Generally speaking, I’ve discovered there are two ways to travel the world: you go where you know you want to go, or you spin the globe. And if you’re lucky, you visit enough amazing places on your list that eventually you open your mind to explore the world that you didn’t originally intend to. I’ve been fortunate to move from the first phase of travel to the second, and I now like to research and dream and imagine about places I never planned to visit before I find myself there. As we approach the spring season, I’m sharing where to travel in March, based on that spin-the-globe method.
In this new series of ‘Where to Travel in [Insert Month Here],’ I’ll be examining some of the world’s top destinations – both those I’ve been to and those on my list. Because most people plan trips roughly two months in advance or maybe flights are cheapest 56 days before departure or whatever… we’re starting out in January 2020 with a list of where to travel in March.
How I Chose These Destinations:
You might wonder: how did she pick these? She hasn’t even been to all of them! Very true, dear reader, and a fair question. These destinations come from two sources: my Where to Travel in 2020 list and an email I get each month from Kayak telling me the places that travelers like you and me choose to search every month. I’ve pulled them together, sorted with consideration of weather and other fun activities, and present them to you.
Without further ado, here’s where to travel in March 2020; these 10 destinations (plus one bonus just from me for good measure!) will inspire you to book your next trip.
1. Fort Lauderdale & Miami
Kayak added both of these destinations to their top list of destinations travelers search for in January… meaning they’re among the top places where to travel in March. Can you guess the reason? I’m pretty sure I know exactly why people are searching for flights to Fort Lauderdale and Miami – and it’s the same reason: spring break cruises, baby!
Miami and Fort Lauderdale are two of the biggest Florida cruise ports, so as people are confirming their cruise plans and arranging flights to get there, it’s no surprise these are popular destinations.
But why not extend your time in the city? Both Miami & Fort Lauderdale have stunning culinary scenes – fresh seafood, Key Lime pie, and Cubanos are obviously high on the list of must-try foods. And, even if you don’t want to splurge on a cruise, you can spend time on Florida’s famous beaches on spring break instead.
2. The Bahamas
Piggybacking on the popularity of Florida destinations for setting off on spring break cruises, The Bahamas is one of the top cruise destinations – and as it’s one of the best places to visit in 2020, March (aka spring break month) is obviously the perfect time to visit. That’s probably why so many people search for flights there in January, according to Kayak.
During my first trip to the Bahamas in November as part of a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines, I had the chance to visit NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. It was a day of swimming with rays, soaking up sun, and enjoying more than a couple piña coladas. Okay, now I need a spring break too!
3. Cancun, Mexico
One last popular spring break destination from Kayak’s data, for your consideration, as you decide where to travel in March: Cancun. Yes, it’s full of spring breakers. Yes, you might end up on an MTV show or something. But it’s popular because it’s also beautiful and has perfect weather to beat your late-season winter blues.
Instead of staying on the main beach with all the co-eds, book a place further out of town. On both of my trips to Cancun, I stayed at Moon Palace. You can also use spring break to explore more of the Yucatan too – Mr. V and I did a cool Yucatan road trip that included stops at Chichen Itza, Ik-kil Cenote, and Valladolid.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Everyone has eyes on Tokyo in 2020 because of the summer Olympics. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Tokyo made the Where to Travel list 5x on its own – as did five other Japanese cities. Airbnb, Fodors, Forbes, Frommers, and The New York Times all listed Tokyo as a place to travel in 2020. Japan is HOT, people – watch out, France!
Tokyo is a great epicenter for your own Japanese adventure, and March is a great month to visit Tokyo because of the city’s famed cherry blossoms. One of the country’s top and timely attractions, the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom on March 19th this year (source) – perfect timing! This is a little earlier than usual, but means that visitors throughout most of the month will have a chance to see that cherry blossom emoji in real life at last.
5. Paris, France
Good ol’ Paree! What makes Paris one of the world’s most popular destinations is that there’s literally never a bad time to visit. It’s charming in the spring, delightful in the summer, moody in the autumn and magical as [bleep] in the winter. That explains why AFAR, Conde Nast Traveller, and The New York Times named it to their 2020 where to travel lists.
Why is Paris so charming in the spring? Think blossoming trees, the first verdant shoots of green, and the warm rays of the sun sparkling over all of Paris’ gilded details as you wander the labyrinthine streets. Never mind Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie are spring eternal and fresh macarons in flavors like rose, lavender, and orange blossom bring a taste of budding blooms right into your mouth.
De rein for the travel inspiration!
6. Washington, DC
D.C. is a great destination year-round for museums and the chance to see politics-in-action (or should I say trainwreck-in-action?); mix up your itinerary with visits to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History or Air & Space (my fave!) with a stroll around the Tidal Basin and a visit to Honest Abe in his stone chair at the Lincoln Memorial. And don’t get me started with what’s happening off the Mall: hip neighborhoods with crave-worthy eateries and bars around the Beltway that remind you it’s not all chaos in the capital… All of these reasons helped DC make the must-go lists for CNN, Lonely Planet, and The New York Times.
I’m not saying it will be much less crowded than places like Tokyo and Paris, but Washington D.C. has its own floral charms to entice you for a visit in March. Late in the month each year, the cherry blossoms along the National Mall become a riot of millennial pink, and everyone-and-their-Instagram-husband wants a pic/piece of the action.
7. London, England
Not digging the cherry blossom thing? Consider booking a trip to my favorite destination, London, instead. You’ll find daffodils there! Kayak says loads of people look for flights to London in March and beyond, so look now if you want to book a trip!
March is a good time to visit London because blue skies start to return, along with warmer weather – especially later in the month. You’ll be visiting the British capital before the summer crowds but also experience days where you might actually need sunglasses! (Here’s what to pack for London.)
I could go on ad nauseum about what to do in London while you’re there, but for now, here are tips to help you start planning:
- The 18 Sights You Absolutely Must See in London
- 10 Things to Know Before Your First Trip to London
- 5 Days in London: A Quick Itinerary of What to See & Do
- How to Do the London Wall Walk: A Self-Guided Walking Tour
8. Dubai, UAE
Dubai was one of the top destinations on the list I compiled of where to travel in 2020 based on expert recommendations – so it obviously makes sense that some months it’s the perfect time to visit. AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Frommers, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic all listed Dubai – it’s one of the most-suggested spots!
While there’s never a dull moment in Dubai if you know where to go or what to spend, March is a great month to visit especially if you want to escape the AC and explore the surrounding countryside. Average high temps only reach the mid-80°s F (29-30°C) which means you’ll be warm after winter at home – but not roasting in the normally 100+°F+ (37+°C) you’ll experience in the summer months.
Visiting Dubai in March also helps as you visit before Ramadan which runs from late April to late May in 2020.
I’m not gonna like, Tunisia has been on my Maybe Someday list for a long time. While it’s on most people’s No Way in Heck list, I’ve always loved the rolling dunes I watched in Star Wars and The X-Files and wanted to see them with my own eyes. Yep, I’m a nerd, and it motivates me to travel the world!
That’s why I was excited that Tunisia made the Where to Travel in 2020 list after CNN, Fodors, and Lonely Planet all included it. I think this country is dramatically misrepresented in the media (let’s be honest, most are!) and on the ground you can have incredible cultural and adventure experiences without the crowds you might find in nearby Morocco or Egypt.
March is a great time to plan a trip to Tunisia because temperatures are quite reasonable (average highs in the mid-60°s F (18°C)) and you won’t overlap with Ramadan, which can affect activities available for tourists, in this 99+% Muslim country.
10. Christchurch, New Zealand
So I’ve never been to New Zealand, but it’s literally #1 on my must-travel list. It also made the where-to-travel lists for AFAR, Fodors, and The New York Times, so I’m clearly not alone there. I’m not going to make it this March, but that’s my loss because March is an ideal time to visit.
Located on New Zealand’s Southern Island, Christchurch is one of the locations experts recommended for travel in 2020; I’m saying it’s where to travel in March because it’s the end of the summer as crowds wind down and temperatures cool – not that it ever gets hot in NZ, so pack layers for the evenings!
Oh, and March is one of the two semi-annual peaks in aurora activity. You can use Christchurch as a base you can strike south to the bottom of New Zealand’s southern island to see the southern lights!
Bonus: Chile (V’s Pick)
Okay, I really struggled to choose between recommending Chile and Ireland for my own addition to this list… but I figure y’all already know that Dublin is the place to be on March 17th, and if you want to plan a trip, you know I’ve got you covered.
But Chile was a place I visited last March, and it’s an ideal time for several reasons:
- It’s under-touristed. Great if you want to get off the beaten path.
- There’s loads of delicious Chilean food, drink, and wine to enjoy.
- It’s the end of summer in the southern hemisphere, warm but not sweltering.
I strung together a trip to the Elqui Valley for stargazing, the capital city of Santiago, and seaside Valparaíso. Flights were cheap and easy to manage (only one layover!), and you can get by with limited Spanish. Enjoy!
Will any of these destinations make your list for where to travel in March? Or do you have other destinations in mind? Let me know in the comments!
Sources: Where to Travel in 2020 – According to All the Experts, AFAR, Airbnb, American Express, Conde Nast Traveler (US), Conde Nast Traveller (UK), CNN, Fodors, Forbes, Frommers, Google, Kayak, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure
Credits: Aurora photos via Ben Rominson & Paul Stewart via Flickr