A mid-January slump is par for the course, but if you were already half-thinking about taking a holiday for the next couple of months, today ‒ aka Blue Monday ‒ could be the day to make an uplifting travel booking. But which countries have imminent, toasty temperatures as well as flight seats and hotel rooms left to book?
With demand still surging post-pandemic, and some long-haul flight links yet to be restored, you’ll find higher plane fares than usual this winter and spring. So do shop around, getting creative with the range of places warmer-than-home (as well as blazing with sunshine) at this time of year.
Here are a few ideas for destinations which are great ‒ either for a daydream, or a booking. Whether you’re opening far too many browser tabs or taking your thoughts to a travel agent, here are the contenders for a thawing-out holiday.
The Indian Ocean’s all-rounder island is packed with charm: wild, surfy beaches; real big-scale wildlife in the form of leopards, elephants and the delightfully named purple-faced leaf lunger; and intrepid train rides into thick, verdant countryside. It’s just as good for a week’s lounging by a (top value) hotel pool, but after a 13-hour flight, you’ll likely want to stretch your legs. Temperatures are in the low 30s Celsius from January to March, with plenty of sunshine. You’ll also be spending your tourist dollar somewhere it will be much appreciated: Sri Lanka has had a tough ride the past few years, with pandemic shutdowns, a rare bomb attack and social unrest following its ongoing economic crisis. (The Foreign Office still advises vigilance and avoiding large gatherings.) But the tourist trail is still there, with friendly guides and authentic visits to local communities available all over the island. Try the new Pekoe Tea Trail, or book a seat on the plush new Ella Odyssey train which started up last spring.
With daily highs of 25 C in January, warming to 30 C by March, Oman is a winter sun-trap. It’s also ripe for adventure: you could book a few days in the capital, Muscat, to acclimatise in a glam hotel, nipping out to souks and mosques and seeing the wedding-cake Opera House. Then you could book a self-drive tour into the desert, stopping by jewel-bright wadis (natural pools) such as Wadi Shab, or heading for a coastal resort around Salalah or…