The 5 Best (and Most Affordable) Places to Travel in April
There are a lot of great reasons to get out of town this month, thanks to cheap-o airfares, good eats and the inevitable budding of flowers. Plus, if you’re smart about where you place that pin on the map, you can even trade some rainy days for sunshine. Here’s both the best of the best in travel this month, whether you’re looking for experiences, deals or both.
There are probably few things more romantic than flower picking, whether you do it with your S.O. or alone as a self-care exercise. Imagine yourself going on that same flower picking adventure, except, you’re foraging wild flowers in Italy, steps from the city limits of Florence in nearby Fiesole. The stunning Il Salviatino tells us they’ve partnered with Tuscany Again to offer a new program for guests to hunt for wild plants and flowers, alongside an expert botanist of course. And guess what? This isn’t just some fantasy—it’s actually a possibility, with flights as low as $342—according to Skyscanner—as of press time. Once you’re done finding all the fresh flowers and herbs your heart desires, you can top it off by incorporating them into a cooking class. When you’re ready to explore some more, let Fiesole’s incredible views of Tuscany lure you into town. It’s just 15 minutes away and in April, you’ll be visiting before right before high season, which means your access to the city and the region of Tuscany is at its best for avoiding crowds and getting in on some major deals. Highlights in Florence to research, even though you already have them saved in your Instagram: The Ponte Vecchio bridge, Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s David statue at the Accademia, and the world’s best gelato at La Carraia.
Where to stay: If the flower extravaganza wasn’t reason enough to stay at Il Salviatino, you’re sure to be convinced when we tell you it is one of the dreamiest hotels in the world. Surrounded by a well-appointed private park on a hill with views that will make your friends FOMO you forever, this villa was built in the 15th century, and has constantly been updated with posh touches since then. The rooms are elegant and oozing Italian charm, while the common spaces—like the impressive library and tiny bar room with an arched doorway that spills out onto a patio surrounded by stately garden and olive and cypress trees—will inspire you to quit your job and make a move to the boot-shaped country.
The nation’s capital is home to so much history, art and culture, and every year there is more to explore, like looking for President Obama’s Kehinde Wiley portraits at The Smithsonian or the Newseum’s Berlin Wall exhibit, a Pulitizer Prize-winning cartoon that documents Syrian refugees finding a new home in America, and—on a lighter note—an exhibit dedicated to presidents and their pooches, aptly titled “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets.” When you’re done being all cultured, you can cruise the shops at Dupont Circle or visit nearby Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a historic neighborhood with boutiques like the Penny Post, a paper store where you can take modern brush lettering classes. In April, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing (visit before it ends on the 14th, though), meaning ethereal pink- and white-hued-flowers coming into bloom all around you—and a million subsequent visitors drawn to D.C.’s Tidal Basin each year. It doesn’t get more dainty then following up your flower peeping with tea service at Park Hyatt Washington D.C.’s Tea Cellar, featuring small plates and a “blooming tea” that seems apt for the season. While the Cherry Blossoms means slightly higher hotel rates, airfare and train tickets are relatively cheap, and it truly is the best time to see D.C.
Where to stay: Luckily, options abound at every budget in this city, but one of our favorite places to kick up our feet at the moment is the MGM National Harbor, a resort and casino that opened a little over two years ago and is just beyond the city limits. Many rooms here have stunning views of the harbor which it’s named for, they’re all decked out in a contemporary cool décor. You’ll find top-notch entertainment at The Theater—Mariah Carey just performed there at the end of March; Derek Hough and Tyler Henry will pass through in April; and if you can wait to visit till May, you can catch the Cruel Intentions Musical (!). Plus, there’s pl-enty of grub to get excited about just steps from the rooms: José Andrés’ shrine to seafood, FISH and Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, brought to you by two Top Chef alums. There’s even cherry-blossom themed cocktails happening at their Blossom Cocktail Lounge.
This large, landlocked city often gets ignored by travelers to Mexico, but its rich history and young, student-friendly energy and party vibe make it a must-visit. Explore the incredible and Instagrammable-at-every-turn Tlaquepaque craft market, bite into a torta ahogada and take in some authentic mariachi music—after all, this is where it was born. Guadalajara can also be a great starting point for travelers looking to visit Tequila Valley, which is just over an hour away. Here, you’ll want to stop by the distillery and tasting rooms of some of your favorite tequilas. You can even park it overnight at Casa Noble, where you’ll find agave views at every turn. Plus, with no chance of rain, and temps creeping upwards of 90 degrees, you can start working on your summer tan—with adequate sunscreen, of course—a little earlier than usual. Also, flights from the U.S. are pretty cheap at the moment.
Where to stay: Speaking of deals, travelers to Guadalajara will be spoiled with luxe options under $200 a night (as of press time), like the Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara and the Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara, which both have plush, contemporary high-rise vibes. For a more splurge-worthy stay (at a hotel often frequented by celebrities), look no further than the luxe Quinta Real Guadalajara, where suite-style rooms are the norm and there’s tons of local character and history.
Everyone has Charleston on their bucket list, but there’s another South Carolina city that’s about to pop thanks to a recent urban revival. Known as Soda City (since it’s abbreviated as “Cola”), Columbia’s compact, walkable downtown has a small-city feel with big-city things to do—from upscale restaurants and shopping to art museums—making it ideal for a long weekend. Spend a morning here exploring the Soda City Market, tour the historic Robert Mills House & Gardens, grab brunch at former motor supply company aptly named Motor Supply Co. Bistro. But most importantly, do not leave town without planning a trip to Lula Drake, a cozy wine bar rich in history. (It has a blue cheese tasting plate on the menu, too, if you’re into that kind of thing.) Flights are cheap this time of year, which usually isn’t the case when a destination is experiencing some of its best weather. (Read: Warm, comfortable days without humidity.)
Where to stay: Aloft Columbia Downtown, a trendy hotel within walking distance to everything, that has comfortable, design-centered rooms and a communal bar that welcomes guests in the lobby each night. This month, rates can be had at under $200/night.
Unwind and slip your toes into the beautiful white sand of this Dutch Caribbean island known for its picture-perfect beauty. Once you’ve landed in paradise, you can spend your days on Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, Baby Beach or Manchebo Beach for a little R&R or explore the island by ATV or catamaran cruise. There’s a fascinating farm that doubles as a butterfly sanctuary for nature lovers and lots of romance to be found—like at a Frank Sinatra-themed dinner show—if you’re traveling with bae. April marks the end of the busy season in Aruba, meaning better prices on flights and hotels, with the weather remaining a beautiful mid-80 degrees and sunny virtually every day.
Where to stay: The splurge-worthy Ritz-Carlton, Aruba is located on one of the most coveted stretches of beach on the entire island and has a Casa Nonna restaurant for when you’re craving grandma-style, old-school Italian realness. At the more budget-friendly Hilton Aruba Resort & Casino, you can keep things interesting at the tables and slots after the sun goes down. There’s also a daily schedule full of ways to keep active on the property, like yoga, Zumba, and boot camp-style classes—should you want to get in a good workout on vacay.