Get ready for May travel! Whether you’ve had enough of the April showers and need a travel respite, or you’re trying to hit the tail end of the shoulder season or just itching to add a new stamp to your passport, May is an excellent month to hit the road. Almost no matter where you’re headed, the month has that desirable not-too-hot-and-not-too-cold weather, and it’s also a time for some pretty big festivals. Here are some ideas for where to go in May.



1. China

China is an enormous country, so it’s hard to make travel generalizations but – on the whole – May is an excellent month in which to visit China. It captures all the things we love about shoulder seasons – the weather is downright perfect, with mostly warm weather in between the cold and rainy winter and oppressively humid summers, and the high summer season crowds haven’t arrived yet. As an added bonus, the spring flowers make every scene a photo op.


2. Chicago

You might associate June with the start of summer, but in many ways summer gets going in Chicago in May. If the weather permits, Chicago’s beaches open in May (over Memorial Day weekend), and the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is turned on. Water may not be the relief in May that it will be in Chicago by August, but it’s definitely a sign of a city looking forward to sunnier weather. And by May, it’s generally warm enough to enjoy being on the top deck of a boat for the Chicago Architecture River Cruise.


3. Tuscany, Italy

Relax in picturesque Tuscany this May. Is there a bad time to go to Tuscany? Probably not. But May offers not only the high probability of summer-like weather but also a chance to experience a local festival that’s been going on for centuries. On May 15th, St Ubaldo’s feast day, plan to be in the town of Gubbio for the Corsa dei Ceri (Race of the Candles), when three teams of local men race through the town and up the hill, each carrying a 600 pound statue of St Ubaldo. The unwieldy wooden statues replaced wax candles in the 16th century. Spectators line the race route – it’s one of Tuscany’s most popular medieval festivals.


4. Madrid , Spain

There’s something about a city in the midst of a celebration that just makes you want to stay forever. Madrid in May is that kind of city, with enough festivals on the calendar you may wonder how the locals get anything done. Perhaps the best of the bunch is the San Isidro festival, which takes over the city for a week in mid-May, honoring its patron saint with music, markets, food, religious processions, traditional costumes and more.


5. Mediterranean Islands

Touring the islands of the Mediterranean in May means enjoying reliably warm weather without having to endure blistering heat or humidity. You’ve got plenty of choices, too. There’s the Med’s largest island, Sicily, within spitting distance of Italy while remaining culturally unique from the rest of the country. There’s Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean just off the coast of Turkey, with strong ties to both Greek and Turkish culture depending on where you go on the island. And then there’s little Malta, between Sicily and Libya, a historically important spot for both military and religious reasons with nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


6. Mexico City, Mexico

In most places, the coming of summer means sun – but in Mexico City, it can often mean rain. The spring, then, is one of the best times to visit, even if it’s consequently also one of the most popular times. It’s not just the near-perfect weather that draws crowds to Mexico City in May, however – it’s also Cinco de Mayo . The festival isn’t the major holiday in Mexico that Americans seem to think it is based on celebrations north of the border, but it’s still a national holiday throughout Mexico.


7. Rio de Janeiro , Brazil

May’s a great time to hit the beach in Rio. When does everyone say is the time to be in Rio? During Carnival, of course, which is in February or March. Which is why going to Rio de Janeiro in May is for contrarians – and budget travelers – only. May comes after the hottest summer weather finally leaves, and prices tend to go down after Easter (which is sometimes as late as April). You’ll still have to deal with humidity, but that’s what taking a dip in the ocean is for. Southeastern United States

Given the drenching humidity of summer in places like Georgia and South Carolina, spring travel to the area makes a lot of sense. In addition to […]



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