6 vacation hotspots to visit this April
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April is the perfect time to travel. Some dates on the calendar are considered off-peak for airline award tickets and hotel rooms, yet spring temperatures in many destinations are mild and inviting. Tourism tapers off in destinations like the Caribbean, while travel to Europe still hasn’t quite picked up, so hotel rates and airfares are typically affordable — especially if you steer clear of Easter weekend.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural escape, a fun festival or a sunny respite from springtime showers, here are six of the best destinations for an April trip this year.
Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to where to travel in 2020.
Editor’s note: Each month at TPG, we create a list of the top spots we think people should consider for their upcoming trips. Obviously, coronavirus has led many to stay at home or rethink travel. Others have no qualms about hitting the road. Each traveler, always, needs to make up his or her own mind about the risks. For those seeking their next adventure, here’s our monthly list.
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Head to northern California in April as the winter rain tapers off. The weather is warm and pleasant, and the fog won’t roll in for another couple of months. Plan to attend one of the great events and festivals the region hosts in April — many of which are geared to foodies and wine lovers.
Enjoy culinary delights from 100 chefs and sip varietals from over 250 wineries at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, while admiring the spectacular coastal scenery (April 16 to 19). Mastercard holders can enjoy special perks at the festival such as discounts and access to preferred lines and seating. Sonoma County’s Battle of the Brews has over 100 beer and 50 food vendors (April 4). The Cider Summit features artisanal cider from around the world and takes place outdoors at San Francisco’s Civil War Parade Grounds (April 11).
Apart from food and wine, you can attend the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown (April 11 to 19), which culminates with a grand parade on April 19. The San Francisco International Film Festival, one of the longest-running film festivals in the U.S., is at the famous Castro Theatre (April 8 to 21).
Nature enthusiasts should plan to visit one of northern California’s national parks during National Park Week to enjoy perks such as free entry or special events (April 18 to 26). San Francisco will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with workshops, presentations, live music, dancing and even a special hemp zone in the festival area on April 20.
Mumbai is on our travel radar and also seems to have caught the eye of some major airlines. Delta launched nonstop flights between New York-JFK and Mumbai (BOM) last winter, and United also recently resumed its nonstop routes between the Indian hub and the U.S.
One of the best things about Mumbai is that it’s affordable — meaning travelers on a budget can eat, drink and stay without overspending — and maybe even fly there inexpensively, too. If you can find availability on Delta’s nonstop flight, you can book a Delta One Suite to Mumbai for as few as 60,000 miles through Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club, though this can drop even lower during one of Amex’s regular transfer bonuses. Virgin doesn’t add fuel surcharges, just taxes, which come to about $42 on a round-trip itinerary.
Although the weather will be quite warm, you’re still a month or two away from the start of monsoon season, which begins in the summer. Plan to stay at the Soho House Mumbai, which is one of the trendiest spots in town — and a personal favorite of The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly.
Relaxation might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mumbai, but if you need a soothing break from all the city’s chaos, consider an Ayurvedic treatment at one of Mumbai’s best day spas. Even the most luxurious spas offer treatments at affordable prices. Rewa Escape overlooks the ocean, and their Abhyangam Ayurvedic healing treatment (75 minutes) using medicinal oil or Indian deep tissue massage (75 minutes) both cost under $40. An aromatherapy massage at the tranquil Myrah Spa, which has two locations in Mumbai, costs just $47 (60 minutes).
Related: The best starter travel credit cards
Following years of instability prompted by the Arab Spring, things in Egypt have been slowly returning to normal. New attractions such as a recently unearthed sphinx, and discoveries of tombs, mummies and even new pyramids, are putting Egypt back on the tourist radar. And the forthcoming, massively large Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which is near Giza’s famous pyramids, will finally open in 2020.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Category 5 St. Regis Cairo, which is scheduled to welcome guests in March. Set on the banks of the Nile River, the hotel will have 366 opulent rooms and suites and feature the famed St. Regis Butler Service.
Contributing to the increase in tourism is the new Sphinx International Airport in Giza (SPX), which operated its first international flight in January. Once the airport is fully operational and has its new terminal, it will take some strain off the main Cairo International Airport (CAI), and its proximity to the Grand Egyptian Museum and the nation’s famous pyramids will make it a convenient gateway for travelers.
While tourism slows in Belize in April as temperatures rise in the U.S., Canada and Europe, spring is actually one of the best times to visit the country. The warm, sunny weather is often cooled by bursts of quick passing showers, and hotel and airfare prices see a significant drop after the snowbirds fly home.
Belize’s reef system is one of the best in the world, and they’re doing everything they can to protect it. In fact, you may notice a little less plastic floating around this year. Last April, Belize officially banned single-use plastics. The nation has also banned offshore oil drilling, making it the ideal place for a sustainable, Earth Day-inspired getaway. Beyond the standard Blue Hole dive, snorkelers and divers can experience the whale shark migration in April. Swim alongside these magnificent animals as they feed and migrate a few days before and up to 10 days after the full moon, which falls on April 7.
Party animals should head to islands such as Caye Caulker, Caye Ambergris or the Placencia Peninsula to dance during Belize’s four-day Easter weekend celebration, from April 9 to 12. These spots have plenty of beach celebrations with DJs and live music, cocktails and even foam parties. Cyclists can check out the 92nd annual Cross Country Cycling Race, which runs from Belize City to San Ignacio Town on April 11.
Don’t forget that Belize is relatively easy to visit for U.S. tourists: Although you’ll need your passport, English is the official language of the country, and it’s just a few hours south of the border.
Now that Southwest has launched flights to Hawaii, you can finally say aloha to more affordable airfare to this island archipelago. And, just a couple months ago, Southwest made it easier than ever to get to Kauai, launching flights between Kauai’s Lihue Airport (LIH) between California’s San Jose (SJC) and Oakland (OAK) airports. New interisland routes now also connect Kauai with Oahu with four daily round-trip flights. Remember, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest instantly at a 1:1 ratio and Southwest award redemptions are tied to the ticket price.
Although the island faced severe flooding in 2018 from a massive storm, the famous Kalalau Trail is once again open. However, online reservations are now required to enter the Hāʻena State Park and permits are mandatory if you plan to hike the full trail or camp.
Visitors can also enjoy golfing at some of Kauai’s legendary courses, like the Makai Golf Club at Princeville Resort (which started as a Sheraton, later became a St. Regis and is now the Princeville Resort — but not for long). In fact, if you want to stay at the resort, you should plan to visit in April, because it will be closing May 1 for renovations, later to return as the environmentally-focused 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. And, there’s always the Westin Princeville if you’re dying to use your points on the island’s North Shore.
Speaking of sustainability, Kauai is a great place to celebrate Earth Day. Register online to volunteer for the Lydgate Park cleanup or to help collect marine debris. If you happen to be on the island around Easter with your family, many restaurants offer Easter brunch — and Easter egg hunts are organized for the little ones.
If revelry isn’t your thing, visit Ireland in April to avoid St. Patrick’s Day festivities and score post-holiday hotel deals.
Though a chill will still blow across the island, seeing the emerging greenery of the Irish countryside makes for a special kind of spring break. And, Galway is one of the two European Capitals of Culture in 2020. Although the official opening ceremonies took place in February, April will host a number of cultural events. Plus, Galway is known as a city with exceptional cuisine as well as a lively music and arts scene.
If you’re wondering where to stay, there are new hotels coming to Galway soon. (About 600 new hotel rooms are slated to open by the end of the year.) For now, plan to stay at a boutique inn, The Lane, a cozy spot full of Irish charm that opened in 2019.
Although you can reach the city in just over two hours by car from Dublin, it’s best to fly into Shannon Airport (SNN), which is a one-hour drive from Galway. And you’re in luck — Aer Lingus flies nonstop between New York-JFK or Logan International Airport in Boston (BOS) and Shannon Airport once daily in April, as does United from Newark Liberty International (EWR). Aer Lingus is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner with points transferring at a 1:1 ratio.
Featured photo of Kauai by M Swiet Productions/Getty.
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