Best off-peak destinations for spring
Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Spring: It's that magical time of year when the cost of travel to key destinations stays affordable, while warmer, temperate weather breezes in.
There may not be a better time to visit certain places, whether you're eyeing excursions to vibrant European cities, charming U.S. towns, or sun-soaked islands. Ready to give winter an icy kiss goodbye? Bring in the warm weather with a budget-friendly shoulder-season trip to one of the following five destinations.
We love colorful, medieval Tallinn—the capital city of Estonia, one of Europe's tiniest countries. And we particularly adore Tallinn during spring, when pleasant weather arrives and a packed calendar of events, from the Tallinn Flower Festival to Tallinn Music Week to Tallinn Day, makes a springtime visit all the more special.
Tallinn is a relatively affordable European destination year-round (accommodations average about $94 per night, according to Hotels.com's Hotel Price Index). However, flights to Tallinn are often expensive, especially during high season. The good news is that you can find lower fares during the spring. Compare round-trip flights to Tallinn from New York's JFK Airport: According to a search on Kayak, prices start at $734 in April, while August flights start at $849.
Another cost-effective way to get to Tallinn and the surrounding region is by sea. The coastal city is a popular stop on many Baltic and Scandinavian sailings, for which travelers can find pocketbook-friendly prices during the spring season. A 12-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, which calls in Tallinn, starts at $1,249 per person for sailings in May. Comparatively, prices jump to $1,649 in July and $1,899 in August—an increase of 52 percent.
(Photo: Greenwich Photography/Flickr)
One of the most cost-effective ways to see large swaths of the European continent is by train. And this year, country-hopping Europhiles can finally factor Istanbul onto their rail itineraries. T.C.D.D., the Turkish railway, has joined Eurail, thus setting the stage for the inclusion of Istanbul (as well as other Turkish cities and towns) on the ever-popular, budget-friendly Eurail Global Passes and Select Passes.