A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places – Isabelle Eberhardt.
For the past three years, I have embarked on a plane in January to abscond from the glum, grey feeling that the first month brings after its initial excitement and sense of change. Starting the year with something to instantly look forward to is calming to the mind and breaks up the bleak winter before the brighter days of spring begin. It also allows you to reset and realign your yearly goals in some manner whilst they are bright in your head; sometimes a little distance away is the perfect place to realise what you want to achieve for the year. At least, these are some of the reasons I love to escape in January. It has become a yearly tradition and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to give it up. It is the perfect time to explore somewhere new and different whilst the country is waking up from its New Year slumber, reigniting its cogs to make the year better than ever before. Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out for the best in terms of tourist attractions (the castles in Romania are shut until Springtime), but if you make the most of your early break away from the realities of everyday life, you’ll come back fresher and excited to crack on with the year ahead… after the post-holiday blues have passed.
EXPERIENCE THE COUNTRY IN A DIFFERENT WAY
The summer is the height of tourist season. Everywhere you go, people flock together from across the globe and there is a magic in that. Everybody is seeing the same wonders you are for the first time. Yet, during the cold, brisk days of winter, when tourists (mostly) are scarce and hibernating in their homes, the country you are visiting is alive with traditions, daily life and secrets waiting to be found. At least, that’s how it feels. The ticket lines aren’t crowded, nor are the tourist spots where you want to capture a quick snap. In fact, plenty of the streets and squares are almost desolate of tourists meaning that you can soak up the atmosphere all the more. That being said, the “PRs” of restaurants and bars are hungrier for custom so everywhere you turn, you will find smiling faces offering food, drinks and a warm spot by the fire, even those who are directly opposite a restaurant you’ve just walked past with a polite but firm “No thank you.”
IT’S SO MUCH CHEAPER
With the sun comes the higher price tag. Flights go up. Hotels and B&Bs go up. Before you know it, you’ve spent £300+ and you haven’t even sorted your spends yet. Flying in winter is always cheap, especially when you book a Black Friday deal like I have done for three years on the trot. Hotel rooms are cheaper too because there isn’t as much demand for them. For example, Bucharest in January for flights and accommodation cost approximately £253 for five nights for two people. In July – using the same companies – the holiday would cost £559. That is a massive difference, even with booking five months in advance. For reference, we booked the flights two months before the holiday and the hotel a month before. Exploring another destination in January will save you money and can free up some time for a classic British summer.
ESPECIALLY IDEAL IF YOU DON’T GET A CHRISTMAS BREAK
For the past five years, I have worked over the Christmas period, right up until Christmas Eve and sometimes only getting Christmas Day off. I know, pass me the tiny violin. This is a lot of people’s reality, especially in the retail and hospitality sectors. And so, you feel like you don’t get a proper break. One day really isn’t enough to fit in and compensate that end of year exhaustion. Booking a holiday for January will give you the break your mind and body need and deserve. It will also jump-start your year into being more active/more relaxing/anything you want it to be, depending on what style of holiday you book. For example, I normally book city breaks which means a lot of walking, good food, great wine and exploring. During every January holiday, I racked up 13k – 15k steps daily which was amazing, especially this year as I currently sit at a desk for eight hours a day and barely scratch 1000 daily steps between Monday and Friday. I made a great start to the year seeing different things and learning about histories of another country.
MAKES A MONTH OF 653* DAYS SEEM SHORTER
January is the longest month ever. By Day 9, I was convinced it had to be pay day (at the end of the month) again soon. Every single day seems to drag, the British weather does not help and yet Christmas feels like a gazillion years ago. Going on holiday (although sad because it goes too fast) makes those few days of the month fly by and before you know it, it’s the middle of February with March just around the corner and you have another travel destination or holiday under your belt.
I will always recommend heading somewhere in January. You don’t necessarily have to fly anywhere; January can be a very difficult month. As long as you keep it cheap, pre-book a couple of months before and just get away, it will make the first month of the year a little less dreary and more exciting. Plus, big coats, woolly hats and time off work are three fabulous excuses to think about for booking that holiday next year.
What do you think about booking a holiday in January? Is it a tradition you uphold yourself, something you’re thinking of doing, or do you prefer to cosy up at home and hibernate as much as possible?
Love, Faye xo