Is there a better time to take a winter vacation than January? It might not seem so, but it also seems like that is the time everyone should. Everyone is cold, grumpy, and warm afternoon sunshine feels like a lifetime away. If you’re about to give up on your weight loss resolution for the New Year, try this one instead: go somewhere uplifting, life changing, or a place that produces progress. Here are our top winter vacation picks for holiday’n after the holiday season:

Byron Bay, Australia

If you choose to visit this beach town gem in January then you’ll dip your toes during prime summer temperatures. From early December to late February, Byron Bay premieres warm, steamy temperatures of around 80 degrees with cleansing tropical showers at night. It’s the perfect time and place to become the beach bum you’ve always wanted to be; just don’t forget your sunscreen or hat!

Why go? It’s said that Byron Bay is a place to heal and travel and grow. If it’s a new chapter you’re searching for, Byron Bay may be the place to kick off your new year. It’s an old school, seaside village that has the perk of big musicians frequently passing through. With a striking backdrop to get sun kissed, this winter vacation will lead you to go discover some first-rate music on your travel escape. So much win-win.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Photo: Thinboyfatter via Flickr

Whistler, British Columbia

The best time to holiday in Whistler is December through March. This season boasts top notch conditions worldwide for winter sports and winter vacation time. Here, March serves up more desirable temperatures while still having snow. Not coordinated but still want to hit the slopes? Tubing, snowshoeing, and even snowmobiling is available for the perfect winter vacation feel. It is shiver season in British Columbia, however, so bring a winter jacket and layers. In Whistler, temperatures usually stay below forty.

Whistler, British Columbia

Photo: John Johnston via Wikimedia Commons

If you love hot chocolate with prime mountain views, then be sure to travel to Whistler. A majority of Whistler’s tourist population is made up of winter sport enthusiasts, but not all. Whistler definitely lets you know they recognize that. They have world-class spas, like the mountaintop Scandinave Spa, which fluctuates water temperatures to revitalize and restore, superb dining eateries, including Araxi, Whistler’s first and top fine dining experience, or Basecamp Fitness, which does hardcore circuit and spin clinics to help rid of all guilt from that wining and dining. Travel to Whistler for the best winter vacation experience!

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Photo: Richie Diesterheft via Flickr

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is still youthful in a sense, a travel wonder. It has untouched green-drenched forests. With its pristine, fine-sand beaches, volcanoes that wear clouds like crowns, and far-flung palms that will give you a travel escape from city skyscrapers, Nicaragua may be one of the last places on this planet like this; it has been kept and cared for like a secret. January has the best temperatures in Nicaragua and is also the month with the least amount of precipitation. So, why not book an extended, winter vacation stay in beautiful Nicaragua?

It’s said that Nicaragua is a place full of poets, and most of their appointed officials are, by profession, poets. Nicaragua is a landscape of poetry because its region is one of wordless marvel. Also, while there’s time left during your winter vacation, surf down the Central America’s youngest volcano (yes, Cerro Negro is only 150 years old, and yes you surf down thousands of feet of volcanic gravel) or take a breather at the Corn Islands. Travel to Nicaragua for a winter vacation of a lifetime! The poet and the traveler inside you will be so happy.

Nicaragua-Cerro Negro- Volcano boarding- Blue Sonicboy by CC by SA 2.0 via Flickr - 1024 x 768

Volcano boarding. Photo: Blue Sonicboy via Flickr

Belize

Belize is compact with travel conveniences and lodging all in a space of under 10,000 square miles; but don’t let its size fool you. It’s a winter vacation and retreat meant for snorkelers, swimmers, and divers. In Belize, its guests discover heavenly submarine hamlets along the barrier reef, such as the Great Blue Hole and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Nature enthusiasts will gaze in awe at Belize’s magnificent big cats and loud birds at the Belize Zoo.

Belize City, Belize

Belize City. Photo: James Willamor via Flickr

There is so much to do on your winter vacation in Belize, so much that it can be difficult to decide where to begin when traveling here. But the most logical first move should be to grab your bright bikini and enjoy the tang of a tropical papaya seaside. Travel to Belize for an unforgettable winter vacation that will make life-long memories!

Belize

Photo: Dronepicr via Wikimedia Commons

Jaisalmer, India

The citadel of Jaisalmer tumbles its guests through time: a colossal sandcastle arriving from the scorching plains like an imaginary mirage from a departed epoch. Almost 100 fortresses circle the fort’s twisty paths still have tenants to this day. Inside the bastion resides shops bandaged in vivid cross-stitches, a royal palace, and other various local businesses to travel to on foot or by car. Despite the commercialism, it’s hard not to be enraptured by this desert fortress on your winter vacation abroad.

Beneath the walls, particularly to the north, the narrow streets of the old city conceal magnificent carvings, all shaped from the same gold as the sun sandstone as the fort, hence Jaisalmer’s label: the Golden City. Brighten up your winter vacation by traveling to Jaisalmer, India. Bring a travel companion or go solo; either way, you’ll be vacationing amid the sun.

Jaisalmer

Photo: Honzasoukup via wikimedia Commons

Algarve, Portugal

Algarve has turned up all over social media as a “must visit” for the ideal winter vacation; and it is no wonder. This sliver of Southern Europe offers sun-soaked panoramas and plenty of other digressions: rich culture, hot night life, un-paralleled cuisine, and awe-inspiring architecture. Algarve, Portugal usually falls below the radar for its neighbors Porto and Lisbon, but it’s definitely a coastal retreat that is full of authentic delight straight from Portuguese culture. Travel to Portugal to explore nature at its most pure in January.

Algarve, Portugal

Photo: Natalia via Flickr

Bali, Indonesia

Our winter vacation list now takes us to Bali, Indonesia! The opulent and varied culture of Bali plays out at all intensities of life. From superb flora petal offerings placed everywhere to the processions of joyfully garbed locals, shutting down major roads as they march to one of the myriad temple ceremonies to the next, and the otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide, Bali is a travel site to see.

nusa dua bali best drone photos

Photo: Didit Majalolo/ Skypixel

Almost everything has spiritual meaning. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island’s estimated 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island’s spiritual center. Bali will gift you with some of the most beautiful views in the world on your winter vacation across seas. Travel here to treat yourself!

Indonesia Blimbing at Bali

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, with its flora capped boulevards, offers a captivating travel alternative to the Thai capital, Bangkok. Instead of chaos-clogged sprawling metropolitan, you’ll find an Instagram worthy downtown simply routed on foot. Here, the air is clear and the temperature mercifully cool. A short trek out of town leads to an emerald rain-forested landscape speckled with glistening, peaceful waterfalls. Travel here to revive your spirit.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai. Photo: celebrityabc via Flickr

Chiang Mai is promised to hold beautiful adventure “treks,” such as rafting and even forest tribal tours; so there’s a big dose of culture lying in this location as well (make sure to check out the art). January is the perfect time to travel to Chiang Mai because the temperature stays at an almost stable seventy-five degrees, ideal for a walk in the rainforest. Travel here to spend days in nature during your winter vacation.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Photo: Panupong Roopyai via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaidō is the Japan of expansive, sweeping space, with a fifth of the country’s land and only a sliver of its population: five percent. There are gargantuan ribbons of wilderness in Hokkaido, with prehistoric woods, Persian blue caldera lakes, brushy fields of high mountain flora and steam rising from veiled hot springs. Winter is, without a doubt, the prime, but often subzero time to visit: cold fronts from Siberia brings enormous dumps of graceful, even elegant, powdered sugar snow. Hokkaido boasts, and it is earned, that it’s a Utopia for travel enthusiasts for all winter sports and for all winter vacation types.

The island’s stunning natural landscape and the almost guarantee of outdoor escapades veers to eclipse everything else in Japan’s northern most islands, which is a lot. There is exceptional cuisine, mainly seafood, a pulsating capital city, and a gripping past, starting with the legacy of the Ainu, Hokkaido’s native people. Travel here to go back in time.

romantic winter getaway winter hokkaido snowy landscape

Photo: Kozu_Uee via Pixabay

San Antonio, Texas

When you think of the most populated city in Texas, the mind quickly goes to Dallas or Houston; but, that is wrong. While Houston does boast almost 2.5 million residents, but San Antonio is just a fraction smaller at almost 1.5 million. Sadly beyond the Alamo, cowboy hats, and the famous River Walk, there isn’t much talked about or discovered with this beautiful small big city. Still, a winter vacation in San Antonio will be just as memorable as any other on this travel list around the world.

A January, winter vacation holiday in San Antonio promises great temperatures, unparalleled Mexican cuisine, and stellar views of an erudite city just waiting for the world to take notice…or maybe the residents just have their hands on a very well kept secret. Travel to Texas to find out!

San Antonio, Texas

Photo: Katie Haugland Bowen via Flickr

Happy travels on your winter vacation!

Also Read:

10 Sun-Soaked Destinations For Your Next Beach Vacation

Top Eco-Travel Destinations for 2018

For more seasonal destinations, visit our Travel Ideas page for fairytale locations!