Best Places to Travel in January 2024

After the excitement of the holiday season, you might be hit with the winter blues. If you’re looking to escape the cold and snowy weather, explore our list of the best places to travel to in January. In our guide below, you’ll find top destinations across the globe that you can visit in the new year. Whether it’s the white-sand beaches of Costa Rica or the sunshine of California, we have some of the best countries to visit in January. So take a look to find inspiration for your next adventure below.

Kata-Tjuta National Park, Uluru, Australia


Places You Should Visit to Start the New Year

The world is a big place, so you might need to figure out where you want to start the new year. If you’re going to travel in January, Road Scholar offers hundreds of experiential learning adventures across the globe. In addition, we have plenty of unique and exciting destinations you can explore this time of year. Here’s our breakdown of the best destinations in January.


1. Costa Rica

One of the best places to travel to in January is Costa Rica. Costa Rica is ripe with adventure. You can start your excursion by walking through the tropical rainforests to spot unique wildlife and take in the stunning landscape filled with volcanic mountains and lush vegetation. Then, you can relax on white-sand beaches soaking up the sun. You can even understand the true meaning of Pura Vida by interacting with locals and getting a glimpse into their calm and stress-free way of life. Costa Rica is a great place to travel in January for everything from mouth-watering cuisine to jaw-dropping scenery. 


2. Australia

Take a trip to Australia if you want to escape the cold this winter. Australia is one of the most diverse areas you can explore. From one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef, to the remote and vast Outback, Australia is home to unique wildlife and geography, such as kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, and saltwater crocodiles. Not only is Australia known for its rich biodiversity, but you can enjoy time in major metropolitan cities like Melbourne and Sydney, as well as pristine beaches like Bondi Beach.


3. South Africa

Another one of the best countries to visit in January is South Africa. Like Australia, South Africa is known for its rich biodiversity. Here, you can go on a safari ride to catch glimpses of lions, elephants, leopards, African buffaloes, and rhinoceroses. You can also spend days wandering through Cape Town and Johannesburg. Here, you can enjoy tasty cuisine, interact with locals, and walk through museums to better understand the divisive history that shaped this country.


4. California

If there’s one place to go in the United States in January, it’s California. California is one of the best places to travel to in January. For those looking for warmth, you can spend your time in Southern California cities like San Diego and Los Angeles. Here, you can relax on beaches, explore museums to learn about pop culture, and enjoy authentic cuisine inspired by diverse populations. 

For outdoor adventures, you can spend time at one of California’s several National Parks, such as Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and the Channel Islands. Or, you can venture up north to the Bay Area and snap a picture of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or walk the steep streets of San Francisco. No matter your interests, California has a lot to offer.


5. Canada

If you’re coming from somewhere warm and want to experience a true winter, Canada is a great place to travel in January. Our neighbors up north have countless activities you can enjoy in the winter. For example, you can visit Banff National Park and take in the views of mountains and crystal clear lakes, or you can spend your time in the east walking through historic cities like Montréal and Québec City. These cities blend European tradition and architecture with New World design, perfect for those interested in history and architecture.


6. Mexico

Another one of the best destinations in January is Mexico. You can venture to the capital, Mexico City, take walking tours to understand the influence of the Spanish and colonial rule, as well as enjoy authentic cuisine and plenty of shopping. Or, you can go to the Baja California peninsula and relax on beaches, whale watching, or exploring artistic communities. Another top Mexican destination is San Miguel de Allende, where you can walk through local craft markets while taking in stunning architecture. 


7. Greece

Greece in January offers mild temperatures and plenty to do. You can walk through historic cities like Athens to learn more about Greek mythology and how ancient civilizations have impacted society today. You can go wine tasting in areas like Crete or Santorini. Another great adventure you and your family can enjoy is island hopping through the Aegean Sea. From discovering ancient relics to participating in local traditions, there’s something for everyone in Greece this time of year.


8. Spain

Our final vote for one of the best places to travel to in January is Spain. In January, Spain has mild temperatures that make for a comfortable vacation. You can visit historic landmarks like the Basílica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the Seville Cathedral with limited tourists. From the Moorish palaces of Andalusia to the wine-tasting region of Catalonia, Spain is a great place to travel to in January.


Travel in January With Road Scholar

At Road Scholar, we have a wide range of learning programs that bring you to some of the best countries to visit in January. Our programs are led by expert instructors who will teach you more about the traditions, cultures, landscapes, and geography of the area you’re visiting. You’ll also have the comfort of a group of like-minded adventures, where you can enjoy spirited conversations and return with lifelong friendships. So book your next adventure with Road Scholar today.