We’re big fans of a ‘shoulder season’ break. So many destinations are cheaper with much better availability and can be much more relaxing with fewer crowds. Often, travelling just outside of the peak season means the weather is a little less sweltering but deliciously comfortable and if you time things carefully, you can plan an incredible trip and skip the highest prices.

If you’re searching for the best places to visit in May or simply wondering where to go in May for sun, let us help! We’ve chosen some impressively diverse destinations all over the world from Central America to Africa and Asia.

Sossusvlei, Namibia


Namibia is home to staggering scenery that has to be seen to be believed, including some of the largest sand dunes in the world and Africa’s largest canyon. Captivating drives along the Skeleton Coast, dotted with shipwrecks, contrast with the chance for a self-drive safari where you can spot giraffes and other big game. Road-tripping here feels like you have the world to yourself  - there are so few tourists that you’ll hardly see anyone.

There’s a short rainy season from November to March, so the best time to visit is between April and October when the game will be congregating around waterholes. 

Costa Rica

A beautiful patchwork of beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and mangroves, Costa Rica is a natural paradise. No wonder, then, that it's become a huge eco-tourism destination with opportunities for hiking, rafting or snorkelling adventures. Where else can you spot exotic creatures like sloths, monkeys and baby turtles in their natural habitats? It's easy to self-drive and easy to visit as part of a multi-centre trip with other countries in Central or South America.

Peak season (with peak crowds) runs from January to April and there are some very rainy months in September and October. In May and June, the country is in seasonal transition and will be lush and green. May is the perfect time to take a walk on the wild side in Costa Rica.


May is a wonderful month to visit Japan. The scenery is green and lush, but the cherry blossom crowds have gone and the humidity of mid-June has yet to begin. There are loads of local festivals and it’s an ideal time to glimpse Mount Fuji if you head to Kawaguchi-ko or into the Fuji-Hakone National Park.

Tokyo, one of the biggest cities in the world, demands to be explored. Wander from ancient temples to hyper-modern Electronics Town, discover Harajuku’s cosplay culture and grab fresh sushi at Tsukiji market.

American Southwest – Utah, Nevada, Arizona & the Grand Canyon

The super-sized scenery of the American Southwest forms an incredible backdrop for a USA road trip, mixing deserts and red rock canyons with huge forests and mysterious hoodoos. For many, the epic drive from California to the Grand Canyon marks the ultimate American experience, and it’s easy to see why. May is a perfect time to put down the pedal in the Southwest, well before the schools break out and the searing summer heat sets in.

North Island, New Zealand

May is mid-autumn in NZ, and you'll find the mildest, warmest temperatures on the North Island. This makes it the perfect time for a classic New Zealand road trip, with quiet roads, affordable accommodation and cut-price camper rates. What could be better? Pay a visit to Bag End at Hobbiton, explore the beaches of the Coromandel Coast, taste local wines in the vineyards of Napier and go sailing in the beautiful Bay of Islands.


May is a rare and magical month in Hawaii. It’s both low season AND dry season, so prices are affordable and the weather is reliably sunny at the same time. Jackpot! There’s no better time to set off on a tropical Hawaii road trip. Mix a self-drive between lush volcanic hills and hidden bays on Maui with some island-hopping to idyllic Oahu and Kauai, soaking up the Polynesian hospitality as you go. 

Interested in discovering more of the best places to visit in May?

Wherever you choose to travel in May, we can put together the perfect itinerary. Simply call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email. Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our full guide to where to go when.

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