The 8 best places to visit in January

Dec 15, 2021

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By January, the holidays have come to a close, and the colder weather is here to stay for a while. So, there’s no better way to beat the winter blues than by jetting off somewhere.

The good news? Whether you enjoy powdery snow or sand, there are plenty of locales that will help you enjoy winter instead of loathing it. Better yet, January is one of the cheapest times to fly as many people use their time off to travel during the holidays. According to Skyscanner data, domestic flights in January are 16% cheaper than the yearly average, and international flights are 36% cheaper.

Of course, there is concern about the spread of the omicron variant that could change travel plans. In addition, certain countries are changing their requirements and restrictions, so you must continue to monitor those changes as we learn more about this next wave of infection. To do that, check the latest recommendations from medical experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the countries you plan to visit if traveling internationally.

Luckily, travel to many stunning locations is still possible. So whether you’re a snow bunny or a beach bum, these are the eight best destinations to visit this January.

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Cayman Islands

The Stingray City sandbank on the Cayman Islands. (Photo by Holger Leue/Getty Images)

Known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters and less than four-hour flight time from major cities such as New York, Grand Cayman has earned a reputation as one of the Caribbean’s most sought-after destinations. So, it makes for the perfect beach getaway in January. And if there is one beach you need to visit, it’s the acclaimed Seven Mile Beach.

The stunning stretch of sand is arguably the island’s most prestigious address. It is home to three Marriott International resorts: Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. It’s possible to stay at any one of those resorts from 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. There’s also the KimptonSeafire Resort and Spa on that same stretch, where you can book a room for 70,000 IHG points per night. 

TPG tip: As of Nov. 20, verified fully vaccinated travelers from select countries can visit the Cayman Islands without quarantine.

Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Sean Pavone/Getty Images)

Looking for a beach destination without international travel? Head to Tampa, Florida. Although temperatures are the lowest in January, it’s still very comfortable, with an average high of 69.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can enjoy the beautiful Gulf Coast shores, as well as activities like Busch Gardens. Plus, the beachy metropolis is home to various cultural institutions to visit on the cooler days. Visit the historic Ybor City neighborhood and walk along the famous Riverwalk. Better yet, you can experience all of this at a low price. According to new data from Priceline, Tampa is the second-most affordable domestic destination in January, with average flight prices at $195. 

TPG tip: Stay in the heart of downtown at Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown for 12,000 World of Hyatt points; the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa East Ybor City for 25,000 IHG points; or Le Méridien Tampa from 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Provence, France

Senanque Abbey in Provence, France. (Photo by Brzozowska/Getty Images)

January isn’t a typical month to visit Provence. But it should be. Visit the southeastern portion of France in the off-season to celebrate an in-season treasure: truffles. In fact, the month is when one of the most important truffle events of the year takes in Richerenches. It’s a special annual mass on the third Sunday of January to honor Saint Antoine, the patron Saint of truffle farmers. Rather than monetary donations, truffles are accepted and auctioned at the Town Hall square with proceeds benefiting the church.

You can also go on truffle hunting experiences with hotels such as Coquillade Provence Resort & Spa all month long. Experts at the Relais & Châteaux property will teach you how Provence’s “black diamond” is cultivated and harvested.

TPG tip: During January, you can book a room at Holiday Inn ExpressMarseille – Saint Charles for around 14,000 IHG points per night or the luxe InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu for 36,000 points per night. Flights aren’t bad either: With a short layover, you can get roundtrip airfare from New York to Marseille Provence Airport for under $500. 

Lake Placid, New York

Paradox Bay in Lake Placid. (Photo by Ultima_Gaina/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics this winter. But for those unable to travel abroad, Lake Placid, New York, is an ideal winter retreat for travelers seeking winter adventure. It was the host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, so it’s guaranteed to have epic outdoor experiences. Cruise down the track like the world-renowned bobsledding athletes do with The Lake Bobsled Experience. Or, see what it feels like to be a ski jumper by trying the SkyRide Experience at the Olympic Jumping Complex, where you’ll soar over the 120-meter jump in a gondola. You can also ski down Whiteface Mountain, go ice fishing, take a dog sled ride or cross-country skiing along the famous Northville-Placid Trail. If you’re a fan of winter sports, this destination is a can’t-miss spot.

TPG tip: Whiteface Lodgea AAA Four Diamond-rated all-suite luxury resort — offers guests a 4th Night Free package that is valid for Sunday or Monday arrivals and is available now through March 24, 2022. Or, book a room at the only hotel on Lake Placid (Lake Placid Lodge) where they filmed an episode of “Succession.” You can also stay at ​​Mirror Lake Inn Resort And Spa for 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night or Crowne Plaza Lake Placid for 21,000 IHG rewards points.

Todos Santos, Mexico

Todos Santos, Mexico. (Photo by Narendran Santhanam/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Just 45 miles up the coast from Cabo San Lucas is a year-round haven for surfers and outdoor enthusiasts, Todos Santos. Why? Well, winter is the heart of whale watching season, with gray whales arriving in Baja in January. The 60,000-pound mammals migrate 5,000 miles from the Bering Sea to the Baja Peninsula to give birth to their young. In Todos Santos, it’s common to see them pop out of the ocean. So, there is no better time to visit the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.

TPG tip: The 35-suite Paradero Todos Santos can arrange daily ocean safaris for up-close encounters. Or, plan a stay at Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa for around 16,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points per night. The small town can book up, so you can also stay at nearby Cabo San Lucas at the Hyatt Los Cabos starting at 5,000 World of Hyatt points per night, or the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa has PointSaver stays from 45,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

London, England

London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Roland Shainidze Photography/Getty Images)

Although temperatures can dip into the 30s, January is still an excellent time to visit England’s capital with a few extra layers in tow.

The London Art Fair will return from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, with more than 100 galleries showcasing the best in modern and contemporary art. Plus, it’s an opportunity to experience several new openings without the crowds. The Beaumont in Mayfair, which just reopened on Aug. 20, fresh off a renovation by Thierry Despont, includes a new suite, outdoor terrace, library and a refurbished lobby, spa, restaurant and bar celebrating all-American bad boys (from Hemingway to Sinatra).

In Chelsea, The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London debuted a new restaurant, The LaLee, on Nov. 19. And you can catch the train at London Victoria Station for a day trip through the countryside on Belmond’s British Pullman. Opt for the historic Cygnus carriage, entirely reimagined by filmmaker Wes Anderson. 

TPG tip: New flights across the pond include JetBlue’s first direct flights from New York-JFK to London Heathrow (LHR) which launched in August. In addition, following a 95% surge in searches for flights to the U.K., British Airways added flights to London from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle. 

Rhode Island

The Providence River in Rhode Island. (Photo by Vick Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography/Getty Images)

Rhode Island tourism typically hosts “Hotel Week RI” in January. But, The Ocean State decided to extend it in 2022 with the launch of “Hotel Month RI.”

Throughout the month, you can take advantage of rates up to 40% off via HotelMonthRI.com. Stay at The Wayfinder Hotel in Newport for just $69 per night, Hotel Providence for $104 per night, Avonlea Jewel of the Sea on Block Island from $100 per night and take 30% off at the luxury Weekapaug Inn. It’s the perfect time to explore the famous Gilded Age mansions in Newport or go museum hopping in Providence. And the famous Forbes 15-Star hotel Ocean House launched its annual Gondola Village, where you can book a private gondola car and have a cozy French-inspired meal. 

TPG tip: If you prefer to book with points, plenty of hotels are available. Aloft Providence Downtown, for example, starts at 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, and The Wayfinder is around 6,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night.

Fiji

Denarau Island West, Fiji. (Photo by Colin Anderson Productions pty ltd/Getty Images)

After a nearly two-year hiatus on all travel and tourism, Fiji finally welcomed foreign travelers back in December, making it the ideal time to book a January trip.

Not only is the weather warm, but it’s also not incredibly expensive to fly there. A Google Flight search revealed there are many days throughout January where you can get a round-trip flight from New York City with one layover for just over $1,000. Fly out of LAX, and you’re looking at fares around $870 round-trip.

And resorts are taking advantage of the reopening and cheaper flights. For example, VOMO Island Fiji — a private island resort — offers four new ‘VOMO Unlimited’ packages, exclusively for U.S. visitors to book from December 2021 to March 2022.

TPG tip: Use Marriott Bonvoy points to book a stay at the five-star Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. You can get a Lagoon View room from 35,000 points a night or a stunning overwater villa from 129,000 points per night. Meanwhile, the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa will only set you back 37,500 IHG points a night.

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs. (Photo by Frank Datzer/Getty Images)

Not only is January prime time for cool desert weather, but there are also some exciting happenings in Palm Springs. From Jan. 6 to 17, the 33rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival takes place, where visitors can enjoy renowned international features and documentaries.

And in the heart of Indian Wells in the Coachella Valley, Miramonte Resort & Spa is undergoing a $9 million set to debut in January of 2022. Plus, Fleur Noire Hotel just opened in November and is quickly becoming a hot spot in the city’s Uptown Design District. Oh, and the temperatures reach around 70 degrees, making it perfectly comfortable to walk through the town and check out the many art galleries, take in a polo match at the Empire Polo Club or lounge at the spa. 

TPG tip: It might be a desert, but there is certainly no shortage of hotels. You can stay at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa from 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs for 62,500 IHG points a night, or Triada Palm Springs, an Autograph Collection property, from 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. You can even score Marriott Bonvoy PointSaver nights (32,500 points a night) at spots like Marriott’s Shadow Ridge II-The Enclaves.

Featured photo of Todos Santos, Mexico by Mint Images/Getty Images.

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