Budget-Friendly January Travel Destinations

winter vacation frozen beach

Want a way to kick off the first month of the New Year by taking a vacation that helps solidify the memories of the just-departed holiday season? Of course, it helps that prices on airfare and travel are cheapest in January than at any other time (for the most part); and you and the family may need a break from all the preparation that said holidays required. Despite the relative reduction in travel expenses, you can still see popular attractions with very little wait time in most places, since winter is still regarded as the low season. If you’re short on vacation ideas, the following curated list will flood you with travel options this January. Don’t forget to pack your winter wardrobe!

Oslo, Norway

If there’s one thing for which Oslo is known, it’s the eclectic miasma of cultures that can be seen in the art scene, social waterfront scenes, and coffee culture. These are such a draw that visitors from all over the world don’t seem to mind the winter backdrop that accompanies Norway’s attractions. The Opera House is a hit, as is the restaurant-laden Grunerlokka. The best part? Airplane ticket prices are just $583 in January.

Porto, Portugal

The number of elite spots that you can visit in Portugal are plentiful; when choosing, start with the ethereal Porto, or shift gears to the Algarve Coast and Lisbon. Once you cast your eyes on these places - just for pictures online, or on a popular travel site - you’ll understand immediately why tourism there has exploded in recent years. The average cost of a January flight is just $581.

Stockholm, Sweden

Sporting the familiar Nordic landscapes and architecture of Oslo, Norway, Stockholm is its own beautiful beast of a travel destination. For the science-minded, the Nobel Museum is a can’t miss tourist spot. The long-gone Vikings are memorialized in the Vasa Museum, and the restaurant scene is one of the best in Europe. To get to Stockholm from the States, a January ticket price will run you about $540 this year.

San Diego, California

Finally - a break from the winter cold! Even though you’re not complaining - the other places on this list actually benefit from the winter season - it’s nice to be able to stroll outside in pants and a shirt in the middle of the 4th season. The San Diego Zoo is famous for a reason, and worth a visit. The Pacific vistas are nonpareil, and the seaside restaurants have every food you’d want available. Lovely Spanish architecture adorns the expansive neighborhoods, and food trucks make lunch and dinner immediately available. Price of a ticket: $275!

Bogota, Colombia

Of the three fantastic vacation spots in Colombia - Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota - this one just might be the least expensive to visit this January. Be sure to check out the Museo Botero and the mesmerizing Andres Carne de Res - the latter is in Chia, which is next to Bogota. And of course, coffee lovers cannot leave without sipping some perfectly natural Colombian coffee at the Four Seasons Casa Medina or elsewhere in town. The flight there will run you just $448 from practically any US city.

Helsinki, Finland

At first glance, the temperatures might scare you off - but then you realize that Helsinki is often classified on Top 10 Lists as one of the best tourist spots in the world precisely when the temperature is in the 20s and 30s. Why is this? Because you won’t notice the cold much (if you dress properly) amidst the cultural wonderland and the incomparable scenic vistas. There’s a reason Helsinki has been the location for many nature movies. It is social and bustling in the downtown areas and gorgeous and expansive outside this region. This would be a great place to do some Christmas shopping. Ticket costs to get there are around $540.

Canada - Montreal or Toronto

Toronto has the largest population in Canada, and Montreal boasts the world-famous Igloofest - you festival lovers will definitely stop by the second city for this annual winter party. Toronto has a Koreatown, a robust Chinatown, a Greek Town and a Little Italy - among others. All cultures are welcome, and the cost of a plane ticket is very agreeable at just $240 from the US. As for Montreal, it will run you slightly more at $287 per flight. You’ll love the distinct old-world charm embedded in the structures and civil society of either Canadian province.

Chicago, Illinois

Home, sweet home; if you prefer to stay in the States, you can find several cold spots with tons of history and things to do. There are the sports teams, of course, as well as the top-notch museums and celebrated comedy scene of the great state of Illinois; and, particularly, the city of Chicago. A ticket priced at just $180 will get you there, where you can taste the famous deep-dish pizzas from the original source.