Photo by David Harmantas/Shutterstock.com
Photo by S-F/Shutterstock.com
What better way to spend a spring day than riding a retro tram in Lisbon?
Looking for affordable spring break inspiration? We’ve got you covered, whether you want to lounge on white-sand beaches or admire snow-capped mountains.
You could sit around waiting for summer to set off on your next big trip, but you’ll be bumping elbows and racking up peak-season-priced receipts the whole way. Springtime, however, affords a more laid-back, wallet-friendly appeal, as much of the Northern Hemisphere awakes from its winter slumber, with flowers—and deals—abloom.
It’s also a good time to look at fall finds below the equator, where cities like Sydney pair a full cultural calendar with the vestiges of beach season. Here are five top spots where terrific value, pleasant temps, and crowd-free atmospheres converge this spring.Giddy up to Chicago
As autumn arrives to this Southern Hemisphere city, rates on hotels and airfare (as well as tourist numbers) take a dip, although warm daytime temps average in the comfortable 70s. Use those savings to explore Sydney’s world-class cultural and culinary scene: There’s programming aplenty at the iconic, white-sailed Sydney Opera House (catch Turandot before March 30), and life outdoors remains very much in full swing. In fact, you can still take a dip at the beach and spend your evenings (Thursday through Sunday until March 31, at least) watching new and classic movies under the stars at Moonlight, one of Sydney’s outdoor theaters. And if you’re there in May, you might catch the start of the humpback whale migration season offshore.
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Summertime sees the bulk of Alaska’s annual visitors turn up by both land and sea, crowding national parks and tourist sites—and jacking up prices, too. Savvy travelers willing to brave slightly cooler temps (averaging highs in the mid-50s in the southern portions of the state) can enjoy Alaska’s vast wilderness and wildlife in relative solitude by planning a late spring trip here in May. All the major natural attractions are as awe-inspiring in spring, whether you’re looking for lush rain forests, soaring mountain vistas, or dramatic calving glaciers.
While nature is blossoming, skies are dry, days are wonderfully long (counting from 17 to 23 hours of daylight, depending on how far north you are), and hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators are ripe with “shoulder season” discounts. Keep in mind that access to the colder northern tundra regions might be hindered by yet-to-melt snow and ice this time of year, and Denali National Park’s tourist season doesn’t fully pick up until early June.Fall in love with Lisbon
But don’t rush: Part of Lisbon’s appeal is its unhurried pace. Allow plenty of time to lose yourself in the winding alleyways of the Moorish Alfama quarter; in the melancholic fado sung at many of Lisbon’s restaurants; over a bica (espresso) on a sidewalk café; or while indulging in the city’s rich seafood-centric culinary tradition. Other springtime bonuses include flowering purple jacaranda trees and the return of lively street festivals—just avoid Holy Week (April 14-20, 2019), when rates spike as travelers from around Europe pour in.Play in Playa del Carmen
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