April 18, 2017

The Best Time to Visit Anywhere in the World

Or the best places to visit on any given week based on weather

Published by Ryan Whitacker on April 18, 2017

Scroll to your desired week and see where the weather is good. Customize the settings to your ideal minimum, maximum, and average temperature. You may also decide how strict to be about avoiding rainfall. See below for background, methodology, and more.

UPDATE: By popular demand I have built a Celsius version.

If you already know the date you’ll be on vacation simply enter your desired temperatures and click to the date you’d like. If you have a place in mind, try zooming to the location and clicking through to a week. It may also be helpful to view the gif below. Click it to open a larger view.

The animation above is from Tableau and is based on the default parameters: 1 day of rain or less on average, a high that doesn’t pass 85, a low above 55, and mean (average) temperatures between 60 and 75.

Background

I’m a data guy and a digital nomad. As a digital nomad I don’t have a permanent residential address. The freedom is nice, but wasted if one fails to move around and experience the world. I often found myself searching Google for things like, “best places to visit in January” or “best time to visit Spain.”

I was almost always disappointed with the results. I’d usually find anecdotes and broad date ranges with no supporting data whatsoever. In most cases I got the feeling that recommendations were coming from paid authors who had never even been to the place, let alone often enough to make a date recommendation.

I built these maps as my own guide to everywhere the weather is nice at any given time of year. These maps are not supposed to replace local knowledge of events or seasonal attractions, but rather to supplement it with good data on where temperatures are ideal.

Methodology

I downloaded NOAA’s summary of the day data for the last 10 years. This included 35 million lines of data (365 days * 10-12k stations * 10 years). 2017 YTD is also accounted for. I was then able to display average temperatures and precipitation for any given area by week. After that visualization was easy. I’m especially happy that Tableau was able to put this data together so flawlessly to allow users to select their own temperature preferences.

Limitations

The data I can present is limited by the data available through NOAA. While the data is generally good, the main limitation is that some stations (especially outside of the North America and Europe) do not report precipitation (rain/snow) data consistently. For what it’s worth, if rain data is bad on this map you’re probably not going to find any better data anywhere. Looking at the map in aggregate you should still get a good picture of where the weather is nice at any given time.

You can exclude areas that don’t report on precipitation by setting the slider to .001 to 1 (or however many days of precipitation you’re willing to put up with in a week), since unreported areas are always 0. You may exclude places that have never received rainfall during that week for the last 10 years, but such weeks are rare outside of deserts, and the surrounding dots should make up for it.

For Site Owners, Writers, and Bloggers

You may use this map however you’d like if you are willing to include a linked citation. Feel free to use screenshots, the linked gif above, or re-embed the map by clicking the share button above. You do not need permission so long as you cite this page as the source. Enjoy!

We may also be able to create a GIF like the one above with custom temperature or precipitation parameters for your site if you would prefer one to the interactive map. Contact us with requests and we’ll process them as quickly we’re able.