Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

The Best Trips to Book in February: What to Lock in Now

Brook Wilkinson | January 31, 2017

Whether your available travel window is just a few weeks out or you’re planning a year ahead, we’ve got a wide range of ideas for the best trips to book right now, in February. A yacht charter in the Aegean? Tickets to Wimbledon or the Mexico Grand Prix? The opening of a groundbreaking new museum in Africa? Use our Trusted Travel Experts to be sure that you get the trip of a lifetime.

(Don’t miss the rest of our series on what trips to book in each month of the year. If you prefer to know which destinations are ideal for traveling to in any given month, see our Where to Go When series, and don’t miss our comprehensive guide to the benefits of booking early.)

A Last-Minute East Africa Safari

Singita Grumeti reserve in the Serengeti, Tanzania.

Singita Grumeti reserve in the Serengeti, Tanzania. Photo: Nina Wennersten.

For: February and March

You often have to plan a safari a year or more in advance, but you can sometimes find last-minute deals in Kenya during shoulder season, or even in Tanzania during the birthing season of the Great Migration, before the “long rains” start in April.

Why book in February? It’s now or never: The sooner you nail down dates, the better your chances of finding a shoulder-season deal.

Wendy recommends: Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein, Trusted Travel Experts for East Africa. Contact Nina and Dan through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Gulet Yacht Charter in Greece

view from a wooden gulet boat on Turkey's Aegean Coast

A wooden gulet is an enticing way to explore the hidden islands of the Aegean. Photo: Sea Song Tours

For: May to October

A wooden gulet is an enticing way to explore the hidden islands of the Aegean: While your captain sails between spots that cruise ships can’t access, your chef is preparing fresh-caught seafood, the deck hands are setting up your sunbeds, and the hostess is keeping your glass of Champagne full.

Why book in February? Prices are down about 20% from two years ago, but the most beautiful gulets with excellent crews are still in high demand—and if you book four months or more before arrival, you can take advantage of early-booking discounts.

Wendy recommends: Karen Fedorko Sefer, Trusted Travel Expert for the Aegean Coast of Turkey. Because few travelers are Turkey-bound at the moment, Karen has repositioned most of her gulets to the Greek Islands. Contact Karen through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

The Championships at Wimbledon

For: July

The lottery for Wimbledon tickets is long over, but our Trusted Travel Expert can still get you the very best seats, even for the mens’ and womens’ finals.

Why book in February? The excitement of the tennis tourney, combined with the dollar’s post-Brexit buying power, mean that London will be very busy in early July. Book now before the city’s most beloved hotels sell out.

Wendy recommends: Jonathan Epstein, Trusted Travel Expert for England, Ireland, and Scotland. Contact Jonathan through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Summer in the Pacific Northwest

The view from Kerry Park, Seattle. Courtesy Seattle Convention & Visitor's Bureau

The view from Kerry Park, Seattle. Courtesy Seattle Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

For: July and August

Summer brings the clearest skies to Washington and British Columbia; it’s prime time for those vistas from Seattle’s Space Needle and off the decks of the Olympic Peninsula’s ferries.

Why book in February? Summer is the most crowded time of year for the region. Many families don’t think to start planning their summer vacation until after spring break; get ahead of them and you won’t get shut out from the best hotel rooms, guides, and upgrades.

Wendy recommends: Sheri Doyle, Trusted Travel Expert for Washington and the Pacific Northwest. Contact Sheri through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival

mongolian eagle hunters at the golden eagle festival

The annual Golden Eagle Festival protects and celebrates the ancient Mongolian tradition of eagle hunting. Photo: Michael Turek/Nomadic Expedtions

For: September and October

The Kazakh people of the remote and rugged Mongolian Altai Mountains have long hunted with golden eagles. However, the practice looked to be headed toward extinction, until the Golden Eagle Festival was founded nearly two decades ago by Jalsa Urubshurow, our Trusted Travel Expert for Mongolia. Today, the festival (which runs from September 27 to October 4 this year) protects and celebrates this centuries-old tradition.

Why book in February? The festival—one of the country’s most popular—takes place in a remote part of Mongolia to which flights are infrequent. Tickets are also limited, so you need to book now to ensure that you’ll be part of the festivities come fall.

Wendy recommends: Jalsa Urubshurow, Trusted Travel Expert for Mongolia. Contact Jalsa through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

An Overwater Bungalow in French Polynesia

overwater bungalows in French Polynesia at the Conrad Hilton Bora Bora

Book early to get an overwater bungalow with the best ocean views. Photo: Conrad Hilton Bora Bora

For: September and October

These months fall during the Trade Wind season, when breezes keep temperatures in the low 80s and the humidity down as well. It still rains, but in 30- to 40-minute bursts. It’s quieter at the resorts, too, since families tend not to travel in the fall.

Why book in February? The overwater bungalows with the best views—not of the rest of the resort, but of the lagoon and the horizon—sell out first. Wait much longer and you’ll be stuck looking at another bungalow.

Wendy recommends: Kleon Howe, Trusted Travel Expert for French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. Contact Kleon through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Cape Town’s New Museum of African Contemporary Art

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town at sunset, with Zeitz Museum being constructed

The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opens on Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in fall 2017. Photo: Royal Portfolio (Silo)

For: September and October

The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa—the continent’s first major museum dedicated to contemporary art—opens on Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront on September 23, and the city will be buzzing with the world’s powerhouse art dealers, museum curators, and art collectors. Our Trusted Travel Expert can get art aficionados into the kick-off events, but if you’d rather see the art in calmer surroundings, wait a few weeks to visit. (September and October are both lovely months for a safari too; the newborns arrive in late October.)

Why book in February? Fall is a popular time to visit South Africa; book now while there is still wide availability of hotel rooms—even at The Silo, a luxury property right next to the museum—and while our Trusted Travel Expert can still get you reservations at some of the city’s hottest restaurants.

Wendy recommends: Cherri Briggs, Trusted Travel Expert for Africa. Contact Cherri through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Formula One in Mexico City

For: October

The Mexico Grand Prix returned to the country in 2015 and has become one of the most popular events on Mexico City’s calendar.

Why book in February? Tickets for the Grand Prix (which in 2017 runs from October 27 to 29) go on sale in late February; if you get your travel plans in order early in the month, our Trusted Travel Expert can grab the best seats possible for the events you want—and keep his ears open for first-come, first-served insider access to other special events.

Wendy recommends: Zachary Rabinor, Trusted Travel Expert for Mexico. Contact Zach through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Fall in Xishuangbanna, China

For: October

Late autumn is the perfect time to visit Xishuangbanna, the subtropical melting pot in southern China that borders Myanmar and Laos. October marks the transition from the rainy season to the dry, so you can hike through primeval forests, follow the mighty Mekong River without fear of getting caught in a monsoon, and explore the region’s tea-growing culture, which dates back more than 2,000 years. National Day is celebrated throughout the first week of the month and brings big crowds, so time your trip to arrive after that.

Why book in February? Since Xishuangbanna is off the beaten path, luxury hotels and expert guides are hard to come by; booking now assures that you’ll experience the best the region has to offer.

Wendy recommends: Mei Zhang, Trusted Travel Expert for China. Contact Mei through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Sri Lanka in 2018

For: January or March 2018

The second half of January and first half of March bring delightful weather to Sri Lanka (February is pleasant too, but very crowded due to the Chinese New Year holidays). It’s also safe to swim in the seas along the west and south coasts at this time of year, which is outside the period when monsoons cause dangerous currents and waves.

Why book in February? Tourism is booming on this tiny island nation but the infrastructure has yet to keep up, so you need to book about a year out to guarantee rooms in the most charming inns and the services of a top chauffeur-guide.

Wendy recommends: Miguel Cunat, Trusted Travel Expert for Sri Lanka. Contact Miguel through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip.

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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