Start the new year off on the right foot with a well-deserved holiday in one of these hot locations.
Still on a high from your Christmas break? Wish it could last longer? Got some spare January days you can tap into for a getaway? Yeah, you know where we’re going with this.
If this year you’ve resolved to get out, see the world and cash in on more “me” time then it’s never too early to start pampering yourself with a getaway. January is one of the best months to hop on a plane as people are still on a post-Christmas wind-down and the school holiday breakers are beginning to return.
Plus, there’s a public holiday at the end of the month so you can make a long-weekend of it without dipping into your annual leave. Much.
Feeling inspired? Here’s are our hit picks for January destinations that won’t be flooded with school kids.
1. Best budget destination: Myanmar/Burma
Beautifully exotic and utterly irresistible, it’s time to cross Myanmar off your bucket list.
November to March are peak months for Myanmar - and that’s not because it’s the Christmas holiday period. As it’s dry season, the weather is spot-on to hike mountains, bake on beaches or explore temple ruins without a downpour to dampen your spirits. Being peak flight prices aren’t the cheapest they can be, but by travelling in January you’ll be avoiding the over inflated prices of the holiday period.
- January weather: 25-30℃, dry season.
- Top January events: Mano Festival, Ananda Pagoda, Naga New Year Festival, Kyaik Khauk Pagoda Festival and Independence Day.
- Best for: Adventure, exploration, culture.
2. Best city to go to: Cape Town
Let the natural wonders of Cape Town captivate you this summer.
The port town of Cape Town is as picturesque as they come. It blends the natural beauty of the Table Mountains with the architectural wonders and the multicultural Creole nation of the city below. Pop by in January ready to party as this is when the joyous Kaapse Klopse carnival takes over the streets.
- January weather: -20-25℃, summer.
- January events: Kaapse Klopse (Cape Minstrel Carnival), Galileo Open Air Cinema, Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, Rieslings and Rarities Rock Festival and Delheim Start of the Harvest festival.
- Best for: History, culture, festivals.
3. Best for relaxation: Tasmania
An underrated contender to cure those January blues.
While sun worshippers will be flocking to the Gold Coast or Central Coast to get their tans, for a quieter break with a view, look to Tasmania. The island swells with outdoor activities such as hikes, beachcombing and wine tasting and in January the weather is ideal as it’s not blistering hot.
- January weather: 17-20℃, summer.
- Top January events: Taste of Tasmania, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, KFC T20 Big Bash, Hobart International, Esk Beerfest, MONA FOMA (Festival of Music and Art), Beer Lovers Week and Tamar Valley Folk Festival.
- Best for: Short breaks, adventure seekers, unwinding.
4. Best activity: Skiing in Hokkaido
Push the powder in one of the most unique countries in the world.
The nation that brought us geishas, sumo wrestlers, ninjas and Harajuku girls also brings us some of the best snowfields within reach. When the Aussie snow season seems too far away, Hokkaido has the answer. Sure, January’s peak season but isn’t the chance to snowboard or ski quality fresh powder worth it?
- January weather: -7-0℃, winter.
- Top January events: Obihiro Ice Festival, Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Hyoto Festival, Tsurui Village Crane Party and Abashiri drift ice sightseeing.
- Best for: Skiing and snowboarding, escaping the summer, history, culture.
5. Best surprise destination: Jaipur
Why trek to Europe for palaces and forts, when Jaipur is just on your doorstep?
Famous for its “pink city” (due to the colour of its buildings), Jaipur once housed the royal family of its region. Remnants of their seat can be found in its old fort and city palace, part of which is still a royal residence. The city is particularly popular in January due to its mild climate, low rainfall and long daylight hours and is typically visited alongside Delhi and Agra in what is known as the “Golden Triangle”.
- January weather: 15℃, winter.
- Top January events: Kite Festival, Jaipur Literature Fest and Elephant Festival.
- Best for: Exploration, adventure, history, culture.
Follow the festival: Top 4 January events to attend
- Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: China’s snow sculpture festival is an impressive display of sky high ice and sculptures, winter sports and music. Throughout January, Harbin.
- Quebec Winter Carnival: Proving that Canadians are truly a crazy bunch, the Quebec Winter Carnival sees revellers brave the cold in a festival of snow baths, ice canoe races, sculptures and sleigh rides. Quebec, January-February.
- World Buskers Festival: Buskers from around the world take over the streets of New Zealand to entertain and delight over 10 fun-filled days. Christchurch, mid-late January.
- Chinese New Year: The date for Chinese New Year changes according to the New Moon, but in 2017 it falls just inside of January. Here are our top 5 picks on where to celebrate it this year. Various countries, 28 January 2017.
When is the best time in January to take a holiday?
The later in the month, the better. At the beginning of the month, Christmas and New Year’s holidaymakers are still around and prices are still high. Families will still be around too, so if you want to avoid, get wind of when the school terms begins again and fly out around then.
Travelling around the Australia Day public holiday can mean you won’t have to use up annual leave, but others will likely be thinking the same. Weigh out your odds, but if you want to avoid peak prices and crowds, choose the weekend before to get away.