January Travel Guide: The Best Destinations for January Travelers

January 5, 2024

Are you trying to plan a great family vacation and aren’t sure which month is the best time for you? Well, a January vacation may be a great choice! This month is a clever time for travel because it’s just after the holiday season and the peak of winter coldness in many areas, which might deter many people from January travel destinations.

Sunset in the Faroe Islands in winter

That said, a growing number of people are discovering that the best places to travel in January provide a unique and engaging winter vacation experience. Furthermore, these destination options can provide a myriad of fun and exciting things to do. You might just find it’s the cheapest and least busy time to fly.

Whether it’s navigating Spain’s many fun activities, skiing in the Swiss Alps, or exploring the Australian outback, we’ve got the options for you. So make sure that you check out the destinations below and reserve a parking spot with The Parking Spot at your local airport when planning your amazing travel experience. Make sure you read our winter packing tips at the end to streamline and improve your experience and stay safe.

The Top 7 Best Places to Vacation in January

Whether you plan on traveling solo or with your family, the following January vacation destinations should provide you with plenty of amazing fun activities. We’ve highlighted a handful of things to do in each area, including cities, festivals, and activities to check out. Don’t forget to pack important accessories during your trip.

Spain: An Unforgettable Place to Visit

As one of the most popular January travel vacations, Spain is a comfortable and enjoyable place to visit. Areas like Granada average about 52 degrees Fahrenheit in January and include multiple hiking trails, gorgeous lakes, the Sacromonte Caves, and other unique and engaging places to visit.

There are also options like Madrid, a cozy city with ski resorts, and amazing destinations like the Golden Triangle of Art, which includes three fun art museums. You can also try out delicious Spanish food while following important tipping etiquette tips..

Spain Travel Tips

As one of the best places to vacation in January, Spain includes 60-degree weather in many areas, though colder, wintery conditions in the north. Note that its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean can cause surprising weather shifts, so make sure you pack accordingly. In particular, comfortable shoes are important because you’ll be walking on Spanish cobblestones and need strong foot support to stay safe and comfortable.

Switzerland: A Fairytale Destination

If you’re into cold winters, Switzerland is one of the best places to travel in January. Cities like Zermatt are known for multiple skiing resorts, a picturesque setting, and a fantastic view of the Matterhorn. The whole country is located in the mountains, meaning you have plenty of outdoor fun options.

For example, you should plan to ski, snowboard, and hike through the mountains. During January, you should expect freezing weather and very friendly and welcoming Swiss residents. Don’t forget to visit Adler-hitta and Lucerne for delicious food and plenty of engaging shopping destinations.

A family of four on a ski lift wearing ski goggles.

Photo credit: Carolina Matamoros

Travel Tips for Switzerland

As a prime example of a great January vacation, Switzerland is an excellent option for your winter trip. Just make sure that you pack winter clothes like insulated jackets, fleece or wool sweaters, waterproof outer layers, insulated pants, thermal leggings, gloves, hats, and scarves. No matter what kind of winter weather you’re used to back at home, Switzerland is likely to be even colder.

Japan: A Diverse and Exciting Country

Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s weather is often unpredictable from one end to the other. For example, some regions have temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, while others have highs of 66 degrees. Thankfully, there are fun things to do in the country during your January vacation.

During your trip, you can celebrate the Japanese New Year in Tokyo, try delicious New Year osechi, enjoy fireworks celebrations, participate in an archery contest, visit a Japanese temple or shrine, relax in a hot spring, visit a beach resort, go hiking in the mountains, and watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Travel Tips for Japan

Japan is typically a very safe place to visit and one of the best places to travel in January. However, The Parking Spot suggests downloading  travel apps and translation programs to make your visit safer. The Japanese language may be your biggest barrier to enjoyment in the city, but automatic translation apps can provide you with a better understanding of what’s being said.

France: A Culturally Exciting Place to Visit

France is well known for its impact on history, its beautiful culture, and its fantastic outdoor destinations. It’s also one of the best places to vacation in January due to decent weather (lows of 37, highs of 55, and an average of 44) and its many activities that should help you stay active on your trip.

In France, you can go skiing in the French Alps, enjoy a spa retreat at Vichy, enjoy a summer-like treat to the island of Martinique, take part in Sarlat’s truffle festival, and relax on the beach in Guadeloupe. Clearly, France has a diverse range of options that make it great for January vacations.

France Travel Tips

While France is normally a pretty safe place to travel with the same kind of ups and downs you might expect from any large country, there are a few things to consider here. France's environment can vary pretty heavily from the north to the south, with very warm southern temperatures contrasting with colder ones in the north. Pack several types of clothes to make sure that you stay cozy when traveling in France.

Australia: A Summer-Style Winter Wonderland The Parking Spot Loves

The best January travel destinations don’t have to be wintery. Case in point: Australia. With a low temperature of 66, an average of 78, and a high of 87 in January, Australia is a great place to visit in January and a great place to book a vacation.

Summery destinations like Australia in January include beach-styled destinations, such as barbecuing right on the ocean. You can also hike in the Blue Mountains, dive around the Great Barrier Reef, check out the Sydney Festival, enjoy the Australian Open, and celebrate Australia Day!

Australia Travel and Safety Tips

While Australia has a stable political environment, there are a few things to consider. Get vaccinated against unique Australian diseases to avoid getting unnecessarily sick on your trip. You should also learn about animals like various hornets and aggressive snakes to avoid when going into more outdoor areas, such as the diverse and exciting outback region.

Italy: A Mediterranean Dreamland

Italy’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea makes it a pretty comfortable place to travel in January, with temperatures between 32-59, depending on the region. Southern areas are dang near summer warm, so make sure you pack accordingly. Thankfully, there are many amazing things to do in the country.

For example, the January 6 Epiphany includes several activities that mark the end of Christmas and the last day to check out Christmas markets. You can also visit places like Lake Misurina to go skiing or even ice fishing, as well as enjoy the canals of Venice and the many museums in Florence.

Tips for Italy Travel

Italy is a pretty safe place to visit, with no major problems impacting its economy. However, The Parking Spot strongly suggests safety tips like mastering the country’s public transportation, trains, buses, and taxis to get around much easier. You should also understand the differences between global entry and TSA precheck to streamline your travel experience for any international destination.. In this way, you can avoid getting stuck behind long lines.

Florida: A Tropical January Vacation Destination

Do you want to try tropical January vacations? Florida is easily one of the best places to travel in January because its temperature is typically within the 68-88 degrees Fahrenheit range and there is a world of adventure in the Sunshine State! 

Just as importantly, Florida is one of the best places to vacation in January because the region is used to winter tourists. Destinations like Gatorland, Disney World, Henderson Beach State Park, Sandpearl Resort Clearwater Beach, and the always-popular Everglades provide plenty of fun travel options. And Florida is one of the few places you can see and swim with Manatees!

Tips for a Florida Vacation

Note that Florida’s peak tourist season is typically between November and February, so plan ahead and book your accommodations early. Make sure that you check the weather during these months, particularly in mid-January. It’s a time when there may be a lot of rain and even relative cold. Sometimes though rarely, it even snows in Florida, so make sure that you’re prepared for that situation.

Travel Tips and Preparations for Your January Vacation

During your travel to the best January vacation destinations, it’s critical to stay safe. If you ignore these travel tips, you’ll likely book the best places to travel in January and do nothing more than stay in your hotel room. Follow these packing suggestions, as well as travel, preparation, and public transportation tips from The Parking Spot, to avoid running into problems.

Pack for the Area’s Weather

Many of the best places to vacation in January have cold winter weather that requires specialized clothes. Before you reserve a parking spot for your wintery January vacation destinations, make sure that you pack clothes like:

  • Warm pants (fleece-lined leggings)
  • Long-sleeved collared shirts
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts for layers
  • Scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats
  • Waterproof clothing for skiing and goggles

A woman in parka, gloves, and hat on a hilltop lookout in the snow in western Michigan.

Photo credit: Joseph Bare

If you plan on traveling to Australia or Florida for your January vacation, you’ll also need some warm-weather clothing, such as:

  • T-shirts for hot days
  • Spring jackets for cooler days
  • Walking and hiking shoes (and cozy sandals)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sun hats for sunny days
  • Swimming gear

Tips for Finding Travel and Accommodation Deals

Are you looking to streamline your travel experience? That's understandable because visiting any of these areas requires a lot of careful planning, , and some forward thinking. Here are a few ways you can save money on your January travel destinations:

  • Book your plane and accommodations a month before you travel
  • Use your travel points to save yourself even more money
  • Read sites like FareCompare and Travelzoo to find deals
  • Work with booking companies to save even more money
  • Review the money saving travel tips from experts at The Parking Spot 

Tips on Navigating Your Destinations From The Parking Spot

Countries like Spain and Switzerland have excellent train services that should improve your January vacation. For example, Spain’s Renfe Pass lets you book four to ten trips, while the Swiss Travel Pass gives you unlimited access to Switzerland’s many cities and destinations, including over 480 museums and exhibitions.

Note that Italy and France also take part in rail systems like Eurail and Rail Europe. Booking trips with these systems can help you save money on your trip and improve your travel. Even better, it lets you travel to various European countries and cities quickly and efficiently, improving your January travel experience and making it even more fun.

Make Sure You Reserve a Parking Spot Before You Travel

The January vacations provide you with plenty of fun and interesting vacation opportunities. Put simply, the best January vacation is rarely busy, meaning it should be easier to book. Furthermore, most regions offer amazing deals for travelers.

So whether you enjoy the beautiful Swiss Alps, the beautiful Spanish views of the Atlantic Ocean, the bustling city streets of Japan, the expansive wine fields of France, the amazing summer temperatures of Australia and Florida, or the balanced approach of Italy, you should find a great January vacation option.

Thankfully, you can easily start your trip by booking with The Parking Spot before you go. When you reserve a parking spot ahead of time, you streamline your travel experience and minimize problems. In this way, you travel to the best January vacation regions without fear and get the fantastic support that you need to keep your trip safe.

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