Beat the ‘January Blues’ with a tranquil trip to a sun-filled destination
Don’t let your spirits be dampened come January, the post-Christmas period doesn’t need to feel so bleak. There are ample destinations to travel to that’ll boost your spirits and beat those winter blues without breaking the bank.
Research shows that going on holiday is key to creating happiness. So much so that 77% of travellers say they book a holiday just when they’re in need of a happiness boost.* That’s why the data analysts at Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, looked at what was being searched for the most in January, and came up with a list of destinations that fulfilled all of the top-searched passions in January: beach, culture, mountains, relaxation and tranquility.** Then week with the best value to visit in January was calculated based on internal data.***
To cheer yourself up, follow the sunshine and tranquility to these destinations.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, the city of Salalah is a far cry from a cold, blustery winter. It’s a warm representation of Middle Eastern culture with markets showcasing a rich selection of local artisanship and is famed for the frankincense trees that grow just outside it. Also all around the city are the wadis (river valleys); oases which have sprouted up in the desert with sage-green waters, cascades and forests.
Week in January with best value to visit: For your best January blues bargain, the average price per night of a 3, 4 or 5-star accommodation for the last week of January was 51 OMR. That’s 25% less expensive than the first week of January at 68 OMR.
For sunshine and serenity, travel to the alluring lakeside setting of Toscolano-Maderno, Italy. On the shores of Lago di Garda, you could happily spend your entire stay here just taking in the view. While the weather may not be warm enough for a swim in the lake, you can enjoy an espresso al fresco outside the terracotta- and pastel-coloured buildings that are laid out around the town’s harbour.
Week in January with the best value to visit: Last year, the penultimate week of January was 52 EUR, 37% less expensive than the first week of January at 83 EUR.
Naxos Chora, Greece
According to Greek travellers last year, Naxos Chora is the best destination in Greece when it comes to sandy beaches.**** There are some sublime stretches of white sand nearby for a spot of sunbathing or a stroll. Luckily, this is a place that doesn’t close down in winter and the mild climate and stunning surroundings will provide welcome respite from typical winter weather back home.
Week in January with the best value to visit: The middle week of January had the best value of the month to visit Naxos Chora last year, at just 50 EUR. That’s 41% less expensive than the penultimate week of January.
Miyajima Island is less than an hour’s train and ferry journey from Hiroshima but couldn’t feel further removed from city life. The Great Torii (a free-standing archway planted in the middle of the sea) is one of the island’s – and the country’s – most photographed sites, best viewed at high tide when it appears to be floating in the water. It’s part of a larger shrine and represents the place where the spirit and the human worlds meet. The whole island has a spiritual feel and is a haven of natural beauty – hike to the top to take in sweeping views of forest with temples and pagodas dotted in between.
Week in January with the best value to visit: The penultimate week of January was 16,516 JPY, compared to 19,240 JPY for the week fourth week of January.
Oman is trending as a travel destination at the moment, and Khasab clearly demonstrates why. The colour palette of welcoming, sparkling green sea against stark, dusty orange cliffs is striking. You can take a trip on a dhow (a traditional wooden-hulled Arabian boat) to appreciate the shoreline in all its splendour.
Week in January with the best value to visit: The third week of January was 68 OMR, 18% less expensive than the first week of January at 83 OMR.
Though January is the coldest month of the year in Cyprus, it’s still pleasant and mild with maximum daytime temperatures averaging 17 degrees Celsius. And well outside the peak summer season, prices are substantially lower. For a revitalizing winter’s day, walk along the lovely natural harbour and explore the town’s sights including a Byzantine castle. Or take a more challenging cross-country hike in the surrounding area to reconnect with nature.
Week in January with the best value to visit: The third week of January last year was the week of the month with the best value to visit at just 46 EUR, 24% less expensive than the most expensive week at 60 EUR.
* Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 people from 17 markets who had taken at least 1 domestic or 4 international holiday in the past year. In total, 17,157 respondents (18yrs +) were surveyed from the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan, India, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Data was collected from 9 September to 4 October 2016.
**The data analysts at Booking.com looked at ‘passions’ most searched for in January; beach, culture, mountains, relaxation and tranquility. Combining these, they then filtered down destinations that where endorsed for all five passions. Destinations needed to have more than 50 endorsements for each distinct endorsement and a z-score analysis was applied. The destinations used all met that criteria.
***The data analysts looked at pricing information from January 2016, calculating the average price of 3, 4 and 5-star accommodations. And picking the best value week to compare against.
****Booking.com looked at destinations that were endorsed for sandy beaches for Greek travellers and had a positive z-score.