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Where to Go in January: The Best Places to Travel

Brook Wilkinson | November 22, 2016

Ring in the New Year at home, then get on a plane: Though prices are high through New Year’s weekend, the week starting January 4 ushers in deals. The skiing is prime closer to home, while tropical and Southern Hemisphere destinations work well for those needing a dose of sunshine. These are the best places to travel in January.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “Where to Book Now” series.)

Kayaking El Nido Palawan Philippines CR Global Nomad

Kayaking El Nido, Palawan. Photo: Global Nomad

The Philippine islands are near the equator and thus have only two seasons: wet and dry. In January, the weather is dry, and the temperatures are not yet too hot—making it ideal for island hopping. —Lorenzo Urra, Trusted Travel Expert for the Philippines, Indonesia, and Exotic Asian Islands

Read Lorenzo’s Insider’s Guide to the Philippines and reach out to Lorenzo to get the best possible trip.

Rocky Mountains 
January to early February is the hands-down best time to ski in the Rocky Mountains. Especially between New Year’s and Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, you’ll get excellent snow, great value, and smaller crowds. Yes, it’s the coldest time of year, but that means the snow is dry enough for locals to call it “Champagne powder.”

Contact Wendy to find the right Trusted Travel Expert to plan your best possible trip.

British Columbia 
January and February have the most reliable snowfall, making it ideal for not just skiing, but also dogsledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. You also have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. —Marc Telio, Trusted Travel Expert for Western Canada

Read Marc’s Insider’s Guide to British Columbia and reach out to Marc to get the best possible trip.

Duomo Florence Italy

Duomo in Florence, Italy. Photo courtesy Brian Dore.

Florence, Italy 
Florence is at its least crowded in January—just be sure to go after “Befana,” which is the celebration of the Epiphany and the end of the holiday season in Italy (it falls on Wednesday, January 6 in 2016, so things will not get back to usual until about Monday the 10). January is a great time for getting to all the amazing museums and galleries and artisan shops without the hordes—and finding deals during the “January Sales”—but bring layers against what might be raw, rainy weather. —Mara Solomon, Trusted Travel Expert for Italy Villas

Read Mara’s Insider’s Guide to Italy Villa Vacations and reach out to Mara to get the best possible trip.

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Photo courtesy GreenSpot.

Costa Rica 
January is  one of the nicest times of the year weatherwise for a winter escape, right in the middle of the Costa Rican dry season. It is often the only time in the high season that you can plan a last-minute trip and still have your first choice of the top properties. Irene Edwards, Trusted Travel Expert for Costa Rica and Iceland

Read Irene’s Insider’s Guide to Luxury Eco-Travel in Costa Rica and reach out to Irene to get the best possible trip.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Courtesy Nica Adventures

In January, the country is lush and green, there is no rain, and the breezes keep temperatures in the high 80s during the day. —Pierre Gedeon, Trusted Travel Expert for Nicaragua

Read Pierre’s Insider’s Guide to Nicaragua and reach out to Pierre to get the best possible trip.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
January is the best time to visit Rio—assuming you don’t mind temperatures that regularly hit 105 degrees. It’s the height of summer, Cariocas (Rio residents) are at their most relaxed, and the nightlife is at its peak. —Paul Irvine, Trusted Travel Expert for Brazil

Read Paul’s Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro and reach out to Paul to get the best possible trip.

Sydney Opera House. Photo courtesy Tourism Australia.

Sydney Opera House. Photo courtesy Tourism Australia.

Sydney, Australia 
Sydney’s summer months (December to February) bring beach weather, as well as festivals and harborside celebrations: After our world-renowned New Year’s Eve celebrations comes the Sydney Festival, a month-long celebration of the arts culminating with Australia Day. (Remember that prices are also at their peak in summer, with stringent hotel booking conditions over the New Year period.) —Stuart Rigg, Trusted Travel Expert for Australia

Read Stuart’s Insider’s Guide to Sydney and reach out to Stuart to get the best possible trip.

Sunset in Tangalle, Sri Lanka.

Sunset on a beach in Tangalle, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka 
The weather in January is delightful—spring-like temperatures and blue skies—and the holiday crowds have dispersed by January 10. Things get busy again in February, when Chinese New Year and mid-term school breaks draw visitors from Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, and other parts of Asia. —Miguel Cunat, Trusted Travel Expert for Sri Lanka

Read Miguel’s Insider’s Guide to Sri Lanka and reach out to Miguel to get the best possible trip.

January is the cooler season—which in this part of the world means temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Designers descend upon the city for the Shopping Festival, when shops and boutiques offer discounts all month long. —Lindsey Wallace, Trusted Travel Expert for Maldives, Seychelles
, and the United Arab Emirates

Read Lindsey’s Insider’s Guide to Dubai and reach out to Lindsey to get the best possible trip.


Be a smarter traveler: Follow Wendy Perrin on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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