Dariece Swift By
Posted 16 Dec, 2020 | 23 Comments
Posted in: Travel Blogs

The Christmas holiday season is a whirlwind of visiting, shopping and partying. Once the rum and egg nog haze has lifted and you’ve come out of your turkey coma, it’s time to start thinking about somewhere to travel (detox?!) after the busy festive season. If you’re looking for the best places to visit in January, this list has you covered.

December is meant for getting together with friends and family, but after that, it’s time to find the best places to go in January so you can recoup and (if you’re from the northern hemisphere), take a break from the freezing cold weather. 

If you’re trying to figure out where to vacation in January, look no further.

best places to visit in january grenada
Time to book your trip for January!

There are many beautiful places to visit in January, but in this post, I’ll list the top 15 for 2021 based on price and things to do.

Plus, I’ll list a mix of beach destinations and winter holidays.

Update December 2020: With the current situation in the world, you may not be able to travel to many of these destinations. However, I’ve done my best to add a few places to go in January that are open to travellers.

Consider whether or not it’s responsible and safe to travel during this time. Is a vacation absolutely necessary right now? If you do decide to take a trip, you must follow the local measurements and rules that are in place to ensure the health of yourself and those around you.

1. Argentina 

Update December, 2020: According to this article, as of right now, Argentina’s borders are closed to foreigners, except citizens and residents of neighbouring countries, who can only visit Buenos Aires and must show proof of a negative PCR test.

Why is Argentina one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Weather is great
  2. Costs are low in Argentina right now thanks to a recent currency drop 
  3. It’s hiking and fly fishing season

Having spent 3 months in Argentina in 2017, it’s safe to say that we know a few things about this incredible (and large) South American destination. Whether you’re into culture and history, nature and landscapes, lakes and fishing, or cities and wine, Argentina has something for you. 

Since Argentina is such a vast country, with a wide variety of landscapes and regions, it can be visited year round. But, it’s one of the best places to travel in January if you’re looking to do some hiking and fly fishing. In fact, it’s one of the best countries to visit in January no matter what type of trip you’re planning.

The northwestern region (around Salta) might be a bit wet during this time, but the rest of the country is dry and warm. 

Argentina is known for being one of the top fly fishing destinations in the world. If you’re an angler, you’ll be happy to know that fly fishing season in the Lake District of Patagonia is best in January & February due to the warm weather, and ability to fish all waters during this time. 

There are some stunning lakeside and riverside lodges you can stay in. Don’t miss Correntoso Lake and River Hotel and Rio Hermoso Boutique Hotel

For trekkers, January is a good time to lace up your boots and hit the mountains of Patagonia. El Chalten in the south is dry and has temperatures around 20°C (68°F), perfect for checking out the peaks of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, exploring waterfalls, drinking beer on patios and much more. 

Don’t miss nearby El Calafate and its popular Perito Moreno Glacier, which calves massive chunks of ice every few minutes! Although January is high season at Perito Moreno Glacier, you can avoid the crowds by visiting before 9:30am or after 5:00pm – take the later shuttle bus, or rent a car to explore at your own pace. 

best places to visit in january argentina
El Chalten is a great place to hike in Argentina

While you’ll miss the grape harvesting in Mendoza (it happens in February), January is still a great time to visit because the vineyards are green and the grapes are everywhere.

Be prepared for hot temperatures (30°C / 80°F+), fantastic wines, great hiking around Parque Provincial Aconcagua (2 hours from Mendoza), picturesque parks and plazas, and some awesome restaurants. There are many things to do in Mendoza to keep you busy. 

If all of these places to visit in Argentina aren’t enough to spark your interest, maybe the cost will.

When we travelled to Argentina in 2017, this was the rate: $1 USD = 18 Argentine Pesos

In September 2018, the rate was $1 USD = 41 Argentine Pesos.

In December 2020, the rate is: $1 USD = 83 Argentine Pesos.

You would think that this drop in currency means that travelling to Argentina would cost you half of what it cost us in 2017. But, many of the restaurants and hotels have started listing prices in USD to help with the economic crash. 

There are still many discounts to be had due to the currency conversion, however. 

Argentina isn’t known for being one of the cheapest countries to visit, but with the current instability of the peso, you can definitely save some money by visiting now and help out the local economy along the way. 

🏠 Looking for accommodation in Argentina? Check out and Airbnb for the best room rates (don’t forget your Airbnb coupon code). We personally use these two booking engines for all of our stays and highly recommend them.

2. Sri Lanka

Update December, 2020: According to this article, as of right now, Sri Lanka’s borders are closed to non-nationals. 

Why is Sri Lanka one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Great weather
  2. Affordability 
  3. Numerous Historical Sites

This teardrop-shaped island located off the southeast coast of India is often overlooked by travellers. If you’re searching for the best places to visit in January that offer national parks, wildlife spotting, pristine beaches, fantastic cuisine, ancient sites and friendly locals, then make sure you add Sri Lanka to your holiday list.

As a bonus, this country is very affordable.

Since the average temperature in January is around 30°C (86°F), you’ll want to hit up the coast!

Don’t miss the stunning Unawatuna beach, with its calm water and numerous accommodation options. Just 15 minutes away, the nearby fortified town of Galle is an amazing spot to sit and watch the sunset from the UNESCO listed fort walls. 

best places to travel in january sri lanka
Sri Lanka may be small, but it has a lot to offer travellers

If you’re into surfing, check out the breaks at Hikkaduwa on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Even if you’re not a surfer, this chilled out beach town offers bars, restaurants and some safe swimming spots as well.

If you’re in search of the best places to travel in January that offer historical sites, you’ll be happy to know that Sri Lanka has those in spades. 

Check out Anuradhapura (where Buddhism was first introduced to the country), Sigiriya (rock fortress towering 200m above the trees below), Cave Temples of Dambulla (built in the 1st century BC, and filled with over 100 Buddha statues) and the city of Kandy (an important Buddhist city, home to Buddha’s tooth). 

For a pretty mountain village, don’t miss Ella and the surrounding tea plantations and hiking opportunities, including Little Adam’s Peak. 

For such a small country, Sri Lanka really does have a lot to offer travellers. And, with an average travel cost of around $30-$50 per day, per person, you really can’t go wrong. 

🏠 Looking for accommodation in Sri Lanka? Check out and Airbnb for the best room rates (don’t forget your Airbnb coupon code). These are the two platforms that we always use for booking rooms and highly recommend them. 

Looking for flights to these top places to travel in January? Check out websites like JustFly to compare flights from numerous airlines. I found a return flight from New York to Colombo, Sri Lanka for just $627. If you have any questions or issues with booking, JustFly has a great support team that you can actually call to ask for help.

3. Mexico (one of the best places to visit in January for North Americans)

Update December, 2020: The COVID numbers are quite high in Mexico and there are many measurements in place. On December 15, 2020, the Governor of the State of Quintana Roo announced that you must wear a mask at all times when in public — on the streets, at the beach, etc.

Other areas of Mexico have different measurements in place. The country is on a “stoplight system” based on the number of hospital beds available. The colour of the stoplight can change and closures and lockdowns can occur. Mexico is currently open to visitors. Learn more here.

Why is Mexico one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Great Weather
  2. Whale Watching Season
  3. Proximity to North America 
  4. Costs

There are endless amazing places to visit in Mexico, and there’s really no bad time to travel here. Since this is such a large country, the climate varies depending on where you are, and which time of year you plan to visit. 

best places to visit in january mexico
Guanajuato is one of the prettiest cities in Mexico

Hurricane season runs from June to November and the cities at elevation can be cold during the winter months (November – February).

But, for the most part, Mexico is a great place to visit in January if you’re looking for warm beach weather — which is good news if you’re from the northern hemisphere! 

Having spent over 10 months travelling through Mexico, on numerous different occasions, we rate Mexico as one of our favourite countries.

This is a place where you can dine on one of the world’s best cuisines, visit a Wonder Of The World, swim in pristine water and explore Spanish colonial towns…all while not breaking the bank.

Venture away from the typical, 1-week all-inclusive holiday and explore the real Mexico. Trust me, the food and the experiences you have will be far more memorable. 

If it’s cities and towns you’re after in January, places like Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas will be quite chilly.

But, you can enjoy all of the things to do in Oaxaca City, including a visit to the impressive Monte Alban ruins, or check out the colourful towns of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, both of which have comfortable temperatures at around 21°C (70°F). 

For people from Canada, the United States, and Europe, what really makes Mexico one of the top places to visit in January is the beaches! 

Don’t miss Puerto Escondido or Huatulco in the State of Oaxaca. In the Riviera Nayarit, check out San Pancho, Sayulita, Bucerias and all of the beaches and other awesome things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

best places to visit in january puerto vallarta mexico
The sunsets in Puerto Vallarta are spectacular

Further north, explore the Baja peninsula including Cabo San Lucas and La Paz (January is the best time for whale watching.) 

If you’re planning on spending time in the Yucatan, which is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico, check out the powdery sands of Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Cancun. At around 28°C (82°F), it’s definitely beach weather in the Yucatan! 

On top of the fantastic beaches and pretty towns, the food in Mexico is one of the best. In fact, it’s listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Try the various regional dishes, the street food and of course, the drinks. Going on a food tour is one of the best things to do in Mexico

On the budget end, expect to spend around $40 / day. For Midrange, $60+.


🏠 Looking for accommodation in Mexico? Check out and Airbnb for the best room rates (don’t forget your Airbnb coupon code). These are the two platforms that we always use for booking rooms and highly recommend them. 

4. Chicago, Illinois 

Update December, 2020: Who can enter the USA is a little bit confusing. It depends on where you’re coming from, which passport you hold and more. Once you arrive in the USA, you may be subject to 14 days quarantine depending on which State you are visiting. Learn more here. For domestic travellers, now is the time to explore your home country!

Why is Chicago one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Numerous Festivals
  2. New Year’s Eve Party
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Lower Costs 

Since the USA is so large and diverse, I had to break it down and list just a city, rather than a whole country. And, when it comes to American cities, Chicago is a top choice!

There are so many fun things to do in Chicago to keep you busy for a week, or more. Since the city experiences cold winters (lows of -6 ° celcius), you’ll need to bundle up to visit, but it’s still a great place to visit in January. 

During the high season (June – September), you can expect clear skies and warm temperatures…but with that comes many tourists and high room costs.

When it comes to accommodation in Chicago, even if you book on Airbnb, it’s a pretty expensive city (don’t forget to claim a free $55 Air bnb coupon). 

Luckily, if you visit in January, you can expect huge discounts on hotels. Occupancy is low in the winter months, meaning that hotels offer big drops in room rates — even the luxury accommodation is on special. Expect discounts of around 50% off.

best places to visit in january chicago
Chicago is enjoyed year-round, but expect discounts and awesome events in January

Not only will you spend less on your room, but you’ll be able to avoid the crowds at the popular sights. And luckily, the museums, observation decks and art galleries are all inside. Plus, you can enjoy one of the many festivals and events happening in January.

If you can make it to Chicago for New Year’s Eve, you’ll be able to experience an epic firework show, parties at numerous hotel bars and restaurants, and the Chicago Resolution Gala at the Navy Pier.

There’s a free firework show over the lakefront and riverside, which will be choreographed and synchronized to music. Click here to learn more about New Year’s Eve in Chicago.

With numerous places to eat in Chicago, you’ll never go hungry. The city is known for its culinary delights, diverse cuisines, and Michelin starred restaurants. Brunch is a favourite of Chicagoans, and you must try the deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, and other Chicago snacks.

For those who like a cocktail or two, you can still enjoy some of the best bars in Chicago along the riverwalk. It might be cold outside, but see-through domes are erected to cover the tables and heaters are placed inside. Magical!

For foodies, you’ll be happy to know that January is Restaurant Week in Chicago. That’s right, you might have to brave the cold weather, but in return, you get to experience the city’s biggest restaurant event of the year. Click here to learn more about the festival. 

For sports fans, check out a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, or a meet-and-greet and autograph signing with some of the Cubs players at the Cubs Convention (only in January).  

Bundle up and enjoy Chicago in January. 

best places to travel in january chicago and try the pizza
You must try the deep dish pizza in Chicago!

🏠 Looking for accommodation in Chicago? Check out and Airbnb for the best room rates (don’t forget your Airbnb coupon code). These are the two platforms that we always use for booking rooms and highly recommend them. 

5. Greece 

Update December, 2020: Currently, if you would like to visit Greece, you will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test, complete a Passenger Locator Form, and self-isolate in your accommodation for the first 3 days. Learn more about the entrance requirements here.

Why is Greece one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Have the ancient sites to yourself
  2. Mingle with Greeks, rather than tourists
  3. Affordability

Greece is a destination that you could return to again and again. It’s most known for its ancient sites, such as the Acropolis in Athens, and its stunning archipelagos, but there’s much more to see and do in this European nation.

If you’re looking to laze on the best beaches in Greece, with a cocktail in hand, January isn’t the time to do so.

But, if you’re interested in having the awe-inspiring historical sites to yourself, enjoying the local vibe in Athens, wandering around popular islands without the hordes, and doing some skiing, then January is a great month to visit.

We’ve always visited Greece in the shoulder/off-season and while it’s a bit chilly, we love exploring without the crowds.

The summer months in Greece can be unbearable due to the number of tourists – both foreign and local – cramming together on the beach and trying to find space at popular sites. Why not visit in January and have the place to yourself?!

best places to visit in january greece
Greece in the winter can be beautiful

Athens is a very comfortable temperature (around 10 °C / 50°F) during January, and the city doesn’t see much rain this month either.

Walking around Athens is a great way to experience the city, and during January you won’t overheat and you’ll be able to have genuine encounters with the locals you meet along the way.

The Acropolis with the impressive Parthenon is the top site in all of Greece. If you put it on your list of places to visit in January, you’ll be able to enjoy the site in a relaxed atmosphere. 

For those who simply must visit an island when travelling to Greece, a good bet in January is Santorini or Crete — both still have things going on in the winter months.

However, on Santorini you won’t want to stay in the popular Oia town, but rather, choose to stay in the capital of Fira. The island isn’t dead during January, but many restaurants and bars outside of Fira shut down for the winter months.

In January you can enjoy all of the usual top things to do in Santorini, except for swimming and tanning. You will have pleasant, sunny days (15 °C / 59°F) and can enjoy sightseeing without the masses of tourists.

Hike the caldera path which runs between Fira and Oia, enjoy sampling various wines, hike around the volcano, see the ancient Akrotiri village which is now in ruins, hike the path behind Perissa to see Thera (the ancient capital), or simply enjoy a peaceful dinner with a view!

On the island of Crete, you’ll want to stay in either Heraklion, Chania, or Rethymnon, as there is a large local population here.

Even though it’s chilly (16 °C), local life still moves along. Enjoy wine tastings, beachside picnics, cafe culture, and the ruins of Knossos. Try ski mountaineering, winter hiking or simply wandering around the towns. There are lots of fun things to do in Crete to keep you busy in January.

Hotel prices in January are significantly reduced in Greece and you can enjoy having a more authentic experience.

6. Barbados

Update December, 2020: Barbados is one of the most beautiful places to travel in January. However, there are currently entrance requirements in place. You will need a negative PCR test if coming from certain countries, and in many cases, a second PCR test will need to be completed once you arrive. Learn more about the current entrance requirements here.

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  • Warm weather
  • Stunning beaches 
  • Festivals & Events

If it’s crystal clear, turquoise water and blindingly white sand beaches you crave, Barbados is a top choice when thinking about the best places to travel in January.

Spend your days lazing on the incredibly calm Carlisle Bay (one of the best beaches in the Caribbean), which is close to Bridgetown. Browne’s Beach here offers pristine swimming options, a couple of beach bars (check out Cuz’s fish cutters), and lounge chairs with umbrellas for rent. 

Harbour Lights is a popular nightclub/bar, which is also located on Carlisle Bay. If you’re in Barbados for New Year’s Eve, this is a fun spot to party, complete with Carnival dancers, calypso music, rum drinks, and fireworks on the beach. 

Other must-visit beaches are Rockley / Accra Beach (don’t miss the boardwalk), Dover Beach, Mullin’s Bay and Paynes Bay. The best beaches in Barbados for swimming are located on the south and western side of the island, the east is much wilder and is great for (pro) surfing. 

best places to travel in january barbados

There are numerous things to do in Barbados to keep you busy. After you’re done lazing on stunning beaches, head to Oistin’s Fish Fry on Friday nights, go for a Hash (hike) one of the many trails, join a rum tour, or simply chill out at a funky beach bar with Banks Beer in hand. 

In January, you can enjoy Open Homes, Jazz Festivals, Barbados Sailing Week and the Barbados Independent Film Festival. 

Bajans are friendly, the food – both international and local – is amazing, the sunsets are stunning and the beaches are out of this world. Barbados is definitely a top pick for the best places to visit in January.

If you’re from Canada or the USA, you can find many direct flights to Barbados. From Toronto, non-stop return flights with West Jet are just $500 and from New York, Jet Blue operates non-stop flights at around $400 return. 

Barbados is in the hurricane belt, with the season running from June – November, and while you’re not guaranteed to see zero rain during the month of January, devastating storms are very unlikely. 

For accommodation in Barbados, check out and Airbnb for the best deals.

7. Whistler, B.C. Canada 

Update December, 2020: Again, Whistler is a great destination for domestic tourism right now! Canada’s borders are currently closed to foreigners, unless they hold dual citizenship with Canada, are a permanent resident of Canada or are a family member of a Canadian citizen. Those entering Canada must undergo a 14-day quarantine. Learn more here.

Why is this one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding
  2. Quieter Ski Hill
  3. Events at the Village

You’ve probably heard of Whistler, it’s where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, you’ll want to hit up Whistler and Blackcomb in January. Why? Because for a week after the holidays, it’s one of the quietest times of the year at the hill.

The mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb are located right next to each other and offer 200+ trails, with runs for all levels, plus one of the largest networks of chair lifts anywhere in the world.

The village is an amazing place to chill out and enjoy some fine dining, with twinkling lights in the evening. 

In January, there are numerous events up at the hill as well. Check out the free fire & ice show, king of the rail, Pride and Ski Festival, and lots of racing events. 

Book a lodge, get a lift ticket, and enjoy Whistler and Blackcomb. Click here for more about Whistler Blackcomb.

Bonus: take a 1.5-hour drive to Vancouver and check out the events on offer. Free ice skating and polar bear swims, or light shows and hockey games…there’s something for everyone in Vancouver in January. Click here for more. 

Click here to search for accommodation options in Whistler on and click here to check out Airbnb.

8. Tanzania

Update December, 2020: Tanzania is open to foreigners right now, making it a great destination to visit in January. Learn more about the requirements here.

Why is Tanzania one of the best places to visit in January?

  1. Safaris 
  2. Beach Weather 
  3. Scuba Diving Season

This country in Eastern Africa is one of the best places to travel in January if you’re looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation, with a lower price tag.

Tanzania experiences a “long” dry season and a “long” wet season. January is considered the “short” dry season.

best places to visit in january zanzibar
Empty beach in Zanzibar

You’ve probably heard of the Great Migration which is when millions of wildebeest cross Tanzania and Kenya each year in search of greener pastures and drinking water.

In January, you’ll spot the wildebeest in the southern Serengeti during calving season. Expect to see lots of baby wildebeest, numerous animals grazing on the greenery, and predators lurking in the bushes… 

Safaris aren’t cheap, but if you go in the short dry season (January), which isn’t as popular as the long dry season, you’ll be able to save some money on tours and lodging.

Zanzibar is a premier scuba diving destination. This island off the coast of Tanzania offers large marine life (sharks, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays), excellent coral, shipwrecks, and macro sightings as well.

But, it’s not just about scuba diving. Zanzibar island offers stunning white sand beaches and the historic Stone Town — with Arabic architecture, delicious cuisine and narrow alleyways for exploring. We loved our stay in Zanzibar and would definitely return to Tanzania.

best places to travel in january zanzibar
Beautiful architecture in Stone Town

For a bit of city life, head to the capital of Dar es Salaam. This bustling city offers wonderful Indian food restaurants, huge fish markets, craft markets, museums, churches, and more.

Tanzania offers a great mix of city, culture, beach, and wildlife. And, if you book in January, you can save yourself some cash on big-ticket items. 

Hotel rooms here are affordable, with many around $30 / night on, while on Airbnb you can find apartments and guesthouse villas for around $40 / night. 

9. Harbin, China

Update December, 2020: China is partially reopening to visitors, but a 14-day quarantine upon arrival is in place and you must show proof of a negative PCR test. Learn more here.

Why is Harbin one of the best places to travel in January?

  • Ice Sculpture Festival

Every year from December to February, the northern Chinese city of Harbin has the most incredible ice sculpture festival.

When we were teaching English in China, one of our friends was from Harbin and she said we must travel north to her home city and experience it. Sadly, we didn’t have a chance, but after researching and seeing photos online, I wish we had. 

These aren’t just regular ice sculptures. 

In Harbin, you’ll find 600,000 square meters filled with ice carvings of castles, buildings, and people, some of which are as tall as 46 meters! The lighting adds to the beauty of the intricate carvings, which are best visited in the evening.

The only downside to visiting Harbin in January is the temperature. Expect -24 ° celcius. However, that’s why the sculpture festival is perfect for this city, they don’t melt! Bundle up and enjoy this winter wonderland.  

best places to visit in january harbin china

Have a look at where to stay in Harbin on, or see places to stay in January on Airbnb.

10. Miami, Florida

Update December, 2020: Covid numbers are high in the USA, and who can enter the USA is a little bit confusing. It depends on where you’re coming from, which passport you hold and more. Once you arrive in the USA, you may be subject to 14 days quarantine depending on which State you are visiting. Learn more here. For domestic travellers, now is the time to explore your home country!

Why is Miami one of the best cities to visit in January? 

  1. Great Weather 
  2. Festivals
  3. Golf Season

Gorgeous beaches, amazing international cuisine, a Latin flare, and hot nightclubs — there are numerous reasons to visit Miami. 

June to November is hurricane season in the Atlantic, and Miami has seen its share of hurricanes pass through. During those months, it’ll be hot and sunny — but also quite humid, with the possibility of destructive storms.  

Miami is one of the best places to travel in January due to the warm weather (more comfortable than the summer months), the festivals on offer, and the fact that it’s a great season for golf.

It’s also considered the high season, as many Americans flock to this southern city to escape the cold up north. 

The good news is that it’s not as humid in January making walking around Miami much more enjoyable. The sun will be shining, people will be sitting out on patios, and it’s a great t