions in the area, such as the clifftop Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, Bondi Icebergs ocean pool and countless coastline eateries.

TPG tip: QT Bondi is the premier hotel for guests staying in Bondi Beach, opposite the oceanfront and just a short walk to the exhibition starting point on Notts Avenue. You can also stay in nearby Sydney at spots like West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton for $182 or 42,000 Hilton Honors points per night or the Kimpton Margot Sydney (from about $200 or 33,000 IHG points per night).

Rhode Island

Providence is an excellent city to visit for family-friendly Halloween festivities. DENISTANGNEYJR./GETTY IMAGES

Get into Halloween mode by visiting the filming location for “Hocus Pocus 2,” which airs Sept. 30.

Kick off a spooky trip with a stop at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. The most under-the-radar locale in the state for fall, though, is Blackstone Valley, a short 20-minute drive from Newport or Providence. A must-see is the Hearthside House — a shooting location for “Hocus Pocus 2.” Be sure to visit during the venue’s “Bewitched and BeDazzled” event Oct. 1, as the festival celebrates fall and the film.

Then, head to Newport — another filming spot for the “Hocus Pocus” sequel — which is home to the supposedly most haunted tavern in America, White Horse Tavern, which opened in 1673. Apparently, several ghosts still haunt the tavern, so be alert for mysterious shoulder tapping.

TPG tip: Stay at Aloft Providence Downtown from $162 or 28,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Zurich

Aerial view of Zurich’s Old Town with autumn colors. DIDIER MARTI/GETTY IMAGES

October in Zurich is the perfect time to experience the city’s charming streets, nearby hikes, art exhibitions and more. There are also plenty of fall events to plan your trip around.

Open House Zurich, for example, occurs at the beginning of the month. During this weekend, historical and contemporary buildings that are usually closed will open their doors to the general public. It’s also the last month of the MAAG Light Hall world premiere of its “Monet’s Immersive Garden” experience.

For something more modern, “Snowcash” will take place in a physical exhibition space at Kunsthalle Zurich while continually evolving on multiple metaverse platforms. And Digital Art Zurich (an international festival for all kinds of digital culture) happens later in the month.

TPG tip: Book a room at the Crowne Plaza Zurich for $182 or 25,000 IHG One Rewards points per night. The new Neues Schloss Privat Hotel Zurich, Autograph Collection is also available for $425, or 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos. WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES

While fall in the Caribbean has a reputation for inclement weather and hurricane season, flexible travelers willing to risk rainy days at the beach or reschedule a trip at the last minute can score quite a deal at destinations like Providenciales.

The best time to try for a deal is from late August through September, October and early November, according to Visit Turks and Caicos Islands. Visitors will also have prime access to the city’s fall events, including the Caribbean Food and Wine Festival (Oct. 13-16), which showcases the island’s best culinary talents.

TPG tip: The luxury all-inclusive family vacation retreat Beaches Turks & Caicos is currently running a fall promotion: Families who book for fall receive up to $355 instant credit and up to 65% off select rooms on three or more nights. Or, stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Turks and Caicos, from $734 or 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.


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