25 Cheap destinations for 2022 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.

Those who live in North America and Europe should start by considering the Caribbean, as it's far faster and easier to reach than the cheaper options in Southeast Asia that appear lower on this list. Best of all, the Caribbean comes in all price ranges, at least once you pay for your flight. Particularly in the Dominican Republic, you can find all-inclusive resorts that offer amazing value, even in high season like this.

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.

Go later in January if possible

Pretty much everywhere on earth that has warm weather in January has its peak season for hotel rates from Christmas through the first week in January. If you are joining that crowd you have a lot of great options, though very few of them will come cheap. The good news is that by the second week of January, hotel rates and airfares have come down again to “high season” rates rather than “peak season” rates. If you can wait, it will save you quite a bit.

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.

This article was updated as of September, 2021.

Important global holidays in January, 2022

  • January 1 – New Year's Day (public holiday in most of the world)
  • January 6 – Epiphany (minor holiday in many Christian countries)
  • January 17 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day in USA (most banks and offices closed)
  • January 26 – Republic Day in India (major national public holiday)
  • January 31 to February 6 – Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year (major public holiday in many Asian countries)

COVID-19 situation

As of the September-2021 edit of this article, the COVID-19 situation and the Delta variant is pretty bad through most of the world. Some travel destinations on the list below are closed to those from outside of the regions, but quite a few are now getting ready to accept visitors. Needless to say, you'll want to check the most current information for any destination before you book. There is actually good news and you can see it in our best destinations for Americans and Canadians during the COVID crisis article.

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: 82°F/28°C
  • January avg low: 69°F/21°C
  • 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. Just a short ferry ride from Playa you'll be in Cozumel, which is a small island that is also worth considering.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$49 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$83 per night for two people

>>>Check current Cancun resort and package deals

Montego Bay, Jamaica

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

While 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$85 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people

>>>Check current Montego Bay resort and package deals

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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

The 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. After a rough period for public relations in 2019, things seem to be fine again. But if you are looking for Dominican Republic alternatives there are quite a few interesting choices.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$45 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$77 per night for two people

>>>Check current Punta Cana resort and package deals

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • January avg high: 84°F/29°C
  • January avg low: 62°F/17°C
  • January avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

While those Caribbean destinations are ideal for those in the eastern half of the US and Canada, they aren't easy for those in the west to reach at all. The good news is that Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful option that is even better in some ways. The January days are warm and dry and the evenings are cooler than you get in the Caribbean.

Puerto Vallarta is also notable because it's an actual historic city with an interesting traditional center, rather than just a purpose-built row of beach hotels like in Cancun. If you are in California you might also consider Los Cabos, although Puerto Vallarta is more interesting and usually cheaper as well.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$37 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$147 per night for two people

>>>Check current Puerto Vallarta resort and package deals

Mexico City, Mexico

  • January avg high: 70°F/21°C
  • January avg low: 42°F/6°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$67 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$80 per night for two people

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

Cartagena, Colombia

  • January avg high: 85°F/29°C
  • January avg low: 75°F/24°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$74 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$108 per night for two people

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

Ambergris Caye, Belize

  • January avg high: 75°F/24°C
  • January avg low: 70°F/21°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$108 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$333 per night for two people

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

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • January avg high: 92°F/33°C
  • January avg low: 69°F/21°C
  • January avg precip: 0.1″/0.3cm

Costa Rica is the adventure tourism capital of Latin America, and if you want to zip-line and go rafting or surfing you are probably better off going somewhere near San Jose, which is the capital. But if you want a modern resort on a lovely beach with perfect warm weather in January you should head to the Guanacaste area and fly into nearby Liberia Airport. This area is a collection of former fishing villages that now have a variety of traditional beach hotels and modern chain resorts in all price ranges.

January is part of the high season so the resort hotels aren't cheap, but at least there are a few good all-inclusive resorts that are good value. You can see by the price quotes below that 3-star hotels are MUCH cheaper in this area, so that is something to take into account. The cheaper hotels will have much more of a local feel, while the 4-star beach resort hotels are mostly chains and offer a high level of luxury for the price.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$70 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$286 (all inclusive) per night for two people

>>>Guanacaste prices
>>>Check current Tamarindo hotel and package deals

Lima, Peru

  • January avg high: 79°F/26°C
  • January avg low: 68°F/20°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$52 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$83 per night for two people

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

Santiago, Chile

  • January avg high: 86°F/30°C
  • January avg low: 55°F/13°C
  • 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 Valparaiso and great adventure activities in the foothills of the Andes. Book well in advance to get the best deals.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$63 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$102 per night for two people

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

Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • January avg high: 87°F/31°C
  • January avg low: 69°F/21°C
  • 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. As of late 2019 the Argentine currency has been continued to plummet even more than inflation has gone up, so Buenos Aires can be really cheap these days if you've got US dollars.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$58 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$63 per night for two people

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

Bariloche, Argentina

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

Obviously 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 where 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$87 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$116 per night for two people

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

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • January avg high: 90°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 73°F/23°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$72 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$78 per night for two people

>>>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: 69°F/21°C
  • January avg low: 59°F/15°C
  • 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 largest Canary Island that also 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. The area in the southwest corner of the island is where you'll find most hotels and beach resorts that cater to an English-speaking crowd.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$78 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$89 per night for two people

>>>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

Budget-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$17 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$21 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: 79°F/26°C
  • January avg low: 60°F/16°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$47 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$100 per night for two people

>>>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.

>>>18 Best Asia destinations in January

Goa, India

  • January avg high: 89°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 67°F/19°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$46 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$76 per night for two people

>>>Goa prices
>>>Check prices on India hotels and resorts

Bangkok, Thailand

  • January avg high: 90°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 70°F/21°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$32 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$50 per night for two people

>>>Bangkok prices
>>>Check Bangkok and Thailand hotel prices

Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • January avg high: 90°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 68°F/20°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$31 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$31 per night for two people

>>>Siem Reap prices
>>>Check Siem Reap and Cambodia hotel deals

Phuket, Thailand

  • January avg high: 89°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 74°F/23°C
  • 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. Another nice thing is Phuket has its own huge international airport so you can fly in from the Middle East instead of having to change planes in Bangkok.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$35 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$59 per night for two people

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

Boracay Island, Philippines

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

January 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. Boracay Island was closed to visitors for 6 months in 2018 and now the infrastructure and environment are in better shape than they've been in in years.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$55 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$79 per night for two people

>>>Boracay prices
>>>Check Boracay resort deals

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • January avg high: 89°F/32°C
  • January avg low: 70°F/21°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$54 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$69 per night for two people

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

Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • January avg high: 84°F/29°C
  • January avg low: 57°F/14°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$22 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$36 per night for two people

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

Luang Prabang, Laos

  • January avg high: 82°F/28°C
  • January avg low: 58°F/14°C
  • 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.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$34 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$59 per night for two people

>>>Luang Prabang prices
>>>Check Luang Prabang hotel and resort deals

Middle East

January is cool and even a bit rainy in most of the Middle East. An exception is Dubai (below) and Abu Dhabi, which both have perfect sunny weather. However, Abu Dhabi doesn't make this list because it's not really cheap enough for the cut.

Dubai, UAE

  • January avg high: 75°F/24°C
  • January avg low: 58°F/14°C
  • January avg precip: 0.6″/1.5cm

January is peak season in Dubai not because it's so warm but because Europe is so cold this month. As you can see by the temperatures above, you are going to want to pack a light jacket or sweater for the evenings, even if you can leave the umbrella at home. You should be able to get in a bit of beach time this month, although most people sit at hotel pools between meals and visits to the many shopping malls.

Even though Dubai is busy in January, it's still a good bargain because there are so many hotels and apartment rentals here. The huge airport is also very busy this time of year, though airfares are quite reasonable from Europe and other nearby areas where people are looking for a winter break.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$51 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$69 per night for two people

>>>Dubai prices
>>>Check current Dubai hotel deals

146 Responses to “25 Cheap destinations for 2022 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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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

Sam mc ewan says:

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

    Roger Wade says:


    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?

    Roger Wade says:


    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?

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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?

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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. 🙂

    Roger Wade says:


    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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

    Roger Wade says:


    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!

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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?

    Roger Wade says:


    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.

    Roger Wade says:


    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…

    Roger Wade says:


    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

Charlotte says:

I come to your site every time I’m planning travel. Thank you!

marie says:

Hi could you help me, I want to spend the month of January or February some where warm, I don’t mind how far I need to travel, but I will have my 2 year old daughter with me and I will stay for a month, so some where not to expensive . thank you Marie

    Roger Wade says:


    All of the destinations mentioned in the article above could be good choices, but I’d really need to know a bit more about what you are looking for and where you are starting from in order to confidently suggest something personally for you. Are you looking for a beach or a city or a natural area? Does it matter whether English is widely spoken there? Any general idea of a budget for an apartment rental? I know of places where you can rent an apartment for US$250 a month, and beach areas where US$1,000 for a one-month rental is a great deal. Give me a bit more info and I’ll be happy to help. -Roger

marie says:

HI Roger, Ah thank you so much,I am coming form Ireland as I find the winters very long here and I travel allot. Ok ID love to be near the beach, I dont mind if English is spoken Ill manage, I dont want to go to the Canaries Islands Ive been there lots of times. Id love a nice very safe little beach town where I can get sun and relax for a month. any thing form $500 to $1200 a month . Thank you again

Ellen B. Sanchez says:


we are a couple who are looking for a place for at least 3 weeks in January 2017. We do not want to spend too much money. We work through the rest of the year so January we would love nice beach, sun and relaxation. We looked at Key West but the prices are really high. Do you have any suggestions for us?

    Roger Wade says:


    Yes, the accommodation prices in Key West are ridiculous, especially that time of the year. There are dozens of other fairly similar options in Florida to consider instead, and all of them are half the price of Key West or less. The others are more family oriented with fewer bars, but also much more relaxed. The first place that springs to mind is Sanibel Island, along the Gulf coast. As it’s farther north, it’s a bit cooler than Key West in January, but still sunny and warm. There’s also Fort Meyer’s Beach, Naples, Marco Island, and quite a few others in that area. If you want more information on that, let me know.

    Otherwise I would recommend San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and it’s very easy to visit for an American or Canadian. It’s also warmer than Florida, of course, but still lovely. You could rent an apartment in the El Cordado or Isla Verde neighborhoods at a very reasonable cost (compared to Key West), and you are walking distance from excellent beaches. Better still, and unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean, you have all of the modern conveniences with large supermarkets and that sort of thing. Many Americans and Canadians spend every winter down there, so there’s a pretty good English-language social scene as well.

    If you want more information on any of these, let me know. -Roger

Erin says:

I was originally planning a trip to Thailand in Jan 2017. The current state of the country/economic/political strife is making us seriously reconsider.
We are very open to other countries and wanted your advise. Looking for warmer weather, relatively inexpensive ($35 per day). We are interested in culture and sightseeing over a spa or retreat. I want to see historical sights, hike, go to markets etc. Also, 2 women traveling by themselves. English not necessary, but as our first time out of the US somewhere that is easy to get around. Thanks!

    Roger Wade says:


    First off, I’d suggest that you keep Thailand on your list for the moment. Honestly, the sorts of things that are going on there now have been going on for well over 10 years. And still it’s the most stable and modern country among the cheaper ones in that area. At any given time there is one party in power who is angry at the other, but they both seem to realize that tourism pays the bills. I lived in Bangkok and in Chiang Mai a few years ago, and many friends of mine have done it before or after. They all agree that as long as you stay away from any organized protests (even those are very rare), that it’s extremely safe for tourists. If things get worse in the next couple months you might reconsider, but I’d personally go back when it’s like this with no worries.

    The other cheap options in that area are Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. None of those have major public disputes among ruling parties, but they are all still about 20 years behind Thailand when it comes to infrastructure. Thailand has VIP buses and modern highways along with trains and cheap flights. In the other countries you have a few slow buses departing each day. For those reasons there people who prefer those other countries, and they all have a lot to offer, but for a first trip to the area I’d still say that Thailand is far nicer and easier. Vietnam is particularly lovely with its long coastline. But it should be said that foreign visitors tend to get hassled there all day every day. I don’t mean anything violent or dangerous or even intimidating. It’s just that it feels like at least half the people you meet are trying to hustle you or rip you off. Everything is so cheap there that you can hardly blame them. Still, surveys show that something like 5% of first-time Vietnam visitors say they plan on going back. In Thailand it’s like 70%.

    You’d need to spend closer to US$50 per day, but aside from that you should also consider Malaysia. It’s safe, stable, and English is widely spoken. It’s also even more modern than Thailand, so it’s still good value. Between Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca, you could spend a couple great weeks. And there are many more interesting places to consider as well.

    The other major option is Bali, which is still quite cheap. I’m a bit over it myself because it’s so built up that it’s lost much of its charm for me, but millions go every year and they keep coming back. It’s very safe and English is widely spoken. I spent a month there again recently and I could give you more in depth tips if that one sounds interesting.

    Closer to home you could consider Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Panama, all of which are more or less in your price range. Let me know if any of this sounds interesting, and I’ll be happy to provide more details if you need them. -Roger

Mohan says:

Planning for a honeymoon trip for my son for a week in Jan with lots of site seeing activities in a comfortable stay. Not jumping from one hotel to another. All inclusive not exceeding 400$ for 2 persons; Can you suggest some good destinations with good weather for windsurfing….

    Roger Wade says:


    It depends on where you are starting from, but my first suggestions for all-inclusives that time of year are Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and the Cancun area. The Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Cozumel area has plenty of great sightseeing, and very good water sports activities. You get very good value there as well.

    If you didn’t want to go to the Caribbean you’d need to go to southern Asia to get warm weather and water sports. Bali is a place that fits what you are looking for, although they don’t have too many all-inclusive hotels. Boracay Island in the Philippines is one of the best and most famous windsurfing beaches in the world, so that’s another one to consider. Let me know if you have any more questions. -Roger

Andrea says:

Do you have any recommendations for a 3 week stay in later January, early Feb that is warm weather. We have been to Costa Rica many times and would like to try something different.
We like the beach but like other things to do. Looking for something low to moderate cost. We live in the Midwest

    Roger Wade says:


    In January if you want an affordable destination, your main choices are the Caribbean, Central America, South America, or southern Asia, which is a long flight, but for 3 weeks it could be worth it.

    In Central America, Costa Rica is really the best place for a longer trip. Belize and Panama are also possibilities, but they would be similar to Costa Rica in many ways.

    In South America, it’s not easy to find affordable places that would be suitable for a 3-week stay, unless you were all fluent in Spanish or Portuguese. Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Bariloche are all very nice, so they might work to visit 2 or 3 of them.

    In the Caribbean, you should consider Puerto Rico. You could get a nice rental apartment or house in the San Juan area and an affordable rental car as well. Prices for late January are surprisingly good for what you get, and the beaches there are fantastic. There is a rain forest and plenty of other activities, and it combines the exotic feeling of the Caribbean, with the safety and security of being in the US, and using US dollars. You could also consider Playa del Carmen south of Cancun, but Puerto Rico would suit you better.

    If you were willing to fly to Asia, then Thailand is the best choice for a first visit. You could start with a few days in Bangkok and then head to either Chiang Mai up north or Phuket down south for beaches and water activities.

    Hopefully this gives you some ideas to consider. Let me know if you want more information about any of them. -Roger

Nora says:


Hoping you could help me find a place that is minimum 20C in January, is affordable (rent and food), has reliable internet/wifi, is safe and they speak french or english as a second language.

Thank you for your help.

    Roger Wade says:


    That is what the list above is all about. I’ll be happy to try to give you a few custom suggestions, but I’d need to know your starting point and your approximate budget for what length of a stay? And are you more interested in a city, or a beach, or something else? -Roger

Adam says:

Hi Roger
I was thinking of spending between 6 and 8 weeks somewhere in January / February on a fairly low budget. Initially I was thinking of Bolivia, but I don’t speak the language and I don’t know if there’s enough to do in that amount of time.
I’m therefore starting to look at Vietnam and Cambodia as I’ve done the whole Thailand thing a few times as well as Indonesia.
Any wildcard suggestions would also be greatly received.
Thanks for your time

    Roger Wade says:


    I’ve yet to make it to Bolivia, but I’d also worry that there won’t be enough to keep you entertained for that long. And also, I’m sure that it’s typical of pretty much every other Spanish-language country in the world in that very few people speak English.

    Since you’ve done Thailand and Indonesia before, I think your idea of Vietnam and Cambodia could be great. I did 4 months in Vietnam and 1 month in Cambodia, starting in late December, so I’ve literally done exactly what you have in mind. January and February are the best weather months (and most crowded), as it starts to become scorching by late March.

    Vietnam is interesting in that it’s very cheap, quite beautiful, and the food (with its French influence) is exceptional if you like that style in general. Yet almost no one goes back to Vietnam for a second time, unlike Thailand where many people go every year. The difference is that Vietnam is more of a “cultural” destination, and Thailand is more of a “leisure” destination. Vietnam has some nice beaches (Nha Trang most notably), but it is a bit more of a headache so it’s not the kind of place that people want to go back to every year. For example, when you walk down the street in Vietnam you are more likely to be solicited by mototaxi and taxi drivers and people selling sunglasses and fake watches and such than in the neighboring countries. It can be aggravating to some people.

    Also, when you want to book a bus or tour in Vietnam you usually do it in a local “travel agency” shop. And even though the prices are all very low and value is great, it feels like they are always trying to hustle you somehow. Since you’ve done Thailand and Indonesia you’ve experienced some of this already, and it’s just a bit worse in Vietnam. So as long as you keep those sorts of things in mind, and don’t let them get to you, then I think Vietnam is a fantastic choice. You could start in Hanoi (where it’s actually a bit cool in December) and do Halong Bay and then take the train down to Hue and Hoi An and Nha Trang and then perhaps Dalat on your way to Ho Chi Minh City. Then you can go through the Mekong Delta and head to Phnom Penh (which is just okay) on your way to Siem Reap (which is wonderful). You might even have time to get to Luang Prabang in Laos.

    As for any wildcards, you could do southern India including Kerala and Goa, and a few of the cities for a quick visit as well. Or you could do Sri Lanka, although 6 to 8 weeks might be a long time in a small country like that.

    Hopefully this gives you some ideas. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Joao says:


The Cape Verde Islands, namely the islands of Sal and Boavista, are becoming increasingly popular among European tourists. Cape Verde lies off the coast of west Africa, around 1000 kms to the south of the Canary Islands. It is inline with the Caribbean, on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean (African side). It has a tropical climate, ranging from desert in the eastern islands to semi-arid or green in the western islands.

Penny says:

I’m looking to meet my sister somewhere warm(ish) and affordable in January 2017 for a few weeks – she’s flying from London and I’m flying from Australia. We were thinking maybe northern Africa, but the Canary Islands have come up a few times too. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks 🙂

    Roger Wade says:


    Morocco is the only reliably safe country in northern Africa, but it’s still fairly cool (18C/65F highs) there in January. It’s a very interesting and affordable country, with plenty to see, though it’s not really a good place to hang out or meet up. In other words, if you want to explore Fez, Marrakech, or the Atlas Mountains, go to Morocco. But if you want to go to a warm and affordable beach for a family visit, the only good option in that region in January is the Canary Islands.

    Specifically, go to Tenerife, which is the largest and most English-friendly of the Canaries. January average highs are 20C/69F, and the beaches in the southwest corner of the island can be even a bit warmer. I spent almost a month in Tenerife earlier this year and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s cheap, easy, relaxed, friendly, and there are good accommodation options in all price ranges. On the other hand, there isn’t much to see aside from the dormant volcano, and it feels quite generic. In other words, if you are just looking for a nice place to go and you don’t care too much about top-notch sightseeing, Tenerife is perfect.

    You could also go to India, with Goa being the obvious choice for English speakers. It’s obviously much closer to you and still not too far from London. If that sounds more interesting, let me know and I’ll give you some more information. -Roger

Raf Alegre says:

Hi Roger,
First of all, congratulations with your great job and second, as a Peruvian myself, let me tell you (or remind you, in case you already know) of two wonderful backpackers’jewels in the Pacific coast: Máncora in the north coast of Perú, near Piura, and Montañita in Ecuador, not far from Guayaquil. Both awesome backpacking surfing paradises with street parties, lots going on and much cheaper prices than Lima for instance. I know many backpackers who has just remained months there, so it’s not a bad idea to include them in your list. Up to you. Good luck with the good work.

    Roger Wade says:


    Thank you for the suggestions. Those places sound really nice, and I’d actually not yet heard of either of them. They both sound more like backpacker destinations and I hope more people hear about them. The list above is more for mainstream tourists who are looking for a place to fly to in January. Your suggestions are probably best suited to people on longer trips who are looking to get out of the famous hot spots. I appreciate the comments. -Roger

Rita says:

Hi Roger, Ive been reading all your reviews and you really seem to know how to help people.
Im looking for a month long destination, somewhere warm and not busy with too many tourists. I do like to see some people though, coco beach in costa rica is what I like, but the beach is not great. Can you suggest something along those lines?

    Roger Wade says:


    Without knowing your starting point it’s a bit challenging to come up with suggestions. But since you mentioned Costa Rica I’ll assume you are in the US or Canada. For a one-month rental in January that is warm enough for beach-going, Florida is unreliable so you’ll have to go more south.

    My first thought is to consider Puerto Rico. I’m most familiar with the San Juan area, which is probably busier than you would prefer, but there are many other smaller beach towns all over the island that might work. One of the many great things about Puerto Rico is that the accommodation market there is mostly holiday homes and condos, which are rented out weekly, monthly, or longer. There are some areas with many hotels, but even in those it’s not like Cancun or something, where everyone is there for only a few days. The beaches along the north coast near San Juan are fantastic, by the way.

    Another good thing is that since it’s officially part of the US, it’s all well organized and rental cars are cheap. They also have good chain supermarkets and restaurants, along with some local ones, so it’s easy and convenient for visitors staying a week or more.

    You might also consider something near Playa del Carmen or Cozumel, speaking of Mexico, as those areas also have many rentals and are popular enough to have all the services. Of course there are other islands in the Caribbean that could work, though most of them are more challenging for first-time renters or quite expensive.

    Let me know if this helps at all, and I’ll provide more information if you need it. -Roger

Rosa A. says:

Hi Roger,

I loved your article and suggestions! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the Pacific side of Mexico including Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo. It’s been a while since I’ve been to PV, but found it affordable with good temps. Just haven’t been to the other places yet. I’d like to take my kids for a few days & just enjoy sand & sun. Travel would be from Chicago. Thanks in advance!

    Roger Wade says:


    Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorite destinations in Mexico, and you’ve reminded me that I should mention it more often. And fortunately, it seems to have avoided the problems that Acapulco and some other resorts have had. So I highly recommend it and I agree that it’s good value with a great climate. I haven’t been to Mazatlan is decades, and you don’t really hear much about it lately. I get the impression that it isn’t aging as well as PV and the area around there. And I’ve not been to Manzanillo, but I hear good things and it could be another great choice.

    The Caribbean resorts are much larger than the Pacific ones, which is why I mention them more often. But I’m a big fan of PV and I really should write more about it. Have a great trip. -Roger

Julia says:

Hi Roger
I hope you can help .
My boyfriend has placed a deposit on a holiday to Marbella in Jan .I’m concerned the weather won’t be hot enough.He can only manage a 2 hour flight from the Uk .
Should we go ahead with the booking or can you suggest elsewhere? Thank you .

    Roger Wade says:


    Unfortunately, the Costa del Sol is much too cool for sunbathing from November through April. In January the average high is 17C/62F and the average low is 7C/45F. So it’ll be warmer than here in the UK, but the beaches will be cold and windy. Your closest place with sort of warm weather in January is the Canary Islands. The southwest corner of Tenerife will have daytime temperatures around 21C or a bit above most days. It’s a 3 to 4 hour flight. Best of luck with this. -Roger

Dan P says:

Hi roger,

i am currently looking to find a good destination for 3 weeks (mid january to 7th of febuary). i am departing from montreal and have a budget of 3000 CAD (2250 USD). i have tought about Peru and south africa. We are 2 guys that like outdoors activities, hiking and beaches. What would be your suggestions ^

thank you

    Roger Wade says:

    Dan P,

    I think both of your ideas are really good. The beaches of Peru are not particularly nice as far as sand and services, but at least they do have some beaches. You could spend a week or more in the Cusco area, which is really fun on its own, as well as the staging area for all Machu Picchu visits. Late January is part of the rainy season there, but since you won’t be in a hurry you could work around it. In other words, any given day might be rainy, though in 3 weeks you might only get a few of those. Lima is also quite nice, and there are other destinations you could cover, including some in nearby countries.

    I’ve yet to make it to South Africa myself, but that might be even a better choice. People I know rave about it, and it’s got a great combination of outdoor activities and beaches and so forth. Value there is really good lately as well, so your money would go a long way.

    You might also consider Costa Rica and/or Panama, which both could fit your wish list nicely with good weather and value. You could even consider Argentina, which also offers what you seek. You’ve got plenty of great options. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Shannon says:

Hi roger, I need some advice please. I am traveling for a week in late January to early February with a 3 month old baby. I want some place warm enough to be comfortable for a baby to travel around outside with me but not necessarily beach weather. I live on a beach so I prefer to visit other types of destinations. I have been to a lot of the major European countries and cities. I really liked Scotland but was not prepared for the chill from Edinburgh up to the highlands. Somewhere warmer in the UK would be awesome. I have loved most places I’ve been to in France, excluding the southern portions like Nice, Montpellier, and Ames, etc. along that route to Spain. I like to have lots of good food, culture and beauty. My favorite places so far have been Barcelona for the food, Paris just because it was my dream destination as a kid, gruissan for the quiet beauty and non touristy vibe, Scotland for the uncommon green, scotch and friendly people and Ireland for the people and great beer, Wales near herefordshire for those reasons as well. I would be interested in both staying in one place for a week and road tripping a country or area. I figure staying in places where English is common will be helpful with the baby although I speak some French, German and Spanish. Also being near a hospital for emergencies. I have cheap tickets to Europe so while Asia may be a bit cheaper, the tickets are cheapest when traveling to large destinations in Europe or anywhere Ryanair and those airlines fly for cheap. Also it can’t be in the Americas because that’s where I live and the flight has to be transcontinental. Any suggestions?? Thanks!

    Roger Wade says:


    This is a tricky one. I’ll provide some comments in the order that the topics came up.

    The warmest part of the UK, at least in the winter, is Cornwall. It’s the southwest tip of the island. But it’s still pretty chilly that time of year, and not easy to visit without a car. Brighton is a beach town just south of London, and you could visit there without a car, but again, it’ll be chilly with short days that time of year.

    Based on everything else you’ve mentioned, I’d recommend southern Spain or Portugal. That time of the year it’s way too chilly to sunbathe in those places, but at least it’s warm enough that you don’t have to bundle up. English is fairly common along the southern coast of both countries. The best area would probably be the Costa del Sol in Spain, which is just a bit west of Malaga. There is a town called Torremolinos that could be a good base, or the more upscale town of Marbella a bit more west.

    From there you could enjoy the local food and culture, and perhaps take a train to Madrid and Toledo for some sightseeing.

    In Portugal you could base yourself in the Algarve region around Faro, or even in Lisbon, which has some of the best weather in Europe that time of year. Let me know if you have more questions and I’ll be happy to try to answer them. -Roger

Elizabeth says:

I’ve spent time in Goa, Pacific side of Costa Rica, Cambodia, Phuket and Bangkok. I wouldn’t spend time in Bangkok again on vacation. The Angkor Wat temples are amazing, Costa Rica I found most family friendly.

Is Mauritius a safe and or inexpensive place to go these days?

    Roger Wade says:


    I’ve yet to make it to Mauritius myself, but some friends of mine have been there and I believe it is relatively safe. Be careful of unofficial taxis and that sort of thing, of course.

    As for the costs, it appears to be one of those islands that has a very wide range of prices. The place is known for many luxurious resorts that cost as much as they do in Phuket or even Hawaii, but they also have many cheap hotels that start around US$30 per night. I’m sure food and drink are similar in that if you want something more than typical food eaten by locals, it will be pricey. Best of luck with your research. -Roger

      Stuart says:

      Hi Roger, Do you have any thoughts on Sri Lanka for early January? Also is there much to Goa outside of the beach? Thx

        Roger Wade says:


        Sri Lanka in January is ideal, as the temperatures are reasonable and there is very little rain (in most of the country).

        Goa, for better or worse, is mainly a place where people go to relax on or near the beach. There are very few really interesting attractions in the state, and only tiny numbers of foreign visitors even try. On one hand, it’s quite an interesting culture with the Portuguese connection. It’s one of the only places in India where you see pictures of Jesus Christ all over, and where beef is on most menus (even though cows do wander the main roads like in the rest of India). And it really is a beautiful place. It’s also very calm, unlike most of the rest of India. And there are the famous beach parties and DJs, mainly in the Vagator and Anjuna areas.

        Still, if you are looking for varied scenery and nature it’s probably better to go to Sri Lanka. Goa is a place where most visitors sit on the beach, often with a drink in their hand. Good luck with whatever you decide. -Roger

mike says:

Roger you were so accurate in describing Thailand as a good place to spend a month or more. When you compare price ,safety and the variety of sites that are worth visiting. I originally went for two weeks. When I arrived home I repacked and spent two months. I’d like to take another extended vacation and I would like see and meet local folks who show similar trust and hospitality. Usually a common language being a great divide. Is there anywhere in the world you can travel about where English isn’t their primary language but are hospitable and willing to help bridge the language gap in such a hassle free way.

    Roger Wade says:


    I’m always happy to hear that readers think I’m providing useful information. Your question in an interesting one. There are many countries where locals are very friendly and it’s easy to get by on English. Since you asked this question below an article that discusses cheap destinations with great weather in January, I’ll assume you want a place that’s affordable and warm then.

    Honestly, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are all fairly similar in that regard, although the infrastructure and conveniences are a bit more primitive. They are all a bit cheaper, however.

    Malaysia is also similar to Thailand, unsurprisingly, and in many ways it’s easier because English is widely spoken and much of the country is even more modern than Thailand. After spending many years traveling around Asia, Kuala Lumpur is my favorite big city, and I also highly recommend Georgetown on the island of Penang and Malacca down south.

    Another one to consider is the Philippines. Manila is not a city that you want to spend more than a couple days in, but there are dozens of other good places to visit and linger. Boracay Island is really wonderful and has kind of an old-school feeling. There are no really cheap hotels there, and not many apartments, so it might not be a great place to stay for weeks on end if you can’t afford at least US$60 per night for a hotel. English is also widely spoken in the Philippines, so it couldn’t be easier.

    In the Americas, Belize could fit what you are looking for. English is one of the official languages (it used to be called British Honduras), and it’s very laid back and easy going.

    Puerto Rico is another that could work. Most people speak Spanish, but in the San Juan area there are also many Americans who speak flawless English so it’s very easy to get along. Apartments in and near San Juan can be great value considering how nice the place is.

    Let me know if any of these sound interesting and I’ll be happy to expand on the info if you like. -Roger

Nancy says:

Hi Roger,
Since November I have been in Australia and New Zealand. I may have an opportunity to continue to travel to mid February before heading back to America.

Where would you recommend in the Southern Hemisphere (needs to be inexpensive since NZ/Australia expensive?

Thanks for any advice you can provide. PS: I am solo female traveler if that makes a difference on your recommendations.

    Roger Wade says:


    If it needs to be in the Southern Hemisphere then your choices are limited, but if it just needs to be warm you have far more choices. In the Southern Hemisphere the cheapest and easiest worthwhile places are in Indonesia. If you are in Australia you must know that Bali is the main stop, and it’s just a bit below the equator. There is a lot to like about the island, but it’s also overcrowded in most of the popular places. Kuta Beach is the most popular and crowded place, and it’s possible to stay there cheaply. You might start there and see how you like it.

    If you want a place in Bali that is nicer, more beautiful, and far less crowded (not to mention a bit cheaper) you could go to Lovina along the northern coast. It’s also worth stopping in Ubud on your way for a few days, even though it’s also crowded. You could also go to Lombok or the small Gili islands nearby by ferry.

    If you just want a warm place you could go elsewhere in southeast Asia. Thailand is the easiest, but Vietnam and Cambodia are cheaper. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Pia says:

Hi Roger – thanks so much for your generosity of time in answering personal questions, and providing great tips. I have traveled a lot and have 2 weeks to venture somewhere from Melbourne… we were thinking 2 weeks in Bali (I also wanted to incorporate 1 week fitness camp, but no one seems to run them then! Only in late Feb onwards)
Now I am thinking Argentina or Mexico (even tho I lose extra travel time), as I have never been to either.
I have been to Bali, Thailand, Vietnam already. Never to the Philipines – I have read so many conflicting reports on Boracay I feel unsure! Do you think 2 weeks in Boracay is going to be too much? I like a bit of action.
Thanks 🙂

    Roger Wade says:


    Sorry for the delay in responding. I was on a road trip.

    I spent 2 weeks on Boracay Island and if I wasn’t there doing research I would say it would be too long. It’s a lovely little island that is perfect for relaxing or some water sports, but there isn’t much else to do so it could feel a bit monotonous after the first week or so.

    I used to absolutely love Bali, but after spending a month there in early 2016 I find it harder to recommend. The island is just so crowded and overbuilt that I think it lacks the charm it used to have. I still like the town of Lovina on the north shore, and Ubud is nice for spa retreats and that sort of thing.

    If you can easily get to Argentina I think you’d love it. It’s a wonderful country with plenty to see and do, although it’s much easier if you speak at least some Spanish. With the economic troubles they’ve had there the currency is quite low so it’s great value at the moment. The same is mostly true of Mexico, including the language situation, but Mexico also has its many beach resort areas. Mexico City is underrated, though probably not a good place for a 2-week trip where you want to relax. I hope this helps and I’ll be happy to provide more information if you like. -Roger

Shereese says:

Greetings Roger,

First and foremost, I really appreciate the detailed precise information you share. It’s very informative! I’m headed to Cairo next week. I’m a bit skeptical, as a female traveler, but I’m also excited. I travel frequently, however, my first solo trip was to Chiang Mai last month. Thailand is very easy for me, as I’ve traveled there frequently. I went to Dubai last January, which was amazing, and believe it or not, quite affordable, . With Egypt, I don’t know if I would really enjoy myself outside of being with a Tour Group. The prices increase as a solo Traveler, which is a bummer. How was Cairo for you? I hear many stories especially when it comes to harassment for women. Do you have any pointers for solo traveling there? Like everywhere I go, I use good judgment and focus on safety. I really would like to enjoy myself over there. Thanks a bunch!


    Roger Wade says:


    Cairo is an interesting destination these days. The instability of the government over the last few years has scared most visitors away, even though there have been very few reports of actual problems. One result is that prices are incredibly low, but another result, according to reports, is that with fewer tourists the touts become even more aggressive.

    As far as the solo female traveler thing, I’d recommend you read about it on some travel blogs run by solo female travelers. There are plenty out there if you Google for them. I really couldn’t confidently give you advice about that.

    Even so, this might not be a good time to visit Cairo just as a solo traveler in general. When I was there 10 years ago it was also during a slow period for tourism, and the remaining tourists get so much attention from touts and sales people that it can be really annoying. On one hand, Cairo is one of the most amazing cities on earth, and the Great Pyramids are something that you should see in your life. But right now might not be the best time. Sorry I couldn’t help more on this, and let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Jason says:

Hi Roger,

Great recommendations! I’m in NYC and I’m looking to travel somewhere warm (70s-80s) for 2-3 weeks sometime in late January to mid-February. I like exploring the local outdoor scenery, enjoy bicycling, and love great food. I will be traveling solo so safety and decent infrastructure is important.

I aiming at a budget of $35/day. I was thinking of Vietnam (Ho Chi Min City), since I love the food and it seems to be a popular choice. One thing that I’m worried about is the Lunar New Year coming up in late January. I’ve heard that the country basically shuts down for 2 weeks. Any insight on this? I’ve also read that the pollution there is pretty bad. I like spending time outdoors, so is this something that would hamper my time there?

I know that you’re a fan of Thailand as well. I’ve been to Bangkok as a child, but it was a bit touristy from what I remember. Any other cities in Thailand you’d recommend this time of year?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks and have a great new year!

    Roger Wade says:


    On a budget of US$35 per day I think you are in the right area in Vietnam or perhaps Cambodia and Laos. Interestingly, I spent 4 months in Vietnam a few years ago, and I arrived not long before Tet (Lunar New Year), which I spent in Hanoi. The holiday is a HUGE deal, but with 2 to 3 weeks you can work around it. Basically, on Tet (January 28 in 2017), most things will be closed, although there will be enough restaurants for the tourists so no one will go hungry. Most locals who can will travel home to their village for a couple days, and some stay maybe 4 or 5 days. But by about the 3rd day after Tet, most things will be open again because tourism is a huge part of the economy and it’s high season.

    I’d highly recommend spending maybe 3 or 4 days in Ho Chi Minh City and then taking the train up to Denang to visit Hoi An for a few days and then up to Hanoi for a few days including Ha Long Bay. Vietnam has a lot of range with these cities and sights, and things tend to get a bit cheaper in the north. HCMC is also quite crowded and noisy. It was actually my least favorite stop in Vietnam, although I didn’t find it to be overly polluted. You might also head to Nha Trang for a few days on the beach.

    So as long as you plan your trip so you don’t need to take a train for a few days after Tet, you’ll be fine and you’ll love it. It’s actually very peaceful to be in a crowded city that goes quiet for a couple days before slowly ramping up again.

    Another option would be to start in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few days and then take a bus to the slow boat and then take that to Luang Prabang, Laos for a few more days. That is a very different and more mellow experience, which would also be quite cheap. Part of Bangkok are touristy and a big chunk of the city center (around Siam Square) is almost nothing but shopping malls, but most of it is really authentic and interesting. I’d highly recommend a few days in Bangkok if you were in the area. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Miri Cecilia says:

Hi, Roger.
I first want to say I really appreciate the effort you put into your advice and opinions. It is really helpful, thank you!
Me and my boyfriend would want to travel to somewhere warm/nice temperature in december 2017 or january 2018, for 5-6 days. We would really like if we could find something at max 1100$, flight + hotel/ 2 persons. We take into consideration beach destination/island, but a city to visit with wonderful culture would be nice too.
Egypt I saw that we could go around 1000 $ with tour package and flight. I saw that Tenerife woudnt be that warm in that period. Any other suggestions?
Thank you very much, once again!

    Roger Wade says:


    I’m always happy to hear that this is helpful. Since you didn’t mention your starting point and you used the $ symbol I’m going to assume you are in the US of A. Tenerife is warm for Europe, but probably not as warm as you are looking for. Egypt is indeed cheap once you get there, but many people are holding off visiting there for safety reasons.

    So if you are in the US and only have 5 or 6 days then I’d highly recommend Central America. Flying to Europe would take a day each way including all of the transfers and such, while you could get to Central America in 5 hours or so and have no jet lag.

    My top cultural pick that also has awesome beaches in the region is San Juan, Puerto Rico. The historic old city is gorgeous and has quite a few very interesting attractions along with great restaurants and nightlife. And the beaches just east of Old San Juan in the district of Condado are some of the best in the Caribbean. You could rent an apartment in the Condado area and enjoy the best of both worlds along with warm weather.

    The other pick would be Cartagena, Colombia, which is even cheaper once you get there. They also have a historic walled old colonial town that is very pretty and very interesting. The nearby beaches aren’t quite as nice, but they are nice enough for many people. Hopefully one or both of those sound interesting to you. If you have something else in mind, let me know and I’ll try again. -Roger

Lynn says:

Perhaps you would be so kind as to advise me. I want to travel alone(female, late 50) , would like warm, not hot destination, safe, and daily yoga classes, so a small city perhaps, would like to be able to walk and or take public transit. I’m thinking for a month in Jan 2018. Any suggestions. I only speak English, but have travelled Asia, Africa, carribean previously.



    In January you’ll find that most of the Caribbean would be considered warm rather than hot, although it can feel a bit hot in the late afternoon before cooling off at night. I’m no yoga expert, but I’d imagine that you can probably find a small and friendly yoga studio in many popular locations in the Caribbean. My first suggestion would be Playa del Carmen, which is just south of Cancun. It’s really a lovely small city where it would be easy to get by on English only and you’d have plenty of other English-speaking visitors and expats around you. It looks like there are a couple of yoga studios, but you’ll have to research that yourself to see if they look good. Playa del Carmen would also be one of the more affordable Caribbean towns for a month-long stay. In January if you want to go to, say, St. Maarten, you’d probably pay double or more.

    If that sounds too warm for you and you don’t mind going to an island south of Europe, you might consider Tenerife, which is the largest of the Canary Islands. It’s warm but not hot in December, and there are a few yoga studios in the popular Los Cristianos area. It’s very easy to get by on English only there, and apartment rentals there are quite inexpensive as well. I hope these suggestions help. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

bawa says:

hey i am planning for a 10 to 12 day trip with my wife and 3 year old kid in january we are from india and would love to visit some place with a tropical to cool weather what do u suggest …thanks



    I’m happy to try to help, but I’m a bit confused about your request for “tropical to cool weather.” Tropical and cool are opposites, and if you want both in the same destination you’ll have to go to mountain areas in the tropics. One example is the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, where it’s about 22C almost every afternoon of the year (and it rains quite a bit). If you go down that mountain it’s 31C almost every afternoon of the year.

    Please let me know more about what you are looking for and I will try to help. -Roger

Robin says:

Hi Roger
We are 5 travelling from Victoria, BC, Hamilton, Ontario, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Tampa, Florida. We want to book a timeshare Resort or accommodations with a kitchen, very close to the beach in January 2018. Water activities would be nice. We checked cruises and it would be $2,000 Canadian pp. I think we could find something alot less expensive by the beach, with shopping and restaurants near by for much less. Can you make any suggestions? Robin



    My top pick for a holiday rental like that near a Caribbean beach is San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s not the cheapest place in the Caribbean, but it’s very good value for the money and it’s surprisingly nice. There is a neighborhood called Condado that is close to the gorgeous Old San Juan colonial area, which has lovely sights and good culture as well. You can find good rentals closer to the airport as well, but they are farther from the culture and main sights.

    One reason I recommend San Juan for rentals is that it has large and pleasant neighborhoods along excellent sandy beaches that are mostly condos and apartments rather than just a strip of hotels. In other words, it’s more relaxed and residential, rather than very touristy. Since it’s part of the US, it’s also very safe and well organized (for the most part). Many people own condos there and rent them out most of the year, so there is a wide selection in various sizes. And speaking Spanish helps, but in the beachy tourist areas you can get by well with just English. That is not true of many other Caribbean islands.

    If for some reason that doesn’t sound good to you my next recommendation would be Playa del Carmen, which is just south of Cancun. Unlike Cancun, which is mainly just a strip of tall hotels on the beach, Playa del Carmen is a full tourist town with accommodations in many categories and limitless restaurant and shopping choices within a short walk of most of them. It’s probably a bit cheaper than San Juan, and the beach isn’t quite as nice. I really like both places, but Mexico can be a bit more edgy and unpredictable, so San Juan is a safer choice for most people. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Sudi says:

Hi Roger, love your work! I’m an Australian that graduates from college at the end of the year, I’ll have 2-3 months to travel (mid-Nov to end of Jan). I will most likely be solo backpacking but hope to meet people who I’ll travel with along the way. I would love to do some hiking, meet new people and eat good food. As long as it’s not snowing I don’t mind how cold it is but the idea of short days makes me want to steer away from Canada/Europe. I was thinking maybe South America? What I’m unsure about is: getting around, language barrier, ability to be flexible and the crowd I’d expect to meet while backpacking. Would you recommend South America/is there anywhere else you think may suit me more? I plan to budget about $8-10k for the 2.5 months. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks 🙂 Sudi



    Thank you. I agree about staying away from northern latitudes that time of year. Even if you find decent weather, the short days still make it less enjoyable, just as you say.

    South America would work for you, but since you are in Australia the natural place to go would be southeast Asia. Unless you’ve explored that area extensively already, that is where I would go, and it’s literally the perfect time of year for the best (non-scorching and mostly dry) weather. Since it’s near the equator the days are almost 12 hours of sunlight all year round, so that works as well.

    The weather in most of South America is good because it’s summer in the south and always the same in the Tropics. The most challenging things about South America are pretty much exactly what you mentioned. First off, English isn’t widely spoken in any of the Spanish-speaking countries, and Brazil is only a bit better. It can be frustrating and even a bit lonely because even a majority of the other tourists you’ll meet are Spanish speakers. That said, I speak almost no Spanish and I’ve been to all of the main places and enjoyed them all. As far as getting around, you can get cheap flights between most of the major cities, but backpackers usually end up on long-distance overnight buses. These can vary in quality, but you can get almost anywhere without much hardship. If that part of the world really inspires you I’m sure you’d have the time of your life. But if you are not terribly inspired by Latin America at this point in your life, it may not be ideal.

    I know most Aussies go to Bali, but in those months you really want to focus on Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. You can also go to Myanmar if you want to, as well as Malaysia and Singapore, which get progressively more expensive. Mid November is the tail end of the rainy season, but you should be able to avoid it almost completely if you choose your starting location wisely. Have a look at my article on cheap places in November, and the best Asia destinations in November for weather info and seasonal advice.

    Bangkok is probably the best starting point and general transit hub, and it is dry enough in mid November for it to be very pleasant. It’s very easy to get around southeast Asia on trains (in Thailand and Malaysia) and buses in the other countries. And you’ll meet thousands of other young backpackers from all over the world, almost all of whom speak English. Not all of the locals in those countries speak English, but the ones you’ll encounter in hotels, bars, restaurants, and attractions will speak enough English to do their jobs.

    You could also go to India, which mostly has very nice weather that time of year. It’s very intense though and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it until you’ve grown tired of easier places. I’m happy to help with more advice if you need it. I love these kinds of longer trips so I envy you. -Roger

Sudi says:

Thanks so much Roger, very helpful advice! Sorry I forgot to mention that I have done most of southeast Asia. I really loved it and will definitely go back at some stage.

I think I’m fairly set on South America now, it’s good to hear that you were able to enjoy your time there despite not knowing the language. I plan to visit Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. How do you think I should distribute my 10 weeks across each country (roughly)? And do you believe it’d be better for me to travel north to south or south to north?

Appreciate your advice 🙂 Sudi



    That makes sense about Southeast Asia. With 10 weeks you’ll have more than enough time to visit all of the top sights in all four of those countries. I’d probably just wing it and stay in each place until I’m ready to leave. You’ll be able to get comfortable bus service between all of your stops, with longer city pairs usually connected by overnight buses with sleeper seats. Since you’ll be there during the warmest months, you might want to avoid the large cities close to sea level in January, as it can be hot and uncomfortable. You’ll also have to work around the Christmas season, which is popular for locals and foreign tourists. I think I would start in Argentina, which feels quite like Europe, and then go to Chile and up through Bolivia and into Peru. Check the rainy season in each place, of course, but I think you’ll be mostly dry in those months.

    Buenos Aires feels very modern, and Santiago is very modern as well. Aside from those, most of the rest of your trip will feel more like South America in that things will be cheaper and more exotic to you. Also, if you get those large and (relatively) expensive cities out of the way early, it will be fun because everything else will feel so cheap. If you do it the other way around it can feel scary when prices have doubled in a new place. I hope this helps. -Roger

Sudi says:

Very logical Roger, you’ve been a great help! I think I’m feeling confident enough to book flights now, thanks again so much for taking your time to answer my questions. I’ll be sure to let you know how I go! 🙂


Melissa says:

Hi Roger,
We are a 50-something couple of experienced US travelers who are looking to take advantage of my Platnum status on AA before it ends in Jan 2018. We are looking for a 1-2 week vacation that we can arrange ourselves, somewhere with lots to see, at least some English spoken, with either good roads to drive or a good transportation system to get around, and that’s safe to visit. We aren’t lay-on-the-beach people, though being by the water is always lovely. We love natural settings, interesting cultural places, and beautiful scenery. To give you an idea of some of the trips we’ve been: England, Belize/Guatemala (tour), Italy, France/Belgium, Western Med cruise, Israel (tour), New Zealand, China/HK (tour), Canada. Some of the places on our bucket list include: Italy (several areas), France (several areas), Switzerland/Austria, Dalmatian Coast, Istanbul, Greek Islands, Machu Picchu, African safari, India (husband wants to see Taj Mahal!), Petra, Great Pyramids, Iceland, South Pacific islands, back to NZ, and more. As you can see, we love to travel and are pretty open. Given all of this way-too-long post, where would you spend 1-2 weeks in January? Unless it’s an exceptional destination, we’d prefer to keep the trip under $4K if possible.

As an aside, your job is what I’d love to do when I grow up. 😉

Thanks in advance.



    That is a lot to consider, but I think I know what you mean. The main challenge is that most of the places on your bucket list are not good choices in January. Even southern Europe is quite chilly that month and the days are pretty short as well. You could do Spain and Portugal either by train or rented car, but I think you’d be happier elsewhere.

    With all that you mention my first thought is Argentina, which of course has summer in January. English isn’t as widely spoken as you might prefer, but it’s still pretty easy to get by. I speak almost no Spanish and I loved the month I spent there. Buenos Aires is a really nice and fun city, and there is also the Mendoza wine region and the sensational Iguazu Falls. It’s probably best to fly between these places, and fares should be pretty cheap if you buy early.

    South Africa could also work. I’ve yet to make it there myself, but I think it has all you want plus nearly everyone speaks English. You could even do a safari for part of your time and stay in Cape Town the rest of your time. It’s pretty affordable once you get there as well. New Zealand again could also be great. It’s a tough month for cultural trips because the north is cold and dark. Hopefully one of those ideas at least gives you something to think about. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Brooke says:

Hi Roger,
Very helpful info, thank you! My friend and I are trying to plan a trip for January (27th-Feb4). She’d be flying from LAX on Delta and I’d be flying from IAD on whatever is cheapest. We’re both spanish speakers and Peru has been on my bucket list, but I’m wondering if we can squeeze in Chile as well? And how easy is it to fly between the two once we’re down there? Or should we scratch that and try for another time when we have more time?
I really appreciate your help… thank you!



    This is kind of a tough call. If you want to do Machu Picchu and Cusco in addition to Peru, I think I’d keep it to just one country. If you have 8 or 9 days I think it would be too much of a rush to also fit in even 3 days in Santiago or Valparaiso. You’ll want to spend at least 3 or 4 days in Cusco, even if you do Machu Picchu just as a day trip. It’s a really nice town with plenty of things to see and do nearby.

    Flights between the major cities (including Cusco) are pretty cheap in South America, especially if you buy well in advance. So I really think you should save Chile for another trip. -Roger

Paulette says:

Hi Roger
Thank you for your valuable travel insight. I have read thru most of them and they are all very interesting. My husband and I are busy business people but have set aside the month of January 2018 to go somewhere. We will be traveling from Kelowna, BC and I am wondering where we might go that would have good weather, be safe and give us both some adventure but also some time to be on the beach and relax on those days that we want to just hang around. We have done most of Mexico coats (Pacific and Atlantic), have been to Panama, Cuba and lived in the Bahamas for 6 months, and spent 3 weeks in Vietnam in 2016. We did a Mediterrean cruise 10 years ago in May and so I would like to find a place that we can book thru Airbnb that would give us both fun, adventure but also some time to relax. I have read that you suggest that Buenos Aires is a good place and maybe Mendoza…our budget is probably $100 US daily so wonder if you have any suggestions for a month’s stay. When we went to Vietnam, we had booked thru a Vietnam agency private car, private tours and they had booked all our hotels. Everything was faultless and we just loved it…not sure we have to go the same route but definitely having a planned idea of our trip would be helpful. Hope you have suggestions (we are in our mid 50’s but extremely fit)…thanking you in advance, Paulette



    Yes, I think Argentina is probably the best choice based on everything you’ve mentioned. And I’m not sure if the US$100 per day is each or for both of you, but either way I think Argentina could work because it’s unusually cheap these days due to their economic problems. You’ll get great summer weather in January, and you’ve got so many great choices once you get there. Buenos Aires is a wonderful city that feels far more like Europe than it does Latin America. Mendoza is a very good option, but you should also try to get to the Iguazu Falls while you are there. And of course there is the Bariloche area in the mountains for something very different.

    It helps if you speak Spanish, although I barely speak any and I had an amazing month in Argentina myself. The food is another major highlight, especially if you love meat, but even those who don’t are impressed with what is on offer. If you click around on airbnb to see what kind of places you can get for your budget, I think you’ll be happy with it. Of course there are other places in South and Central America, and some are even cheaper. Argentina is very well organized and pretty easy to travel in though, so it is my top suggestion. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Paulette says:

Thank you Roger. I will look into it for sure. I am going to check on air travel as I know my hubby isn’t keen on long travel, but we have a month to rest after the flight so it shouldn’t be a problem. Thank you for all the great suggestions…would you recommend staying in one city the whole time and then travel from there or stay for a couple weeks one place and another couple weeks somewhere else…thank you again



    When I spent a month in Argentina I used Buenos Aires as a base and did short trips from there. You can get fairly cheap nonstop flights from BA to everywhere else, of course. But one reason I did that was I was sort of improvising and planning one trip at a time. I think you should look at the flight options and see if you can easily get between the places you want to go. You might still have to change planes in BA, but overall that would be more efficient than having to go back and forth to the airport over and over. Buenos Aires has a small airport close to the city center for domestic flights, and if you can use that one it’s much easier. Have a great trip. -Roger

Paulette says:

Gracias Roger

alexandria says:

Hi Roger. Thanks for this list. Would you recommend Morocco in mid January? Looking for exotic and warm. We’ve been to many places in the Americas… not so sure about the Asian countries, but might consider it.



    Morocco in January is a far better option than anything in continental Europe and most of that region, but it is probably colder than you are hoping for and you’d need a jacket or sweater every day, at least in the major tourist cities.

    I’ve literally spent years in Asia in almost every tourist country and I feel like I know it quite well. If you haven’t been there yet I think Thailand is the ideal starting point. And January is literally the best time of year to visit. Bangkok is quite an easy city to visit and almost everyone a tourist encounters will speak at least a little English. The tourist infrastructure (flights, comfortable buses, trains, ferries) is very modern and easy to book and use for English speakers. And believe it or not, there is literally a 7-Eleven within about a 3-minute walk of wherever you’ll be. I’d recommend maybe 3 nights in Bangkok and then a flight to one of the islands, which are even more English oriented. Phuket is the largest with the most choices, but many people prefer Ko Samui or Ko Phi Phi or Ko Pha Ngan. All of Thailand will feel very exotic to you and the food is amazing (especially if you like spicy).

    That is my first recommendation, but if that doesn’t sound good I could come up with more. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Michelle Feiglin says:

Hi, looking for a week’s holiday in Jan close to London or Israel where we are with family. Suggestions so far are Crete, Corfu, Spain and Gibraltar. We want to see something new and escape the cold of UK



    I can understand wanting to escape the UK that time of year. The problem is that while all of those places you mentioned will be warmer, none of them will be even close to “beach weather.” For that you’d have to go to the Canary Islands or other places on the list in the article above.

    As long as you don’t need beach weather then any of your ideas could be good. That said, I don’t think I’d recommend a Greek Island in January. The smaller Greek islands actually close from November through late April, and the larger ones are mostly down to the year-round residents without many tourist services.

    The Malaga area in Spain has fairly nice January weather and you should be able to find an area that is more lively with other guests around. And Malaga itself is quite an interesting city that is worth some time as well. I haven’t made it to Gibraltar myself, but I know it’s tiny. At least during the warmer months you can do day trips by bus to Gibraltar from the main towns in the Costa del Sol. Again, if you don’t need beach weather that should be a great choice. The Algarve in Portugal is another possible choice, although I don’t know how it is in the off season like that.

    For something closer to Israel it’s also a challenge because pretty much all Mediterranean beach resort towns are similar in that they get extremely quiet in the winter. The obvious nearby choice is Dubai, and it’ll be warmer there than Spain. It’s an unusual place compared to Med islands and such, but at least you can get fairly cheap hotel or apartment rental rates there. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Michelle Feiglin says:

Hi Roger,
Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I’ll look into Costa Del Sol and Algarve, I didn’t know anything about those places. Beach isn’t priority, just somewhere interested and scenic,
Thanks again for providing this information

mona coffield says:

Dear Roger,
I just found you—and as I have perused the questions I am struck by your willingness to freely share you wisdom.Thank you. I would like to plan a trip in January for my adult daughter, my future daughter-in-law and myself.I want to provide some breathing and bonding time for us before the business of the wedding. We live in Florida, so have no desire for hot, sandy beaches.I would prefer somewhere temperate so that 1/2 of our budget will not be spent on winter clothing (we have none!)The trip could be anywhere from 3 days to a week, we love beauty, live near an international airport, and have $4000 or so to spend. Could you suggest something? My daughter is fluent in Spanish, if that helps. Thank you so much.



    Hmmm…this is a slightly tricky one. Three to 7 days is a pretty short trip so you probably wouldn’t want to take a long enough flight to get to Buenos Aires or Spain, and those flights would eat up more than half your budget as well. If those sound appealing then I highly recommend both of those options, especially with a Spanish speaker on board. I can help you more if you want.

    Another tricky thing is that starting from Florida, all of the closer options are either at least a bit cold, or they are tropical. I lived in Miami a couple years ago and I know what you mean about not wanting to go to another sunny beach area. The one place that might be perfect is Mexico City. If you haven’t been there you might assume that it’s polluted or not a nice place, but it’s actually really lovely. The whole city center area, which is huge, is very nice and at least as safe as a US city. And the average high in January is 71F with a low of 54F. It can rain a bit that time of year, but aside from that it could be ideal and it’s usually easy to avoid the rain.

    The only other options I can think of that are close enough and not too cold are Savannah, Georgia, and New Orleans. Both of those are wonderful towns for a shorter trip, and it’s very possible you’ve been to one or both. Let me know if you have any questions about any of this. -Roger

Candice says:

Hello I am looking to take my daughter on a trip. She is 19 and has never been out of the US. I have only been to Cancun. We are on a budget. Don’t have to stay in a high priced hotel just safe and clean. Her birthday is Jan 4th so I am looking for something close to that time from or a little after. She’s in college and I have read where she can get a student discount on museums and such. I want to see as much as possible in 7 days. I was also told that if I got Iceland air or something I could call them and ask to stay over a couple night then head to my destination.




    I’ll be happy to help, but I’ll need more information on the sort of place you are interested in. You mention Iceland Air, and they have long had a program where they allow a “free” stopover in Reykjavik between North America and Europe. However, Iceland is just below the Arctic Circle so in early January the sun barely comes up at all. It’s a popular place to see the Northern Lights, but that is a very specific kind of trip. It sounds like you are thinking about going to Europe. If so you might find my list of best Europe destinations in January to be more useful, as it shows weather averages and discusses a bit about what to expect in winter.

    If you were thinking about the Caribbean or Central America, let me know more about that and I’ll try to help more. -Roger

mona coffield says:

Hi Roger,
Thank you for your earlier response. After considering your words, I have decided that Cold is fine, we will take 8 days (must be Jan.13-20), and we can spend more money. We do not mind a full day or travel to and from the destination. I would really like somewhere with historical sites and natural beauty. I have been considering Ireland, but from what I read, the weather/hours of sunlight during that time would not allow us a great deal of time to be outdoors. I am considering Iceland and Ecuador(i have contacts there). I think that what I am really looking for is an experience that might be unique to the location—be it a breathtaking hike, traveling by donkeys, or whatever. I wonder if you just shake your head when you receive questions like this–someone asking for the world in 7 days at a reasonable price. All of your advice is deeply appreciated.



    That is funny and appreciated, but I’m used to people looking for something great, cheap, and quick. This does expand your options quite a bit. Still, I really wouldn’t recommend Iceland in mid January because, as you mentioned, it’s quite cold and you get very little daylight to work with. Iceland might be the most beautiful landscape in the world (or close to it), so it would be a shame to visit when the sun is only partially up from 10am to 3pm.

    Ireland is actually somewhat similar in that it’s a very beautiful, lush, and green island that is way north of the equator. Again, the main joy of visiting Ireland is to rent a car and drive through the small villages and castles, or do something similar by train. The January weather there is pretty harsh, and the days are short as well. It’s just not a good time for a first visit there.

    Ecuador is one of the South American countries that I’ve yet to visit myself, so I won’t be of much help. At least the weather would be fairly good and they get about 12 hours of sunlight every day of the year. If your local connections there make it sound appealing then I think it could be a great choice. It’s not one of the first South American countries that most people visit, so that could be a feather in your cap as well.

    If you are willing to fly to Europe, then you have many very good choices. Spain and Italy are far enough south that the weather in January is actually nice enough to enjoy the outdoors most days. Have a look at my article about the best Europe destinations in January, and hopefully you can find one or more places that sound interesting. I’m happy to help more if you have more questions. -Roger

Jennifer says:

hi Roger,

i’m planning a trip 1/28-2/6/18 or 2/11-2/20/18 to somewhere warm. i do love the beach but spending all day in the sand isn’t ideal, so something that has some culture would be good. i was hoping to not fly more than 20hrs to a destination. i wanted Thailand but it’s about 42hours to get there… blech. budget is about 3k with hotel. what do you think? solo traveler

i forgot to mention, coming from the Pacific NW



    I just checked flights on your first dates from Portland to Bangkok and I saw flight durations of around 22 hours for US$843 return, changing in Seattle and Taipei. If you could start in Seattle it would obviously be a bit faster. If you are starting in a much smaller airport such as Eugene or Spokane you might be right about those ridiculous flying times. But if you could start at PDX or SEA I think you might still find something that works. And if you did I think Thailand would be ideal for what you have in mind. It’s a great destination for a solo traveler because there are so many other solo folks in Bangkok and on the islands.

    If that doesn’t work I think Costa Rica could be a good option. It’s got plenty of beaches and also loads of adventure like zip lines and jungle tours and whatnot. It doesn’t have much “culture” on display though, as nearly everyone there is there for the beaches and adventures and volcanos and what have you.

    One option that might work that also has some culture is the Playa del Carmen area, which is just south of Cancun. Playa del Carmen is a lovely tourist town with hundreds of small hotels and bars and restaurants and such, but there are also the Tulum ruins nearby and the Chichen Itza (much larger) ruins close enough to be a very popular day trip.

    Another option would be Argentina. You could fly into Buenos Aires and spend a few days there and then perhaps fly to the Mendoza wine region or see the amazing Iguazu Falls or head to the mountain town of Bariloche. You wouldn’t get much beach time on that trip, but at least it would be warm and a lot of great culture and sights. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help. -Roger

Chris says:

Hi Roger, thanks for all of the info here. My spouse and I want to go somewhere warm with some beach time, nature trips especially birds and some history I.e. Colonial towns or ancient ruins. We have 2 weeks starting January 20th and are having a hard time deciding between Mexico and Colombia. We’s like to stick to $5000 budget for the two of us and will be flying out of Toronto, Ontario. We are also concerned about personal safety. What recommendations do you have? Thanks so much.



    Those are both great choices, but on the personal safety front, you’ll want to do some research. Last June the US State Department issued a travel warning for Colombia, although it’s primarily recommending avoiding independent travel on certain highways. Cartegena is a wonderful city with a historic walled city at its core, but it’s too small to spend two weeks there and one of the potentially dangerous highways is one leading north along the coast from there. Long story short, I still think Cartagena itself is safe, but I’m not sure I’d do a longer trip in Colombia at the moment.

    Mexico, of course, also has its problems and a US State Department travel warning of its own. However, most of Mexico isn’t under a general warning, including Mexico City being declared safe. The Cancun area says there have been more murders lately, but travelers aren’t targeted and I’m sure many large US cities are far worse. Personally, I’d have no problem going to the Cancun area or Mexico City at the moment, partly because you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of other tourists all the time.

    Another one to consider is actually Puerto Rico. While it’s true that rural parts of the island are still struggling and without power in some cases, the San Juan area seems to be mostly open for business, and by late January things should be even better. The colonial Old San Juan area is the nicest and most interesting colonial town in the region, and the beaches right in San Juan are some of the best “urban” beaches in the Caribbean. I could understand anyone who wants to wait longer to consider Puerto Rico, but I would look into it and you might even get a good deal. You could rent a car and visit the nearby rain-forest and some other towns where things are up and running, and help the island out a bit in the process.

    Panama City has a small colonial town near its center, but it’s not very interesting. Antigua, Guatemala is a lovely place and that area is generally safe with quite a bit to see and do. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Chris says:

Thank you for the detailed reply Roger. We are concerned about the earthquake damage in Mexico City and surrounding areas. Do you think this would significantly affect our trip? I would love to see the Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico. We went to Panama in 2016 and I’m thinking Colombia may be similar except with more safety concerns. We will check out Antigua, Guatemala and we’re also looking into Lisbon, Portugal. We’re having a very hard time deciding where to go for this holiday!



    My understanding is that the earthquake in Mexico City had very localized effects and that 99% of the central area is still just fine. But you might want to check elsewhere before you book. I really do like Mexico City a lot, although it’s yet another one where speaking at least some Spanish really helps.

    Lisbon would be a great choice, and Portugal in general is the most affordable country in western Europe. It’s way too cold for sunbathing, but it’s pretty mild compared to the rest of Europe. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Mayank Agarwal says:

Hey Roger,

I want to start by saying that you’re doing a fantastic job here, replying to personalised information requests with such interest. So good to see that.

I’m from India. Me and my buddy are looking for a mini vacation, about a week long, mid-Jan. After much ado, we settled on beaches (for a couple days). My initial choice was Boracay, but we just heard that it’s flooded, and the conditions arent likely to improve. Any thoughts? Also, we’re tired of Goa 😛 So, that is out. Please suggest something. We’re running on a total budget of about INR 75k.



    Thank you. I’ve read about the Boracay flooding and I’d be surprised if it was still an issue a month from now. But I also understand why a first-time visitor would not want to book a trip there until they knew it was back to normal.

    I’d recommend Thailand as your best affordable option within a reasonable flying distance from India. Phuket, as you may know, is the largest island and it has its own busy international airport so it’s the easiest beach area to fly into. Patong Beach is the largest beach town by far and it’s very crowded, which some people enjoy and others don’t. Patong Beach is also the home of most of Phuket’s “adult nightlife” as well as most of its shopping. My favorite beaches are Karon and Kata, which are both just a bit south of Patong Beach and far less crowded but still fun.

    The other option would be to fly into Bangkok and maybe spend 2 or 3 days there before flying on to one of the smaller islands. Bangkok is really fun and I can give you more advice for that if you need it. The most popular smaller islands are Ko Samui, Ko Pha Gnan and Ko Phi Phi. Especially in January, each of those places (including Phuket) has a real party atmosphere, but there are also some reasonably secluded beaches as well.

    Other nearby countries also have some decent beaches, but Thailand has the most choices and it also has by far the best tourist infrastructure in the area. In other words, the hotels are generally in good condition, it’s easy to get around speaking only English, and the locals you deal with are generally quite honest. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Dianne says:

Any recommendations for Late February that may offer fishing as an option?



    I’m not a fishing expert, but I do remember that resorts in the Dominican Republic (specifically Punta Cana) offer daily fishing expeditions. And I just now see online that the DR is one of the best Caribbean islands for deep sea and game fishing. The February weather there should be perfect as well. I think most places in the Caribbean offer some kind of fishing, as long as you are staying in a larger place or in a smaller town with outfitters there. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. -Roger

Ella says:

Hey, you are indeed doing an incredible job! I wondered if you had any advice for me and my boyfriend. We are travelling to someplace warm in december-january and plannng to stay there for about turer weeks. We are both very active and enjoy sports like tennis, golf, hiking, surfing, yoga and swimming. We are also interested in tasting new food and experiencing new cultures. But most of all it needs to be warm and dry (we are travelling from the rainiest city of Norway). We are not too worried about airfares as everything is pretty expensive, coming from Norway…

Looking forward to your answer!
Best wishes, Magnus & Ella


    Magnus and Ella,

    As you may know, the only warm part of “Europe” that time of the year is the Canary Islands, and it’s not all that warm in those months. I would go to Thailand if you haven’t been there yet. You could first fly into Bangkok and spend at least 3 days or so there enjoying the amazing city and culture and so forth, and then fly down to one of the islands for the balance of your time. That is the perfect time of year there with warm and dry weather that isn’t so hot. Phuket is the largest and most popular island, but it’s probably better for families or groups of single people. For a couple you might instead want to go to one of the other islands such as Kho Phi Phi or Kho Samui or Kho Phan gnan. You’ll be able to find a good mix of water sports and land activities plus affordable spa treatments and really good restaurants. I hope this is the sort of thing you are looking for. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thailand really does stand out in that area for those kinds of holidays. If you wanted to go elsewhere you could try Costa Rica. -Roger

Debbie Wickenhauser says:

Hi Roger,
Great website, I was wondering if you had spent any time in Penang, Malaysia. My husband and I are looking for somewhere different to venture to for my 50th birthday. We enjoy the all inclusive resorts in Jamaica, Mexico etc. but were wanting to try something totally “unexpected” for us for this next trip. Any ideas?




    Yes, I’ve spent time on Penang and I like it quite a bit. The main town is George Town and it’s a fun place with excellent food. Many people who go to Penang prefer to stay at a beach hotel and some of those have pretty nice beaches. Most of Penang is pretty modern except for the colonial center of George Town, so you get a bit of both there. I’m not sure if they have all-inclusive resorts there, and even if they did you probably wouldn’t want to stay at one. The food is already quite cheap in normal restaurants and it’s considered the best food area in Malaysia, so you’ll want to try different things at different places.

    The alcohol in Malaysia is a bit expensive though, although in stores it’s pretty cheap so you can always have a drink or two in your room to save a bit of money. You might also consider spending 2 or 3 days in Kuala Lumpur, which is actually my favorite city in Asia and I’ve been there many times. It’s a really interesting mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and it’s quite affordable for what you get. Hotels can be great bargains. I’m not sure if this helps but I’m happy to answer other questions if you have them. -Roger

Khushboo says:

Hi roger ,
You are doing a great job ! If you could help me too!! I would be traveling from India and planning a trip with 3 couples and a few friends, in late January for 10-12 days !! How, if we do both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico ??



    I’m happy to try to help. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are two of my favorite places in the Caribbean and they are very different in many ways. Visiting both of them for 5 or 6 days should be great. Most likely you’d have to change planes in Texas going between them, and you might have to change in Florida as well. I’m not sure what else you are needing help with, so feel free to ask specific questions if you have them. -Roger

Trudy says:

Hi Roger
I’m located in Las Vegas and am looking for a warm weather trip in January with a flight less than 6 hours. I prefer something not in Mexico. I will be gone 5 days ideally, so I don’t want to spend most of the trip in the air.



    I totally agree that for a 5-day trip you don’t want to take really long flights because it can eat up too much of your actual vacation time. The challenge is, and I suspect you may know this already, that Mexico is really the only warm-weather place you can reach in under 6 hours from Las Vegas. I just checked Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Belize City, and Panama City, and all of them are 7 to 10 hours each way from McCarran. The only place that is close is Honolulu, which takes 6.5 hours going and only 5.5 hours coming back on nonstop flights.

    Keeping within the 6 hours each way your top choices, as you probably know, are Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, both of which are lovely and safe. Sorry there aren’t more options for you. -Roger

Roxanne Vondrachek says:

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My husband and I will be leaving the US for wherever mid January. We travel light so do not want cold weather, although we understand layering when needed. We want to do Air BNB etc. Have traveled quite a bit on our own. Where would you suggest? We will leave the US mid Jan and return to the states in April. Thank you!



    It’s hard to make a recommendation without knowing where you’ve been and the type of place you are looking for (beach, city, mountains, natural sights etc?), but that time of year (especially if you want to avoid cold weather) I’d seriously consider Southeast Asia. Bangkok is the main hub and the easiest place to get started, although Kuala Lumpur is another option. That time of year the weather is perfect in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Laos. Those areas are also quite inexpensive so you can often afford really nice hotels instead of simple airbnbs, although those are possible as well.

    The other best option that time of year would be Central America and parts of South America. Costa Rica is the best hub in Central America to get started, and Buenos Aires would be a great option in South America, especially if you speak some Spanish. The weather should be really nice that whole time. I’m happy to help with more details if you need them. -Roger

Gabrielle Chenault says:

Hello Roger,

I’m so glad I came across your site. Can you provide any recommendations for a single woman looking to travel for 2-3 weeks on a spiritual journey. I’m interested in a retreat type trip beginning in early January. I love both the mountain and the sea, so either would do. I would like warm weather. This is for my 50th birthday. The goal is to slow down, reflect, get centered and reconnect with myself. Cost matters, so I need something economical.




    For a spiritual journey with warm weather in January that is on the affordable side you’ve got two great choices. They are India and Bali. If you have read Eat, Pray, Love (or seen the movie) you’ll know that India was the “pray” part of the story and Bali was the “love” part. Both are warm and quite cheap, and both are famous for spiritual tourism. India is extremely overwhelming to first-time visitors, but you can minimize the challenge if you spend as little time in the larger cities as possible. Mumbai and Delhi and Chennai and so forth are all insanely crowded, so it’s best to fly into one of them and then immediately take a train or fly into a smaller place and stay there. There are ashrams all over India that are tourist-friendly and will be filled with people doing things similar to what you have in mind. There is a charming small town on the east coast called Puducherry, which used to be run by the French and is more famously called Pondicherry, and that is a place to consider.

    As for Bali the main spiritual center is a town called Ubud, which is also where the Eat, Pray, Love woman stayed and it’s quite nice, although quite crowded and touristy as well. If you Google ‘Bali spiritual trip’ or things like that I’m sure you’ll find some options and most will probably be in or near Ubud. That should at least get you started. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Donna says:

Hi! Been taking your suggestions for a few years now! I am a 52 ur old single mom who is always traveling with my daughter, 9yrs old.

Trying to decide between Cambodia (Phnom Penh- Island then Siem Rep to finish), Thailand (Chiang Mai, Phuket or Krabi) or Vietnam (not sure where but North looks interesting).

I find it best to stay in one place at least three nights before moving on. We like to include biking and hiking on our journeys!

What do you think?



    It’s flattering to hear that you use my advice and keep coming back. It’s good to hear from you again, and I also agree about staying 3 nights in almost any place you go.

    This is an interesting question. Personally, I find Phnom Penh to be a bit dull compared to most of the others. But Siem Reap is really nice (and pleasantly mellow), with Angkor Wat being by far the most impressive single sight anywhere in the region. You could actually combine Siem Reap with a Thai island pretty easily, so that’s something to consider.

    Chiang Mai is nice, amazingly cheap, and good for hiking and activities outside of town, but to be honest the city center is kind of charmless except for the many similar temples all over the place. So it’s good for backpackers and adventurers, which may work for you. Phuket (I’ve spent a lot of time there) is lined with lovely beaches and it’s huge, but honestly it’s pretty much a generic vacation factory. In other words, if you want a warm place to relax and sit on the beach and have some nice meals and drinks, Phuket is ideal. But if you want to explore your surroundings it’s rather dull.

    I haven’t been to Krabi, but it’s smaller and I’ve heard good things about it. I’ve been to Ko Samui, which is nice, and nearby Ko Phan Gan is another to consider.

    Vietnam might be the best choice of these. Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north are wonderful, and Hoi An in the center is really lovely, while Saigon in the south is very busy although most people really love it. I spent 4 months in Vietnam and Hoi An was my favorite stop with Saigon one of my least favorite, but you have to go to Saigon for sure and there is a lot to see.

    The one tricky thing about Vietnam is that (probably because it used to be communist) you’ll encounter some travel agents (to book local tours and bus and train rides etc) that aren’t as honest as they are in the neighboring countries. And taxi drivers are also a little harder to trust in that they are known to overcharge Westerners (not dangerous though). As long as you know this before you get there you’ll have an amazing time and find dealing with it pretty easy. You’ll be able to book tours (including Halong Bay) and bus rides and train rides through the front desk at your hotel and you can trust them (plus they appreciate the business). And they can arrange taxi rides and transport for you as well. That way you can ignore the people trying to take advantage of you and you’ll be fine (and they are used to being ignored). Honestly I love Vietnam and the food and the people are fantastic as long as you are a bit careful when booking things.

    I’m happy to help if you have any other questions. -Roger

James R. Ernhart says:

Roger are all the places mentioned here safe or are there concerns. My wife are planning to go to Grand Cayman in January but have been there so I found you site have some interested in trying a different venue. Minnesota, U SA



    It’s very hard to say what each person means by “safe.” Many Caribbean islands have a fair amount of petty crime, but tourists are rarely targeted. I think I’ve been to every place on the list, but I’m a pretty big guy so I don’t have the same concerns as, say, a smaller young woman.

    Take Cartagena, for example. Colombia used to have many unsafe areas with the old rebel group, and cities where drug dealers seemed to rule. Almost all of that is at least 5 years in the past, but there are still warning about taking long-distance buses from Cartagena to other cities since a few of them have been pulled over by criminals. That said, Cartagena itself appears to be extremely safe, especially for tourists in the normal tourist zones.

    Another factor is that many people from around the world would not consider Chicago or Detroit to be “safe.” As you probably know, the problems there tend to be focused on gang members in specific areas that are not near tourist areas at all, but some people would still refuse to go to those cities. So unfortunately it’s a complicated question to answer. You might have a look at the US State Department’s list of warnings and the status of each country. Some say they are too cautious, but they at least break down which areas are problematic and which usually aren’t. For example, Mexico has several really dangerous areas in and near border towns, but the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun etc) hosts many millions of tourists every year and problems are very rare. I hope this helps. -Roger

Aditya says:

hey roger. i am from india and planning trip for Seychelles in the month of January 2020 for my 5th anniversary trip. seeking your suggestion.in january will it be a good place to go


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