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 crowdedness, budget considerations, activities and so on.
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
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)
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.
- We would travel to: East and South-East Asia. Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), Kenting (Taiwan), Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan)
- We would avoid traveling to: India and Pakistan
Africa and the Middle East
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 Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe 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.
- We would travel to: Southern Africa. Port Louis (Mauritius), Cape Town (South Africa), Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Kruger National Park (South Africa)
- We would avoid traveling to: Central and North Africa, places such as N'djamena (Chad), Luanda (Angola) and Zanzibar.
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
Winter is nearly here in Australia and New Zealand. While in Australia, northern Queensland and cities like Cairns, Brisbane, Darwin 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.