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.)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
In January, the country is lush and green, there is no rain, and the breezes keep temperatures in the high 80s during the day.
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.
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.
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.)
The weather in January is delightful—spring-like temperatures and blue skies—and the holiday crowds have dispersed by January 10. It’s also when the Galle Literary Festival takes place, with luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and William Dalrymple in attendance. 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.
Other Good Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why January is a good time to go.
Florida: Disney World, Orlando
Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park: winter activities
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