Where to Go in May
For travelers who are too impatient to wait for summer to start, or eager to take advantage of time off during Memorial Day weekend, May is just around the corner. When planning travels, it's important to keep in mind that international destinations (especially those on the Mediterranean, Caribbean and in the Northern Andes) experience ideal weather conditions in May. And since summer rates don't kick in until mid-June, it's possible to travel in May and avoid the inflated costs of summer.
Peru, Greece, Charleston and Morocco are some the best picks for May travel, so read on – and get packing.
Greece is the kind of destination that people daydream about: Unbelievably blue water, endless history, sun-drenched white villages perched on hills and on the sea, days full of island hopping, fresh seafood and a fair share of nightlife, to boot. May is a smart time to plan a trip to Greece, especially for those who don't tolerate the endless summer sun as easily as others – summertime highs can reach the upper 80s and 90s, whereas average high temperatures in May hover in the 70s. When International Monuments Day hits on May 18, it means free admission to museums and historical sites in Greece. There are plenty of other folk festivals and celebrations in a variety of other Greek cities and islands in May, but keep in mind that the 1st is Labor Day in Greece, and many points of interest will be closed.
Stay: In Athens, a room at the modern St. George Lycabettus Hotel makes for a great stay at about $180 a night. For a more luxurious time on one of the islands, check out the breathtaking Kapari Hotel hotel in Santorini (from $260 per night) or the 5-star La Residence Mykonos Suites, where rooms begin at $189 per night in May.
Athens Travel Deals | Santorini Travel Deals | Mykonos Travel Deals
Adam Reeder, Flickr
Machu Picchu is at the top of many world travelers' to-do lists, and May is the right time to check it out. After months of rain and fog, the weather tends to dry out by the fifth month of the year, but the hordes of tourists who arrive in the Cusco area from June-August aren't crowding up the transportation, hotels in Cusco and tours up the mountain to Machu Picchu (hint: Tuesdays and Wednesdays are thought to be the quietest day of the week to visit the site). Beyond Machu Picchu, Peruvian destinations like Arequipa, beach resorts on the northern Pacific coast at Máncora, and the capital city of Lima offer pleasant amounts of sun, dry weather conditions and the chance for an outstanding South American escape.
Stay: In downtown Lima, a great choice is the Thunderbird Hotel Fiesta & Casino, where rates begin in the $150-range. In Cusco, our top pick is the Terra Andina Hotel (rooms starting at $200), which is located close to the historical points of interest and makes for a convenient starting point for a visit to Machu Picchu.
Peru Travel Deals
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston's charm draws visitors year-round, but May is when things start to heat up – without getting too muggy, as they do by the time June and July arrive. The parks are green and the fragrant flowers are in bloom and tumbling down from windowsills throughout the colonial streets. Local beaches are hopping, and the weather is perfect for endless strolling, shopping and exploring among the palmetto trees. Outdoor restaurants and bars like the rooftop bar at the Vendue Inn are popular in May; dining al freso is a common practice. May festivals like Charleston's Harbor Fest and the Spoleto Festival add even more to an itinerary, but don't worry: There's plenty of southern relaxation to go around.
Stay: Charleston is already in peak season in May, so deals can take a little more effort to uncover. Our favorite pick for a budget stay in Charleston is the Comfort Suites at Isle of Palms (rooms starting at $120 in May). To take things up a notch, book a stay at Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston's historic district, where rooms can be booked in the $200 range.
Charleston Travel Deals
Sunny weather? Check. Affordable lodging? Check. Renowned cuisine and shopping? Check. Camels? You get the idea. Morocco has been a tourist magnet for decades, and after its shift from being a hash-puffing hippie paradise to a cultural must-see in its own right, everyone from college students to families and European elite make time to visit. Highlights of a Moroccan vacation include spa treatments at hammams (or bathhouses) like the world-famous Les Bains de Marrakech, shopping in colorful souks, and absorbing centuries of history at museums, mosques and medinas. Adventure-oriented travelers can indulge in endless mountain trekking, surfing on the Atlantic coast, and 4-wheel drives over mountain and desert terrain. May temperatures in Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech all hover in the 70s or 80s and promise plenty of sun, so days won't be spent indoors avoiding rain. Deeply-discounted flights aren't the simplest to find, but the good news is that the cost of travel within Morocco is very affordable: A stay in a luxury hotel or a distinctive, boutique-y riad (the Moroccan term for a guesthouse or inn) is possible for many budgets. This allows for extra expenses like a camel trek, excursion to a beach or visit to the Atlas Mountains during a trip, which are all worth it. Another way to save on a Morocco trip is to incorporate it into a visit to Spain, as the ferry from Algeciras to Tangier costs roughly €40.
Stay: For the authentic riad experience, try the Riad Kniza in Marrakech or Riad Le Calife in Fes. Travelers seeking even more space, sprawling gardens, pools and luxury can go all out for a stay at celebrity fave Jnane Tamsna, or the world-renowned La Mamounia (both in Marrakech) – but the prices can cost easily twice as much as staying at one of the aforementioned riads.
Casablanca Travel Deals | Marrakech Travel Deals | Tangier Travel Deals
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