I recommend The Gambia for a cheap holiday in January. This charming, friendly low-cost beach destination on the West African coast has much-improved hotels and great weather: about 31°C and 9 hours of daily sunshine. Last January I stayed at the Kombo Beach Hotel, which I can highly recommend. Check out the January holiday deals.
Another good-value option is the Cape Verde Islands, a diverse archipelago between West Africa and South America, but easily accessible by direct flights from the UK (in less than 6 hours). With temperatures of 24°C in January, superb beaches and excellent choice of hotels, this is a real up-and-coming destination.
Another destination for good-value tropical beaches in January is Mexico, particularly if you’re looking for an all-inclusive option. If you like an all-singing, all-dancing resort, head to Cancun, while Puerto Vallarta has more local character.
Bali is a great destination for winter sun, with stunning beaches and fascinating colourful local culture. Beyond Bali, the fascinating archipelago of Indonesia offers some of the world’s most beautiful marine parks, along with breathtaking temples, forest and wildlife from Orang-Utans to Komodo dragons. Try this Essential Java and Bali tour.
Thailand is a perennial favourite and remains great value, although you should avoid the east coast beaches in January, which is rainy season. Phuket and Krabi and the surrounding islands such as Ko Phi Phi are perfect. It’s also a great time of year to tour Thailand and the temperatures and humidity are not too high. Check out Experience Travel Group which has an inspiring selection of tailor made private tours focussing on jungle, temples and cuisine.
If you’re ready to splash out on a tropical island, the Indian Ocean is a great choice in January – perhaps a luxury hotel in Mauritius, an overwater villa in the Maldives or a gorgeous beach hideaway in the Seychelles.
For something less expensive, head to Goa in India where white-sand beaches, great food and world-class sunsets can be had at bargain prices. Expect 9 hours of daily sunshine and 28ºC temperatures. Choose between a beachfront hotel or a comfortable homestay such as Fort Tiracol or Panjim Inn. Check out the latest special offers.