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Travel Ideas in January

Best places to travel in January 2022

As Christmas slopes into the distance, journeying to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time on a Caribbean island, a secluded Cambodian archipelago or Sri Lanka’s southern shores. In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch new-born zebra take their first steps, as migratory birds feast on the fresh grasses.

In Baja California, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, you can watch as hundreds of whales and dolphins leap, arch and twirl in and out of the ocean. If you’re after cooler climes, temperatures in India have cooled enough to make exploring its fortress cities comfortable. Or, embrace winter in the steaming waters of a Japanese hot-spring bath after exploring the snow-dusted forests of the Japanese Alps.

Festivals and events around the world in January

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India

After the Christmas buzz, January is a quieter time to visit India, before visitor numbers climb in February and March. You’ll need extra layers in early mornings and evenings, but after the dawn mist has cleared, you’re usually rewarded with crisp blue skies.

These cooler climes are ideal for exploring the fortified desert cities of Rajasthan, watching an atmospheric sunrise over the Taj Mahal in Agra and shopping in Jaipur’s artisanal markets without the summer heat. We also recommend the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the beaches, backwaters and colonial hill stations are sunny and warm.

Kerala Backwaters
Kerala Backwaters

Australia

January is high summer in Australia, with warm and sunny days, unless you’re in the humid north which is prone to tropical showers. An alternative to seeing New Year fireworks around Sydney Harbour is to visit in late January around Australia Day. Lively festivals and sporting events take place during the day and fireworks light up the sky at night, with the Sydney Opera House standing proud in the background.

You can also experience the many other outdoor events running throughout the month as Australians make the most of the warm summer weather, including outdoor cinema screenings and theatre.

Sydney
Sydney

Japan

January brings cool Siberian winds and heavy snowfall to northern parts of Japan, where the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics have left a legacy of excellent ski facilities. Kyoto, Hiroshima and the southern islands stay relatively mild. Crisp air, clear blue skies and dry weather mean that the cooler weather isn’t a barrier to travel.

This is a good time to take a trip through the Japanese Alps, for snowy castle landscapes, lamp-lit shrines and cups of warm sake. When it snows, you can retreat to a rotemburo (alfresco hot-spring bath) where you can soak in the steaming waters as snowflakes fall around you.

This is also the best time to try snow crabs, a delicacy so popular that the crabs are only caught for a few months each year to maintain a sustainable population. You’ll find them available along the north coast, but some of the freshest are in Kanazawa.

Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle

Vietnam

January is the start of central Vietnam’s summer season, when the weather in the heritage-rich towns of Hue and Hoi An is warm and dry. This is a good time to relax by some of Vietnam’s best beaches around Nha Trang, where the early morning light offers up some of Asia’s best sunrises.

Temperatures around Saigon and the Mekong Delta can reach 30°C, which is ideal for lazy river cruises along the Mekong or the Red River. In contrast, temperatures drop dramatically in the mountain towns of Sapa and Ha Giang north of the country, and the air can become quite hazy, so views in Halong Bay are not at their best.

Tet, the lunar new year, is usually celebrated at the end of the month, with traditional shows and dragon dance performances.

Ninh Van Bay near Nah Trang, Vietnam
Ninh Van Bay near Nah Trang, Vietnam

Sri Lanka

With sunny, dry days and calm seas, January is when southwest Sri Lanka is at its best. This is a good time to relax by the golden-sand beaches around Bentota or Tangalle and explore the fortified Dutch city of Galle. The Galle Literary Festival takes place annually around the end of the month, with writers arriving from around the world to attend.

January is also prime whale-watching season — you’ll often spot blue, sperm and Bryde’s whales as well as many dolphin species and flying fish. Looking inland, the central hill region — known as Little England due to year-round showers — is at its driest, and best explored on guided tea-plantation hikes and scenic railway journeys.

Galle
Galle

The Caribbean

January is one of the sunniest, driest months to visit the Caribbean. There can still be some rain, but it’s generally short bursts that give way to sunshine. To get your pick of the accommodation at this time of year, we recommend booking well in advance.

In Grenada, the annual sailing festival brings international yacht racing to the Caribbean, with a lively festival atmosphere and a range of authentic cuisine. Carnival Day is celebrated in Saint-Kitts and Nevis, with calypso competitions and vibrant parades. If you’re looking for a sunny, but slightly cooler, island, the temperatures in Antigua peak at a comfortable 27 C (81 F).

Harbour, St George's, Grenada
Harbour, St George's, Grenada

Cambodia

As the sun shines across most of Southeast Asia in the new year, many visitors arrive across the region and some areas can get busy. With great swathes of jungle, little-visited sleepy coastal towns and remote, unspoiled beaches, we suggest opting for often-overlooked Cambodia.

Temperatures are still comfortable enough to explore Angkor Wat, the modern buzz of Phnom Penh and the Battambang’s wide, leafy boulevards. But, as it’s also the driest and sunniest month of the year, it’s an ideal time to laze on a secluded beach on the Koh Kong Archipelago and dine in Kep’s coastal cafes.

Battambang
Battambang

South Africa

If you’ve got your eye on a tour of Cape Town and the Winelands, now is the time. January sees warm temperatures and clear skies across the Cape, which is ideal for alfresco wine tours and self-drive routes around the region’s ocean-cut coastline.

It’s not the ideal time to safari in the Kruger National Park, which tends to get occasional tropical rainstorms, but this does mean that the Cape region is a little quieter and you can still enjoy a safari in the drier Eastern Cape reserves.

January also marks the anniversaries of the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, so the Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal can be busy.

Franschhoek vineyards
Franschhoek vineyards

Mexico

While it’s technically Mexico’s winter in January, don’t let that put you off. It’s part of the dry season, and the days are still warm enough to laze on the long white beaches of the Mayan Riviera or the car-free Isla Holbox.

It’s a good time for wildlife, too, with millions of monarch butterflies starting their annual migration from central Mexico to Canada, passing by in bright, flickering clouds. This is also the best time to spot whales, as grey, humpback and blue whales migrate to Mexico’s coast. One of the best places to spot them is from Baja California Sur, a coastal peninsular that becomes a playground for outdoor activities, including horseback riding and hiking.

Humpback whale
Humpback whale

Botswana

January is the green season in Botswana, with long sunny days punctuated by short, sharp showers. If you don’t mind the occasional spot of rain, this is an excellent time to visit as animals give birth to their young and the scenery is bright with verdant foliage and flowers. There are also fewer visitors, making this a good-value period to travel.

You’ll see plenty of migratory birds during January — many species flock here to breed in large numbers, and you’ll see them flitting to and from their nests to feed their young. The dramatic weather creates impressive cloud formations and bright colours across the sky, creating plenty of opportunities for photographers.

Swimming lion cubs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Swimming lion cubs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Travel Ideas in January

Places to travel in January

As Christmas slopes into the distance, journeying to find some sun is an appealing prospect for January. We recommend beach time on a Caribbean island, a secluded Cambodian archipelago or Sri Lanka’s southern shores. In Africa, the January rains break the Kalahari heat and the quenched plains spring to life. Journey to Botswana to watch new-born zebra take their first steps, as migratory birds feast on the fresh grasses.

In Baja California, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, you can watch as hundreds of whales and dolphins leap, arch and twirl in and out of the ocean. If you’re after cooler climes, temperatures in India have cooled enough to make exploring its fortress cities comfortable. Or, embrace winter in the steaming waters of a Japanese hot-spring bath after exploring the snow-dusted forests of the Japanese Alps.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in February

Places to travel in February

Whether you’re wrapping up warm to experience wintry activities like dog-sledding and snowshoeing in Canada, or escaping the colder temperatures at home with a cruise along the Nile under sunny skies, February can make an excellent time to travel. A safari in Tanzania gives you a chance to see new-born antelope take their first wobbly steps, while warm temperatures in Argentina make it an ideal time for trekking in Patagonia.

We’ve shared some of the most popular destinations to visit in February below, as well as a few countries that you may not have considered, where you can visit key sights without the crowds.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in March

Places to travel in March

As spring blossoms across the northern hemisphere, the American Southwest opens to a range of outdoor adventures, while lengthening days in Iceland allow for more time exploring wild, volcanic landscapes. Japan’s springtime blooms start to emerge, and milder temperatures coupled with the showings of early plum blossom make it a good-value time to travel here ahead of the peak season.

In South Africa, the wine harvests are in full swing and vibrant carnivals for the Jewish festival of Purim take place across Israel. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies show the beaches of Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives at their best. However, cooler climes in New Zealand makes this an excellent month to explore, with quieter walking trails, near-empty coastlines and a good chance of sunshine.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in April

Places to travel in April

Travel to South America in April as nature offers wonderful bird watching in the Galapagos, including likely sightings of the fascinating mating ritual of the blue-footed booby. The Iguaçu Falls, bordering Brazil and Argentina, are also at their most dramatic after the summer rainfalls. In Morocco, the April climate is cool enough for you to explore Marrakesh’s souqs or hike the High Atlas Mountains in clearer air. And, if Easter falls in April, a trip in the Philippines is a window into the Spanish legacy of a ‘fiesta’ culture, and the weather is fantastic for the beaches.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in May

Places to travel in May

If you’re planning a May break, the sun is always out over Bali’s soft-sand beaches at a time of year before the crowds hit their peak. Planning in advance pays off, as some of our favourite hotels are quick to book up. On a cruise in Canada, off the west coast of Vancouver, you can spot migrating gray whales and their young, along with minke and killer whales. And for a trip in the mountain air, hike along the wildflower trails of the High Atlas in Morocco. The comfortable temperature allows you to enjoy the scenery by day and camp out in Bedouin-style tents by night.

Places to travel

Herd of elephants in South Africa

Places to travel in June

June marks the start of the dry season in southern Africa and the chance to see newly born game as you safari in Botswana. Newborn gorillas are given their names in a traditional festival in Rwanda each June and we can design you a trip there gorilla trekking, which pairs nicely with added time on safari in Kenya's Masai Mara. June is also an ideal time for visiting Costa Rica in the quieter green (or rainy) season when you’ll still find plenty of dry weather, quieter national parks and better views of the famous Arenal Volcano.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in July

Places to travel in July

Ladakh in India is an ideal destination for July, with warm weather and little rain to accompany the Himalayan scenery. Spend time in Leh immersing yourself in the Tibetan Buddhist culture and exploring the monasteries, lakes and high-altitude deserts. We also recommend the Manu Rainforest in Peru in the month of July. Few parks can match its incredible wildlife, which includes giant otters, caymans and flocks of macaws.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in August

Places to travel in August

In August, Africa plays backdrop to one of the great wildlife spectacles: the annual migration of over two million wildebeest from the Serengeti plains to the grasslands of the Masai Mara. In Colombia, the start of August heralds the annual flower festival in Medellin. It attracts visitors worldwide with more flowers than you’d imagine possible, fireworks and live music. Or travel to Kandy in Sri Lanka at the time of the Parahera Festival held at the Temple of the Tooth, where Buddha's tooth is said to rest. Get swept up in dancing and parades by torchlight.

Places to travel

Travel ideas in September

Places to travel in September

September kicks off the changing of the seasons in many regions, bringing with it shifting climates and bright landscapes. Before the wet season sets in, take a trip to Borneo and observe the orangutan at the Sepilok sanctuary in Kota Kinabalu. In Peru, September is the best time to take a hike to Incan city in the clouds Machu Picchu while there's still very little rain. And there’s no better place to witness the seasons change than in China, as the locals celebrate the harvest season across the country with the Mid-Autumnal Festival.

Places to travel

Amalfi coast, Italy

Places to travel in October

Whether you’re looking for spring blooms, autumnal foliage or prime wildlife-viewing opportunities, you’ll find plenty of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to travel in October. Below are just some of the places we feel are at their best at this time of year, along with our suggestions on the best things to do there.

You could make the most of excellent hiking conditions in New Zealand, go whale watching in South Africa, or indulge in fresh produce during harvest time in Vietnam, Japan or Italy. And, in many of our chosen countries, you’ll be visiting before or after the busiest times of year.

Places to travel

Travel Ideas in November

Places to travel in November

Though the temperatures may begin to drop, November still offers plenty of opportunity for active adventure. Trek to the top of the world in the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal, and witness the sunrises over the tops of the peaks. Enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving in the warmer temperatures of the Red Sea in Egypt, where the water is a clear blue and the coral reefs teem with marine life. Or experience Vietnam by bicycle, along the countryside around the historic merchants' town of Hoi An or through the rice terraces and remote villages of Sapa.

Places to travel

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

Places to travel in December

From festive celebrations to sun-kissed beaches, December can be an excellent month to travel to a wide range of destinations, depending on what you want from your trip. Below are ten destinations that shine for their own reasons during December.

You could head to Japan, where the chill in the air can be tempered with a soak in a steaming onsen. Thailand’s beaches and clear, calm waters are all the more enticing during winter. Or, under a blanket of snow, Canada offers cheery Christmas markets, cosy log cabins and dog-sledding through ice-bejewelled forest.

Places to travel