Thanks to post-holiday wallet-tightening, kids heading back to school, and frigid weather in most parts of the U.S., January is a quiet month for travel. However, it’s actually a great time to get away thanks to thinner crowds, dirt-cheap airfares, and beautiful weather in destinations around the world. Here are four of the best places to travel in January.
Like much of Central America, Belize experiences two main seasons: hot and dry versus hot and wet. December to April is a great time to visit, and late January, in particular, is ideal. The heat subsides just enough to be comfortable, and the worst of the wet season has already passed. Occasional wind gusts from the north — aptly called “northers” — sweep the coast and the surrounding islands bringing a bit of relief. The water, however, remains, clear, calm, and impossibly blue — all perfect conditions for snorkelers and divers. Plus, hotel rates don’t peak for a few months, so prices are relatively modest.
Don’t miss: Whatever you do, don’t miss exploring the wonder that is the Great Blue Hole.
With stunning beaches, verdant tropical rainforests, dramatic volcanoes, and beautiful eco-lodges cropping up throughout the country, Nicaragua is giving Costa Rica a run for its money. For many of the same reasons that Belize is so appealing in January, so too is it the ideal month to visit Nicaragua. Visitors will find the best weather of the year, including moderate temperatures and little rainfall.
Don’t miss: The waves, particularly along the Pacific Coast, are calm throughout the month, so it’s perfect for surfers.
We’ve told you all about why Japan should be on your travel radar. If you’re looking to embrace the winter season, January brings one more reason. With many resorts catching around 600 inches of snow per year, it’s home to the best powder skiing in Asia. The northern island of Hokkaido, in particular, is the go-to spot for the white stuff. It may seem daunting to fly to the other side of the world to ski (particularly with Colorado and British Columbia in our backyards), but a dozen U.S. cities offer direct flights to Tokyo. With the yen near ten-year lows against the U.S. dollar, a “Japanuary” vacation is closer than you think.
Don’t miss: A proper onsen hot spring bath after a long day on the slopes.
If you’re seeking abundant sunshine at all costs, Australia certainly has it. If you want to sidestep some of the international tourist crowds in Sydney, head to Adelaide. The city is smaller, more intimate, and offers all of the same opportunities — wine-tasting, outdoor summer festivals, and a burgeoning cultural scene — as its bigger brother.
Don’t miss: Head to Kangaroo Island (Australia’s answer to the Galapagos) for a day of hiking amid a wild, rugged landscape with plenty of nature-watching opportunities.