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Back in the before time when we could leave our house (remember those?) I liked to travel. While staying at home now I’ve been reminiscing about the month of May. I’ve only ever travelled to North American and European destinations in the month of May, so I can’t speak for traveling to every place on earth in May (also that’s impossible). However May has always been one of my favourite months to travel.
Much of this depends on where you’re going, but for many places May is considered either the off-season or the shoulder season. This means it’s usually less crowded than during peak travel seasons like holidays and summers. And prices during the off-season or shoulder season will be lower than during peak season. There are downsides to travelling outside peak season as some attractions (like outdoor ones) might not be open, or have more restricted hours of operation. If there’s an attraction you really want to visit and you’re traveling in May check see if it’s open in advance.
Another thing to consider is there might be holidays in May for the places your visiting. For example in Canada the Monday before May 25 is Victoria Day, which is a statutory holiday in the country. This is unofficially considered the start of summer, and lots of people will go out camping this weekend (though maybe not this year). For 2020 Victoria Day is May 18. Always check if there’s a holiday in May for the country your visiting. Obviously if you visit somewhere on a holiday it’ll probably be a bit busier than usual.
Another thing I like about travelling in May is the weather. Again, I’ve only travelled in North America and Europe in May, but I find the weather to be generally pleasant. Where I live there might be the occasional bit of snowfall in May, but it usually doesn’t last very long. Some places might get some rain in May, but it’s always a good idea to have a waterproof jacket on hand. I’ve also been to places like Cancun, Mexico and Las Vegas where the temperature in May is above 30C/86F. If you want to visit somewhere hot then there are definitely places for that in May. Check the weather for your destination so you know what to pack. For example the weather in San Francisco in May is a lot different than the weather in Las Vegas in May.
Finally, for the two reasons above (places usually not as busy, and generally good weather) I find May is great time of the year to go on a road trip. I’ve done several road trips in May. Two friends and I did a road trip to Las Vegas (with a stop at the Grand Canyon) in 2007. I went on a a short road trip around the east coast of Canada and the US with a friend in 2009. Finally I did a solo trip from Calgary, Alberta to Toronto, Ontario (took about a week of driving). I’ve also travelled by plane and by train (within the same country) in May and that’s been great as well. I have a feeling a multi-country train trip in Europe would be pretty awesome to do in May.
I don’t always travel in May, but when I do I always enjoy it. So here are a few photos from some places I’ve visited in May.
My first big trip in the month of May was in 2007 when a couple friends and I drove to Las Vegas (I’d also visit Vegas in May 2014). This is a photo of Utah, a state I hadn’t been to before. Before taking this trip I could only really picture Utah as having lots of farms and Mormons, but I didn’t realize how diverse and beautiful the landscape was. This was in the southern part of the state.
On the way to Las Vegas we stopped at The Grand Canyon (just a 5 hour detour, but worth it). Fun fact it was snowing when we were there (not heavily).
In 2009 I went to visit a friend who had moved out to Nova Scotia. I flew to Moncton, New Brunswick and rented a car and also went to Prince Edward Island. Plus my friend and I drove down to Maine and New Hampshire. I’m glad I got to visit these provinces and states, but going to all 5 in 10 days was a bit too much. I also didn’t take a lot of great photos on that trip, hence this semi-okay one of Moncton, New Brunswick.
In May 2011 I went to Mexico for a family wedding. While a lot of that trip was drinking at the resort and hanging out in the pool my family also took a day tour out to Chichen Itza.
In 2013 I did a solo road trip from Edmonton to Toronto. I got to see a lot of amazing places on that trip; ones I’d never known about. This is the town of Wolseley, Saskatchewan. I stopped here for a few minutes because there was a sign saying the town had a swinging bridge. I’m a sucker for roadside attractions on road trips. This photo was taken from that bridge.
Only got to spend a quick night in Winnipeg on my road trip. I didn’t have much time there but I did wander around The Forks (a historic site and green space in the city), and I took this photo of the Provencher Bridge. Winnipeg is a city in Canada I’d like to go back for a visit.
Stopped for this photo of Lake Superior in Ontario. This is the biggest of the Great Lakes in Canada (hence the name) and there were several points driving along the lake where is feels like your driving by the ocean.
This is a giant red Muskoka Chair in Thessalon, Ontario. A Muskoka chair is similar to an Adirondack chair, except the Muskoka chair seat curves down at the back, and the Adirondack chair seat is flat. Also the Adirondack chair is usually a couple inches higher up and the arm rests are further apart than the Muskoka chair. Not sure how that applies for giant versions of these chairs.
Spent time in Toronto for a conference and blogging workshop after my road trip in 2013. This is downtown at Dundas Square.
In May 2014 I went to Las Vegas for a few days with a friend. This is around Freemont Street, which I really enjoyed. I don’t have a strong desire to go back to Vegas, but if I did I’d spend more time exploring Freemont Street rather than the casinos on The Strip. Also, I’d do a day trip outside the city to Red Rock Canyon or somewhere like that.
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to travel. In 2015 I went to an event hosted at the Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton. I didn’t spend the night here, but we did a tour of the hotel including one of the rooms where I took this photo. This is overlooking The North Saskatchewan River and the River Valley.
In 2017 I was living in Dublin, Ireland and my parents came to visit me for a few days at the beginning of May. We went to a few sites around Dublin including this one, Kilmainham Gaol. It was former prison where many historic Irish figures and revolutionaries were held, and sometimes executed. It’s now a museum and a really interesting to check out in Dublin.
My parents had also rented a car so we did a day trip to a few places outside of Dublin as well. This is Knowth a Neolithic passage grave at the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. This place predates the Egyptian Pyramids. There are actually several different sites at Brú na Bóinne including the passage tombs of Newgrange and Dowth. You have to take a bus from the visitor site to the passage tombs, but there is a guide there to tell you about the history of the site. Definitely worth taking a day trip out to Brú na Bóinne in you’re in Dublin.
At the end of May 2017 I went on a day trip to Kilkenny, Ireland. Before coming to Ireland if someone told me “picture a street in an Irish town” this is what I would’ve pictured.
May 2018 I took a trip to Oslo, Norway. This is Vigeland Park, which is full of sculptures from artist Gustav Vigeland. I really enjoy Oslo. I was there just a few days before May 17, which is the Norwegian Constitution Day, a massive national holiday.
I moved back to Canada in early June 2018, so in May I visited several places in and around Dublin. This a quick trip up to the beach at the town of Balbriggan, which wasn’t too far from where I was living in Donbate.
Finally in 2019 a couple friends and I went to San Francisco for few days. Here’s a view from one the many hills in the city. The tall tower in the background is Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, and to the left you can see part of The Bay Bridge.
Those are just some photos from some of the places I’ve visited in the month of May. Hopefully for May 2021 we’ll be able to get out and see some of the world.
Check out some more Photo Essays on Take Me to the World
What’s your favourite month to travel?