We’ve all been there–bundled under 2 layers of blankets, aimlessly scrolling through Instagram, only to be bombarded with other people’s glamorous vacation photos with vague “inspirational” quotes about embracing life and wanderlust. Good grief. Charlie Brown may be the Charlie Brownest, but feeling left out of all the holiday spirit spells potential for cynicism and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). You don’t have to uninstall every social media platform for the next month or two, you can join in and one-up everyone on your timeline. Here are the best winter travel destinations to cure your FOMO.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Home is where the heart is, but San Juan is where the party is. This youthful, lively, and picturesque Caribbean city is a slice of Summer in the midst of winter. Beaches, zip-lining, sunshine, and beautiful scenery are at you and your Instagram followers’ fingertips (when they like your pics on Instagram). Capture and share the spirit of this exuberant city when January’s San Sebastián Street Festival turns the streets of Old San Juan into a massive party for four whole days. That’s right–Four. Whole. Days. The best part is that this well-deserved getaway is totally affordable. A hotel for less than $100 a night is an easy find despite the destination’s popularity.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
A trip to New Orleans is unforgettable. There’s nowhere like it in the world, and winter is the perfect time to take in all the sights and sounds before the insanity of the Big Easy’s spring festivities. Less tourists means two things: 1) annoyingly large crowds are basically nonexistent and 2) accommodations are more reasonably priced. Sure, you just miss Mardi Gras, but you get to see a side of the city beyond the usual chaos and heat in the upcoming months. FOMO doesn’t stand a chance when good prices and rich culture are combined so seamlessly.
Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines
It’s a refreshing change of pace from the usual holiday destinations that get paraded around on everyone’s Instagram. Once you show off your FOMO-inducing vacay here, everyone will be booking their ticket over too. A few of the wintery draws to this vibrant hub are the horse-drawn carriages, carolers singing in the cobbled streets, parades, carnivals, bright Christmas lights decorating the Spanish-style homes, and celebratory fireworks. Vigan City is always buzzing with life. The plaza stays busy late into the night with street vendors selling Filipino favorites like crispy empanadas and puto (rice cake) and Vegas-esque fountain shows. It’s basically a winter wonderland, sans the snow.
New York City, New York, USA
Winter in NYC is nothing short of magical, and the cheap airfare in January is even more magical. Plan your stay just after New Year’s Eve to get a great deal to this must-see destination. There’s less tourists and it’s cold as heck, but you can experience the city on a budget without searching the depths of the Internet for a good deal. This is the time to shop in Manhattan because of the post-holiday sales. Get your department store on. Another unreal deal that NYC’s January visitors get is the fever dream that is Broadway Week (January 19th-February 5th). 2 for 1 Broadway tickets, anyone?
Snow-capped alps? Check. Gothic architecture? Check. Looks like it came out of an actual fairytale? Check. Zurich is pretty much the ideal destination for anyone wishing their winter vacation were dreamier. It doesn’t just stop at looking like it came from a storybook, it feels like it came from a storybook too. The Christmas Market at Werdmuhleplatz has an actual singing tree. Is there anything more Christmassy? No? I didn’t think so. Embrace the freezing temperatures by ice skating in town or heading up to the Swiss Alps to ski. Cafes dotted all over Old Town offer cozy solace from the winter weather. Warm up with a famous hot chocolate or indulge in the cheese-overload that is fondue. The experiences you’ll cultivate in Zurich are worth the higher price tag. It’s the ultimate anti-FOMO destination for winter–who wouldn’t feel at least a little warm and contented in a place as magical as Zurich?