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.
May avg high: 85F/29C May avg low: 66F/19C May avg precip: 4.6″/11.5cm
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 reasonably 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.
May avg high: 80F/27C May avg low: 53F/12C May avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm
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.
May avg high: 83F/28C May avg low: 79F/26C May avg precip: 4.0″/10cm
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 surged against almost everyone else in recent years, so it’s not as cheap as it had been, but it’s still a good value for most visitors.
May avg high: 82F/28C May avg low: 66F/19C May avg precip: 2.8″/7cm
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.
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.
May avg high: 87F/31C May avg low: 79F/26C May avg precip: 3.8″/9.5cm
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.
May avg high: 72F/22C May avg low: 63F/17C May avg precip: 0.1″/0.3cm
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.
May avg high: 79F/26C May avg low: 57F/14C May avg precip: 0.9″/2.3cm
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.
May avg high: 73F/23C May avg low: 54F/12C May avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm
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.
May avg high: 71F/22C May avg low: 56F/13C May avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm
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 especially drinks, can really be a bit on the expensive side in this huge city, so it’s good to move elsewhere in the country after a few days for a break in those areas.
May avg high: 71F/22C May avg low: 54F/12C May avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm
Cairo, 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.
May avg high: 91F/33C May avg low: 63F/17C May avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm
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.
May avg high: 82F/28C May avg low: 57F/14C May avg precip: 0.9″/2.3cm
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.
May avg high: 75F/24C May avg low: 61F/16C May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm
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 can seem expensive here, but independent travelers who find smaller 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.
May avg high: 86F/30C May avg low: 78F/26C May avg precip: 3.0″/7.5cm
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.
May avg high: 79F/26C May avg low: 63F/17C May avg precip: 4.0″/10.0cm