25 Cheap destinations for 2024 with great weather in January

January of 2024 looks like it will be booming for the travel industry after a few really bad years, so booking early is almost certainly going to save you money. The good news is there are many great destinations with warm weather all around the world, so you’ll have more choices than you probably dreamed of. The list below shows all of the best vacation choices in different areas and all of them have warm weather and most are on beaches.

It’s worth noting that the first week in January is one of the busiest weeks of the year for travel due to the holidays celebrated around the world, so it will be much more expensive than the rest of the month. In other words, if you can start your trip on January 9 or later, you’ll save a lot of money.

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, 2023.

New video showing most of the places mentioned below

I’ve started a Youtube channel and one of my first videos is based on this article. Please give it a watch as it shows most of the places listed with hotel prices and much more.

Important global holidays in 2024

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day (public holiday in most of the world)
  • January 6 – Epiphany (minor holiday in many Christian countries)
  • January 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day in USA (most banks and offices closed)
  • January 26 – Republic Day in India (major national public holiday)

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

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.

Where to find the cheapest all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean

The best deals in the Caribbean are at all-inclusive resorts, and that is even more true if you are someone who likes to have at least a few alcoholic beverages each day along with some great meals. Here’s a video explaining exactly where to find the best resorts that are also very cheap.

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.

>>>New: Guide to choosing where to stay in the greater Cancun area

  • 3-star hotels from: US$51 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$87 per night for two people
  • All-inclusive hotels from: US$219 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. Interestingly enough, two of our 11 Best luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean are on Jamaica, and one is in Montego Bay itself, with overwater bungalows!

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$87 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$104 per night for two people
  • All-inclusive hotels from: US$277 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$200 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. Punta Cana is honestly the best place in the Caribbean for all-inclusive resorts because there are around 80 to choose from. In fact, Punta Cana also ranks at the top of the list of the best family destinations in the Caribbean.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$52 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$91 per night for two people
  • All-inclusive hotels from: US$242 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$42 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$153 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$63 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$84 per night for two people

>>>Mexico City prices
>>>Check current Mexico City 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$131 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$329 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$71 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$311 (all inclusive) per night for two people

>>>Guanacaste prices
>>>Check current Tamarindo 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$71 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$109 per night for two people

>>>Cartagena prices
>>>Check current Cartagena 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$49 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$86 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$61 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$105 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.

It’s important to mention the currency situation in Argentina because it’s unlike almost anywhere else on earth. Long story short, if you bring in crisp, new US dollars or Euros you can exchange them on the “blue rate” and get about twice as many Argentine pesos as you would if you used the ATMs when you arrive. In other words, research Argentina blue rate or blue dollar and this place is literally half the price it otherwise would be, and it’s already fairly cheap.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$61 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$68 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$83 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$119 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$71 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$94 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$74 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$93 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. As of a few years ago Sharm was unbelievably cheap because some people were worried about unrest, but those days are over and things are back to normal. It’s still cheap by almost any standard, but not insanely cheap like it was in 2021.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$34 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$54 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$52 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$98 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$43 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$72 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$33 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$54 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$28 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$37 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$36 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$57 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$57 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$84 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$52 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$71 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$24 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$39 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$37 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$55 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$53 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$72 per night for two people

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  1. 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.


    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  2. 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.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  3. 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

  4. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  5. 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.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  6. Paulette says:

    Gracias Roger

  7. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  8. 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

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  9. 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!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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

  10. 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.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      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