January. The month most of us dread. Money is tight, the weather is dreadful and your new gym plan seems like it is killing you. Time for a getaway — but where to? 

It can be difficult to decide where to jet off to for a holiday or short break at any time of the year, but especially so in January. Festive havens and Christmas markets seem about as appealing as the dead trees dumped on driveways and the season for hot dog legs and pool parties seems a million miles away. 

To beat the January blues, we have comprised this list of short break and holiday destinations that are sure to put the smile back on your face.

1. Cape Verde

The perfect escape in winter months, Cape Verde promises sun, sea and sand. Situated in the mid-Atlantic and consisting of 10 picturesque islands, Cape Verde is an undiluted hidden gem. If you’re looking for winter sun holidays, this destination should be at the top of your list. 

With direct flights from the UK taking around six or seven hours, you can be relaxing on sandy beaches and soaking up the sun before your neighbours even have their Christmas lights down. Cape Verde benefits from almost year-round sunshine, so can catch up on your Vitamin D as you enjoy miles of stunning coastline. 

Offering family-friendly resorts, adventurous island-hopping tours and lively music and bars, Cape Verde is a dream destination for anyone and everyone.

2. The Caribbean

If you’ve yet to visit the Caribbean, it’s a place to add to your bucket list. Despite being one of the most popular holiday destinations, there are a variety of secluded beaches, rural retreats and luxurious villas to enjoy. If you fancy a rejuvenating winter holiday, where’s better than a secluded Caribbean island? 

The only difficulty that comes with holidaying in the Caribbean is deciding exactly where you want to visit. Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Bahamas, Saint Lucia….the list goes on. What’s more, they’re all perfect winter sun destinations. 

For beach lovers, the powdery white sands of the Caribbean islands are like nothing else on earth. If you want to recover from a hectic festive season, then a relaxing beach break is for you. However, you’ll find the Caribbean is an ideal winter holiday destination for adventure lovers too. 

You can go diving in Bonaire, trekking on Dominica, kitesurfing in the Dominican Republic, take an eco-kayak tour of Great Abaco in the Bahamas, swim with tropical fish at Holetown Beach and embrace the nightlife Santo Domingo and Saint Maarten. However you choose to spend your holiday, the Caribbean islands have everything to offer.

3. The Canary Islands

Located off the coast of Africa, you’ll find warm winter temperatures at any of these stunning islands. From Tenerife and Fuerteventura to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma, there are spectacular sights to see wherever you go. 

Teide National Park on Tenerife is home to Mount Teide volcano and boasts its very own astronomical observatory. With cable cars to take you up to the highest point above sea level, you’ll bask in the winter sun as you take in the mesmerising views of the ocean and the islands. 

When you visit the Canary Islands, you really can make your holiday your own. If you’re travelling as a family, there is plenty to keep youngsters happy. From theme parks and ziplines to Segways and watersports, you can be as active as like or simply have fun in the nearest pool and swim in the ocean.

4. Costa Rica

Perfect for adventure lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Costa Rica gives you the opportunity to get off the beaten track. With winter temperature hitting highs of 28°C, it’s easy to see why this stunning island is a world-class winter holiday destination. What’s more, December – April is known as the dry season in Costa Rica, so winter is the perfect time of year to visit. 

Hike through the Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, make your way through the rainforest to white sandy beaches in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio and marvel at the sights in San Jose.

5. Austria

If you want to escape the grey skies and rain in the UK, you can opt for a real winter adventure in Austria. Enjoy snow-covered mountains, world-class ski trails and luxurious apres-ski activities in Nassfeld, Alpbach or Hochgurgl. With over 120 ski resorts in Austria, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

While the vast majority of resorts have slopes to suit everyone, Ellmau is known for its exceptional ski school. Similarly, Niederau has great slopes for beginners, while Ischgl is more suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. With junior slopes for youngsters to enjoy, you can you winter skiing holiday a real family occasion. 

From the UK, the flight time to Austria is around two hours, so you can be there in no time at all. In fact, it makes the perfect destination for a winter weekend break, as well as lengthier holidays and vacations.

6. Thailand

If you’ve ever been to this part of the world, chances are you holidayed in Phuket or Pattaya. One of the big draws, however, is Koh Samui. The second largest of Thailand’s islands, Koh Samui is home to stunning beaches, family resorts, private villas, luxury hotels, catamaran cruises, fishing excursions, speedboat tours and much, much more. 

Winter temperatures vary between 23-28°C in Koh Samui, so it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun. With a flight time of around 12 hours from the UK (check out our long haul flight essentials), Koh Samui is the ideal winter holiday destination if you’re planning a one or two-week stay. Of course, once you’ve seen the breath-taking beaches and crystal-clear waters surrounding the island, you’ll need to be persuaded to return home at all!

Choosing the perfect winter holiday destinations

A winter holiday gives you something to look forward to as the nights draw in and the temperature drops. Whether you’re heading to Cape Town, the Caribbean, Costa Rica or Cancun, you can escape the post-festive gloom and bask in glorious sunshine. 

While it’s easy to get carried away when you’re preparing for your winter break, be sure to check you’ve got everything in order well before you’re due to depart. Travel insurance can give you the financial protection you need if things go wrong and medical certificates may be needed if you plan on taking any medication with you for your trip. 

Once you’ve got the essentials sorted, you can pack your bags, grab the sunscreen and look forward to a relaxing, adventurous and restoring winter break in the sun.