Best Places to Travel in January

Need to escape the cold weather? Here are the best places to travel in January.

January can be a tough month: The holidays are over, the days are shorter, and everyone is slowly getting back to reality. But the fun doesn’t have to end at the start of a new year. In fact, why not prolong the holidays and take a few extra vacation days?

From a world-renowned cookout with celebrity chefs at a luxurious hotel to the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, there's no shortage of variety of events in the first month of the year. Take a trip to Japan, and watch as a mountain gets set aflame. Looking for a more lowkey, relaxed adventure to the Caribbean? Visit Jamaica and its Rebel Salute 2020 music festival that celebrates everything reggae. Or maybe take a trip to Key West for a week of food and wine.

Read on for the best places to visit in January.

Bermuda

Best places to travel in January: Bermuda
BermudaShutterstock

Bermuda might not be the warmest island to visit in January, but, with temps staying in the 60s, it sure beats a polar vortex. Another reason to visit now: the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.

Join other world-traveling tourists for this melting pot of all things performing arts. Last year’s festival saw the likes of Louis Pearl, the Amazing Bubble Man, the Manhattan Transfer, the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company and Bermudian singer Heather Nova. The festival actually begins in January and runs through mid-March. The 2020 iteration will be the festival’s 45th.

The festival starts on Jan. 17, 2020, and runs until March 14, 2020.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman
The pier at Rum Point on Grand CaymanShutterstock

Calling all foodies: Join Chef Eric Ripert on Seven Mile Beach, as he hosts the annual Cayman Cookout. In its 12th iteration, the festival features cooking demonstrations, tastings, food pairings and mixology sessions from celebrity chefs. The main event is hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, but several other resorts fronting Seven Mile Beach offer special pricing as well.

Renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres have joined Ripert at this legendary food event.

Dates for the 2020 Cayman Cookout have not yet been announced.

Key West, Florida

Best places to travel in January: Key West, Florida
Key West Food and Wine FestivalCourtesy Key West Food and Wine Festival

Stuffing your face with holiday delicacies and festive drinks isn't over yet. For one week at the end of January, indulge in a shrimp boil and partake in the 26th-annual Master Chefs Classic (only 450 people can attend) where restaurants compete in appetizer, entrée and dessert categories in the Key West Food and Wine Festival.

This festival starts Jan. 26, 2020, and ends on Feb. 2, 2020. Tickets go on sale on Oct. 1.

Japan

Best places to travel in January: Nara, Japan
Wakakusa Yamayaki festival in Nara, JapanShutterstock

Nara's Wakakusa Yamayaki festival takes place on the fourth Saturday of January and features some dramatic views: first, a fireworks display at the base of Mount Wakakusa, and then the side of the mountain is set on fire in a choreographed act known as Yamayaki ("the burning mountain). Both are visible throughout the city, and the former Heijo Palace site is a popular spot to watch the action.

This event takes place on Jan. 25, 2020.

Philippines

Best places to travel in January: Philippines
Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo CityShutterstock

Is visiting Palawan on your travel bucket list? Plan the trip around the annual Dinagyang Festival, which takes place in Iloilo City, about a one-hour flight away. Held on the fourth Sunday of January, the country's cultural celebration includes parades, traditional costumes, dancing, food festivals and street parties.

This year’s festival takes place from Jan. 24, 2020, to Jan. 26, 2020.

Jamaica

Best places to travel in January: Jamaica
JamaicaShutterstock

Celebrate all things reggae at Rebel Salute 2020, Jamaica's annual festival of music, culture, and cuisine. In addition to featuring traditional reggae acts, a unique aspect of this festival is the focus on healthy living: The entire festival is strictly meat- and alcohol-free.

Join the festivities from Jan. 17, 2020, to Jan. 18, 2020.

Scotland

Best places to travel in January: Scotland
Up Helly Aa festival in ShetlandShutterstock

While some mark the end of the holiday season by sorrowfully taking down decorations and hitting the gym, the residents of Shetland throw the Burning-Man-meets-Vikings-style festival, Up Helly Aa.

On the last Tuesday in January, Guizer Jarl (leader) and his Jarl Squad march through the town with torches and set fire to a replica Viking galley. Sound like fun? Visitors are welcomed to watch, but participants are required to have resided in Shetland for at least five years.

The 2020 Up Helly Aa takes place on Jan. 28, 2020.

New Zealand

Best places to travel in January: New Zealand
World Buskers Festival in ChristchurchShutterstock

The idea for the World Buskers Festival was born when a street performer crashed the Festival of Flowers in 1993. Now in its 27th year, the festival features buskers of all types around the streets and venues of Christchurch showing off their craft: Think playing-card ninjas, stand-up comedians, drag queens and a boy with tape on his face.

The 2020 World Buskers Festival takes place from Jan. 23, 2020, to Feb. 16, 2020.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebration
Chinese New Year in Hong KongShutterstock

The Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong qualify as one of the world's biggest holiday extravaganzas, right up there with Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Expect a dazzling parade with eye-popping costumes and outrageous fireworks over Victoria Harbor. Be prepared, however, if you're offered a lucky New Year's food: One of the most auspicious is pig's foot braised with black moss.

Chinese New Year in 2020 takes place from Jan. 25, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2020.