There’s only one way to avoid the post-Christmas blues, and that’s with a holiday, of course! If you feel the urge to get away, then there are plenty places to visit in January. We’ve got hot destinations just outside South Africa, as well as winter wonderlands that tie in with the past Christmas festivities, so read on for the best January 2020 travel inspiration.
Los Angeles, USA
Best January holiday for… Sunny sightseeing.
With more and more budget airlines expanding their network to the USA, it’s never been cheaper to cross the pond. But while New York and Washington freeze over in January, the temperatures in Los Angeles are similar to our spring in SA.
January would be a great time to tick off Hollywood Boulevard, Muscle Beach, Rodeo Drive and more – or take a trip out to Disneyland or Universal Studios.
Best January holiday for… Shopping in the sunshine.
While temperatures are moderate at this time of year, Marrakesh enjoys some very long sunny days – perfect for exploring its markets and medinas in comfort. If you’ve ever visited in summer, you’ll know how sweaty and crowded Marrakesh can get – but for January holidays, it’s a real treat.
What to do on a long-weekend break? Feast your eyes on the botanical riches of Jardin Majorelle (the former home of Eves Saint Laurent), haggle for treasures in Jemaa el-Fnaa (there are some divine leather handbags to be found), and head to the hammam for a scrub-and-soak that’ll leave your skin feeling squeaky clean. Now that’s our kind of January detox.
Best January holiday for… A true winter wonderland.
Not everyone wants to chase after more sun in January, so the desolate and mesmerising landscapes of Antarctica will best suit those seeking an escape from the heat. This polar continent is home to penguins, seals and whales, making it an utterly exceptional place.
Abu Dhabi, The UAE
Best January holiday for… Serious winter sun.
Where to holiday in January for a blow-out city break? While Dubai hogs the limelight, neighbouring Abu Dhabi gets bigger and better every year – and in January it enjoys warm and sunny weather.
Abu Dhabi has an ever-growing crop of lavish hotels (our favourite is the St Regis on Saadiyat Island, for its gorgeous beach and spa), but this is much more than a fly-and-flop destination. Fill your days with artistic endeavours in the very new Louvre gallery, watch the polo at Ghantoot, and lose an afternoon in the souk-style stalls of Central Market.
Best January holiday for… Big Five spotting and sunshine.
Made famous last year as the destination for the hottest royal couple around, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Namibia is a fantastic choice for soaking up the warmth of the sun and seeing sensational wildlife.
The most sparsely-populated country in Africa is the ultimate place to get away from it all. Home to a record-breaking desert – it’s the oldest on Earth and has the world’s tallest sand dunes – Namibia is a beguiling place.
Beyond the dry, Martian landscapes is a bounty of wildlife. Etosha National Park is the place to go. Make for the first watering hole you can find, then sit back, relax and wait for the wildlife – think lions, elephants, gazelles and elegant oryx. Come evening, retire to one of the many luxury camps across the country.
New Orleans, USA
Best January holiday for… A sunny city break.
Want an out-of-this-world experience in January? Head to New Orleans, where the buzz of jazz and heat of Creole cooking will keep you satisfied. This city is a real thriller, with the pretty balconies hovering above the French Quarter, and the wild nights out on Bourbon Street. Start the year as you mean to go on: with plenty of soul and serious fun.
Best January holiday for… Wild adventures.
Where to holiday in January for unforgettable wildlife encounters? It’s dry season in Costa Rica – home of sunbathing iguanas, colourful toucans and sleepy sloths lazing in the treetops.
This little slice of Central America is covered in wildlife-rich rainforest, which is best explored on two feet, two wheels, or (for the super adventurous) via its many ziplines and rope bridges. If you’re travelling with teens in tow, Costa Rica is a friendly and fascinating spot for school holidays.
By Features Writer, Marike Watson