17 Amazing Trips You Should Always Book in January
Book your next dream destination in the doldrums of winter.
It’s one of the golden rules of travel: If you’re booking a trip, it’s always best to do so between two and six months out, before plane seats fill up and routes become less available. This is especially true in the month of January, when airfare tends to drop after the peak holiday season. So if you’re fighting the winter blues and you're desperate to have an exciting getaway to look forward to, read on, because these are the most amazing trips to book in January. And for more great recs for beautiful destinations to visit this year, check out the 20 Best Places to Travel in 2020.
The first week of March in Mendoza brings with it one of the largest wine festivals in the world, with Vendimia being all about the region’s famous malbec and more. Expect lots of wine- and food-related events, as well as fireworks and tastings. For something a little different, head to the Bodegas CARO winery, which combines French and Argentine wine cultures in a way that would highlight the characteristics of both a signature French grape, cabernet sauvignon, and one from Argentina, the famous Malbec. Oh, and here’s a pro tip: No matter where you're heading, always book your flights on Sundays in January to get the cheapest fares.
You’ll be catching this city at its most colorful—literally—if you happen to go early on in March, when the Hindu festival of Holi takes place, where revelers coat each other in highly saturated, vibrant powdered dyes. Build in a couple extra days to see the Amrapali Museum, which highlights pan-Indian craftsmanship and jewelry, or Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses a collection of astronomical instruments and the world’s largest stone sundial. As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is part of the Golden Triangle, a popular tourist trio comprised of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Since you’re making the trek to India, take a few more weeks to explore its other cities.
Sure, Paris is beautiful practically any time of the year, but April will ensure you have the city at your feet before the rest of the summer-break crowds get there—making it ideal to wander the gilded halls of Versailles, take a day trip out to the Loire Valley wine country, or book a tour through the Louvre’s biggest hits without having to elbow your way through the hordes. (Pro tip: City Wonders does a great evening tour of the famous museum with a wine cheese and tasting that’s truly a treat). Plus, all those romantic rumors about Paris in April is actually true: The city is beautiful then, with green trees lining the boulevards and Parisians stepping out in chic spring styles. For a boutique hotel stay in a great, central location, check out the four-star Hotel Edouard 7 in the Opera District.
Seville is in peak form for exploring during the spring, and with Easter falling on Sunday, April 12, it’s a wonderful time to take in the processions, involving elaborate floats (called pasos), and spectacle that accompanies Semana Santa (Holy Week, leading up to Easter). On a slightly different note, the Feria de Abril (April Fair) is also a great reason to check out Seville. There's a week of eating, drinking, and dancing, while the city is covered in twinkling lanterns (known as farolillos) and its streets are lined with yellow sand from Spain’s bullrings and Seville’s gardens.
This famously luxe archipelago is wrapping up its dry season by the end of spring, making March and April ideal times to visit as tourist crowds (and prices) are making their way out during this shoulder season. You’ll also find a handful of recently opened resorts, all of which feature romantic overwater bungalows, pristine private beaches, and some of the world’s best dive sites. Our favorites include the new Heritance Aarah (with the Maldives’ first MediSpa), Pullman Maldives Maamutaa (with undersea villas), and Kudadoo (the country’s only solar-powered resort).
Sure, you can taste Vienna’s famous wiener schnitzel all year round, but there’s plenty going on in April that merits a visit during the spring, specifically.
For one, the city is in peak concert season, so if you love classical music, booking a trip in January will help you snag a well-priced flight as well as those coveted orchestra seats before they sell out. Or, if EDM is more your style, catch the free two-day electronic music festival that pops up in the Museumsquartier. Don’t miss getting a sugar fix at one of the city’s Easter markets, too. The one at Schloss Schönbrunn, set against the baroque facade of the immense palace, has 70 vendors selling chocolates, treats, and handicrafts.
The first three weeks in April are a great time to visit the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s the end of peak tourist time, so you’ll get shoulder-season prices on lodging and activities. At the end of the month is the Merrie Monarch Festival, which showcases Hawaiian culture, including a hula competition. Plus, the weather is still perfect for hikes through the spectacular Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, too.
March is a wonderful time to make the trek to see Jordan’s fascinating cultural sites, from the temple of Petra, an archaeological site carved into a canyon, to Jerash, the largest Roman ruins in the country. Or, head into the sands of Wadi Rum, which is called the Valley of the Moon due to its barren, otherworldly landscape of granite and sandstone rock formations. It’s the exact right time of year to go as the temperatures are generally more comfortable in the desert.
The crowds all go to Tuscany, especially during the spring months populated by Catholic holidays, but those in the know head next door to Umbria, which offers blooming wildflower meadows, alpine peaks, trickling waterfalls, stunning hilltop towns, and the best gelato in the world (it’s official—head to Gelateria Crispini in Spoleto for a scoop of the pistachio). There’s also some beautiful wine, especially the vintages at Arnaldo Caprai near the postcard-perfect town of Foligno, that pair perfectly with the regional food (think: ragu and veal). Foodies will love the daily multi-course specials and bottle of excellent five-euro house wine at Ristorante Dal Mi’ Cocco, a grocery store you can (and should) get lost in at Umbrò.
Namibia is full of natural beauty, and outdoors lovers will find plenty to do in its canyons and red sand dunes. April, just after the rainy season but before the cold of June, is the perfect time to take in all this wonder, too, with temperatures between 59 and 78 during the month. While peak wildlife-spotting season comes later, you’ll still have a fair chance at glimpsing animals at national parks like Skeleton Coast.
Although France and Italy steal the spotlight for their world-class vineyards, Georgia is an underrated destination for natural wine. We recommend spending a couple days in Tbilisi, the vibrant and emerging capital, before heading out to the vineyards of Kakheti, where 70 percent of the country’s amber, red, white, and sparkling wine is produced. Get Your Guide organizes great day trips to the region that mean you get to hit the most interesting wineries without worrying about driving.
Catch this desert country in April, before it gets too hot to enjoy. Marrakech is a popular tourist destination that becomes a little slower and cheaper than usual this time of year. Fez is fantastic in March, with beautiful architecture and some exciting developments on the restaurant scene. If getting out of the cities and hiking in the Atlas Mountains is on your radar, it’s the perfect month for that too, with mild and sunny temperatures in the mid-70s, though keep in mind that weather can be as unpredictable as in any other mountain range.
The hotel is the destination for this trip: Stanglwirt, while well-known to Austrians, is still under-the-radar for American travelers. This bio-hotel, located against the rugged, snow-capped backdrop of the Tyrolean Alps, has some incredible skiing just steps outside. Inside this grass-roofed, sustainably-focused resort, you’ll find more than a dozen saunas and steam rooms, an incredible spa, hearty Alpine food, and a charming family who oversees it all. Splash out on a suite with a private sauna if you really want to get away from it all.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The best time to get a full sense of the awe of this majestic national treasure is, of course, when there aren’t a ton of other tourists around to ruin your view. April catches the canyon right before the crowds come—and before it’s too hot to hike it, if you’re the adventurous type. Although most of the iconic Grand Canyon views are on the South Rim, such as Horseshoe Bend, the North Rim has plenty of overlooks you won’t want to miss, including Point Imperial. And for more trip-planning advice, know that this is When You Should Visit America’s 15 Most Popular National Parks.
Whisky lovers must visit this secret Scottish region, just 175 miles north of Edinburgh. It’ll still be chilly (the better for enjoying a warming scotch), but April is among the famously rainy country’s driest months, making it an ideal time to distillery-hop at Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, and The Macallan, as well as dozens of smaller stills. You can also wander the rolling hills and take in the dune-rimmed Lossiemouth seaside, ideally with a packet of fish and chips in hand.
The best time to catch D.C. is between its freezing winter and muggy, sticky summer, making April an ideal time to go (especially before everyone and their families come during school vacation in the summer). Cherry blossom season extends through the start of the month, and booking in January will give you more than enough time to figure out how to fit all the Smithsonians and other monuments and tours you’ll want to pack into your itinerary.
If Coachella’s two weekends of top headliners—such as Rage Against the Machine and Frank Ocean—are on your bucket list, you’ll want to book your tickets in January for this April music festival. Pre-sale starts early in the month, but you’ll still be early enough to have plenty of options for ticket and lodging on site. Plus, if you choose to stay off-site, booking in January affords you time to score great deals on flights, as well as have options for hotels, Airbnbs, and rental cars.
And for more travel tips and tricks, check out the 20 Worst Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2020.