Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

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

by Brook Wilkinson | June 4, 2020

UPDATE:  THE PANDEMIC IS CAUSING HUGE CHANGES IN TRAVEL, SO CLICK TO ASK WENDY BEFORE PLANNING ANYTHING.

PLEASE SEE OUR COVID-19 TRAVEL COVERAGE.

WE WILL UPDATE THIS ARTICLE AS INFORMATION DEVELOPS ON SAFE TRAVEL.


 

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 Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival? Hard-to-get rooms for the Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca? 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.)

An East Africa Safari During Shoulder Season

safari tourists in a jeep watching elephants pass in Tanzania

The Chem Chem Reserve is located between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park. Photo: Chem Chem Safari Lodge

For: February and March 2020

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.

For a WOW trip, contact East Africa experts Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Scandinavia’s Season of Abundant Daylight

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia come alive as the weather gets warmer. Photo: Kim Wyon/VisitDenmark

For: May and June 2020

As the Northern Hemisphere approaches the summer solstice, Scandinavia enjoys extra-long days that last until 10pm. The countryside is filled with celebrations during the first weekend on or after June 21, and the outdoor cafes are made lively by locals soaking up the sun after months of darkness. It’s also a great time to enjoy the abundance of fresh seafood.

Why book in February? If you wait until March, many of the small boutique hotels in the countryside—some of which have only seven or eight rooms—will be booked up.

For a WOW trip, contact Scandinavia expert Leigh Landis via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this

Greece or Turkey via a Gulet Yacht Charter

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 2020

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? The most beautiful gulets with excellent crews are in high demand, but if you book four months or more before arrival, you can take advantage of early-booking discounts. (Visas to Turkey are now available online.)

For a WOW trip, contact Turkey expert Karen Fedorko Sefer via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Botswana: Special Savings on a Safari

Botswana helicopter at sunset over the savannah Desert & Delta Safari

Take a helicopter over Botswana for a different perspective on the usual safari. Photo: Desert & Delta Safari

For: June through October 2020

Botswana’s safari camps and lodges are in such high demand that it’s hard to find a deal at any time of year—especially during the prime game-viewing season, which runs from mid-June through October. But if you spend ten nights at Desert & Delta’s eight properties scattered throughout the country, you’ll receive a complimentary scenic helicopter ride and one free night’s stay. The highlight is sure to be your time in Chobe National Park, which is loaded with wildlife: lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog, impala, waterbuck, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, and nearly one-third of all the elephants in Africa.

Why book in February? For this month only, our Trusted Travel Expert can get you an additional 10% off this package—but only if you contact her via WendyPerrin.com.

For a WOW trip, contact Africa expert Cherri Briggs via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this

London for the Championships at Wimbledon

For: July 2020

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 means that London will be very busy in early July. Book now before the city’s most beloved hotels sell out—and while many of them are offering four nights for the price of three if you book in February.

For a WOW trip, contact England, Ireland, and Scotland expert Jonathan Epstein via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Switzerland: An Authentic Farmstay Experience

matterhorn-Switzerland Alps CR Pixabay

Farmers bring their cows up into the Alps in summer. Photo: Pixabay

For: July and August 2020

Farmers bring their cows up into the Alps in summer, and you can join them for a night or two to experience this traditional way of life. Wake up to cowbells and help the farmer with the milking, then sit down together for a breakfast of homemade bread and dairy, and fruits from the region. You can even help make cheese over the fire, as the farmer’s ancestors have done for centuries.

Why book in February? A very limited number of farmers have the suitable space and attitude to invite travelers into their flock; book now to ensure your spot on the dates you want.

For a WOW trip, contact Switzerland expert Nina Müller via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

The Pacific Northwest at the Height of Summer

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, Haro Straight, San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands of Washington are at their most crowded in the summer, but also at their most beautiful. Photo: Shutterstock

For: July and August 2020

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 also 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.

For a WOW trip, contact Washington and Pacific Northwest expert Sheri Doyle via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Iceland’s Shoulder Season

Iceland waterfall Skogafoss in Icelandic nature landscape. Famous tourist attractions and landmarks destination in Icelandic nature landscape on South Iceland. Aerial drone view of top waterfall. -

Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls. Photo: Shutterstock

For: August and September 2020

Iceland is awash in tourists in high season, and the supply of hotel rooms, specialized vehicles, and the like hasn’t kept up with the skyrocketing demand. So it’s wise to arrive toward the end of August or in September, when the weather is still pleasant, the crowds fewer, and the prices a bit lower. There is even a chance of seeing the Northern Lights in September.

Why book in February? While there’s greater availability of hotel rooms and expert guides for the late summer and early fall, even those dates will sell out if you wait too much longer.

For a WOW trip, contact Iceland experts Mads Tange Christensen and Tina Thorman via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

French Polynesia’s Famous Overwater Bungalows

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 2020

September and October 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.

For a WOW trip, contact French Polynesia expert Kleon Howe via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

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 hunting with eagles. Photo: Nomadic Expeditions

For: 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 co-founded two decades ago by Jalsa Urubshurow, our Trusted Travel Expert for Mongolia. Today, the festival protects and celebrates this centuries-old tradition; this year it takes place October 3 to 4.

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

For a WOW trip, contact Mongolia expert Jalsa Urubshurow via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Mexico: Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead Celebrations

Day of the Dead with painted skull face and doll in Oaxaca Mexico

Day of the Dead celebrations are at their most vibrant in Oaxaca. Photo: Journey Mexico

For: October and November 2020

Oaxaca is the place to experience Day of the Dead’s soul-stirring and vibrant celebrations. Witness colorful street parades, join a twilight vigil, and sample some sweet and delicious pan de muerto during this holiday celebrating the departed.

Why book in February? Accommodations in Oaxaca during the festival are almost entirely sold out, but our Trusted Travel Experts have secured a few hard-to-get rooms at Quinta Real, a gorgeous hotel set in a 16th-century convent. This is likely your last chance to join the 2020 festivities in style.

For a WOW trip, contact Mexico experts Zachary Rabinor and Brady Binstadt via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Chile’s Lakes District for Spring Adventures

Chile's lakes district

Chile’s lakes district isn’t as well known as Patagonia but is arguably more beautiful. Photo: Knowmad Adventures

For: November 2020

The Lakes District isn’t as well known as Patagonia, but it’s arguably more beautiful, and certainly easier to get to. Here you’ll find a wide range of adventure activities—hiking, biking, sailing, fly fishing, and the like—a more vibrant example of contemporary Chilean life, and lower prices. In November, the rains have gone and everything is at its lushest, with blue skies and temperatures in the 70s.

Why book in February? Top-end accommodations in the region are limited, so book ahead to ensure the level of comfort you want.

For a WOW trip, contact Chile expert Jordan Harvey via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Peru Over the Holidays

Woman in Main Square of Cusco Peru with old building behind her. Photo from Aracari travel

Mix adventure with culture when visiting Cusco, Peru. Photo: Aracari

For: December 2020

Peru’s greatest hits—Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu—are a very popular destination for holiday trips, particularly among families. Our Trusted Travel Expert can mix a bit of adventure and culture in clever ways (a hike with a local woman and her llamas, for example), and the remains of the ancient Incan city at Machu Picchu will impress even the most blasé teen.

Why book in February? There is limited space in the upscale hotels in these key destinations; if you wait until March, you may be out of luck and find yourself staying at lesser properties.

For a WOW trip, contact Peru expert Marisol Mosquera via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

Sri Lanka in 2021, Before It Sells Out

eautiful Tropical Beach In Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka. These boats used to take people to watch dolphins

The early part of the year sees some of Sri Lanka’s best weather. Photo: Shutterstock

For: January or March 2021

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.

For a WOW trip, contact Sri Lanka expert Miguel Cunat via Wendy’s trip questionnaire. You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this.

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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