Once the gingerbread crumbs are swept up, the eggnog hangover has dissipated and the family has gotten out of your hair (sorry, Aunt Marie, but those jokes are just not funny), it’s ready to kickstart your 2018 travel. Not only does everyone need a vacation by January, but it’s also a good month to hit the road—fine weather in the tropics, excellent powder on the slopes, calmer airports and, often, great deals. We’ve gathered up some solid options. 

By Arushi Mehra
Point Yamu Pool Villa
Photo by COMO point Yamu

PHUKET, THAILAND

The Scene: Blazingly white sand, impossibly blue water, green-tufted islands that rise out of the water like spaceships. The postcard version of Phuket really does exist (especially if you stay away from the crowded Patong area). Be sure to take a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands for a picnic on a near-deserted beach, and explore the local markets for Thai handicrafts—and extra-spicy som tum (green papaya salad).  

Why January: The holiday crowds have dissipated and the prices dropped
 below their peak, leaving you with miles of beach, clear skies and day-long sunshine. This is the dry season, so rain won’t be a concern. 

Where to Stay: Situated on the island’s secluded east coast, COMO Point Yamu has panoramic views of Phang Nga Bay, dotted with those dramatic islands. The modern white-on-white design, healthful (but delicious) cuisine and wellness program (holistic treatments, yoga, Pilates) will set the right tone for 2018. Guests who stay four to six consecutive nights in January receive a complimentary night.  

Jumeirah Al Qasr
Photo by Jumeirah

DUBAI, UAE

The scene: OTT to the max, with a world record book’s worth of superlatives: The world’s tallest building, longest zipline, largest mall, glitziest restaurants and so on. But there’s also an authentic culture here if you know where to look: the labyrinthine Bastakiya quarter, for instance, or the fragrant Spice Souk.

Why January: Temperatures in the low 70’s create opportunities for sunbathing and alfresco dining. The Hankook 24H Dubai, the largest 24-hour endurance car race in the world, takes place Jan. 13–14, and the Dubai Shopping Festival—a month-long extravaganza of sales, pop-ups, raffles and performances—runs through the 27th.

Where to stay: The Jumeirah Al Qasr, an Arabian fantasia in the beachfront Madinat Jumeirah complex, is a bastion of Emirati luxury. Sheik-worthy rooms have rich carpets, scalloped arches and views of the sea. Stay four nights and the fifth is complimentary—more time to explore the resort’s multiple pools, waterpark, private beach and the 26-room Talise Spa.

Rocky Mountains
Photo by Unsplash

ASPEN, COLORADO

The Scene: Aspen in winter is all glitz and glamour, but Snowmass Village, 20 minutes from downtown, is a much more approachable (and family-friendly) alternative, with ski-in/ski-out resorts, cozy restaurants and an Instagrammable mountain backdrop. Skiers here have access to a wealth of terrain, whether it’s Ajax’s challenging runs, the bowls at Aspen Highlands, or Snowmass’s own runs, which range from beginner to advanced.

Why January: Engulfed in a fresh coat of powder and slopes ready to be taken over, this month offers the sweetest ski deals. Wintersköl (Jan. 11–14) is Aspen’s annual festival, with fireworks, snow sculptures and a host of cultural events. The world’s craziest athletes perform their tricks at the Winter X Games (Jan. 25–28). 

Where to Stay: The Viceroy Snowmass, in the heart of the new Base Village, offers kid-friendly slopes, a ski valet, equipment rentals and a heated pool. The 7,000-square-foot spa is one of the area’s best—and Skylark members get a $100 credit to spend there, in addition to complimentary breakfast, a room upgrade (based on availability) and other perks. 

Downtown Nashville
Photo by Shutterstock

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

The Scene: Possibly the hippest, most vibrant city in the south, Nashville combines the best country music (hello, Billy Ray Cyrus!), Reese Witherspoon’s clothing store, the sweetest sweet tea, a thriving culinary and art scene and Southern hospitality.

Why January: Winters are relatively mild here, but it’s definitely low seasons—as reflected in hotel rates. But the music doesn’t stop, whether it’s the
honky tonks lining Broadway, Kid Rock at Bridgestone Arena (Jan. 19) or the Nashville Symphony’s tribute to Prince (Jan. 24). This month also brings Nashville Restaurant Week (Jan. 15–21), the perfect way to explore the city’s mix of traditional comfort food and Southern fusion. The participants include Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, legendary for its whole hog ‘cue.  

Where to Stay:
Centrally located and eco-friendly, the Hutton Hotel has stylish 
contempo-rustic interiors and a Tesla for shuttling guests around town. Receive a complimentary fourth night when you book a three-night stay. Skylark members are also entitled to perks including a $100 resort credit, which you can use to sample the progressive Southern cuisine at 1808 Grille.