23 Cheap destinations for 2016 with great weather in January

Vagator Beach, Goa, IndiaAs January approaches it seems like half of the Northern Hemisphere is looking for a place to escape the cold. The good news is that there are dozens of great options in the Southern Hemisphere and the Tropics, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that suits you best.

It’s worth noting that nearly every place on the list below will have peak prices for the first week of January because people from all over the world are off work. However, by the second week of January you should be finding normal high-season hotel rates, which can still be surprisingly affordable in many of the destinations listed below.

By the way, we have a separate list of cheap beaches to spend Christmas and New Year’s around the world if that’s what you are mainly after.

If you are mostly interested in beaches, scuba diving, and other water sports you should start with our list of the cheapest Caribbean islands to see which ones are in your price range.

Prices listed for each city are from our Backpacker Index for 2015, which compares cities around the world for the same common budget travel expenses.

The Americas

Obviously the first week of January is peak season for most Latin American and Caribbean destinations, so book early to lock in the best deals. After that January will remain high season through that same region, but plenty of bargains are out there if you look around.

The Caribbean

Negril JamaicaThe Caribbean in January is a bit of a paradox here because it’s the busiest month of the year, and prices are relatively high, but there are still many cheap options available if you know where to look. The cities below are better if you are in the mood for a but of culture, but for those mainly looking to relax in the sun, you can’t beat the Caribbean in January.

The new trend is towards all-inclusive hotels, but you may not realize that they are mainly concentrated in only a few places. Specifically, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are where you’ll find most of them, although many even cheaper ones are on the Mexican coast in Cancun and just to its south. For most people, an all-inclusive resort will end up saving a lot of money, as long as you aren’t so interested in exploring the whole island.

Cancun, Mexico

  • January avg high: 82F/28C
  • January avg low: 69F/21C
  • January avg precip: 5.4″/13.5cm

There’s at least a small chance that it will rain a bit during January in Cancun, but keep in mind that the showers tend to be over in 30 to 60 minutes and that they often take place overnight. Aside from that, it’s pretty much perfect in this huge resort area this time of year, and value is still good. Room rates are highest in the first week of the month, so you’ll save by arriving after that.

It’s worth noting that “Cancun” is a huge area with plenty to offer. The actual hotel zone in Cancun is mostly high-rise hotels overlooking beaches, while if you go about an hour south you’ll arrive in Playa del Carmen, which is a lovely and tourist-friendly town with smaller hotels and excellent choices for dining, nightlife, and shopping.

Well-reviewed 3-star Cancun resorts start at US$78 per night for 2 people in January

>>>Check current Cancun resort and package deals

Montego Bay, Jamaica

  • January avg high: 84F/29C
  • January avg low: 72F/22C
  • January avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

MontegoBayWhile all of the Caribbean will be expensive and nearly sold out for the first week of January (so book as early as possible if that’s when you want to go), Montego Bay still remains reasonably priced for the rest of the high season that goes into April. The weather this time of year is pretty much perfect, and there are plenty of water sports and other activities to keep you entertained during the day if you aren’t more interested in just relaxing.

Montego Bay is also home to one of the Caribbean’s largest and busiest airports so flights here are usually direct and often cheap compared to some of the smaller islands. You won’t find the super-low all-inclusive prices here that you can find in the Dominican Republic (see below), but still there are some all-inclusive options that are good value and high quality. By the way, if you’d prefer to stay along a wonderful beach lined with small hotels, restaurants, and bars, then head to nearby Negril instead of Montego Bay or Ocho Rios.

Well-reviewed 3-star Montego Bay resorts start at US$70 per night for 2 people in January

>>>Check current Montego Bay resort and package deals

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

  • January avg high: 82F/28C
  • January avg low: 69F/21C
  • January avg precip: 0.7″/1.8cm

PuntaCanaDRThe far eastern edge of the Dominican Republic is where you’ll find the collection of beach towns that are referred to as Punta Cana. Unlike most Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic has many huge beach hotels that have up to 1,000 rooms or more. This grand scale may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it allows these resorts to offer the best rates in the Caribbean for all-inclusive resorts and large full-service resorts in general.

The first week in January will be booked early but after that it’s normal room rates, which are great bargains compared to the rest of the Caribbean. The all-inclusive resorts here start at a bit over US$100 per night for two people, including room, meals, and unlimited drinks. The better places obviously charge more, but there are plenty of good resorts that receive solid reviews near the lower end of the scale.

Well-reviewed 3-star Punta Cana resorts start at US$58 per night for 2 people in January

>>>Check current Punta Cana resort and package deals

Mexico City, Mexico

  • January avg high: 70F/21C
  • January avg low: 42F/6C
  • January avg precip: 0.4″/1.0cm

While it’s true that Mexico City – mostly due to its elevation – isn’t warm enough in January for a proper tropical escape, it can make an excellent cultural city break this time of year. Evenings will be cool for sure, but the days will be pleasant with almost no threat of rain.

Mexico City can make for a great trip all by itself, with fascinating sights, great shopping, and excellent nightlife, but it’s also close to ruins and many other interesting sights that can make for good day trips. Flights from almost anywhere will be fairly cheap this time of year, at least compared to Europe or most of the Caribbean. And in case you aren’t familiar with Mexico City as a tourist city, it’s FAR nicer and safer than you probably imagine, and far more interesting as well. English isn’t widely spoken outside of hotels and tour companies, so if you don’t speak Spanish it’s wise to at least pack a menu translation app.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$27.41

>>>Mexico City prices
>>>Check current Mexico City hotel and package deals

Cartagena, Colombia

  • January avg high: 85F/29C
  • January avg low: 75F/24C
  • January avg precip: 0.2″/0.5cm

January marks the best weather month of the year in Cartagena and most of Colombia, as days will be uniformly sunny and warm, but rarely too hot, and nights are pleasant as well. With almost no rainfall in the forecast you can confidently leave the umbrella at home and work on your tan as long as you like.

Of course the first week of January is still the peak season for hotels and flights, and the rest of the month is in high season, so hotel deals might be challenging to find. On the other hand, it’ll still be far cheaper than almost anywhere else in the Caribbean, so if you can’t afford Cartagena you should stay home.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.08

>>>Cartagena prices
>>>Check current Cartagena hotel and package deals

Ambergris Caye, Belize

  • January avg high: 75F/24C
  • January avg low: 70F/21C
  • January avg precip: 4.5″/11.3cm

Currently San Pedro (the main city on Ambergris Caye) is the only city in Belize that we cover, and it’s also the most expensive resort area in the country. In other words, if you are really looking for great value in wonderful weather you should consider other parts of Belize instead or in addition to San Pedro.

Caye Caulker is a similar and smaller island even a bit closer to Belize City, and prices there are lower for hotels and for food. There’s also Dangriga and the Placencia Peninsula which are both great choices for sunny holidays. Dangriga has interesting culture while Placencia has the better beaches. Even San Pedro is fairly cheap by most standards, and the round-the-clock warm weather is enchanting even when it rains a bit.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$53.59

>>>Ambergris Caye prices
>>>Check current San Pedro/Ambergris hotel and package deals

San Jose, Costa Rica

  • January avg high: 75F/24C
  • January avg low: 57F/14C
  • January avg precip: 0.6″/1.5cm

San Jose, Costa Rica is used on this site as a placeholder for the entire country, and the entire country has fantastic weather all January. Yes, this is high season without a doubt, especially the first week of the month, but there are many areas from which to choose so the crowds will be spread out.

The beaches along the Pacific are better for surfing while the ones along the Caribbean are less crowded and better for relaxing and sunbathing. The center of the country is loaded with national parks plus active sights like zip-lining and canopy tours, and the Arenal Volcano is a huge draw in spite of its frequent cloud cover. If you are looking for a more traditional resort scene you should start your search in the Tamarindo area, which is in the northwestern part of the country.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$35.63

>>>San Jose prices
>>>Check current Tamarindo hotel and package deals

Lima, Peru

  • January avg high: 79F/26C
  • January avg low: 68F/20C
  • January avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

January is definitely part of the high season in Lima, but it’s still quite affordable by international standards. The weather will be pretty much perfect with warm days, mild evenings and pretty much no chance of rain all month. Many middle and upper class people from around South America will be in Lima on their vacations, so it’s an interesting mix of people for an outsider.

The historic city center is quite interesting, but many will choose to stay in the trendy Miraflores district along the beach instead. There’s more restaurants and tourist infrastructure there, yet it’s a short ride into the center for sightseeing. By the way, the rainy season in Cusco goes on in January, so the trails can sometimes be cut off, although many people go anyway.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.84

>>>Lima prices
>>>Check current Lima hotel and package deals

Santiago, Chile

  • January avg high: 86F/30C
  • January avg low: 55F/13C
  • January avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

January is part of the peak season in Santiago as the ideal weather draws people from all over South America who have vacation time. It’s a huge city with much to offer, and prices even during the peak season are quite reasonable by international standards.

Many people include Santiago on a trip combining many different South American countries, but those who don’t want to jet around quite that much will find that Chile itself is loaded with great sights. There’s the colonial town of Valporaiso and great adventure activities in the foothills of the Andes. Book well in advance to get the best deals.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$35.05

>>>Santiago prices
>>>Check current Santiago hotel and package deals

Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • January avg high: 87F/31C
  • January avg low: 69F/21C
  • January avg precip: 4.7″/11.8cm

Being completely honest, January isn’t an ideal month to visit Buenos Aires, as it will be quite warm, day and night, and also quite crowded. There’s also the threat of rain on any given day, but we are including it here because it’s still a fantastic place to visit and the warm weather isn’t a problem for many.

Another thing to note about Buenos Aires compared to most other South American cities is that BA is more about culture, food, and other indoor pursuits. It’s a great place for just strolling in the shopping districts when it’s not too hot, but even when it’s raining or too muggy outside you’ll have an endless list of interesting things to see and do, all quite cheap for what you get.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$29.37

>>>Buenos Aires prices
>>>Check current Buenos Aires hotel and package deals

Bariloche, Argentina

  • January avg high: 71F/22C
  • January avg low: 44F/7C
  • January avg precip: 1.0″/2.5cm

BarilocheObviously January is the height of summer in South America, so most cities are going to be very warm and also crowded. Bariloche is a mountain resort town in southern Argentina, so here you can expect it to be mild and crowded, so it can be a nice break from the hot coastal cities.

This place used to be a German settlement, so it still has an abundance of small chocolate shops and some architecture to carry on that theme. These days this is a busy winter resort and a busy summer resort, with a wide variety of water activities available. Even in high season, prices here should be at least a bit below those in Buenos Aires, so it will feel like a bargain for most foreign visitors.

You might also consider including Mendoza on your trip, which is the main wine region of Argentina, and also good value.

>>>Bariloche prices
>>>Check current Bariloche hotel and package deals

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • January avg high: 90F/32C
  • January avg low: 73F/23C
  • January avg precip: 5.1″/12.8cm

January is the middle of the wet season in Rio de Janeiro, but this is the typical tropical rain pattern that almost always amounts to a 30-minute downpour a few times a week, and sunny skies before and after that. This is a very busy time of the year for Rio, behind only Carnival the following month for crowds and hotel rates, but it’s still relatively cheap and it’s an amazing place to visit at any price.

Hotels along the famous beaches will be quite expensive in January so finding a bargain will be tough, but if you are willing to stay 2 or 3 blocks inland you can find nice places for a fraction of the price. Book well in advance to get the best deals since in busy season like this prices generally just keep going up as the dates approach.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$41.50

>>>Rio de Janeiro prices
>>>Check current Rio de Janeiro hotel and package deals


Needless to say, there are no destinations in the main part of Europe that could qualify as having great weather in January, but there is still one place worth mentioning…

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • January avg high: 69F/21C
  • January avg low: 59F/15C
  • January avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

It might be a stretch to call January in Tenerife as having “great” weather, but it’s still pretty damn good even if it’s too chilly to go swimming. Tenerife, in case you aren’t aware, is the Canary Island that has the best infrastructure for English-speaking travelers, and its temperate location just off the coast of Africa gives it mild and pleasant weather all year round.

This island has many hundreds of hotels and holiday rentals, and it’s very popular with the British as well as others from northern European countries. January is part of the high season in Tenerife for hotel prices, but it’s still inexpensive by European or global standards.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$46.81

>>>Tenerife prices
>>>Check current Tenerife hotel deals


Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

  • January average high: 71°F/22°C
  • January average low: 55°F/13°C
  • January avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

SharmelSheikhBudget-minded Europeans should be aware of Sharm el-Sheikh, which is on the southern Red Sea coast in Egypt. This is a proper beach resort with a wide range of affordable hotels alongside posh places that are popular with conventions and conference crowds.

While the weather in January is going to be too cold to enjoy a swim in the ocean, it’s obviously far warmer than you’ll find anywhere in Europe or even Turkey this time of year. Egypt continues to struggle with stability and safety issues, or at least a perception problem, so check the news to see how things here are looking before you go booking a long holiday.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$23 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$36 per night for two people

>>>Sharm el-Sheikh prices
>>>Check current Sharm el-Sheikh hotel and package deals

Cape Town, South Africa

  • January avg high: 79F/26C
  • January avg low: 60F/16C
  • January avg precip: 0.6″/1.5cm

January is peak season in Cape Town so finding hotel deals will be challenging, but still it’s quite reasonably priced compared to Europe, North America, or Australia. The weather is pretty much perfect in January with warm days, mild nights, and virtually no rain at all.

The tricky part of an affordable holiday in South Africa will always be the airfare. Being so far from almost everywhere it’s tough to find a good price. The good news is that the country is filled with great sights, including safaris, of course, and history, so a 2-week trip can still be affordable all things considered.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$34.37

>>>Cape Town prices
>>>Check current Cape Town hotel and package deals


The peak season for all of Southeast Asia starts around Christmas and goes through February, so you won’t be alone and prices are at their yearly peak. The good news is that things are still far cheaper than pretty much anywhere else in the world.

Goa, India

  • January avg high: 89F/32C
  • January avg low: 67F/19C
  • January avg precip: 0.1″/0.3cm

Goa is incredibly popular around the Christmas holidays and through January so hotels will be more expensive this time of year than any other. That said, it’s still incredibly cheap compared to any other sunshine destination in the world as long as you know your way around. This is a large area and package hotels in some beach cities will actually show fairly expensive prices this time of year, but independent hotels not far away will still be very cheap.

Prices in Goa, as well as the rest of India, have been rising steadily in the past few years. It’s more important than ever to choose your resort and area wisely. In Calungute and Baga it might feel like prices are only a bit cheaper than in, say, Spain, but if you go to Anjuna or Vagator and find a family-run hotel and eat in local restaurants you’ll be spending a fraction of that. If you are in the mood to tour around, Mumbai has great weather during January, and Delhi has warm days but cool evenings this time of year.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$18.02

>>>Goa prices
>>>Check prices on India tours

Boracay Island, Philippines

  • January average high: 82°F/28°C
  • January average low: 73°F/24°C
  • January avg precip: 3.7″/0.3cm

BoracayIslandJanuary is nearly perfect in Boracay, so it’s also part of the high season for hotels. Increasing numbers of visitors are discovering what all the fuss is about here, as Boracay Island combines affordable prices, excellent beaches, and a throw-back atmosphere that is far more pleasant than most other busy beaches in Southeast Asia.

As a long and thin island just off of a larger island, nearly every hotel on Boracay is within a very short walk of the beach. For that reason there are virtually no super-cheap places but value is fantastic for mid-range and up visitors. Food and drinks are very reasonably priced here, as are things like massages and diving trips.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$47 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$70 per night for two people

2016 Backpackers Index: US$35.54

>>>Check Boracay resort deals

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • January avg high: 89F/32C
  • January avg low: 70F/21C
  • January avg precip: 0.6″/1.5cm

Saigon (as it’s locally known) is certainly not a beach city, but it’s a very popular part of the SE Asia backpacker circuit that really heats up this time of the year. There are beach cities like Nha Trang along Vietnam’s east coast, and a few islands to the south and over in nearby Cambodia as well. HCMC is quite cheap by almost any standards and it’s a great stop to mix in between beach destinations if you are in the region.

The weather in January is perhaps the best of the whole year, as the evenings are reasonably cool and it’s less humid that other times. This is also an emerging party city, unlike others in Vietnam, so it works on many levels for the budget tourist or backpacker.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$18.30

>>>Ho Chi Minh City prices
>>>Check current Ho Chi Minh City hotel deals

Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • January avg high: 84F/29C
  • January avg low: 57F/14C
  • January avg precip: 0.3″/0.8cm

If you have more than a week or two off around this time of year you’d be hard pressed to find a better travel value than Chiang Mai. The weather is perfect, with warm sunny days and mild nights that aren’t annoyingly muggy like they are in Bangkok and Saigon. It’s the high season for hotels for sure, but since hotels are so incredibly cheap here that still puts them well below the price of a dorm bed in almost any European city.

While Chiang Mai itself may not be as charming as you might expect, considering it’s a historic former capital filled with temples, the best part is that this is a fantastic part of Thailand for trekking and other outdoor activities. Come to Chiang Mai and then shop around for multi-day trips to nearby forests and temples, which are also very cheap, even in January.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$18.70

>>>Chiang Mai prices
>>>Check Chiang Mai and Thailand tour prices

Luang Prabang, Laos

  • January avg high: 82F/28C
  • January avg low: 58F/14C
  • January avg precip: 0.5″/1.3cm

Another city with perfect weather in January, Luang Prabang is the biggest tourist city in Laos, and it can get quite crowded this time of year, for good reason. Again you have the warm and dry days with evenings that are pleasant rather than steamy as they are down south.

In the past few years Luang Prabang has gotten many more upscale hotels so it might look like the city isn’t friendly for budget travelers, but there are still many cheaper guesthouses left, although most aren’t bookable online. If you just show up in town there’s a good chance you can find a cheap room, but arrive early in the day if possible. If you are coming on the slow boat you will have plenty of competition for the cheaper beds.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$22.85

>>>Luang Prabang prices
>>>Check Laos tour prices

Bangkok, Thailand

  • January avg high: 90F/32C
  • January avg low: 70F/21C
  • January avg precip: 0.4″/1.0cm

January can be very crowded in Bangkok so this is really the only time of year you should seriously think about booking a hotel well in advance. Things lighten up a bit as the month goes on, but around the New Years week it can be brutal. The weather is perfect with spectacular sunny days and mild evenings. It will still be humid in the evenings, but not as bad as other times of the year.

If you are shopping online for hotels in Bangkok you’ll find that most of them seem quite expensive, at least this time of year. It’s worth knowing that many hotels in this city don’t take online reservations and most of the cheaper ones do accept reservations by email. Meals will be very cheap, especially if you don’t mind eating the wonderful (and safe) street food available on almost every block.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$25.19

>>>Bangkok prices
>>>Check Bangkok and Thailand tour prices

Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • January avg high: 90F/32C
  • January avg low: 68F/20C
  • January avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

You visit Siem Reap to visit the amazing temple complex of Angkor Wat just to its north, and this is the best time of the year for that, even though it’s also the most crowded. Most other times of the year it’s so hot and humid during the day that you have to break your temple visit up with an afternoon break, but in January you can actually go straight through most of the time.

There are many really expensive hotels in Siem Reap since this attraction brings in almost as many 5-star travelers as it does backpackers, but there are still plenty of cheap guesthouses and even hostels. The price average for a day in Siem Reap is actually quite a bit lower than what is shown here, and it’s only inflated this much because admission to Angkor Wat is quite high if you only go for the one-day option.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$27.50

>>>Siem Reap prices
>>>Check Siem Reap and Cambodia tour prices

Phuket, Thailand

  • January avg high: 89F/32C
  • January avg low: 74F/23C
  • January avg precip: 1.2″/3.0cm

As the most expensive part of Thailand, Phuket barely qualifies as cheap if you are detemined to stay in one of the many beach resorts in the posh towns. The prices we list on this site are for Phuket Town, which is inland and much cheaper than even the cheapest beach cities.

January has excellent weather and is incredibly popular in Phuket for Europeans in particular. If you are flying all that way to sit on a beach then you are probably going to want to spend a bit more on a proper beach hotel rather than trying to save money by commuting to the beach from Phuket Town each morning. Book early for the best prices since they usually just keep rising as the dates approach.

2016 Backpackers Index: US$28.16

>>>Phuket prices
>>>Check for the best Phuket resort deals

Middle East

January is cool and even a bit rainy in most of the Middle East. An exception is Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which both have perfect sunny weather. However, they don’t make this list because they aren’t really cheap enough for the cut.

40 Responses to “23 Cheap destinations for 2016 with great weather in January”

MB says:

What about Quito and Cuenca, Ecuador ?…I know average high probably will be around 64 degrees farenheit but will it typically rain at least part of every day? We have 4 weeks, speak Spanish, can’t afford Galapagos and like to “put little teeny roots down” (so will rent a furnished place for 3 weeks in Q and 1 week in C.)

Also, if you were traveling to Ecuador, which websites would you recommend researching? I love just stumbling upon good sites, but thought I’d ask.



    Your hunch is correct that I didn’t include Quito here because it’s not really warm enough to qualify as “great weather” for most people. It’s also a city (and country) I’ve yet to visit so I can’t give much advice on it. When I research new places I usually start on wikitravel.org and Lonelyplanet.com. Good luck. -Roger

John Morgan says:

Not true about europe not being warm. Lanzarote has average temperatures of 25 degrees in January and flights and accom are quite cheap.



    Bonaire, in the Caribbean, is part of the Netherlands, but that doesn’t mean that Europe itself is tropical. Lanzarote is obviously a European territory off the coast of Africa, so I still contend that Europe is not warm in January. That said, I do include Tenerife on the list during months when it’s just a bit warmer than in January. Thanks for the comment. -Roger


Tenerife 20 to 26 degrees jan 3/1/14 to17/1/14 rained 1 day brilliant holiday

G m calvert says:

Why do you not include Murisius Indian ocean

Sima says:

Peru isn’t cheap. It’s actually really expensive. I have no idea what you call cheap but my idea of it is up to £400pp for 7 days



    You are the first person I’ve heard to say that Peru is really expensive. If that’s true, there are only a few countries in the world that will seem “cheap” to you. Best of luck. -Roger

      Beatrice says:

      I see most of people are reach, I wish to go to Peru but is very expensive sorry but for me cheap mean up to £500 p/p in two weeks holiday Thanks Roger anyway 😉

Terri Gale says:

Hi Roger-we are looking for long term properties to rent–8-12 weeks–where do you recommend that is warm and cheap?



    That’s a big question. Can you narrow down the part of the world that interests you? There are plenty of very cheap places, but most of them have poor local services. I’ll be happy to help if you give me a few more clues as to what you are after. -Roger

Arait says:

Excellent review. Appreciate it. Any comments on Belize or Aruba at this time of year?



    The rainy season in Belize goes into the first part of January, so I didn’t put it on this list. Still, the rain there tends to come in short bursts and you always see it coming, so I don’t mind visiting places like this even during those periods. In fact, I’m in Jamaica right now, in the “rainy season” and the few cloudbursts have been refreshing. Today it’s sunny here though.

    Aruba is dry and lovely in January, but it’s a bit too expensive to make the list above. Still, there are good deals to be had as long as you skip the first week of the year. Have a great trip. -Roger

rob says:

The info on phuket is outdated. Due to over development, Patong Beach now has some of the cheapest places to stay (within 10 minutes walk to the beach) almost anywhere in Thailand even in high season.



    While prices in Phuket may have gone down recently in Patong, there is no way they are among the cheapest in Thailand. This information all gets updated yearly, so we will continue to evaluate and change as we see it. Thanks. -Roger

Jennifer says:

Roger, love these lists, read them all the time and find them very helpful and informative. Thank you!

(Thanks for taking the time to say that. It makes this job a bit easier. :) -Roger)

Lynda says:

Would you go to Machu Picchu in January?



    January is one of the warmer but wetter months on Machu Picchu, so it’s not ideal. If you are planning on hiking the Inca Trail then you are risking getting rained on a lot during part of the 4-day hike. But if you are planning on taking the train as a day trip then January isn’t bad. You really only have to worry about rain once you arrive in Aguas Calientes on the train, and as long as you get at least a few dry hours while you are there, it should be very enjoyable. This is what I experienced when I visited in January. It was raining like crazy when the train arrived near Machu Picchu, but about an hour later it cleared up and I had a wonderful few hours to explore the place before heading back to the train. If you have an umbrella or a pancho you’ll still enjoy it in the rain, and when it’s wet they sell those things right when you get off the train. Have a great trip. -Roger

kory says:

Can you recommend a good (Inexpensive and safe) all inclusive in Cuba or the Dominican that a person can access from BC Canada without stopping multiple times to get there?
Thank you.



    As an American, the search websites still won’t even show any results involving Cuba, so I’m no help with that aside from that I’m sure you can get there with a single change in Toronto. I’ve heard the deals there are good for Canadians.

    However, I just got back from Punta Cana myself, and I can see that you can get from Vancouver to Punta Cana also with a single plane change in Toronto. Punta Cana is amazing and an extremely easy place to visit because the airport and highways and infrastructure are all new and modern, even though the all-inclusive resorts there are strangely cheap. I stayed at one of the resorts in the Bahia Principe complex (there are 6 hotels with 3,500 rooms in the complex yet it’s very spread out and doesn’t feel crowded). I recommend that one, or perhaps the Riu complex just next to it. Both get great reviews and if anything I think they are nicer than I expected. The other areas in the Dominican Republic would require an extra stop and they aren’t any nicer, so head to Punta Cana and just look for the best deal for the dates you have available. Good luck and have a great trip. -Roger

    kory says:

    Thank you for the info, definitely helpful as there are so many choices out there.

Jazz says:

Hi, I’m stuck between Panama, Jamaica and Barbados as my choices for the week of January 17th 2016. Which of the three would you recommend based on affordability, transportation, and activities?

*Flying from NYC



    Those are some interesting choices. I’ve yet to make it to Barbados, but I was recently in Jamaica and I’m actually in Panama City at the moment. I’d say that Jamaica would be the most economical of the three, partly because the flight to Montego Bay should be cheap compared to the others. However, Jamaica is kind of weird for activities. Most people choose large all-inclusive resorts there and the choices of activities are primarily expensive packaged jeep tours and horseback riding and that sort of thing. There’s a great waterfall near Ocho Rios, but that’s only good for a few hours.

    In Jamaica I quite like the Negril area because it’s mainly filled with small, independent hotels along 7-Mile Beach, so you can walk from place to place trying different things every day. In Montego Bay and Ocho Rios you pretty much want to stay in your resort or do the package activities.

    I’m in Panama City right now and I’ve yet to make it to the San Blas Islands, which is the main beach resort area. As far as I can tell, it’s quite remote so it’s not cheap or quick to reach.

    So unfortunately I’m not of too much help on this one. If you let me know specifically what sort of activities or what type of hotel you are interested in, I’ll be happy to try to chime in with more info. I’ve been going all over the Caribbean this year and have found some surprising things in my research. Best of luck with whatever you end up with. -Roger

Kellty says:

Hi Roger,
A very good read and for the places I have been too completely accurate. I am travelling From Dubai in January is there anywhere you can recommend with a beach and cocktails that will not break the bank? obviously the weather must be better than we i’m coming from. :)



    I appreciate the feedback and it’s good to know that my information (and some opinions) match up with others. Starting in Dubai means that you’ll have access to fairly cheap direct flights to dozens of warm places. From your short description you are mainly looking for a good beach destination that has beach weather in January and reasonable prices. Without knowing anything else, or where you’ve already been, I’ll start with the more obvious suggestions, and I can go deeper if you need more alternatives.

    The best and most obvious place that fits your description is Thailand. Fly into Bangkok and spend a couple days there. After that you could take a bus down to Pattaya, which is quite a nice beach area that also has a reputation for older white guys walking around with young Thai women, if you know what I mean. Still, it’s also popular with families so I wouldn’t dismiss it. But really you’d probably be better off flying to one of the islands. Ko Samui and Ko Phan Gan are both great for what you have in mind. You can get quite a nice hotel near the beach for around US$50 per night (or less if you don’t mind a really basic place). A beer will cost around US$3, but you can get something like a rum and coke for even less than that if you don’t mind the local rum (I like the stuff).

    There are other popular islands with good infrastructure for English speaking tourists including Ko Phi Phi and Phuket. As a matter of fact, if you want to skip Bangkok you might just go directly to Phuket. It’s the largest and most popular “island” in Thailand. But it’s also somewhat generic because the tourism industry for Westerners dominates everything, and it’s also the most expensive place in Thailand. If you do go to Phuket, don’t stay in Patong Beach unless you mainly want access to strip clubs and massage parlors.

    Aside from Thailand, my favorite chilled out beach scene is in Boracay Island, Philippines. It feels frozen in time, in a very good way. The main form of transportation there is the sandy foot path along White Beach, so it’s very relaxed. Hotels aren’t super cheap (you’ll need to spend at least US$50/night for something decent), but food and drinks are even cheaper than in Thailand. The reason Boracay is not very well known is that it’s challenging to get there. You have to fly into Manila or Cebu and then get another plane to one of the two airports near Boracay, and then take a ferry to the island itself. Its remoteness is part of its charm though. By the way, if you were to fly into Manila, I wouldn’t recommend lingering there because it’s not a great tourist city. Bangkok, on the other hand, is wonderful.

    I hope this helps. If not, give me more details and I’ll try again. -Roger

RG says:

Hello, i stumbled across this page while looking for cheap travel ideas. Im looking to possible sepnd a week somewhere in January/Februray 2016. Im in Miami but am open to suggestions on good/cheap places or events worth travelling to. I tend to enjoy major cities – Vegas, NYC, Chicago,San Fran, etc but dont want to FREEEEEEZE my jingle bells off.. any thoughts? I look forward to your advice



    I actually happen to also be based in Miami, although I’m going back on the road full-time in a week. This is tough without knowing more about you, but I’ll give it a shot. Assuming you are looking for a city with some culture that is going to be warm in January and February, I have three suggestions:

    San Juan, Puerto Rico: I was just there recently and I think it’s quite underrated. The historic city center is gorgeous with loads of great restaurants and bars, and the resort areas right next door have great beaches and a very good selection of restaurants and bars in all price ranges.

    Playa del Carmen: About an hour south of Cancun by taxi or bus, this is a really wonderful town with great restaurants and nightlife and shopping and whatnot. The beaches aren’t quite as good as they are in Cancun or on Cozumel (just across the water by ferry), but still pretty good. And the value for what you get is really good.

    Cartagena, Colombia: Is sort of similar to San Juan with a gorgeous historic city center, but everything is cheaper and a bit less well organized. They have good (but not great) beaches in the next area over, with good nightlife options on top of everything else. Again, it’s super cheap once you get there (jetBlue flies nonstop from FLL), and it’s very nice. Knowing Spanish would be helpful, as you might guess. I barely speak any Spanish and it was easy in the first two on this list, and a bit more challenging in Cartagena.

    I hope this helps. If you had something else in mind, let me know and I’ll try again. -Roger

Binyo says:

I am enjoying your page and really appreciate your individual advice to all seekers. Maybe you can help me. I am looking for a romantic beach getaway for 2, self-catered. We like to buy local fish and produce and cook ourselves. We don’t need any bars or restaurants or clubs or cultural activities. Just water (maybe a private pool, quiet and a decent cottage. We like 50% indoor and 50% outdoor activities. We could sit and read or use the internet as well as take a long walk or a reasonably doable hike.
Can go almost anywhere in the world except countries that won’t allow entry with an Israeli stamp in the passport.
Thank you very much.
Binyomin from Israel



    This is an interesting request. My first and best recommendation is Goa, India, which you may know is fairly popular with Israeli travelers. You might also consider the area around Cochin in Kerala, a bit to the south, but I think Goa would be easier and probably more enjoyable. Goa is a collection of about 20 towns along the beach, and each is different from the others. I’ve spent a lot of time in north Goa, in Anjuna and Vagator, but I’ve heard that lonely huts on empty beaches are much easier to find in south Goa. There aren’t a lot of indoor activities there, but at least it’s beautiful and you should have okay internet connections at some hotels. I don’t have a specific town to recommend because I haven’t spent much time down there, but I think if you search wikitravel.org for south Goa you’ll find something that matches what you have in mind.

    If you didn’t want to do India, then my other best suggestion would be Thailand, probably one of the smaller islands such as Koh Phan Gan. Hopefully this helps. By the way, India has a visa process which I think is now available online, while you can just show up in Thailand and get a visa there. -Roger

BOB says:

It is great that you have great information for these travelers. I wonder if you could help me. I won a trip to Istanbul but then I get to continue on to any destination that Turkish Airlines flies to (280 destinations! Also I (and my wife) get to fly comfort class which is supposed to be a big deal but comfort class ends Jan. 25. So we would like your input on where to go from Istanbul on Turkish Airlines in January maybe about Jan. 12th or so. We want to try to get back to Los Angeles before Jan. 25 so we can fly comfort class back. The flights will be free as long as we go anywhere on Turkish Airways but of course we will have to pay for hotels and incidentals. Also will it be hard to book hotels now since it is only a few weeks out?
Where would you go?
Thank you so much!



    I’ll be happy to help with a suggestion or two, but it is tough without knowing the sort of things that interest you and also how much farther you are willing to travel. Are you looking for a beach or a city? Do you want something cheap or are you willing to pay more for a top-notch destination?

    And whatever you are interested in, you’ll be able to get hotels even at the last minute. In some places the prices will be higher if you wait, but there will be places available pretty much no matter where you want to go. Sounds like a great prize. -Roger

Charlotte says:

My husband and I are looking to book an anniversary trip in January. We do have RCI and Hilton Grand Vacations timeshares but are not set on using either. We don’t want to spend more than $1200, live in the Los Angeles area, do not speak Spanish. We do like warm weather, but not sun bathing due to a recent brush with skin cancer but we do enjoy walking, exploring towns and historical sites etc. Cold is OK as well, just no skiing, snow boarding etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Domestic or International.



    Your budget is a bit tight for many places, but still you have some really good choices. My strong first recommendation would be Playa del Carmen, which is about an hour south of Cancun by taxi or shuttle. Flights from LA to Cancun should be reasonable and nonstop. Nearly all of the people you’ll encounter will speak enough English to communicate, and many speak fluently.

    The wonderful thing about Playa del Carmen is that it’s a really lovely tourist town on a beach, with hundreds of hotels and restaurants within walking distance of each other. On the other hand, Cancun itself is mostly a strip of large hotels along a beach that are mostly far apart, so you are pretty much stuck at the place you book. Playa del Carmen has a large tourist area based around 5th Avenue, just 2 short blocks from the beach, with restaurants and bars and shops and everything else. The restaurant scene there is quite international as well, so it’s not just Mexican food.

    You can also take a short ferry ride over to the island of Cozumel, which is interesting to explore, and the interesting ruins of Tulum are nearby, with the larger ruins of Chichen Itza also within a day trip. Best of all, you should be able to get a pretty nice hotel for well under US$100 per night. I hope this helps. Best of luck. -Roger

Katharine says:

Dear Roger
What a star you are – loved reading your page and all your advice to everyone.
My husband and I are looking for cheap (like £600) holiday in a weeks time – ideally no more than 5 hours away from Birmingham UK to somewhere warm – where we could do some outdoor activities – say walking. He likes cities and culture – I like outdoor activities but him less so – so it’s a bit of a struggle finding holidays we both like – except sailing but caribeean too far for a week
Any thoughts?



    This time of year it’s tough to find someplace “warm” that is close enough to have an affordable flight from Birmingham. Tenerife is probably the closest place that is warm, and it might be challenging to do a whole week there including flights on that budget. Actually, you could do Sharm el-Shiek on that budget and it is warm there. Some people are frightened to go to Egypt in light of what happened there last year, but the problems there don’t seem to be ongoing and it’s very inexpensive.

    The only other good suggestion I can think of is Morocco. It’s not too warm there this time of year, but it’s a lot warmer than Birmingham and it is pretty affordable as well as very interesting. Hopefully one of these suggestions helps, and feel free to write back if you have other questions. -Roger

Enda Cullen says:

Hi Roger
Great website and accurate for the few places that I have been. My wife and I would like to rent an apartment for January and part of February 2017 in a city with good weather. Would Buenos Aires be a starter?
Thanks and keep up the good work.



    Thank you and it’s good to hear that most of this stuff feels accurate to other experienced travelers. I actually think Buenos Aires would be ideal for what is sounds like you have in mind for early in the year. The weather is obviously warm, and the city is quite cheap these days (and probably will be into 2017). Better still, it has loads of really nice neighborhoods that feel exactly like Europe with great food and congenial bars and whatnot. I spent a month there myself a few years ago, though my plan was to only stay about a week.

    You should be able to find something on Airbnb at a good price. I’m actually in a month-long Airbnb villa rental in Bali as I type this, and I wish I was in BA to be honest. One more thing to consider is that BA is a large and busy city, so you might even want to break up your stay with two or three weeks there, and maybe a week or two in Bariloche or Mendoza or even Colonia del Sacramento across the water in Uruguay. All of those are more mellow and also cheaper. I have information on the first two of those on this site. Best of luck with this. -Roger

Johnny says:

How about Puerto Rico? Perfect weather, no passport needed, cheap, good service…



    I’m a big fan of Puerto Rico, and if you click on the link of Caribbean islands ranked by price near the top of this, page, you’ll find it somewhere in the middle. In other words, it’s not nearly as cheap as the ones mentioned on this list. Mainly, it’s that hotels there are strangely expensive, even though food and drinks and such are very affordable.

    Also, it’s only Americans that don’t need a passport to go to Puerto Rico. I’m an American and so are a slight majority of visitors to this site, but about 45% of the visitors are from elsewhere. Thanks for the comment. -Roger


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