The festive celebrations of the holiday season are over, and there are still a lot of cold, dark winter months left to get through. Fortunately, you have a fresh slate of vacation days at work now that it’s a new year— which means January is the perfect time to travel.
Whether you want to embrace the snow and head to the mountains or seek the sun in a tropical destination, there are plenty of good options. These are the best places to travel in January.
If you need a dose of sunshine to make it through the rest of the winter, head to Barbados, one of the warmest destinations in the Caribbean in January. Average temperatures hover around 82 degrees, and the seawater is nearly as balmy. January is also one of the drier months in this tropical destination so you can soak in lots of sun without a rain cloud in sight.
Where to Stay: For a boutique escape, stay at Cobblers Cove, an intimate hotel with just 40 suites. Cobblers Cove sources all its furniture and fittings from local craftworkers and does not serve food that has to be flown in; instead, it focuses on utilizing locally grown items in its on-site restaurant.
Warm without being too hot and with minimal rain—January is one of the best times of the year to visit Thailand. If you’re looking to island-hop through Thailand’s stunning beaches, stick to the Phuket and Krabi areas, which experience mostly sunshine during January. Avoid the southeastern coast, where it’s rainier this time of year.
Where to Stay: The luxurious Peninsula Bangkok offers a quiet escape from the busy city. The three-tiered outdoor swimming pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River is a highlight of the property.
Going for a swim on January 1st is a New Year’s tradition on the beach of Las Canteras in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. With water temperatures around 70 degrees, this is a much more pleasant experience than the polar plunge rituals found elsewhere around the world.
The Canary Islands see over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year, so if you want to replenish your Vitamin D stores for the winter, this is the perfect vacation spot.
Where to Stay: For a unique stay, book a room at the Hotel Cordial Morgan Playa, which is built on the site of an ancient necropolis and features an on-site archeological park. Hotel staff wear traditional Canarian attire as their uniforms, adding to the authentic feel.
Located a relatively short nonstop flight from many American hubs, Belize is one of the closest and most affordable destinations for hot weather. Daytime temperatures in January are usually around 80 degrees and nighttime temperatures generally don’t dip below 70 degrees.
This tropical destination is relatively cheap, even in peak season, and you can often find great flight deals.
Where to Stay: Set on a peaceful private island 30 miles southeast of Belize City, Turneffe Island Resort offers all-inclusive luxury.
Key West, Florida
You don’t have to venture outside the United States to find warm temperatures in January. Head south to Key West, Florida, where temperatures average 75 degrees even in the dead of winter.
January is also when the annual Mile 0 Festival is held, a lively five-day musical event featuring concerts, themed cruises, and pool parties.
Where to Stay: The Southernmost Beach Resort’s central location on Duval Street will put you in the heart of all the action, plus has a private beach (a rarity in Key West).
Japan’s ski season typically peaks from mid-January to late February, when there’s an incredible amount of snowfall in the mountains. Hokkaido is one of the best snowsports destinations in Japan, and is a bucket list destination for serious skiers.
Ski resorts tend to be pricier (and more crowded) over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, so January is a good time to find deals and fewer lift lines. In Hokkaido, you’ll also find plenty of Onsens, or hot springs, to warm up in after a day on the slopes.
Where to Stay: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu The Tower is a ski-in ski-out hotel and has its own on-site onsen, so you never have to leave the property.
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