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Where to Go Next: Top 10 Shoulder-Season Destinations for Fall

We’re in the final days of summer, when vacations are coming to an end, kids are returning to school, and San Francisco’s sidewalks are becoming a little less clogged with European tourists. It’s easy to get wistful about the end of sandal weather, but I choose to look at it a different way: for those not bound by the academic calendar, we’re about to enter my favorite time of year to travel, the fall shoulder season.

Last month I attended Virtuoso Travel Week, a gathering of nearly 5,000 luxury travel advisors and suppliers from 90 different countries. During the conference, Virtuoso—a network of travel agencies from around the world—revealed which destinations are shaping up to be the hottest for fall. Here they are, ranked by popularity (for data nerds out there, these places have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings for fall leisure travel). Put aside your end-of-summer blues and book now.

The colorful buildings of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
1. Vietnam
Start your culinary explorations in Hanoi, then travel south to Hoi An for the iconic dish that was a mystery until writer David Farley came to town.

A scene from Tarn Taran Sahib.
2. India
If it’s your first trip, witness the visual feast that is Rajasthan.

Moorea, French Polynesia

3. French Polynesia
Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Mo’orea, and the 115 other islands in this dreamy region offer first-class scuba diving, crowd-free hiking, and Paul Gauguin paintings in their home turf.

A charred padrons tapa in Spain.
4. Spain
Barcelona has tapas, work-life balance, and Sunday rituals down to a science.