When you’re traveling in January, you either want to escape the cold or revel in it. I’m more of a spend-the-Winter-on-a-beach kind of gal, but this list has options for both preferences.
According to Travel + Leisure, Airfarewatchdog, and other travel publications, January is considered a “cost-effective month” for travelers. In many destinations, January sees a post-holiday decline in tourist numbers and prices.
So here are the best destinations to visit in January!
Sri Lanka has excellent weather and prices in January. The average temperature is 86°F (30°C), so you’ll have warm, but not stifling weather.
For snorkeling and diving, you’ll want to visit Unawatuna beach this time of year. And if you’re a surfer, then Hikkadua is where you’ll want to be.
The coasts are most popular in January, but the entire island is accessible during this month. So you can also enjoy Sri Lanka’s national parks, wildlife spotting, and ancient sites.
Sri Lanka is a relatively affordable country year-round. In January, the average travel cost is around $30-$50 (€27-45, £24-40, 212-355 Yuan) a day, so this is a great budget destination this time of year.
British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia is the perfect Winter Wonderland destination for January. Tourist numbers and prices temporarily drop in the first weeks of January after the holiday season, so this is an excellent time to enjoy the slopes.
In this province, you’ve got Whistler and other ski resorts for snowboarding, skiing, and every kind of snow sport. Plus, you’ve got Vancouver to explore. The city is known for its food trucks, breweries, ice skating, and hockey, so there’s something for everyone here.
You should also visit Victoria Island. The city of Victoria is beautiful, and it’s got some great spas to escape the cold. You can visit Victoria as a day trip from Vancouver, or you can spend a couple of nights here.
January is a peak summer month in New Zealand. Prices and tourist numbers will be higher, but January has the best weather of the year. So for you outdoor enthusiasts, New Zealand is worth visiting this month.
You can enjoy hiking, sailing, swimming, diving, surfing, and biking at their best! Plus, you can visit all of the Lord of the Rings filming sites.
To offset the higher costs in January, here are some budget tips for New Zealand:
Travel in a camper van
Cook your own meals
Eat less meat
Do outdoor activities that are free
If you want to do a safari in January, then Tanzania is a great choice! The foliage is lush, the animals are easy to spot, and the crowds are relatively light.
It’s hot this time of year in Tanzania, so make sure you bring light clothing, a hat, and sunscreen.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire National Park are top-rated safari options that will be less crowded and less expensive in January.
Panama is one of the best destinations to visit in January because of its weather – lots of sun and a low chance of rain. Morning and evening temperatures will be in the mid-70s to low-80s (24-27ºC) but plan to stay indoors or in the water during the afternoons when it’ll be closer to 90ºF (32ºC)
The Panama Jazz Festival is held every January in Panama City. And the town of Boquete in western Panama holds its annual Feria de la Flores y del Café (Flower and Coffee Festival) in mid-January, which showcases the region’s produce and traditional dancing.
January is the beginning of Panama’s peak season, so if you avoid the New Year’s holiday and the very end of the month, prices and crowds won’t be at their highest.
The highlight of January in Dubai is the Dubai Shopping Festival. Tourist numbers will be higher because of this festival, but it’s worth it.
Dubai has it all. You can head into the desert, lounger on the beach, dine on a rooftop restaurant, or visit a luxury spa. The city is also known for its adventure sports such as sand surfing and skydiving.
If you’re in Dubai, then I’d also recommend visiting nearby Abu Dhabi while you’re in the area.
January means warm summer weather in Sydney! You’ll want to pack your sandals, swimsuits, and shorts for exploring this fantastic city.
During the summer months, Sydney is a hub for art exhibitions, music festivals, outdoor markets, and theater shows. One of the most popular events is The Sydney Festival, a 3-week festival with circus shows, family activities, art installations, dance performances, and burlesque acts.
Because of the fantastic weather, January is a peak travel month for Sydney. So to avoid some of the crowds and higher prices, arrive after the New Year’s celebrations have ended. Booking your accommodation, excursions, and transportation ahead of time will also save you money.
If you’re looking for a warm exotic spot in January, then look no further than the Galápagos Islands! This month is a peak tourist and price time for the Galápagos, but for a good reason.
January is when the Galápagos Giant Tortoise eggs hatch. And seeing this natural phenomenon is a once in a lifetime experience.
I highly recommend exploring the Galápagos via an eco-friendly cruise. You’ll be able to explore the islands easily, and you’ll have knowledgable guides with you for diving, wildlife interactions, and other excursions.
If you need a U.S. destination to escape the cold, then Miami in January is for you. Because the weather is at its best and hurricane season is over, January is a peak travel month for Miami, but it’s the best time to visit.
Miami has incredible beaches, international cuisine, clubs, and music festivals. When you’re here, make sure you sail along the coast and take a day trip to the Florida Keys.
As long as you arrive after New Year’s, Costa Rica won’t break the bank. January is the beginning of the dry season, so crowds will be lower.
You’ll have sunny days with a low chance of rain, and the rainforest will be lush. This first month after the rainy season means the waterfalls will be flowing at some of their best levels.
When you’re in Costa Rica, you should spend time in the central jungle and on at least one of the coasts.
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