If you’re feeling a little restless and a touch impulsive, why not book one of these big vacations this month?
Without any official long weekends in October (unless you’re one of the lucky few who get Columbus Day off), it’s easy to go a little stir crazy. Sure, autumn has arrived (to many people’s delight) but if you’re itching to hit the road, why not splurge on a big, last-minute vacation before the holiday season hits and you’re swamped with family obligations? We’ve put together four ideas to jumpstart your planning—from a weekend jaunt to luxurious Lake Como to two weeks in remote Western Australia—all of which will cost about $2,000. These blow-out trips might not be ideal for penny pinchers, but we think you deserve to treat yourself.
A Weekend in Lake Como, Italy for $1,700
If you’ve ever wanted a taste of the A-lister, jet-setter life, why not fly to Lake Como for a weekend? The northern Italian lake is well-known as a playground for the rich and the famous, and it has been the setting for numerous celebrity weddings, i.e., John Legend and Chrissy Tegen, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, for starters. October is a prime time to visit, as the summer crowds have dissipated, and rates have become even more affordable. Sip an Aperol spritz on a lakeside terrace, explore the charming town of Bellagio, or take a boat ride to peep the incredible villas lining the shore and keep an eye out for George and Amal Clooney’s.
To get there, you’ll need to fly into Milan, and fortunately, there are often good airfare deals. From New York, return airfare is as little as $404 in October (or $583 from Los Angeles, $601 from Chicago), meaning you can spend the bulk of your budget on lodgings. For an extremely luxe stay, head to Villa d’Este in the village of Cernobbio, a Renaissance-era private residence turned grande dame hotel in 1873. Rates in October start at $650. That means that, after your flights, you’ll have just enough in your budget for two nights. Make it a weekend trip and you won’t have to miss any work. You could also extend your trip while maintaining your budget by staying at a more affordable hotel. The Hotel Villa Fiori, for instance, also has prime lakefront real estate, but it costs a much more reasonable $290 per night.
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8 Days in Morocco for $1,700
If you’re looking for a good deal on a guided tour, pay attention to last-minute openings. Operators will often offer discounts on tours as their start dates approach. That’s the case with Intrepid Travel, which is offering a $171 off its eight-day “Morocco Expedition—Walking with Berber Nomads” tour for a total of $974 per person. Travelers will join families of the Ait Atta peoples on their seasonal migration into the Atlas Mountains, helping out with chores like setting up camp each night (and packing it up in the morning), tending to animals, and baking bread. It’s a great way to learn about nomadic Berber life—just be sure you’re prepared to walk five to 10 miles per day and sleep in tents at night. You’ll also have a few days to explore Marrakesh with your tour guide.
The rate includes a number of meals, but not international airfare. For this trip, which starts on October 5, flights cost anywhere from $700 to $900 from major cities across the United States, bringing your total spend to roughly $1700 to $1900. Is this tour not quite right for you? Check out Intrepid’s other options, including a number of other Morocco tour itineraries for less than $1,000.
14 Days in Western Australia for $2,000
While most visitors head to Australia’s East Coast to visit Sydney and Melbourne, there are absolute gems to be found in Western Australia. Fly into Perth, one of the most remote major cities in the world, and acclimate to jet lag as you sip on local craft beers, go shopping in trendy Fremantle, or visit Rottnest Island to see the adorable quokkas. Because Western Australia is so sprawling, it’s a great idea to rent a campervan and head out onto the road to take in some more sights. We recommend slowly heading up towards Exmouth, a 13-hour drive north of Perth, to visit the Ningaloo Reef: a stunning fringing reef where you can snorkel and dive with everything from manta rays to whale sharks. You can also head south of Perth to the Margaret River wine region for a more low-key adventure.
Surprisingly you can do all this for $2,000. At the time of writing, Cathay Pacific is offering $1,000 fares from New York to Perth—a shockingly good deal—while fares from other U.S. cities typically start around $1,400 or more. If you book that New York deal, you’ll have $1,000 to spend on hotels in Perth and other destinations (budget-friendly accommodations can be booked for around $50/night), plus your campervan (as low as $17 per night), which can serve as both a vehicle and your accommodation. All in, you can easily spend less than $2,000 for flights, hotels, and transportation during a two-week stay in Western Australia.
10 Days in Canada and New England for $2,000
You can often save quite a bit of money on a cruise by waiting until the last minute to book. Cruise lines will often sell cabins at discounted rates at the 11th hour. Of course, there’s always the risk that your sailing will sell out, but for those who have flexible schedules, it can work out quite well. This October, we recommend sailing on a Canada and New England itinerary to make the most out of fall foliage season. Ships depart from cities like New York, Boston, Quebec City, and Montreal, and sail along the coast for anywhere from seven to 14 days—or more, in some cases. While peak foliage season starts quite early up in Canada (even as early as mid-September), experts suspect we’ll have a bit of a later peak this year—but book a cruise for the first half off October lest you end up peeping trees that have already shed their leaves.
We found an ideal 10-day sailing on Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess, departing from Quebec City on October 4 and sailing down the coast through to New York, with rates starting from $1,172 per person. That permits you about $800 to cover airfare to and from the ports of embarkation and disembarkation, as well as a potential extension in either city, if you find good deals on flights. An average hotel in Quebec City will run you about $100 per night, whereas an average hotel in New York will likely cost $250 per night (though Airbnbs can be closer to $100).