Where To Travel In May

[All currently written Where to travel to posts: April / May]

Last month Travelindicator started a new series called "Where to travel to in...". With these posts we aim to provide our readers with a thorough analysis of the best travel destinations for every month of the year across the different continents. To get to our recommendations, we use all data and indicators that we have at our disposal at Travelindicator, including the weather, any special dates and holidays that we may be aware of, the relative crowdednessbudget considerations, activities and so on.

Travel destinations for May

Besides giving you specific travel ideas to work with, we will also give you some generic thoughts on regions to check out and/or avoid in the fifth month of the year. Oh and if you want to store our destinations for easy reference, create itineraries and keep track of the weather and cost of a destination, you should register with us! We will slowly work our way through the year, and as we covered the month of April last time around, this month we will continue our coverage with discussing the best May travel destinations.

The best travel destinations in May

Europe

In our last instalment we told you that an old Dutch piece of farmers wisdom says that "in May birds lay their eggs". Indeed, while April is still fairly unpredictable weather-wise, May tends to be solidly on the way to "fairly nice" in northern Europe with temperatures reaching the high teens (just under 70 Fahrenheit) and generally speaking a decent amount of sunny days. 

While the north of Europe may still be better visited in June (although spring is perfectly nice most of the time), for the south of Europe this may actually be the best time to visit as it will be warm, but not yet hot.

Budget-wise, our stats show a hike in prices in April and May for most of the smaller and larger cities in Europe, as these are the months that Europeans take their spring holidays. In France those will for instance fall anywhere between mid-April and early May, while the Netherlands is off in early May. In terms of crowds, May should nevertheless be a safe bet. Interestingly, a lot of the beach destinations show lower prices for May, which may make for quite an interesting mix with the solid - no let us rephrase that to remove any amibuity - great weather this time of year.

  • We would travel to: Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), Diyarbakir (Turkey), Rome (Italy), Nice (France) or Venice (Italy)
  • We would avoid traveling to: Mountainous areas like St. Moritz (Switzerland), Ischgl (Austria), or any skiing destination really because who likes the combination of expensive and cold? The furthest north is best avoided as well, places such as Aarhus (Denmark)

 

Asia

Koh Samui

While in April, East Asia and Japan in particular were all about the Cherry blossoms, May does not have many events of significance. It does see the Korean Lantern Festival in Seoul (either late April or early May), Waisak in Yogyakarta with a similar purpose, and the Koh Samui Regatta, but none of these are events you should aim to avoid or especially come out for. Do note that May 1 is a holiday in many countries.

Weather-wise this is actually a better time to visit East Asia, as temperatures in for instance the larger cities of East China reach their mid twenties (high seventies if you think in Fahrenheit) and become warm but not yet consistently unbearably hot. Japan and Korea will be just a bit under that, but absolutely pleasant as well.

Further to the South, places like Phuket in Thailand find themselves in an in-between phase where the monsoon hasn't quite started (though rainfall is somewhat higher), but tourism has quieted down a bit from the start of the year. This may be the best time of year to head out here if you prefer it to be a bit more quiet or are looking for a good deal. The alternative is to head out to Gulf of Thailand islands like Koh Samui, which guarantee both great weather and crowds, while Bali will be busy but not crowded (and not cheap but not expensive!). If there is one place we would recommend you to avoid in its entirety, it would be India, most of which sees scorching hot temperatures this time of year.

 

Africa and the Middle East

Walvis Bay

If you head to Africa at this time of year, the south is where it's at - we are specifically talking about countries like South AfricaNamibiaZimbabwe or Mozambique. And let's throw in Mauritius for good order. Elsewhere in the continent, East Africa gets a lot of rain while North Africa starts heating up. In terms of crowds, you will be out of the high season in most of Africa while in terms of holidays the May 1 Labour Day is probably the only one to really keep in the back of your mind.

 

Americas

Ottawa

In Central America and the northern parts of South America, this is the ramp up to the rainy season with more rain than in the earlier months of the year (for instance in Dominican Republic rainfall spikes in May). The Caribbean is an overall safe bet and we have had a look at hotel prices, these don't seem to fluctuate much throughout the year in most of destinations there.

This time of year, the central parts of South America see pleasant temperatures even at the higher altitudes of countries like Peru. For cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro this may be the best time to visit, as temperatures hover around the mid twenties Celsius or high seventies Fahrenheit. Meanwhile you may want to avoid the Amazon as it is at the back of its rain reason. Similarly, as you head further south, past cities like Buenos Aires and all the way down to Ushuaia, things start to get pretty chilly. Those parts are best avoided this time of year, although then again it is a slightly cheaper period.

In North America, many places in Mexico are at their peak in terms of hot weather, something which may be fine in Mexico City (which doesn't get too hot), but we would advise you to avoid cities like Guadalajara. Meanwhile, most of the US is fine to travel to, with even Anchorage reaching the mid teens (60 Fahrenheit).

  • We would travel to: the Caribbean, United States, Canada and central South America
  • We would avoid traveling to: Central America, Mexico and southern South America

 

Oceania

Melbourne

Winter is nearly here in Australia and New Zealand. While in Australia, northern Queensland and cities like CairnsBrisbaneDarwin or Perth are fine for traveling to year-round, Melbourne and Hobart are getting quite fresh, while Sydney is just about on the edge. In New Zealand places in South Island like Milford Sound reach about 12 Celsius or 54 Fahreheit. It's your call.  

Where To Travel In April

[All currently written Where to travel to posts: April / May]

spring

To be honest, we pretty much tend to travel wherever we can, whenever we are able to. We might book that city trip to Shanghai or New York, that long holiday to New Zealand or that island break to Phuket or Aruba without really considering if the time of year we are heading there is really the best time to go or not.

That means we usually go on our way without giving much consideration to the weather or what a certain place will otherwise be like at a given time of year. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes this brings us somewhere at the worst possible time of year.

This behavior is mostly born out of necessity. Having a busy 9 to 5 job during the week (OK - let's just be honest here and tell you it's really a 7 to 7 job - not talking about maintaining Travelindicator!) and not having a large amount of holidays nor the freedom to easily take them up, means that it is difficult to really plan our trips very much in advance.

But maybe we should change our approach and get a better idea of where to fly off to when we book the next trip. For that reason we are starting a new series of blog posts titled "Where to travel to in..." where we will recommend what places are best to travel to in each month of the year. We start the series with the first episode, where to travel in April*. Note that if you want to browse through our destinations, create itineraries and keep track of certain destinations (e.g. to know when they are most affordable), you can do so by registering here.

* The time of writing is March and that month is nearest to us. Going forward we will of course cover the entire year!

The best travel destinations in April

I guess there are a few things to consider when planning whether to go somewhere during in April. We have systematically worked through a few hundred travel destinations, mostly considering the weather and relative crowdedness (and therefore affordability) of certain destinations. Let's just say that we wouldn't want to check out the beaches of the Costa del Sol in early August. Luckily, April tends to be off-season for most places anyway.

Europe

Kos

This is the time of year that spring typically really starts to make it presence felt on the continent. In the Netherlands a piece of old farmer's wisdom goes "March wags its tail, April does what it wants and in May birds lay their eggs". Take that for what it's worth.

The average high to low temperature ranges are 8°C to 18°C in Rome (that's 46°F to 64°F), 5°C to 14°C in Amsterdam (that's 40°F to 56°F) and 12°C to 20°C in Athens (that's 53°F to 68°F). So while the north of Europe is still quite fresh, this may in fact be the best time to head somewhere further to the south - you will have decent weather and definitely beat the crowds! 

Our suggestions are: Kos (Greece), Crete (Greece), Lisbon (Portugal) or Barcelona. At this time of year we'd still steer clear from cities further to the north. Avoid traveling to: the North of Europe unless you plan on spending most of your time indoors.

Asia

Sendai Sakura

Asia in April. For us that means checking out the sakura (Cherry blossoms) in Japan, though as a general rule you will need to head a bit further north to still get to see them. Japan National Tourism Organisation has an overview of all the viewing spots and their corresponding dates. Looking at the rest of the continent, we think you can pretty much skip India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, er... entire South-east Asia, as temperatures can go as high as 38°C or 100°F in some places. Yep, the North of Asia is where it's at this time of year.

Our suggestions are: Sendai (Japan, for the Cherry Blossoms), Jeju (South Korea), Seoul (South Korea), Hainan (China) or Chongqing (China). As there are no public holidays of significance in these countries in that period (ignoring Qingming Jie in China), traveling to any of them should be a safe bet. Avoid traveling to: South(-east) Asia.

Africa and the Middle East

Rabat

This may be one of the best times of year to visit Northern Africa. In fact, we are going to tell you that most of the Maghreb (roughly north-western Africa) is pretty excellent for a visit at this time of year. Think about the temperatures in the southern extremes of Europe that we just mentioned, and just add a few degrees to it. South Africa is cooling down but still quite pleasant.

Our suggestions are: Rabat (Morocco), Fes (Morocco) and Tunis (Tunesia), Kruger National Park (South Africa). Avoid traveling to: Central Africa

Americas

Miami

In April, places in the northern parts of the continent are still too cool to truly enjoy (and in the big cities its always high season anyway, making them not really relevant to our list). Head a bit further south however, and you find the places where we think it's at this time of year. In the United States that means some of the more spectacular national parks and southern cities - it's not quite high tourist season but the weather is perfectly agreeable.

The climate in South America is quite different still, but April is not a bad time to travel there either. In places like Brazil, the temperatures have declined from their highs in January/February, but are still totally doable (when are they ever not, anyway?). Of course, for a visit to the Caribbean this is as good a time as any to go, given their pretty stable climate.

Our suggestions are: Miami (United States), Grand Canyon (United States), Yosemite National Park (United States), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Florianopolis (Brazil), Saint BarthelemySaint Kitts and NevisAvoid traveling to: Canada and the Northern US

Oceania

Sydney

Not surprisingly, this is as good a time of year as any to visit some South Pacific islands. It is also a good time to visit South Australia or New South Wales and Victoria, with temperatures in Sydney and Melbourne hovering around the low twenties (high seventies in Fahrenheit). In New Zealand, some of the more mountainous and South Island destinations are probably best avoided, but it's not a bad time to head north.

Our suggestions are: Sydney (Australia), Melbourne (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Waiheke Island (New Zealand), Bora Bora (French Polynesia), Savaii (Samoa). Avoid traveling to: South Island in New Zealand