Must Go Holiday Travel Destinations

The list below is broken down by region to help you narrow the choices of holiday destinations in May more efficiently, and there are also links to pages with information about the cheapest beach destinations in the Caribbean and in Europe, which both are loaded with bargains this time of year. Of course for each city mentioned there are plenty of smaller cities nearby that are usually even cheaper, so hopefully this gives you some ideas.
You’ll also notice that each city includes a price from our Backpacker Index for 2015, which compared 124 cities around the world. This is a typical day’s expenses for someone sleeping in hostel dorm beds and seeking out budget meals, so most people will be spending quite a bit more. On the other hand it should be a useful gauge to compare one city to the next to uncover the bargains around the world.

Anyone looking for an affordable destination with very good weather during the month of May will be happy to know that the list of possibilities is long. There are fascinating cities in most regions of the world that are worth a look, as well as many affordable beach areas for those looking to relax in the sun. Many people are just interested in where is it hot in May, and the list below will answer that question as well.
The list below is broken down by region to help you narrow the choices of holiday destinations in May more efficiently, and there are also links to pages with information about the cheapest beach destinations in the Caribbean and in Europe, which both are loaded with bargains this time of year. Of course for each city mentioned there are plenty of smaller cities nearby that are usually even cheaper, so hopefully this gives you some ideas.
You’ll also notice that each city includes a price from our Backpacker Index for 2015, which compared 124 cities around the world. This is a typical day’s expenses for someone sleeping in hostel dorm beds and seeking out budget meals, so most people will be spending quite a bit more. On the other hand it should be a useful gauge to compare one city to the next to uncover the bargains around the world.
These are cheap destinations, just to be clear
If you have an unlimited budget then you have an amazing number of choices with great weather in May including Paris, New York, and Tokyo, but this list is created for people looking to get value for money. Depending on where you are starting it might cost quite a bit to get to some of these cities, however costs will be relatively low once you arrive.

The Americas

Stretching from Canada down to Patagonia, the weather in many of the cheaper parts of the Americas is not ideal in the month of May, especially with the rainy season starting up in most of Central America, but there are still plenty of choices.

The Carribean

MontegoBayFor those looking just to relax in the sun, May is the perfect month to head to the Caribbean because high season is over but the weather is still dry and perfect. Better still, prices at many of the resorts come down dramatically from their highs of earlier in the season. Independent and cultural travelers can do it cheaply by booking a hotel and exploring, but honestly the best deals are at the all-inclusive resorts.

Cancun Mexico

May is an excellent month to visit Cancun or the lovely town of Playa del Carmen a bit to its south, because the crowds are thin and room rates are low in spite of the perfect weather. Starting a bit after Easter, room rates at even the best hotels here go down, so the value is fantastic.
You might get a brief flash of rain or two on a visit to Cancun in the month of May, but it rarely lasts more than 30 minutes or so, and it can be refreshing. Otherwise, you’ll be spending most of your time on or near the beach with ocean breezes, or in the air-conditioned hotel or restaurants, so you’ll be quite comfortable.
Well-reviewed 3-star Cancun resorts start at US$80 per night for 2 people in May

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

PuntaCanaDRIf you are looking for an all-inclusive hotel stay then Punta Cana should be the first place you consider. The lovely white beach is lined with European-owned hotels that offer amazing deals along with high quality, and May is one of the cheapest months of the year. In other words, the room rates will be so low it might look like a mistake, yet the deals are real.
Punta Cana has a fairly new airport and new roads, so it’s all very civilized and efficient, unlike many other places in the Caribbean. This is also one of the Caribbean’s busiest airports, so you can get direct cheap flights in from all major cities in North America and many in Europe.
Well-reviewed 3-star Punta Cana resorts start at US$45 per night for 2 people in May

Montego Bay, Jamaica

MontegoBayMay in Montego Bay is definitely a warm month, but it’s also dry and generally pleasant. This is the place to come if you want an all-inclusive hotel or other large beach hotel that is close to the US and everyone speaks English. The town itself isn’t much to talk about, so it’s best to come here to stay at one of the large stand-alone hotels.
If Montego Bay itself doesn’t sound perfect then you might instead consider Negril or Ocho Rios, both of which are about 90 minutes away from Montego Bay Airport, and both provide different experiences. Ocho Rios is another area with large hotels and some interesting attractions (most notably a waterfall), while Negril is the old-school beach area with small hotels and bars and interesting local culture.
Well-reviewed 3-star Montego Bay resorts start at US$87 per night for 2 people in May

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans can get famously muggy and sticky during the peak of summer, so May is a perfect time to visit. Days will be warm and it cools off enough each evening to balance things out comfortably, while still being pleasant for the nightlife scene outdoors.
May is part of high season for hotel prices, but generally New Orleans is a relative bargain in the United States, with hostels and budget rooms being cheaper than in most major cities, and excellent food and drinks being quite affordable if you look around a bit.

Latest News Orleans Tour
2016 Backpackers Index: US$59.90

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City’s climate isn’t nearly as hot as most people would guess, due mostly to its elevation. The peak months for heat are April and May, but even these are quite reasonable most of the time, and the proper rainy season doesn’t begin until June.
Prices for hotels and hostels are quite cheap by most standards, and flights tend to be extremely affordable from America as well, especially compared to flights to Europe. Those looking for stylish hotels and restaurants will find an abundance of them in the city’s fashionable center, though knowing some Spanish will certainly help.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$27.41

Ambergris Caye, Belize

The rainy season does actually begin in Belize in May, but usually late in the month, and even then it’s usually only a few short afternoon cloud bursts each week. Otherwise the temperatures tend to be consistently pleasant, though a bit humid. Most of the Spring Break crowd is long gone by this time so you’ll have most of the restaurants to yourself, but the diving trips still go on.
If San Pedro on Ambergris Caye seems too expensive for you then you can stay on nearby Caye Caulker instead, or in the area with the best beaches in Belize on the Placencia Peninsula. Compared to similar resorts in the region the prices are very reasonable.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$53.56

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

With its location just inside the Tropical belt, the weather in Rio de Janeiro tends to be warm all year long, even during their “winter.” The rainy months are from December through April, so May is a perfect time for a visit. The beaches are packed with locals most of the year, including in May, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for “people watching” while you enjoy the otherwise gorgeous scenery.
The Brazilian currency has come way back down in 2015, so visits in 2016 will be far cheaper than in recent years. As of a few years ago this had become quite a pricey place, but now you’ll find that it’s a very interesting travel bargain , not to mention one of the most beautiful cities on earth.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$41.50

Cartagena, Colombia

The temperatures in Cartagena are basically the same every day of the year, which means warm days and also warm tropical nights. Rain does pick up toward the end of May, but as usual, it tends to come down in short bursts, so it’s unlikely to ruin your holiday. If you are staying in the gorgeous historical walled city then it’s easy to find shelter quickly if needed, and the same is true for those staying along the beach area just to the west of the Old City.
Cartagena is still a great value for tourists, and hotels have their low-season prices on until July, so it’s an excellent choice if you can find an affordable flight. The whole country is seeing a resurgence in interest from travelers now that it’s been declared safe in nearly all areas, so it seems that prices might rise in the coming years.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.08

Lima, Peru

Even though winter is just around the corner in Peru in May, Lima is a coastal city with mild temperatures all year, and there’s barely any rain recorded in the city during this time of year. The seaside suburb of Miraflores is where many tourists choose to stay, as it’s ideal for an outdoor lifestyle when the weather is still nice.
This is a very modern city with an interesting colonial past and architecture, and it’s a good bargain for most people. Those interested in going on to Cusco for Machu Picchu will find nights cooler there, but it’s still the end of the high season before the rains come.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.84


Only the southernmost edges of Europe really enjoy what you’d call “good” weather in May, but still this is an excellent month for cultural tourists before the summer crowds swoop in.
Since most of Europe doesn’t fit the typical definition of “cheap,” you’ve only got a few entries on this list. However, several of Europe’s cheapest beach areas are worth considering in May because it’s already warm enough yet off season prices are still in effect.

Athens, Greece

While Athens is definitely not as cheap as it used to be, it does have great weather in May, and it’s nicer than many people remember it from the old days. There’s almost no rain as well, so it’s an excellent time to explore the city before heading off to one or more of the Aegean islands for an early holiday if you can manage it.
Prices for hotels tend to be much cheaper in May before jumping up substantially in June. Hostels are good bargains all year round in Athens, but still many people find this to be a city that wears on them after only 3 or 4 days, so it’s fantastic that the islands are so easy to reach.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$51.76

Naples, Italy

It may not actually be beach weather in Naples in May, but it’s very pleasant, much nicer than the travel peak of July and August. As probably the cheapest major tourist city in Italy, it’s still a bit on the expensive side for some people, though hotels in particular do offer some really good deals during the fringe season like this, while hostels are less of a bargain. By the way, Naples has a deserved reputation for being a bit “gritty” so most people prefer staying in the lovely city of Sorrento just a bit to its south. It’s a little more expensive than Naples, but FAR more pleasant, and it’s also still very close to Pompeii as well as the Amalfi Coast.
May is also a good time to visit Sicily or one of the other nearby islands since they tend to be even cheaper and the weather is ideal before summer as well. The cities in the northern parts of the country can be chaotically crowded during summer, so even though they aren’t very warm yet, this is still a good time to visit as long as you are in the area.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$51.87

Lisbon, Portugal

Curiously, Lisbon is a bit warmer in May than Barcelona and Madrid, and it’s also a bit cheaper as well. High season for hotels in Lisbon doesn’t begin until June, as you’d expect, so this is an ideal time to come appreciate this underrated city’s charms.
The Algarve area along the southern coast of Portugal is even nicer, and a great bargain for early-season visitors. Prices at hotels and resort apartments are often very low, even along the beaches, so if you’ve got the time off this is one not to miss.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$49.01

Istanbul, Turkey

The month of May is an ideal time for a holiday in Turkey if you can manage it. Istanbul itself still tends to be a bit cool, but the resort towns on the Mediterranean such as Antalya, and those along the Aegean like Bodrum, are nice and warm. The summer crowds are still not in affect so hotel prices are reasonable throughout the country.
Istanbul is an excellent bargain for the hostel set, with dorm beds at very enticing prices. Food and drinks had become somewhat expensive here in 2013 and 2014, but the Turkish Lira has continued to drop into early 2016, so the value is big here once again. Hotels are just a bit expensive still, but once you arrive you’ll find that most things feel like great deals.

Latest Tour Package
2016 Backpackers Index: US$33.56

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife is the main English-speaking island in the Canaries, which are just off Africa’s northern coast, and these prices and weather are similar in all of them. The weather here is almost the same the whole year round, so it’s most popular from December to April when Europe itself is cold or frozen. In other words, May is the start of the low season here, even though the climate is perfect.
It should be easy to find a flight to Tenerife in the month of May at a good price, and the better hotels will also be offering promotional deals. It’s not quite warm enough to spend a lot of time on the sand, but it’s still incredibly nice and consistent here, not to mention quite affordable.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$46.81


Northern Africa gets extremely hot in mid summer, so May is a great choice in that region. South Africa does get a bit cool this month, so it’s not quite ideal.

Caira, Egypt

May is the perfect time to visit anywhere in Egypt and specifically Cairo. The daytime temperatures do get up there, but it’s bone dry and the evenings cool off nicely anyway. The main attractions, like the Great Pyramids of Giza, tend to have reasonable crowds this time of year as well.
This city is very cheap by most standards, and things are even better in that the high-season for hotels ends in April, so you can get really good shoulder-season rates at many of the nicer 3-star and above places. Hopefully security in Egypt will improve enough to visit soon.
Latest Cairo, Egypt Tour
2016 Backpackers Index: US$25.89

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

SharmelSheikhIf you are looking for the cheapest beach destination with warm May weather and little to no chance of rain, then this is it. Sharm el-Sheikh may not be at the top of your list for 2016, although it’s been generally safe for over a decade and security here is tighter than ever.
With the challenges that Egypt has faced in recent years, this resort is ready to deal on hotel rooms and water activities. Those who are making the trip are rewarded with value that you can’t find anywhere else in the world for this quality and excellent climate.
3-star hotels from: US$23 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$36 per night for two people

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech gets absolutely scorching during July and August, so May is the perfect time to visit with pleasant warm days and cool evenings still. Fez tends to be a bit cooler year round and a bit cheaper as well, so it’s another good option if you aren’t interested in seeing both on the same trip.
Generally Morocco tends to be quite cheap by most standards, with prices for most things usually about half what they’d be in Spain just to the north. Many people come over by ferry, but sadly plenty of them go no further than the entry point city of Tangier.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$28.85


April and May are the hottest months in most of southern Asia, so many of the cheapest cities on earth are quite uncomfortable at this time of year. Heavy rains start in some areas as well, so the choices now are a bit on the narrow side.

Beijing, China

During the peak travel season in July and August, Beijing can get very steamy and quite wet, but during May the temperatures are very comfortable around the clock, and there’s almost no rain. The worst air pollution of summer is still several months off at this point as well, so those who might be sensitive to that should take that into account.
The popular all-inclusive China tours from the United States are amazing value, but independent travelers will find this to be a very affordable city as well.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.74

Shanghai, China

Being farther south, Shanghai gets even hotter during the peak of summer, so May really is an ideal time to visit. The rains really pick up starting in June as well, so even though May is part of the high season for hotels, it’s probably worth the extra bit of money.
Traveling cheap here can be a bit more challenging than in Beijing, but it can be done if you are well prepared. Cheap hotels and restaurants are a bit harder to find in some neighborhoods, so a good guidebook or online resource is key if you are trying to maximize your funds.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$33.84

Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Being practically on the equator, the temperatures in Bali are steady all year long, with warm days and nearly-as-warm nights. The heavy rains fall between November and March, so May is a perfect time to come at the beginning of the nice season and before the summer crowds have arrived.
Hotels booked online are reasonable enough and reliable, but independent travelers looking for smaller places and even cheaper places once they arrive can still find excellent bargains. If done right, Bali is one of the best travel deals in the world. The scenery is amazing and the culture is unique. Traffic jams are recently taking their toll, however.
Latest Indonesia Package
2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.12

Pokhara, Nepal

The trekking season in Nepal basically has four good months of weather, and fortunately May is one of them (along with April, October, and November). Rains do pick up at the end of the month, but generally conditions are very pleasant, even at altitude, and visibility is good.
Pokhara can get crowded during this time of year, but with a glut of new hotels being built you’ll still be able to find a great deal if you book in advance, or sometimes even if you just show up and shop around. Food and drinks are very cheap here all year round, so many people hang out between long treks into the nearby mountain ranges.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$15.38

Middle East

Obviously this is similar to north Africa, so May is a very good time to visit these desert regions.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Even though the summers in Tel Aviv aren’t quite as scorching as you might think, it’s still nicer in May, with lovely days and warm nights. The high season for hotels typically begins in June, so you can get some very good deals this time of year, especially at the higher-end places.
Budget travelers might struggle a bit, especially if they like a few beers in the evenings. Tours are very popular and can be a very good deal, including some very nice hotels that would be more expensive if booked on your own.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$72.03

Amman, Jordan

With perfect weather and virtually no chance of rain, it’s no surprise that May in Amman is part of the high season for hotels, but fortunately things are still quite cheap by most international standards. Trips to Petra and Wadi Rum are the main reason to come here, but the city itself isn’t unpleasant on its own.
The low season begins in June, so good deals at the nicer places might be possible towards the end of May, and cheap food options are always available.
2016 Backpackers Index: US$34.21

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