Top January Travel Destinations

If you’re spent from spending time and money on everyone but you, January has more to offer than just the view from your frost-covered window. It’s time you arrange a getaway. Whether you plan to tighten your Santa belt for a budget-friendly all-inclusive, or splurge on a dream vacay with extra cash from your holiday stocking, start here to discover your ideal January travel destination!

Caribbean Dream

All-Inclusive 

According to former travel agent Vincent Charles, all-inclusive Caribbean deals are most sought out in winter—so it’s no wonder January is peak season. But a good deal can make crowds worth it! With hurricane season over before December, and an average ocean temperature of 77-79 degrees, even the coldest season in the Caribbean is dry and likely warmer than your backyard.

Negril, Jamaica in the Western Caribbean offers beach weather, not just a beach and ocean view. The temperature rarely drops below 79 degrees or jumps above 85 degrees, perfect for you to enjoy the amenities and activities offered by the town’s 18 all-inclusive resorts. To get the most out of your stay, be sure to check out the Jamaica One Stop Negril events calendar to discover local happenings like Alfred’s Ocean Palace Reggae Show on Jan. 9.

In the Eastern Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is another popular destination for all-inclusive deals. Punta Cana reaches an average daily high of 83 degrees and offers a range of resorts to suit any traveler, from adults-only to family-friendly, varying in prices from coach to first class; options that make it easy for you to spend your time, island time.

Cruise

If you can’t decide on an island, you can opt to cruise a few. Cruise line Virgin Voyages offers an adults-only cruise with an on-board nightclub, thermal spa, barber shop, and both an indoor and outdoor athletic club. Or, if you want a mix of family fun and couples retreat, Carnival Cruise Line offers both family-friendly and adults-only activities, perfect for tanning on deck or shaking it on the dance floor.

“Attracting one of the youngest demographics industry-wide” Carnival cruises are known for excitement at sea. Sail its latest “fun ship,” Carnival Horizon to enjoy (cost-included) grilled faves at Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint or upgrade to sample a Parched Pig craft brew and jam to live music at Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse—then tour the brewery!

If you’re looking for smooth sailing, the Serenity Adult Only Retreat might be the escape you seek—from the rest of the ship. This 21+ area offers the calm of the Caribbean Sea breeze for you to enjoy while doing nothing. Just kick back and sip a cocktail until you’re ready to rejoin the rest of the ship. But if you want to soak up more than just the sun, sign up for one of the on-board luxuries offered at Cloud 9 Spa. Stretch out on heated tile beds in its thermal suites or bubble in its thalassotherapy pool.

Best of the U.S.

Surfside, Florida

Not far from Miami resides Surfside, “a real find” in January according to travel writer Edith Hall Friedheim. In winter, this Florida town reaches an average high of 77 degrees, and has few tourists, which translates to quiet spots and reasonable rates, even for “posh” places like the Four Seasons Surfside, with its history of stays from swanky stars like Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Even if you find prices too high to stay overnight, you can enjoy fresh cocktails and gourmet snacks at the hotel’s Le Sirenuse Restaurant and Champagne Bar, a taste of Italy’s Amalfi Coast—on the East Coast.

Coronado Island in San Diego, California

If you prefer the West Coast, however, and a comfortable average high of 65 degrees, visit Coronado Island, just across the bay from downtown San Diego. Stay at the peninsula’s 1906 Lodge and take advantage of their free use of bicycles to steer near attractions, or plan your Coronado Walking Tour around this “famous playground of presidents and princes!”

Bucket List International

Portugal

Why not cross off a bucket list item with a European deal? Porto, Portugal’s second largest city, reaches 60 degrees on average, making your walkable visit to the city’s ample attractions comfortable. If an amenity like the Tango Marathon isn’t your speed, try a river cruise and vehicle tour through Douro Valley to sample Porto’s top export—port wine!

Escaping the winter doesn’t have to mean escaping the weather. If you don’t need “spring” in your stay, take a near two-hour trek from Porto to Serra da Estrela. Ski the slopes of the mainland’s largest natural conservation area, where there are runs for all levels and panoramic views for all travelers. With the right itinerary, you can walk the esplanades of Porto’s Rio Douro and snap selfies against a backdrop of orange rooftops one day, then smile down on the villages from the top of the highest peak, the next. It’s all about balance!

Exciting Expedition

Galápagos Islands

Responsible Travel calls January the “best time” to experience the Galápagos’ 70-degree weather, sunshine and clear seas, all perfect for observing the marine wildlife of this Pacific paradise. While there’s much natural beauty to dive, hike or sail through, hopping from one uninhabited island to the next can involve some pricey planning. If an excursion to this stunning national park is in your range, Hall Friedheim suggests taking a National Geographic-Inspired expedition tour. But you may need to book these tours months in advance, especially if you’re not island hopping alone, as seating sells out quick.

Book a couple days’ stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel in Puerto Ayora, one of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, with multiple itineraries to choose from, then hop to family-owned Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge on Isabela Island, where you can enjoy views of the protected mangrove area nearby or snorkel in Concha de Perla.

Iceland

Iceland might be a tad chilly at around 37 degrees, but its near 98-degree hot springs are sure to keep you warm. During your stay, be sure to check out the six-day Northern Lights Tour to see nature’s Aurora Borealis’ flashes of red and green illuminate the night sky, stroll along the Vatnajökull ice cap, the largest water glacier in Iceland, or spend a day in the country’s capital, Reykjavik. While Reykjavík might be one of the smallest capitals in Europe, it doesn’t mean its food walks, pub crawls, and beer tasting tours aren’t worth the visit. Less mileage might just mean you won’t have to walk —or crawl —too far to taste it all!

Tap into your inner Viking and let the wilderness and wonder of Iceland tempt you to its shores! And if the stars don’t move you to hike, helicopter tours fly you over some of the best views Iceland has to offer. Or enjoy the slopes with Viking Heliskiing—“the only operation” next to the Arctic Ocean. Ski tours run on Troll Peninsula, each an awe-filled opportunity to experience all four elements [of skiing] while soaring in the snow. It is winter, after all.

Top January Travel Destinations: Featured image courtesy of Unsplash