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Where to Go in January: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | December 3, 2021

This list represents U.S. travelers’ best bets for January 2022 specifically, when it comes to a combo of good weather, reduction of Covid-related risks, and favorable conditions for local activities:  With the right local expert arranging your trip, you can spend most of your time in the open air, keep socially distanced, and limit your activities to places with high vaccination rates and low rate of local spread.  Traditionally, prices are high through New Year’s, but deals can be found starting later that first week in January. If you’re hesitant to travel abroad right now, read these reviews to see how happy the travelers are who are doing just that. For more pandemic travel solutions, see our Covid-19 travel advice. Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year.

U.S. National Parks

snowy scene of hot spring steaming in winter in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park in winter. Photo: tpsdave/Pixabay

Don’t want to leave the country? From snowshoeing in Yellowstone to hiking in Joshua Tree, adventures abound in our national parks—even in the middle of winter. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the Grand Canyon with a magical dusting of snow, or have a view of Yosemite Falls all to yourself.

Read reviews of WOW trips to U.S. national parks during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to U.S. national parks

Belize

Nonstop flights to Belize take off from several U.S. cities that are only about three hours away. Once you’re there you can explore world-class coral reefs, visit uncrowded Mayan ruins, learn to scuba dive (as Wendy’s son did), fish for 100-pound tarpon (which kept her husband busy), and laze beside sparkling Caribbean waters—or you can charter your own private yacht, enjoying fabulous snorkeling, sunbathing, kayaking, and plenty of distance from everyone except your captain and first mate.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Belize during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Belize

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 in Western Canada. 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.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Canada. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to British Columbia

Costa Rica

Monteverde Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica. Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Costa Rica during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Costa Rica

Mexico

Gorgeous view of Teotihuacan, The Sun´s Pyramid surrounded by hot air balloons, shot take at the dawn.

Mexico City is vibrant with arts, restaurants, and parks—and the historic Teotihuacan pyramid is nearby too. Photo: Shutterstock

Mexico is much more than a one-dimensional beach destination. Sure, fabulous oceanfront resorts and sumptuous private villas abound on its long coastlines. But the country is also home to charming colonial towns, captivating pre-Columbian ruins, and a vibrant scene in Mexico City—which sees more sun and less rain (and smog) at this time of year.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Mexico during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Mexico

Argentina

vineyards with snow-capped mountains in background Mendoza Argentina

Mendoza, Argentina. Photo: Shutterstock

Argentina only just reopened its borders on November 1, so it’s still possible to plan a WOW-worthy trip there during the normally busy Southern Hemisphere summer. That’s prime season for hiking in Patagonia, where the trails will likely be less crowded this year. At the foothills of the Andes, the grapevines in Mendoza sit heavy with ripening fruit. Temperatures hit the 90s in Buenos Aires, so the locals hit the beach—leaving the city easy to navigate, with so little traffic.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Argentina. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Argentina

Italy’s Cities

Florence, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

Florence, Italy. Photo: Shutterstock

There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Rome, Florence, and Milan in January. Temperatures will typically be in the high 40s and 50s during the day, but plan on bundling up to fit in with the locals. Perhaps a new pair of leather gloves to complete your Italian look? They’ll be on sale. Italy generally has only two times during the year when they extend sconti (discounts) in retail shops: January and July. You can find deals at both boutique shops and international-brand stores after the holiday craziness, and you won’t have to fight the crowds so common at other times of the year. Enjoy Rome’s decadently rich hot chocolate as an afternoon treat, or post up next to a funghi (the mushroom-shaped outdoor heaters) and dine al fresco in one of Florence’s beautifully lit piazzas.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Italy during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Italy

The Maldives

overwater bungalow at Joali resort in the maldives

The view is grand from the cantilevered hammocks at JOALI’s private overwater villas.

It’s a breeze to socially distance in the Maldives: Many of these idyllic islands in the Indian Ocean are home to just one resort; secluded beach villas and overwater bungalows are the norm; restaurants are open-air, toes-in-the-sand kinds of places; and the closest interaction you might have is with a manta ray while snorkeling. Here’s how Brook spent a blissful five days there during Covid.

Read reviews of WOW trips to the Maldives during the pandemic. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to the Maldives

Thailand

small boat on beach of Koh Phangan island Thailand

Koh Phangan, Thailand. Photo: Journeys Within

Southern Thailand is ideal from mid-January through March, when the oceans are still relatively calm, and sunny skies and cooler temperatures prevail before the heat returns in April. Bangkok, meanwhile, is a year-round destination: There’s always great food and off-the-beaten-path adventures to uncover, and short bursts of rain can easily be dodged while in the city. With the country only recently opened to foreign travelers, this is the year to see it before the crowds return.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Thailand. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Thailand

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain and Botafogo Neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro by Sunset with Full Moon in the Sky

Sugarloaf Mountain and Botafogo neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Brazil. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Brazil

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 on the coast—perfect for chilling out by the ocean—and in the 70s in the mountains—ideal for hikes in the cloud forest.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Nicaragua. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Nicaragua

Sri Lanka

Adams peak also known as Sri pada in Sri Lanka over the Maskeliya reservoir and tea plantations

Adams peak, also known as Sri pada, in Sri Lanka over the Maskeliya reservoir and tea plantations. Photo: Shutterstock

The weather in mid to late January is delightful—spring-like temperatures and blue skies—and it’s a quieter period sandwiched between two busy times: Christmas/New Year’s and Chinese New Year.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Sri Lanka. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Sri Lanka

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. Read how Brook spent a multi-day layover in Dubai’s desert during the pandemic.

Read reviews of WOW trips to Dubai. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Dubai

 

Still Closed to U.S. Travelers as of December 3, 2021

Click to The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers to find out whether these places have reopened. 

Sydney, Australia

boat sailing in water on Sydney Harbour Australia with famous bridge in background

Sailing on Sydney Harbour. Photo: Tourism Australia

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 three-week celebration of the arts culminating with Australia Day on January 26. It’s also the right time to take a surfing lesson at Bondi Beach, go sailing in Sydney Harbour, hike waterside trails, picnic on city parklands, catch an outdoor movie screening or concert, or attend one of the city’s many professional surfing, tennis, cricket, and rugby competitions. (Remember that prices are also at their peak in summer, so book accommodations and tickets early, before they sell out.)

Read reviews of WOW trips to Australia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below. 

Ask about a trip to Australia

Other Good Options This Month

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

North America and Caribbean

Florida: Disney World, Orlando

Hawaii: Oahu

 

Central and South America

Brazil: Salvador and Trancoso

Colombia: Cartagena

Ecuador: Galapagos

Panama

 

Europe

France: Paris apartment rentals

Norway: winter activities

 

Asia

Cambodia

China: Xishuangbanna’s tropical rainforests and rice paddies

India: Mumbai and Rajasthan

Myanmar’s tropical areas

Nepal’s lower elevations

 

Africa and Middle East

Abu Dhabi

Israel

 

Australia and Pacific

New Zealand, Bay of Islands, and Queenstown

Papua New Guinea: diving in Milne Bay

 

Cruises

Africa Cruises

Antarctica Cruises

We’re here to help

Right now is a remarkable opportunity for global travelers. When your friends say that travel is problematic as a result of the pandemic—rental cars aren’t available, service even at 5-star hotels is shoddy—the problem is they’re not planning their trips right! Travel can be spectacular now if you choose the right destination, know the savviest local fixers, and approach them the optimal way. Check out these recent trip reviews to see the difference that Wendy’s WOW approach to trip planning makes. And if you’re looking for a similarly carefree travel experience, contact us at Ask Wendy.

 

Be a safer, smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. And read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip.

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