The Best Places to Travel in February

Jan 22, 2019

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Need a winter escape?

Perhaps you’re tired of your new gym routine or have a serious dose of cold-weather cabin fever, with no salvation from winter in sight. February isn’t usually a busy month for travelers (beyond the occasional Valentine’s Day getaway), so it’s the ideal time to search for awesome off-peak award availability or serious hotel deals that could inspire you to trade snow for sand, or embrace the season and strap on those skis.

We looked at everything from the weather and annual events to new flight routes; exciting hotel debuts; and major travel trends to determine the absolute best places to travel in February this year. Whether you’re looking for an easy trip to the American Southwest or a far-flung adventure to Southeast Asia, these destinations are six of the best places to travel in February.

Want to plan ahead? Check out our guide to the 12 best places to visit every month of 2019.

Mexico

Late last year, American Airlines launched nonstop flights from Dallas (DFW) to Oaxaca (OAX). And over the summer, Interjet began offering flights from San Antonio (SAT) and Houston (IAH) to Guanajuato (BJX). Basically, it’s never been easier to explore beyond Mexico’s better-known resort areas.

Of course, these pleasure destinations shouldn’t be overlooked. There are new hotels cropping up all over the country, especially in Los Cabos. Following the entrances of Montage, Viceroy and Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort in 2018, the trending destination will welcome the opulent Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and a Four Seasons this year.

Beyond the fact that February in Mexico is dry, warm and quiet after the busy holiday season, nature lovers can expect to see something spectacular this time of year, too: the annual monarch butterfly migration, when hundreds of millions of monarchs migrate to the country. It also happens to be prime whale watching season, when gray and humpback whales migrate to the warm Pacific waters of Baja California.

The butterfly migration in Mexico. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Monarch butterflies migrate through Mexico in February. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Austria

Austria is a destination you visit to embrace — not escape — your winter blues.

February is a prime month for ball-goers all across Austria. And yes, we do mean Cinderella-esque events in palaces where you can don a gown and waltz the night away.

Since it’s so chilly, there are also plenty of indoor musical and cultural events to take advantage of in Vienna. There are operas, concerts and the Princely Collection exhibition coming to Vienna’s Albertina Museum mid-February, featuring works by artists like Rubens and Makart. In Salzburg, you can listen to orchestral tunes during evening concerts at the famous Mirabell Palace.

And let’s not forget the ski scene, as the Austrian Alps are blessed with ample fresh powder this time of year. Best of all, several new lifts and cable cars opened in time for the 2019 ski season.

The Austrian Alps are unmissable during the winter months. (Photo by Naomi Hutchinson via Unsplash)

After a full day on the slopes, tuck in to some hearty Austrian cuisine. Opt for a piping hot, perfectly crisped Wiener schnitzel, followed by Viennese coffee and a world-famous Sacher torte or flaky apple strudel.

Arizona

One of the few places in the US with surefire sunshine and mild temps all winter, Arizona is all about events, festivals and fairs in the month of February. The state makes for an easy weekend getaway, whether you’re seeking a romantic retreat or a solo adventure.

Some of Arizona’s most popular February events take place in Tucson, such as the Gem and Mineral Show (part of the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase), and the famous Tucson Rodeo.

Scottsdale kicks off the month with the Phoenix Open, one of the most popular events on the PGA tour, followed by the Waterfront Wine & Arts Festival, where you can check out works from local artists. The third weekend in February is Arizona Cocktail Weekend, with concerts, exhibitions and, of course, tastings.

Events aren’t just limited to the major cities, either. In February, Tubac hosts the 60th Festival of the Arts, which includes a number of musical events, Gold Canyon’s Renaissance Festival and the 34th Annual Winterfest in Lake Havasu.

A trip to Arizona wouldn't be worth it without a visit to Saguaro National Park. (Photo via Shutterstock)
A trip to Arizona wouldn’t be worth it without a visit to Saguaro National Park. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Bolivia

Who wouldn’t want to spend their February exploring salt flats with wild flamingos? The Salar de Uyuni is one of Bolivia’s most extraordinary natural wonders. It’s more than 4,000 square miles of glittering salt.

When the highly anticipated Kachi Lodge debuts in February, travelers will be able to glamp in one of six private domes nestled near the foot of the Tulupa volcano. For an equally epic lodging adventure, stay at the Palacio de Sal: a hotel constructed almost entirely of salt.

The Kachi Lodge in Bolivia. (Photo courtesy of Kachi Lodge)
The Kachi Lodge in Bolivia. (Photo courtesy of Kachi Lodge)

For travelers who prefer urban adventures, the high-altitude city of La Paz (its elevation is almost 12,000 feet) remains extremely affordable, despite a hotel and restaurant boom. Stay at The Atix, a member of Design Hotels with art touches by Gastón Ugalde, or the Altu Qala (also a Design Hotels property), which is opening soon. This intimate hotel, set in a townhouse from the 1900s, will feature upscale design elements like Murano glass and Kienzle clocks.

In Bolivia, travelers can also experience a less-touristy version of Lake Titicaca. (The Peru side of the lake is where you’ll typically find the most tourists.) Head to the waterfront town of Copacabana, and then to the Isla del Sol. Just be prepared for the extreme elevation and intense sunlight.

Thailand

February is when much of Thailand sees dry, sunny weather without the extreme hot temperatures that return in the spring.

It’s also getting easier for visitors to get directly to Thailand’s islands. Airlines such as Air Asia have recently expanded their routes (think: Hong Kong to Krabi), meaning you can fly nonstop to Hong Kong from the US and then to south Thailand to start island hopping without having to make an extra stop in Bangkok.

Speaking of islands, you have so many to choose from beyond the tourist hub of Phuket. TPG favorites include the low-key islands Koh Kood or Koh Lipe, named the new Koh Phi Phi.

And if it’s Bangkok that’s calling your name, there’s always a new hotel opening to check out. Stay at the brand-new Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, which opened in late 2018. (Don’t miss the spectacular views from the rooftop.) We’re also anxiously awaiting the opening of the Rosewood Bangkok — and its plunge pool villas — which is scheduled to welcome guests this year.

Koh Lipe of the Andaman Sea, Thailand. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Koh Lipe of the Andaman Sea, Thailand. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Turks and Caicos Islands

There’s no better way to beat winter than with an escape to the Caribbean.

The Turks and Caicos Islands topped our list for February because it’s so easy to get there from the US, thanks to Southwest’s new(ish) seasonal nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Providenciales International (PLS). American also flies to PLS from Charlotte (CLT), Philadelphia (PHL) and Miami (MIA), while Delta flies nonstop from Atlanta (ATL) and United operates flights from Newark (EWR) and seasonally from Chicago (ORD). Plus, JetBlue also serves PLS from both FLL and New York-JFK.

In addition to quick flights, Turks and Caicos is a logistical dream for US travelers because the islands use the same plugs, voltage and currency, making a trip here totally hassle-free.

Although there still aren’t any points properties on the islands, an Andaz at Grace Bay is in the works for 2021. In the meantime, you can still rest your head in luxury at the Gansevoort, The Palms, the Amanyara and The Shore Club. Something to look forward to? The Turks Cay Resort & Marina is currently under construction, with 140-rooms, a semi-private beach and cool extras like a museum and a cigar lounge (in addition to multiple pools, of course).

A favorite destination of The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, Turks and Caicos is truly paradise, with white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. In fact, the islands have about 230 total miles of beachfront, and it’s a haven for travelers who love to snorkel and dive. On top of all of that, the breezier Long Bay Beach area is tailor-made for kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding.

(Photo by Ileana Ravasio/Attimi Photography for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ileana Ravasio/Attimi Photography for The Points Guy)

Besides the usual sun and beach activities, February in the Turks and Caicos sees some quirky events, too, like the annual Chocolate Lovers Showcase on Feb. 2 and the model sailboat race on Feb. 19.

Where are you heading this February? Share in the comments section below.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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