In our January travel safety roundup we examine elections, new year and religious gatherings. Weather changes and wildfires are also taking place around the world.
This month usually sees millions of people travel around the world for various events. The beginning of 2020 will be no different.
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The ‘Andean Spring’ has seen upheaval and demonstrations up and down the spine of South America. Violent protests have caused significant insurance losses in Chile. At the same time, long-term leader Evo Morales has been ousted from his position in Bolivia.
Meanwhile, with Peru’s government dissolved in the Autumn, snap elections are now due to be held on the 26th January. However, tensions and divisions are likely to persist in the country beyond the polls. As a result, we can expect further uncertainty. This, in turn, will continue to hamper economic growth, which has already slowed in 2019 from earlier forecasts.
Consequently, when Taiwan holds elections on the 11th January, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen looks set to win a second term for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). As a result, expect pragmatic policy continuity under her leadership, including a carefully measured approach to relations with Beijing.
Lunar New Year
Later in the month, many countries will mark the lunar new year on the 25th January. Naturally, China will be one such country. The Chinese New Year likely to see millions of people travel home to spend time with family. As a result, expect extremely busy international travel at this time.
Additionally, one of the largest gatherings of humans is set to take place in Bangladesh this month. Millions of Muslims are set to visit the outskirts of Dhaka for the religious gathering Bishwa Ijtema.
Poor crowd management has led to various issues in the past. The event is now staged in sections so as to spread it out and try to tackle overcrowding. This year’s sections will take place between 10th-12th and 17th-19th January.
Travellers should bear in mind that previous accidents have involved poor weather (including the cold) so check the forecast in advance and bring appropriate clothing.
Of course, cold snaps might be fairly unusual in Bangladesh. However, low temperatures are naturally normal in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Cold, wintry weather at this time of year almost always has an impact on travel.
Conversely, in the southern hemisphere, expect summer conditions in many areas. This can include milder weather in places like the Antarctic and Falkland Islands. The high summer temperatures will also likely continue to spark wildfires in Australia, causing damage, disruption, mayhem and, sadly, casualties.
Where to go
South Africa and several parts of East Africa (particularly Kenya and Tanzania) are very popular at this time of year. Additionally, several parts of south and southeast Asia (everywhere from India to Vietnam) also have good weather around January.
It’s also worth noting that the Persian Gulf is usually tolerably cooler at this time of year. As a result, destinations such as the UAE and Oman can be popular. Florida, Hawaii and New Zealand are also seasonal staples.
Standard Weather Changes
The following countries and territories also mark notable weather changes this month:
Antarctica: the average temperatures are usually at their highest this month, just below freezing.
Falklands: this additionally extends to the Falkland Islands. Here, the temperatures are usually slightly warmer than normal from now until February.
Guyana: the November-January rainy season comes to an end this month.
Panama: the rainy season that began in May also normally ends this month (if it has not already ended).
Rwanda: the rainy season that began in November ends this month.
Seychelles: similarly, the rainy season that began in November ends this month.
Czech Republic: Restoration Day
Haiti: Independence Day
Worldwide: New Year’s Day
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day
Taiwan: Republic Day
Haiti: Ancestry Day
St Kitts and Nevis: Carnival Day
Worldwide: New Year’s Day holiday continues in many countries
Myanmar: Independence Day
Christianity: Orthodox/Coptic Christmas Eve/Epiphany/Three Kings Day
Iraq: Army Day
Cambodia: Victory over Genocide Day
Christianity: Orthodox/Coptic Christmas
Japan: Coming of Age Day
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Republic Day
Panama: Martyr’s Day
Bishwa Ijtema begins
Bangladesh: 1st stage of Bishwa Ijtema (until 12th January)
Benin: Traditional Religions Day
Sri Lanka: Full Moon Poya Day
Morocco: Proclamation of Independence Day
Taiwan: national elections
Tanzania: Zanzibar Revolutionary Day
Turkmenistan: Memorial Day
Bangladesh: 2nd stage of Bishwa Ijtema (until 19th January)
Mali: Armed Forces’ Day
United States: Martin Luther King Day
Dominican Republic: Feast of our Lady Altagracia
The lunar new year approaches
China: New Year Holiday
Romania: Unification Day
Worldwide: Chinese/Korean Lunar New Year
India: Republic Day
Peru: national elections
Monaco: Saint Devote’s Day
We wish you a happy new year and hope you have safe travels ahead in 2020!