Just because summer is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean the world has to hit a pause. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Some destinations that are perfectly serviceable in the summer months come alive once that first autumn chill hits.
If you are planning an autumn trip abroad, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, let’s explore a few of the finest fall-weather destinations and discuss how best to pack for the shoulder season.
What to Look for in a Fall Destination
However, before all that, perhaps it’s best to outline criteria for what to look for in a fall destination. What makes some destinations particularly dazzling come September?
In short, it’s a mixture of natural beauty and cultural significance. To start, all of the destinations on this list share one thing in common: stunning foliage.
You can’t have an autumn trip without the blazing reds and sun-soaked yellows of a forest in decline.
Secondly, the finest fall spots take the season seriously; they pick apples for cider, worship the first frost, or raise a ceremonial toast to the season.
All of the destinations below marry magnificent scenery with deep, cultural ties to the transitional season.
How to Pack for Fall Weather
Before you land on your ideal fall travel plans, consider how to pack for this fickle season. Fall weather is notoriously up and down, often presenting warm days and chilly evenings.
Moreover, most fall spots experience heightened precipitation, and if you aren’t prepared, the rain can put a damper on your plans.
That said, pack versatile clothing that adapts well to temperature fluctuations. Merino wool is a fantastic choice – often lauded by world travellers – because it’s insulating and breathable, sweat-wicking and fast-drying.
Plus, because merino is antibacterial, a pair of wool underwear will last you for days (yes, you read that right!).
The next concept to consider is layering. Because the temperature can turn on a dime, you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner with bulky coats or a single, thin base layer.
Instead, pack several layers – that way, you can don or disrobe layers as needed.
Finally, pack rain gear and versatile footwear on your trip. If you’re taking a rain shell or jacket, simply wear it on the plane to avoid overstuffing your luggage.
As for footwear, boots usually work best; Chelsea boots, Blundstones or Combat boots can all be dressed up or down.
Now, onto the best destinations for a fall trip abroad.
Honshu is the main island in Japan, containing the lion’s share of the country’s area and population. Unlike Hokkaido to the north, which can get very chilly in fall, Honshu stays pleasant and brisk.
Further, it’s a marvel to behold. The fiery maples lining the shrines in Kyoto are a particular highlight. But you can’t go wrong anywhere here.
For a special treat, head to one of the many onsens (hot springs) on the island and stay at a ryokan, or traditional inn, where you’ll eat some of the best spoils of fall anywhere in the world.
The Maritimes, Canada
Canada’s vast, biodiverse lands contain several hot spots for spring. But let’s highlight the east coast. Northeast of Maine, the Maritime provinces revel in abundant fall foliage, abutting a rocky, evocative coastline.
It’s also about this time of year that east coasters hunker down in the region’s several pubs. People of the region are well-known for their music, drinking and general merry-making. Autumn is the perfect time to witness it.
In truth, all of France looks gorgeous in the fall. But Normandy, in particular, is a fascinating destination come September 22nd.
The region is renowned for its apples, which make their way into everything from world-class cider to braised pork dishes.
Visit the picturesque Seine-side town of Les Andelys or head for the big city of Rouen, which hosts a gastronomy festival in the third week of October.
A 12-hour train ride east from Rouen will land you in the German province of Bavaria. Bavaria is beautiful; the charming city centres of Munich and Nuremberg bristle with activity, sporting no shortage of toy-like medieval architecture.
But the real pull here is that famous beer festival: Oktoberfest. The world-famous beer extravaganza isn’t just another opportunity to get soused – it’s also a sly celebration of fall.
Naturally, there are a thousand other spots that could have made this list. But these four are perhaps the best expressions of the cultural and natural wonders the season has to offer. Book a flight and follow the packing tips above!