25 Cheap destinations for 2022 with great weather in January

As 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.

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.

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 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)

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.

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

The 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

Europe

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

Africa

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

Asia

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

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  1. 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

  2. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:

      James,

      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

  3. 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?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Donna,

      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

  4. 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.

    Thanks

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Gabrielle,

      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

  5. Roxanne Vondrachek says:

    [email protected]
    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!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Roxanne,

      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