By Jenna Berndt
Make the most of Leap Day on 29 February 2020 by ticking off another new place on your travel bucket list, or choose one of these five incredible destinationsthat are worthy of the extra time, and best explored in February.
February is an ideal month to visit India, easing into the start of the hot summer season (and temperatures in southern India won’t be stifling yet). February also signals the end of the traditional tourist season. More sun and fewer crowds make it a win all-round, wherever you’re travelling in the large country. Choose to explore the northern state of Rajasthan, stopping in Udaipur, Jaipur and the dunes of the Thar desert.
If you’re not averse to the cold and are eager to experience the type of winter (hello snow!),that we don’t experience in South Africa, consider the Big Apple at the end of February. Although less likely to rain, February is one of the coldest months on the calendar. The benefit is you could snag a great flight special, and you’ll get your pick of accommodation.
There is lots to see and do in the city that never sleeps, even in winter. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival is one of the most festive and colourful events to enjoy. Book a seat for an ice hockey and basketball game, take in a concert in Madison Square Gardens and try ice-skating in Central Park. With a pair of snow boots and a warm coat, you’re all set.
“Japan is a trending destination for 2019, which will definitely continue into 2020,” says Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa. “It can be expensive for South Africans though so a Costsaver guided holiday is a good value for money option. Think of it as guided independent touring. All of the essentials are included, such as accommodation, daily breakfast, selected meals, on-trip transport and city orientation tours provided by an expert travel director and you have the option to add on extras to tailor-make your itinerary depending on your budget and interests.”
Discover the many contrasts of Japan, from the bustling skyscraper-studded city of Tokyo to the calm of Mount Fuji and the temples and shrines of Kyoto, Richardson suggests.
Combine Leap Year Day with Valentine’s Day and whisk your significant other away for a romantic break in the city (or country) of love. While it is the middle of winter and will be cold, the charm of snuggling up at a street-side café in Parisadds to the romantic atmosphere. Head into the Pyrenees and Alps to a cosy chalet and try your hand at skiing and snowboarding, or enjoyfestive aprèsski activities. For the best chance of sunshine, head south to the Mediterranean to Nice or Lyon. Or embrace Valentine’s Day in all its splendour by visiting the village of St. Valentin, named for the saint who inspired the romantic day.
Head to Morocco in February and experience all the spices, souks and exoticism the country has to offer. While February is winter and off-season, it is a great time to visit and take advantage of off-season specials and fewer crowds. Take advantage of the cooler weather (summer can be unbearably hot) and explore the desert, camel riding and trekking. Temperatures in Marrakesh range from eight to 20 degree Celsius, which is ideal weather for shopping in the souks.
Don’t wait for the next Leap Year in 2024; book now and make the most of the extra time!