Vacation Places Guides January – February 2018
January – February in the Northern Hemisphere is mostly about winter sports under blue skies or moving briskly between indoor cultural activities under damp and dreary skies.
Of course in the Southern Hemisphere it’s summertime so sun seekers need to head south, well at least a bit. The most interesting North African countries – Egypt and Morocco – are very good value with chilly nights but (hopefully) perfect sunny days. Ultra ‘safe’ choices for Europeans lie in The Canary Islands for volcanic excitement (average highs about 22C in this season).
South Africa offers wildlife, scenic drives, wines, hikes, beaches and great value. Pricey Dubai (average highs about 26C) does guaranteed winter sun, beaches, serious bling and odd attractions (skiing?!).
Oman is a more traditional Arab destination (average highs about 27C) for beaches and culture.
North Americans just have to nip down to Latin America for incredible, colorful cultures (especiallyMexico and Peru.
Sadly much of the Caribbean was seriously damaged by recent hurricanes and we don’t know how fast and complete recovery will be by the New Year. We suspect more than a few months will be needed. However, some popular islands appear to have escaped the wrath of Thor so Caribbean lovers should be fairly comfortable choosing Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao. More below.
Low cost vacation places in 2018
Currently the cheapest long-haul tourist destinations worldwide, based on typical holiday spending are:
1: Tokyo, Japan
2: Cape Town, South Africa
3: Mombasa, Kenya
4: Colombo, Sri Lanka
5: Hoi An, Vietnam
6: Bali, Indonesia
7: Tamarindo, Costa Rica
8: Orlando, Florida, USA (minor hurricane damage)
9: Penang, Malaysia
10: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (some hurricane damage but major tourist destinations, including Punta Cana, Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, and Samana are operating normally)
US Vacation Places January – February 2018
One of many events happening in Ottawa’s Ontario during the Winterlude Festival. Photo by Saffron Blaze.
Canada is an easy trip for Americans and you could get a feel for la vie Française while you’re there if you head for Quebec or great English-speaking life in Vancouver and nearby Whistler ski resort.
Beaches on most of mainland USA are pretty much out of the picture in wintertime, though south Florida temperatures rarely fall below 50F (10C) and usually hover around 72F (22C) with lots of sunshine, so a dip off Miami beach is definitely doable on New Year’s Day while the Florida Art Deco Weekend in Miami, with 1920’s-30’s style music and parades is quite special (12-14 January), a colourful blast from the past.
Alternatively New Orleans‘ spectacular Mardi Gras goes over-the-top on Tuesday 13 February but locals start celebrating up to two weeks before.
For winter sports the homegrown Rockies have attractions other than just mind-blowing skiing these days, just get a sniff of what’s smoking in Denver, Colorado. Otherwise Canada is an easy trip and you could get a feel for la vie Française but there are also some superb snow-oriented festivals such as Montreal’s La Fete des Neiges (Snow Festival, weekends 20 January – 11 February 2018); Carnaval de Québec in Quebec City, a vigorous winter celebration with parades, themed parties, ice sculptures and, bien sûr, winter sports (26 January – 11 February 2018); if you prefer to speak English then Winterlude Festival in Ottawa (Ontario) is three weekends of parades, dances, snow races, ice sculptures, sleigh rides and more, but especially skating on the 7. 8 km Rideau Canal (February 2 – 19 2018).
Caribbean Vacation Places January – February 2018
2017 Hurricane Irma Caribbean route map, approximately. And then came Maria….
This Festival/New Year season is prime time for Caribbean vacations but Hurricane Irma has put a stop to that in some locations, especially when compounded with the Hurricane Maria follow-up. Any destinations near to the hurricane routes would best be avoided unless you have information to the contrary. And don’t necessarily believe island tourist information!
These destinations have sustained severe damage:
Barbuda (sister to Antigua)
St Maarten/Saint Martin
British Virgin Islands
USVI, especially hotels on St Thomas & St John
Florida Keys, particularly Middle Keys.
Cuba’s north coast (Havana, Varadero)
Turks and Caicos
The Bahamas southern islands
These islands – and more – are still beautiful and untouched by Irma:
Trinidad & Tobago
Latin America Vacation Places, January – February 2018
The Maya Temple of the Cross in Palenque, Mexico, a pyramid group still surrounded by thick jungle vegetation that gives visitors an Indiana Jones esteem. Photo by Jim.
In Central and South America the weather and colourful cultures of Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica should be brilliant in January and February, along with Ecuador’s spectacular Galapagos Islands, but not much else.