Why right now is the best time to book a trip to Sydney

Flying from the U.S. to Australia is easier and more accessible than ever.

According to The Telegraph and Skyscanner, April is one of the most economical months to fly to Sydney from the U.S. Prices, according to Skyscanner, can be as low as $687 round-trip from New York, making traveling across the globe only slightly more expensive than traveling across the country. If you ask us, it’s the perfect excuse to jetset to see the world’s most iconic beaches, sample local delicacies and enjoy some much-needed Vitamin D. Talk about a way to spend your spring break.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter what time of year you end up going to New South Wales; it’s pretty spectacular year round. To prove our point, we’ve rounded up once-in-a-lifetime experiences you can book now, as well as tips and tricks for first-time travelers, goodies you should pack and our favorite hotels to book in the surrounding areas.

Top airlines to book

A number of popular airlines, such as United and Virgin Australia, fly from many major U.S. cities to Sydney. And according to Skyscanner, United tends to be the one of most popular airline for New York to Sydney travel in 2019. One airline that particularly stands out to us in terms of quantity of flights and overall quality is Qantas. The brand has more flights from the U.S. to Sydney than any other airline (with direct flights from Dallas/Forth Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu, as well as connecting flights from major cities, such as New York) and on top of that, has Australia’s largest domestic network of flights, in case you wanted to venture to another city. We’ve also noticed the airline host a number of stellar deals on international journeys, making it the perfect excuse to have a getaway Down Under.

What to pack

Let’s start with the basics. Traveling internationally requires sturdy carry-on and/or check-in luggage pieces. You are, after all, hauling your belongings across the world. For spinners, the name of the game is investing in luggage that has a durable exterior that can protect your precious goods, a roomy interior so you can fit all your essentials in one place and a lightweight design that doesn’t eat up your baggage weight allowance. One of our favorites comes from Away (which won a top spot on CNN Underscored’s 2018 Best Products of the Year). This direct-to-consumer brand provides premium quality that you’d expect from a luxury four-wheel spinner suitcase, as well as removable charging outlets so you can power up your devices on the go without the markup prices of other designer labels (starting at $225; awaytravel.com). If you have only carry-on allowance for your trip (and yes, trust us, it’s possible to fly all the way to Australia with just carry-on bags), consider packing cubes. These handy bags help organize and compress your clothing so that you can pack more and take up less space.

As pictured above from left to right: Away The Carry-On ($225; awaytravel.com); eBags Packing Cubes ($54.99; ebags.com).

Speaking of clothes, you’ll want to pack layers depending on the time of year you’ll be traveling. April for instance tends to fluctuate between the high 60s and 70s. Things you’ll all need in your arsenal include lightweight sweaters, comfy walking sneakers (the city is completely doable on foot, so plan on strolling for a few hours) and buildable classics, such as tees and jackets. And like any beachside vacation, bring swimsuits along for the ride as well.

As pictured above from left to right: Andie Swim Tulum Ribbed Swimsuit ($115; andieswim.com); J.Crew Cotton Crewneck Sweater ($49.50; jcrew.com); Everlane Cotton Box-Cut V-Neck Tee ($18; everlane.com); Cole Haan Men’s ZeroGrand Trainer ($150; colehaan.com).

Even though it won’t be peak temperatures in New South Wales, we can’t say it enough: pack sunscreen. You should be sporting it 365 days of the year, but it’s even more important to wear it while you’re on the beach, spending the day hiking or exposing yourself to UV rays for extended periods of time. Brands like Supergoop! ($19.99; sephora.com) specialize in suncare products that are practical for a variety of settings, whether its sports-based activities or just a little extra protection when you’re having an alfresco meal.

Other must-have items you should consider toting with you include an international adapter, portable power banks, across-the-body totes and passport protectors.

As pictured above from left to right: Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen ($19; sephora.com); ; Crossbody Pouch ($115; cuyana.com); Travel Adapter ($12.99; amazon.com); Anker PowerCore 10000 Power Charger ($31.99; amazon.com); Beis Travel Luggage Tag & Passport Holder Set ($25; nordstrom.com).

Where to stay in Sydney

There are a variety of hotels that are close to tourist attractions, incredible restaurants and bustling shopping areas near and within the Sydney Central Business District (CBD). Choosing the right hotel boils down to how you travel best.

For travelers looking to get a premium hotel experience near Darling Harbour and rack up reward points along the way, consider the West Hotel by Hilton. Not only will you you score Hilton Rewards points, but you’ll also be a stone’s throw from the famous Sydney waterfront. Fun technology comes with the rooms, including smart TV setups and integrated Bluetooth speakers, as well as a must visit hotel bar and restaurant, Solaner Dining and Bar, which offers guests stunning libations among lush foliage.

Would you rather be closer to be closer to The Royal Botanical Gardens and the Sydney Opera House? You’ll want to check out the Ovolo Woolloomooloo. This award-winning boutique hotel is a short walk to both places, as well as a quick trip to the Circular Quays, a popular shopping district. The rooms are spacious and artistically designed, and also come with a free social happy hour, complimentary in-room mini bar and free breakfast. Did we mention it’s also the No.1 rated hotel in Sydney on TripAdvisor?

The SKYE Suites Sydney is the perfect mix between a homestay and a hotel. Each room offers self-serve laundry and kitchenette, as well as an indoor pool, concierge and turndown service.

Experiences to book

When looking for unique vacation experiences, we often find ourselves turning to Viator. There you can find a mixture of typical tourist excursions that likely are already on your list, as well as unique, one-of-a-kind experiences.

An absolute must when heading to Sydney is viewing the iconic Opera House. This hour-long tour takes visitors through the venue, showcases its history and provides you access to typically off-limits parts of the venue (starting at $30.66; viator.com). If you’d rather get a view of the Opera House from the sky, you can also opt for a Sydney Harbour Tour by helicopter (starting at $160.59; viator.com) and take in the Opera House, Sydney Harbour and Harbour Bridge from a birds-eye view.

Other awesome excursions that have caught our eye include the Sydney Taronga Zoo, a Hunter Valley wine and wildlife tour, tandem skydiving in Wollongong, surfing lessons and a private tour of the Blue Mountains (an UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Quick getaways to escape the city

New South Wales is so much more than just the Sydney CBD. For those who are looking to explore more of the region without venturing too far from the city limits, there are a number of relatively short and easy day trips. Plus, many of these locations likely will be the highlight of your trip, so they’re well worth the excursion.

For the active traveler, Jervis Bay offers a great background for paddle boarding, Killalea State Park beaches are hubs for surfers and the Blue Mountains give adventure seekers access to stunning hiking trails. And for foodies, explore Shoalhaven, where there are plenty of wineries serving local delicacies (including the award-winning Two Figs and Cupitt wineries).

Events to keep in mind

There’s also a few noteworthy events in Sydney you’ll want to be on the lookout for, namely Vivid Sydney. This event blends art, performance, music and technology into one, offering festival goers the opportunity to listen to panels, hear their favorite artists live and even watch the iconic Handa Opera, an outdoor performance that takes place with the Sydney Harbor as its backdrop.

There are plenty more events after April. These include the Sydney Comedy Festival, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the ATP Cup.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

This article originally appeared here