As summer ends and the holiday planning begins, many overlook the wonderful shoulder season of travel that falls in October. Airfares are generally cheaper, destinations are less crowded, and overall temperatures are beginning to cool. For those considering an adventure in October, take a look at some of our fantastic trips during this time.


group of people at San Donato farm in Italy

Italy in the summer is undoubtedly a popular time to visit yet is notoriously crowded, but if you can wait to travel here during the off-season, you’ll be rewarded with delicious cuisine that changes with the seasons, cooler weather, and far less crowds. Our signature Great Hikes and Cuisine of Northern Italy adventure dishes up active hiking days through vineyards and along lakeside trails. The main event of this journey is the fresh seasonal cuisine paired with sensational wine. As one of our adventurers put it: “[The trip is] a fabulous combination of hiking in gorgeous areas and out-of-this-world gourmet food along with cheese producers, wineries, cooking lessons, and fabulous hotels and chateaus. A feast for the eyes, nose, and stomach.”

le langhe barbaresco, italy

Hungry for more Italian adventure? Another one of our favorites in Italy is The Kingdom of Truffles and Barolo, where you can explore Piemonte, the home of the Slow Food movement. We’ve timed our trip for harvest season, when the vineyards are at their most beautiful in tones of russet and gold, and truffle festivals are in full swing.

Itineraries: Great Hikes and Cuisine of Northern Italy & Kingdom of Truffles and Barolo

Ghana, Togo, and Benin

egun mask dance in West Africa

If you’re looking for unique fall festivities, head to Ghana, Togo, and Benin for an immersive cultural experience. On our Tribal Ghana, Togo, and Benin journey, we witness several fascinating festivals including Akwasidae Festival honoring the Ashanti King, and the vibrant festivals of Egun, Gelede, and Zangeto, complete with symbolic mask dances and theatrical singing performances.

kakum national park in ghana

You can also visit local markets, learn about the Voodoo culture, and take a “canopy hike” in the rainforest of Kakum National Park.

Itinerary: Tribal Ghana, Togo, and Benin


snorkeling near an arch in palau rock islands

The phenomenal Rock Islands, a maze of more than 400 islands jutting out of turquoise waters in the western Pacific, have earned UNESCO World Heritage status for their wealth of biodiversity. On our adventure, Palau’s Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking, we’ll enjoy exploring the riches of this natural wonder. Below the water’s surface, a new world emerges as we see some of the 1,500 species of reef fish, sharks, manta rays, giant clams, tube sponges, sea turtles, and search for the elusive dugong.

jellyfish lake in palau

During this time, some highlights include kayaking into remote coves that can only be accessed when the tides are high, and swimming in Jellyfish Lake, a lake home to nearly a million stingless jellyfish—it’s an incredible experience.

Itinerary: Palau’s Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking


porto city landscape in the evening

October is the perfect time to explore Portugal’s mountains and coast. On our Hiker’s Journey to Portugal, we take full advantage of this special time. As temperatures drop slightly, but skies are still clear, it’s the ideal weather for daily hikes through vineyards followed by a port wine tasting and dinner on a terrace overlooking the Douro River.

trail in pico mountain, azores, in the fall

For a more off-the-beaten-path journey, join our trip Hiking in the Azores, which explores the volcanic archipelago off Portugal’s coast—just a five-hour flight from the East Coast—with hikes along crater rims and rugged moorlands, and then relax in thermally heated pools.

Itineraries: Hiker’s Journey to Portugal & Hiking in the Azores

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