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Where to Go in January: The Best Places to Travel

Brook Wilkinson | December 12, 2017

Ring in the New Year at home, then get on a plane: Though prices are high through New Year’s, there are deals to be found starting later that first week in January. 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 When” 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.)

Rocky Mountains

Aspen Skiing, Rockie Mountains

Skiing in Aspen. Photo: Parker Olsen.

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

two people watching the northern lights in british columbia canada

You’re likely to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights if you visit British Columbia in January. Photo: Cyndie Martinez

January and February have the most reliable snowfall, making it ideal for not just skiing, but also ice-fishing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. You also have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Those looking for an extra dose of adventure can even mush their own dogsled team from lodge to lodge—led by an expert guide, of course.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to British Columbia, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Costa Rica

Costa Rica beach

Solitary beaches abound in the small January lull in the midst of high season. Photo: GeenSpot.travel

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. 

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Costa Rica Luxury Eco-Travel, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Nicaragua

Nicaragua mountains

Nicaragua. Photo: TPS Dave/Pixabay

In January, the country is lush and green, there is no rain, and the breezes keep temperatures in the high 80s during the day.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Nicaragua, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer statue over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer statue over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Visit Rio

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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Florence, Italy

the Arno River running through Florence Italy

Florence, Italy, with the Arno River. Photo: Pixabay/Mariamichelle

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 January 6, and things will not get back to usual until about January 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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Italy Villa Vacations, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Philippines

Big Lagoon El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Big Lagoon 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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Philippines, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Sydney, Australia

Bondi beach panorama Sydney Australia

Sydney’s summer (December–February) bring beach weather. Photo: Southern Crossings

Sydney’s summer months (December to February) bring beach weather, as well as festivals and harborside celebrations: After the world-renowned New Year’s Eve celebrations comes the Sydney Festival, a month-long celebration of the arts culminating with Australia Day. There are also outdoor movie screenings and concerts, and professional surfing, tennis, cricket, and rugby competitions throughout the season. (Remember that prices are also at their peak in summer, so book accommodations and tickets early, before they sell out.)

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Sydney, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Cinnamon Country

Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Country. Photo: Sri Lanka In Style

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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Sri Lanka, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

Dubai

Burj Al Arab hotel and beach in Dubai

In January, Dubai is still warm enough for beaches, but also has a shopping festival. Photo: Pixabay

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.

Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Dubai, and plan your trip through our site to be marked as a VIP and get the best possible trip

 

Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why November is a good time to go.

Abu Dhabi

Africa Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

Brazil: Salvador and Trancoso

Cambodia

China: Xishuangbanna’s tropical rainforests and rice paddies

Colombia: Cartagena

Cuba

Disney World, Orlando

France: Paris

France: Paris apartment rentals

Galapagos

Greece: Athens

Hawaii: Oahu

India

India: Mumbai

India: Rajasthan

Israel

Italy: Rome & Venice apartment rentals

Jackson Hole & the Grand Tetons: winter activities

Mexico City

Myanmar’s tropical areas

Nepal’s lower elevations

New Zealand

New Zealand: Bay of Islands

New Zealand: Queenstown

Norway: winter activities

Panama

Russia: Moscow

Russia: St. Petersburg

Southeast Asia, excluding Vietnam

Yellowstone National Park: winter activities

 

Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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