Are you planning a holiday, but don't know the best time to visit your favourite hotspot? Want to avoid the crowds, but still travel to the popular destinations? What about the best time to opt for a staycation? Although there's no definitive one-size-fits-all answer, our travel planner will set you on the right road whether you want to go long or short haul. Follow our handy hints and tips to help you make the savviest holiday decisions. Bon voyage!
Look to Lapland in February for the elusive Northern Lights. With fewer snow clouds you'll have more chance of catching the action.
The main event: This is the perfect time to catch some winter sun, as prices dip after the Christmas holidays. Think Lanzarote, Fuerteventura or Tenerife. For more serious sun lovers, head to the southern hemisphere for Cape Town, Dubai or the Dominican Republic.
Hidden gem: If you aren’t fussed about hot weather, this is the best time of year to visit Venice. Late January/early February sees Europe’s Mardi Gras festivities kick-off in style at the Venice Carnival.
Avoid: Anywhere in the Arctic circle and northern Europe due to the combination of excessively cold weather and short daylight hours.
The main event: The month of love, Valentine holidaymakers should head to less clichéd romantic destinations such as Marrakech for an affordable beach getaway.
Hidden gem: Look to Lapland in February for the elusive northern lights. Fewer snow clouds and a higher chance of clear skies will increase visibility.
Avoid: Avoid the other popular northern lights destination, Iceland, at all costs. Unless you like storm season, that is.
The main event: Fancy snorkelling in Thailand? Take advantage of some of the clearest seas in March. Popular American destinations such as California and Florida also provide high temperatures minus the crowds.
Hidden gem: Think outside the box and bag a bargain with late-season skiing in the Austrian and French Alps. Things may be slowing down, but if you book in time you'll experience the joys of the sport with longer days and later opening times.
Avoid: Canada, where melting snow and heavy rainfall will leave you feeling soggy rather than revived.
The main event: Grab a bargain in southern Europe, where the weather is heating up but flight prices are still relatively cheap. Think Greece, Italy, Spain or even a little further afield like Morocco to whet your appetite.
Hidden gem: Towards the end of the month is one of the best times to visit the Caribbean for great sun at a cheap(er) price.
Avoid: It's Spring Break all month. Avoid destinations such as Cancun in Mexico, Nassau in the Bahamas and Panama City Beach in Florida.
The main event: Visit South Africa’s game parks now to take advantage of start of season low prices.
Hidden gem: May heralds tulip season in The Netherlands. Avoid the crowds by travelling on one of the UK’s two May bank holidays, when the Dutch are still at work.
Avoid: The 40+ degree heat waves currently occurring in Egypt due to sandstorms. Ugh.
The main event: Animal watching is where it's at in June particularly in Yellowstone National Park where you can spot some grizzlies and Iceland, where you can catch a glimpse of the blue whale migration.
Hidden gem: June is a great time to explore the white sand beaches of southern Ireland, as there is (usually) less rain.
Avoid: Cities such as Venice and Rome – the people, the flies, the smell. Do we need say more?
The main event: While everyone heads to the beaches, turn instead to the Arctic circle and destinations such as Sweden or Norway. Not only will the scenery take your breath away, the long hours of sunlight mean you can swim in broad daylight in the middle of the night!
Hidden gem: Believe it or not, July is one of the best times to travel to the southern hemisphere. Although they're experiencing winter (which in turn means lower fares for us), that doesn't mean they don't have a lot to offer. While destinations in Australia can offer year round sun, New Zealand, known for its amazing outdoor activities, is currently in ski season.
Avoid: You’ll want to steer clear of India’s monsoon season.
The main event: It’s prime beach season and you wouldn’t want to miss out. To avoid the crowds do your research and pick a local unsung hero, such as somewhere along the Spanish Basque country.
Hidden gem: For something a bit more unusual head to one of the world’s biggest food fights, La Tomatina in Spain, guaranteed to be a holiday to remember.
Avoid: With school officially out for summer, unless you enjoy feeling like a sardine, it's imperative to avoid the stereotypical holiday destinations such as the Canaries, Greek islands and The French Riviera.
The main event: With the monsoon season just drawing to a close, lower prices in India make this destination a relative steal.
Hidden gem: Now’s the perfect time to visit the more popular beaches across Europe and, if you’re in the mood for something a bit more wild, head to Ibiza’s closing parties for one last hurrah.
Avoid: Don't get blown away: avoid The Caribbean, Florida and Louisiana, where hurricane season is still at its peak.
The main event: Celebrate the crisp autumn atmosphere in states such as New England and Virginia, or even right here in the English countryside. If that’s not your cup of tea, Eastern Europe and the Canaries will provide some much needed late season warmth.
Hidden gem: It may technically be the start of monsoon season in Bali, but with the worst rain holding off until November there's still plenty of time to get in a quick trip with much lower prices and emptier beaches.
Avoid: The whole of China, which holds a fortnight of national holidays called ‘Golden Week’ in October. Cue major expense and long queues for everything.
The main event: November is the perfect time to explore big cities such as London, New York or even Hong Kong. Not only will they be cheaper, but they'll also be gloriously festive in the run up to Christmas and not too cold at the beginning of winter season to boot.
Hidden gem: Now is the perfect time for a cosy staycation. Think crackling fires and brisk hikes somewhere like The Lake District and you can’t go wrong.
Avoid: Indonesia, which is experiencing rainy season.
The main event: December is the month for exploring the numerous Christmas markets across Europe, such as those in Prague, Brussels, Krakow, Budapest and Berlin.
Hidden gem: We have one of the best New Year's celebrations in the world right on our doorstep. If you haven’t already, make sure you experience Edinburgh’s Hogmanay extravaganza at least once. Be sure to book your accommodation early and check out some of the local B&Bs for cheap and friendly options. You'll be grateful for the cooked breakfast come New Year's Day!
Avoid: Winter sun locations such as Barbados, where you’ll find rip off prices fit only for the super rich.