One of my favorite times of the year to travel is April to May. The weather is tolerable, the summer crowds have yet to arrive, and it feels like you have the whole place to yourself. The flights are cheaper (I saw one last week for SFO-CDG for $550 in April!) and the hotels are not impacted.
Checkout 10 destinations for tourist-free spring travel.
1. Lisbon, Portugal
This tops the list as Lisbon always seems to be somewhat quiet, yet April is truly unique. The cafes are filled with locals, and not overpacked with the summer-goers. It’s warm enough to enjoy the days outside and sip on Portuguese wine on the terrace.
Read: All Portugal articles.
2. Annecy, France
Having been in the summer, I surely wish I had gone before the crowds. This magical town in the alps and along a lake is dubbed as the most romantic place in Europe. It has winding streets with canals, and the cuisine is second to none.
Read: Annecy Travel Guide.
3. Vancouver, Canada
With the summer months come the tourists, and often can feel crowded. Come a bit earlier (and bring a jacket in case!) to have cheaper prices and enjoy a city that is not full yet with visitors. The city is full of wonderful surprises like top restaurants, outdoor adventure and more.
Read: The Vancouver City Guide
4. Mexico City, Mexico
A city that knows how to show you a good time is in prime during spring. The sun warms up the days, making it perfect to stroll the neighborhoods and dive into the rich food scene.
Read: The Mexico City Guide
5. Chicago, Illinois
Have you seen the rush of summer here? Often lines can be frustrating, and the summer heat stifling. Come in the spring for a less-crowded experience, where the weather is more mild and there is still plenty to do.
Read: The First-Timer’s Guide to Chicago
6. Florence, Italy
It seems no matter what time of year, Florence is a bustling city. Though before the summer, it quiets down enough to have an intimate experience, without the crowds. Come for a mid-week stay, and enjoy a truly wonderful place.
Read: A Weekend Guide to Florence
7. San Francisco, California
One of my favorite times in San Francisco is around late April. The city has a different tempo and it’s truly enjoyable. The summer fog hasn’t kicked in, and the days are pleasant.
Read: Favorite San Francisco Spots by Neighborhood
8. Tulum Area, Mexico
If you time it right, you can come after the spring break travel and before the summer rush. Head here for crystal clear waters, soft-sand beaches, and historic places.
Read: 10 Best Things to Do in Riviera Maya
9. Montreal, Canada
A lovely city in French Canada, it stores a ton to do in the arts and culture scene. I love coming here for great food, exploring the old quarter, and museum hopping.
Read: How to Spend 48 Hours in Montreal
10. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A historic, all-American town that brings the best of western lifestyle and great amenities. During the summer it can be busy due to its proximity to Grand Teton National Park, so come before school gets out to beat the crowds.
Read: The Jackson Hole Guide
PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: