Spring Fling: 8 Last-Minute Trips to take before the Summer Crowds

 
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Spring has sprung, and it’s not too late to book last-minute trips to paradise. Shoulder season is the best time to visit many destinations, as perennial hotspots boast fewer crowds and lower prices — there’s no better time to book your next vacation. Whether you’re interested in truffle-hunting in Tuscany or gallery-hopping in Texas, read on for the top trips to book before the invasion of the summer crowds. Happy springtime travels!

1. Hong Kong

A Hong Kong park in spring

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Hong Kong has fully reopened for international visitors

Discover the vibrant culture of the city

Hong Kong has eliminated travel restrictions and is now fully open for international tourists — and the time to celebrate is now. This spring is the perfect time to discover the world-renowned culture and heritage of Hong Kong after nearly three years of limited access to the region. Plus, staying at Rosewood Hong Kong is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a taste of luxury. The hotel officially opened just before the pandemic in 2019 and is now available for well-heeled guests and visitors — including yourself. Plus,  on March 15th, 2023, China also fully reopened for tourism — the perfect opportunity for a combined trip. 

2. Peru

Lake Titicaca in Peru

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Explore the wonders of Lima and Lake Titicaca

Culture and adventure combine in this South American excursion

So, you’ve heard of the magnificence of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, but are you familiar with the healing magic of Lake Titicaca? There’s more to Peru than the Andes, and the beauty and heritage of Uros Floating Islands and Isle Taquile must be seen to be believed. And spring is the perfect time to visit Peru, as it is autumn in South America, and you will have just escaped the sweltering heat that strikes down in February (the hottest month of the year). Combine Lima's sophisticated elegance with Puno's high desert landscapes for a trip that will have you discovering an entirely new side of Peruvian culture and history. Plus, staying at  GHL Hotel Lago Titicaca is the perfect way to combine adventure with luxury — after a day kayaking and boating on the lake, spend an evening soaking in the jacuzzi or sipping pisco sours at Los Uros Restaurant. And a Sundowner Experience is the perfect way to appreciate the hotel’s breathtaking panoramic views. So, what are you waiting for? ¡Vamos!

3. Nepal

Colorful boats on a lake by the mountains

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Kathmandu & Beyond

Spring skiing is best in Big Sky Country.

If Nepal has topped your bucket list for years, there’s no better time to visit than this spring. April to May is one of the peak seasons for vertical pursuits. The weather remains dry, the days are longer, and the Himalayas are in bloom, with rhododendrons flowering across the mountain valleys throughout the region. (The other peak season is fall, but who has that long to wait?) We suggest booking an adventure with the family-owned Crystal Mountain Treks or planning a trip with Mountain Travel Nepal. Mountain Travel Nepal is a high-end, personalized trekking company that partners with the historic jungle safari outfitter Tiger Tops, where sightings of the elusive tiger have historically been strong in the springtime. Future tiger kings and tiger queens: Take note. 

4. Finland

A person admiring the Northern lights

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Discover the Arctic wonders of Lapland 

Longer days end with Northern Lights (if you’re lucky)!

Our next selection is perfect for the adventurous traveler who’s always dreamed of exploring north of the Arctic Circle. Finland represents the largest portion of the Arctic region of Lapland — and though the Northern Lights are traditionally associated with the coldest months of winter, the best time to witness the Aurora Borealis is actually towards the beginning or the end of the season. (So, April can very well be a lucky time for Lights-seeking travelers — after all, you can’t witness the lights if it’s snowing.) Additionally, the longer spring days result in more daylight hours — perfect for husky sledding and snowmobiling, as there’s still snow in Lapland through April. Finnish Lapland may be the home of Santa Clause, but it’s always the most wonderful time of the year in the Finnish north — why not find out for yourself this spring? 

5. New Zealand

Lakes and mountains in New Zealand

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North & South Island

The nation reopens to international travel on May 1st. 

New Zealand always tops adventurous travelers’ bucket lists, so why not cross it off your list this spring? Visitors should take advantage of direct flights via Air New Zealand from Houston and LAX and new non-stop routes from JFK to Auckland. While New Zealand may seem like quite a ways to travel for a last-minute trip, now is the time to capitalize on flight deals and score lowered costs on hotels and car rentals, as the country has been closed to tourists since the onset of the pandemic. Spring is the perfect time to visit the land of the Kiwis, as the skies are blue, the hiking trails, and the restaurants are uncrowded. And the crisp weather (sunny days and chilly nights) is ideal for exploring the countryside that earned the nickname ‘the Real Middle Earth.’

6. Texas

A field of red poppies in Texas

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Hill Country is Calling

Check out the Texas countryside in full bloom.

It’s a known fact that everything’s bigger in Texas, but were you aware that extended to the state’s flowers all well? Head to the Texas Hill Country this spring to witness the Lone Star State in full bloom as red poppies inundate the vast, southwestern state's open fields and rolling hills. Nicknamed the ‘Red Poppy Capital of Texas,’ Georgetown is located just north of Austin and is famous for having the most beautiful flowers decorating the town square every spring. If you’re more into music than blossoms, head to the Kerrville Folk Festival at Quiet Valley Ranch, which kicks off May 26th. Regardless, this is the best season to visit, as the sweltering summer heat has yet to force all would-be cowboys indoors (and into air-conditioned environs). In short, there’s no better time of year to discover the Republic of Texas.

7. Holland

Colorful field of flowers with a windmill in the background

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Lots to discover in Lisse

Visit the most beautiful spring garden in the world.

In the infamous words of Meryl Streep (portraying Anna Wintour): Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking. Still, we’d be remiss to spotlight flower festivals stateside without including the most spectacular garden abroad. We’re talking, of course, about the world-famous Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, located in the municipality of Lisse in the Netherlands. Though the gardens are only open until May 14th, travelers contemplating a visit later in the season shouldn’t be discouraged, as flowers will be wondrously in bloom throughout the country. And, considering Holland is a place where tulips were once more valuable than gold, you can rest assured that the entire nation takes springtime very seriously. Whether you’re visiting The Hague or Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or Scheveningen, you can’t go wrong with a last-minute trip this spring. After all, if it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much.

8. Italy

A cottage on the hills of Italy

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Tuscany & Beyond

It’s the truffle-hunting season in the Italian countryside.

Italy is always a popular summer destination, but why not consider a last-minute visit this spring? There’s no better time to fit in a visit to the Italian countryside than before the summer crowds swarm the ruins (and raise the prices) in the peak season of June through August. An added bonus? You will be able to partake in one of the most rewarding Italian pastimes: Truffle-hunting, of course. The summer white truffle season begins mid-January and lasts through late April, while the summer black truffle season extends from May through September. Scavenge the hills of Florence for a delectable treat, and reward yourself with some local wine afterward. Cin cin!

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