Banish the 'January Blues' with Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences

Planning a trip to Wadi Rum in Jordan is guaranteed to boost your mood
Planning a trip to Wadi Rum in Jordan is guaranteed to boost your mood | © Snapper / Getty Images
Josephine Platt

Commissioning Editor

As optimistic as we intend to be about the New Year and the idea of a clean slate, January is all too often spent fighting off the blues. Festivities are replaced with sobriety, the pub by the gym, and on top of it all the pressure of sticking to those New Year’s resolutions.

One way to break free of the New-Year gloom is to prepare for the year ahead by booking a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here, Culture Trip has identified five that will get you excited – and through the first month of the year.

1. Watch the Northern Lights from a Finnish lake

Natural Feature

Northern lights in Northern Finland
© rachel dunsdon photography / Getty Images

The Northern Lights are notoriously hard to come by and seeing them requires patience and dedication. You could be waiting a long time, and rather than standing around freezing, why not pop on a drysuit and float on a lake? You’ll be surrounded by icebergs and, hopefully, you’ll catch sight of the aurora borealis. Pickup and drop-offs are included at selected Rovaniemi hotels, which are close to the lake.

2. Hike in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature

Hanging bridge in Monteverde, Costa Rica
© Désirée Russeau / Getty Images

The area of Monteverde in the volcanic Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range is best known for its rare cloud-forest ecosystem, which means the region is consistently covered in clouds, and biodiversity thrives as a byproduct. See this first-hand on a hike with a private guide, who will help you spot its residents, which include birds, sloths and monkeys. Choose from trails which snake along the Santa Elena Reserve, Monteverde Reserve, Aguti Reserve, Curi Cancha Reserve or SkyWalk bridges. There are options for those who use wheelchairs, too.

3. Tour Wadi Rum in Jordan

Natural Feature

Wadi Rum desert, Jordan
© George Pachantouris / Getty Images

Classed a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its expansive red sand, mountains and rock formations, there’s no place on earth quite like Jordan’s ancient desert of Wadi Rum. Immerse yourself in this landscape on a day-long jeep tour, where climbing on rocks, rolling down sand dunes and dancing around the desert is strongly encouraged. You’ll also have the opportunity to drink tea with Bedouins, known as desert dwellers or nomadic Arabs, who have long inhabited Wadi Rum. The day wraps up with tales from the tribe around a campfire.

4. Cross-country ski in Sapporo, Japan

Natural Feature, Ski Resort

Winter holidays skiing at Sapporo Kokusai, Hokkaido, Japan.
© Wattanapong plymat / Getty Images

With snow coming down for around 125 days a year, Japan’s fifth-largest city of Sapporo is the place to go if cold climes and snow-based activities pique your interest. Chitose North Snow Land, just fifteen minutes from New Chitose Airport, is your port of call for a day of fun on the slopes. Among your options are cross-country skiing, tube sledding, snow rafting, horseback riding and taking to the snow on a quad bike. Cram as much as you can into a day, but make sure you round it off with shabu-shabu, a warming Japanese hotpot of vegetables and meat – essential after a day out in the cold.

5. See the ‘big five’ in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Natural Feature, Park

Kruger National Park
© H. Piorkowski / Getty Images

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the few reserves where you can get up close and personal with the ‘big five’ – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. You’ll see most (if not all) of them during your three day safari, along with plenty of other wildlife. All this will be done under the expert guidance of an experienced game ranger in an open safari vehicle. Hotel pickup and drop-offs are included, and so are all your meals.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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