Best Vacation Places, Pictures and Information

Stonehenge Summer Solstice, Wiltshire, England on June 21. Original photo by Andrew Dunn

Stonehenge Summer Solstice, Wiltshire, England on June 21. Original photo by Andrew Dunn.

June 21st is the date of the summer equinox so Stonehenge in England is the place for midsummer night madness with all sorts of druids, hippies and new age wackos celebrating the solstice…and you get to touch the stones for a change!

Vacation Places Guides May – June 2018

Americas      Europe      Africa      Asia      Australasia

Gather Ye Rosebuds

May and June are arguably the best months for taking a holiday in the Northern Hemisphere as spring turns to early summer, the weather tends towards warm and sunny, kids are at school so families are out of the destination squabble, crowds around sights are limited, accommodation is at low cost and high availability, and staff are cheerful and energetic – unlike their exhausted and irritable August selves.

Of course some tropical destinations – such as India and Burma – are starting to get blistering hot and sticky while Southern Hemisphere favourites such as Australia and New Zealand will be chilling into late autumn but generally speaking if you can take a vacation during these months, do it, and avoid midsummer like the plague.

Low cost vacation places in 2018

Currently the cheapest long-haul tourist destinations worldwide, based on typical holiday spending are:

1: Tokyo, Japan

2: Cape Town, South Africa

3: Mombasa, Kenya

4: Colombo, Sri Lanka

5: Hoi An, Vietnam

6: Bali, Indonesia

7: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

8: Orlando, Florida, USA

9: Penang, Malaysia

10: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (some hurricane damage but major tourist destinations, including Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Samana are operating normally)

The Americas

US Vacation Places May – June 2018

Walking in Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

Taking a walk in Bryce National Park, inside the rim. Bryce is part of the ‘Grand Circle‘ of awesome canyons clustered near Las Vegas that includes Grand Canyon, Arches, Monument Valley, Zion, Moab Recreation Area and much more. What a road trip that is!


Beaches in southern California such as Los Angeles’ Venice should be reaching perfect highs of around 77F (25C) and lows around 60F (15C) while on the other side of the country in Miami, Florida, temperatures could be heading towards toasty highs of 90F (32C), with lows of 74F (23C), the last months before the weather starts to get really muggy and oppressive. Still, two great months for southern USA beaches.

This is a great season to be travelling around the USA as school is not yet out so competition for rooms/views/restaurants/parking spaces is negligible but the weather – at least in central/southerly regions – should be brilliant. We are especially fond of the canyon country east of Las Vegas, aka The Grand Circle, a perfect destination for an American road trip in a rental camper (RV).

Canada May – June 2018

Jumping into Whistler's Lost Lake in the summer, British Columbia, Canada

Jumping into Whistler’s Lost Lake in the summer, British Columbia.

Canada’s main vacation places

Canada hiking life and tourism begins properly in May and runs thru to September.

Best cities: Vancouver (British Columbia), Toronto ( Ontario), Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec) province.

Best wildlife: Churchill (Manitoba), British Columbia, Alberta.

Best winter festival: Ottawa Winterlude, Ontario.

Best summer festival: Calgary Stampede, Alberta.

Best beaches: New Brunswick (Atlantic Provinces) and Vancouver (British Columbia).

Best natural wonders: Banff lakes and mountains (Alberta), Niagara Falls (Ontario).

Best cuisine: Quebec province.

Best landscapes: British Columbia, Alberta and North West Territories.

Caribbean Vacation Places May – June 2018

Caribbean Map

For Americans who yearn for a Caribbean vacation on the cheap then May is recognised as being the most cost-effective month as the region is theoretically entering the rainy season (May-December) but generally the sunshine lasts well in May and the prices are way down.

Puerto Rico is the easy choice for Americans as US citizens don’t need passports or visas to travel there but there are questions about Hurricane damage, safety and mosquitoes. If those are a concern and expense is not an issue then USVI, such as St John (but check on status of recovery from hurricane damage!) are awaiting your custom, as are Mexican beaches.

If you’re determined to avoid any chance of precipitation (or hurricane damage!) and/or love scuba diving then take a look at ABCT, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Tobago, islands that are below the rain/storm belt and usually good in June too.See them on the map, they’re southerly, near the Venezuelan coast.
Bermuda’s not in the Caribbean, but the best time to visit the island – about 1,000 miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic – is from June to October when  the pink-sand beaches sprawl in temperatures of about 30C, with long daylight hours, low rainfall and warm seas around 25C.

If you’re looking for ‘exotic’ travel then Mexico is, like the Caribbean, heading towards the rainy season so May should be a good value month for seeing the some ancient Maya sights and have some beach time with a small risk of clouds/rain. June will be even cheaper but risks of unpleasant weather are growing…

Hurricane Irma did considerable damage in some locations, especially when compounded with the Hurricane Maria follow-up.

These destinations sustained severe damage: Barbuda (sister to Antigua); St Maarten/Saint Martin; BVI; USVI, especially hotels on St Thomas & St John; Anguilla; Turks and Caicos; Puerto Rico; south Bahamas; Anguilla; Guadeloupe; Dominica; Montserrat

Latin America Vacation Places, May – June 2018

Machu Picchu high view, Peru World Wonders

Machu Picchu and the Andes Mountains, Peru. Original photo by Martin St. Amant

Peru is an absolute must-see destination for any traveler interested in exotic surroundings with colorful people, amazing Inca structures, Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest, Nazca Lines and guinea pigs for dinner! Yum.

South in Latin American, May should be fine in Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Peru and of course Mexico – but not June! And don’t even think about the rest of the South American continent during May or June.

Europe vacation places, May – June 2018

Lake Geneva giant fork, Vevey, Switzerland

Fallas de Valencia from 15-19th March in Valencia, east coast of Spain. Photo by Soc de Torrent.

No guarantees of course but May is the start of European summer season and these months are generally fine with warm weather, occasional showers, low prices, cheerful staff and fewer travellers competing for services. If you don’t have children at school make hay while the sun shines.

However, the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea will still be very cold – actually the Atlantic waters are always cold! – so beware if you want a beach holiday. In addition some summer services in more remote places may not go into action until June, such as beach cafés, ferries and marine activities in places like the Greek Islands.

Côte d’Azur beaches will definitely be starting to hum in May, even if it does always seem to rain during the Cannes Film Festival. Perhaps some greater power than Hollywood disapproves?

Much of Spain will be ready for beach action in May and definitely warm veering to hot.

Otherwise most European cities are a delight May to June.

Walking between museums, art galleries, palaces, parks, bars, restaurants and shows are a grand way to spend time in this ancient part of the world.

Some of our favourite cities – that will be packed and hot in the summer months but much more relaxed during May/June – are Florence, Rome (already hot!), Prague, Budapest, Paris, London, Vienna, Berne, LucerneBarcelona and Cadiz (both with nice beaches too), Lisbon (beaches nearby) and Amsterdam.

Favourite Europe photos

Africa Vacation Places, May – June 2018

Dune 45 in Sossusvlei National Park, with climbers, Namibia, Africa

Dune 45 in Sossusvlei National Park, with climbers, Namibia. Namibia is arguably the safest country in Africa with the best wildlife display, along with a lot of stunning desert.

North Africa will be brilliant in March/April, the last best months before the heat arrives, as madly colourful Morocco and Egypt  offer blue skies and fascinating exotic sights. Egypt’s magnificent mainland sights appear to be safe but across the Red Sea the Sinai district is not recommended for travelers.

Morocco is primarily about desert trips, Marrakesh and Atlas Mountains hikes and/or drives, plus beaches around Agadir, while mainland Egypt is grand pharaonic relics.
Central Africa is not so good at this time but South Africa’s varied attractions, from beaches to wildlife, brilliant hiking, wines and more are at their best now,  in autumn.

Spectacular Petra/Wadi Rum in Jordan and Israel generally are also perfect in this season (even if they’re not exactly in Africa! ).

Asia Vacation Places, May – June 2018

Kyoto's Kinkakuji,Golden Temple, Japan

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Keith Pomakis.

Good Value Asian holidays in 2018: Japan (economy still stuffed 14 years after the property bubble exploded), Indonesia’s Bali island, Vietnam and Cambodia are all remarkably low cost destinations this year but getting seriously warm in June.

These months are probably the best to view tricky China which is too cold in winter. It’s too polluted in spring, too hot in summer, too wet in autumn etc.etc., but no guarantees, it’s a gamble!

Tibet is ready for action if you’re ready for the altitude (seriously, it’s very high and arriving by plane is bad news for AMS); Japan is just about perfect in May and in Laos too.

The East Coast of Malaysia is hot to trot, including Borneo and lovely Tioman Island but not Kuala Lumpur, the capital.
The final great possibility is wild and wacky Papua New Guinea, though best visited with a competent tour operator, it’s not a place for individual travelers.

Australasia Vacation Places, March – April 2018

Fraser Island, Lake McKenzie beach, Australia

 Fraser Island, Lake Mckenzie beach, east Australia, north of the Gold Coast. Best beach ever? But a hassle to get to.

Northern Australia is terrific from May to October, meaning mainly the activities resort of Cairns, the (sadly bleached and dying) Great Barrier Reef zone and Darwin, but weather in the south – Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road etc – will be cool and probably damp. New Zealand is also heading into winter so less than perfect at this time but still fine for walking, the country’s favourite activity.

Dangerous Countries as Vacation Places?

We don’t want to discourage adventurous travelling but should clarify for novice travelers which parts of the world are problematical – troubled by disease, terrorist attacks, high levels of crime or aggressive disrespect for single women.

Egypt is looking better now for robust travelers who can find reliable flights (with proper safety checks) going to Luxor and the opportunity of seeing incredible sights a) at low cost b) more importantly without the massed crowds that are normally there stuffing up the ambience.

Turkey still seems a little volatile these days but almost certainly OK for beach or Cappadocia holidays. But in winter it’s a Must-Not-Do anyway, wet and miserable, so that’s a pass.

Here are some broad generalisations on where NOT to go on vacation if you have a nervous disposition.


Africa except for Morocco, Egypt (not Sinai peninsul), Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritius.

Middle-East except for Israel, Jordan (if you’re nervous about flights but really want to visit wonderful Petra, fly to Israel on the world’s safest airline – El Al – and drive into Jordan), Oman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi.

Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti. Some drug-cartel regions of north Mexico are also off the tourist trail.

Solo women travelers should think twice before going to Pakistan, Philippines, North Korea, Indonesia, India, east China and even Thailand.

Whatever, wherever, safe travels!