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The Winter Sun Index

Winter Sun Index Blog Header

The best destinations in the US and around the world to enjoy some winter sunshine

As the colder months are starting to settle in, you may find yourself dreaming of a sunny escape. Whether you are longing for a January holiday in Dubai or a sun-kissed Christmas vacation in Thailand, there are a variety of winter sun destinations to choose from.

Destinations across the US, from Los Angeles to Orlando, alongside worldwide seasonal vacation favorites, have been analyzed on their winter temperatures, precipitation rates, sunshine hours, and average hotel prices to reveal the best US and global locations for a winter sun vacation.

This report also reveals the best winter sun destinations in terms of hotel affordability, so that you can top up your vitamin D without breaking the bank!

The best winter sun vacation destinations in the US

Winter Sun Index US Top 3

1. Phoenix, Arizona – 7.88/10

Ranking as the best destination in the US for a winter sun vacation is Phoenix, Arizona. On average, vacationers in Phoenix can lounge in 8.66 hours of daily sunshine through the winter months. Phoenix is known for its stunning year-round sun and warm average temperatures, owing to its nickname the Valley of the Sun.

Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and is well known for being home to high-end spa resorts, golf courses, and nightclubs. Phoenix also shows off some truly incredible landscapes surrounding the city with beautiful hiking trails to explore.

2. Miami, Florida – 7.54/10

Miami is the second-best winter destination for sun worshippers in the US. Enjoy a pleasant 7 hours of sun per day in Miami during the winter months, and a tropical average temperature of 70.34 °F. Miami likewise ranks as the most popular US winter destination on Instagram, having seen over 84 million hashtags on the social media platform.

On top of this, Miami is home to many high-end hotels and a truly mind-blowing skyline. Party-goers and sun worshippers flock to Miami year-round to enjoy its pristine beaches and non-stop nightlife under the sun.

3. Orlando, Florida – 6.95/10

Ranking as the third best US destination for winter sun is Orlando, Florida. Orlando offers mild weather conditions during the winter months, with average temperatures hitting 61.70°F and an average of 6.68 hours of sunlight each day. Furthermore, Orlando offers some of the cheapest hotels on this list at just $87 per night!

Orlando is a great winter sun vacation for thrill-seekers and movie-buffs alike. Home to over a dozen theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Winter Sun Index US Table

The best winter sun vacation destinations across the world

Winter Sun Index Global Top 3

1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 8.38/10

Dubai ranks as the best destination in the world for a winter sun vacation. Visitors to Dubai can expect to bask in 8.82 hours of sunlight each day during the winter months, with average temperatures reaching a comfortable 68.84 °F. Dubai is by far the most popular winter sun destination of those studied, seeing over 111 million Instagram hashtags and the most winter-related Google searches for things to do, reaching over 55,000.

Dubai is probably best known for its ultramodern architecture, including The Burj Khalifa. Dubai’s most iconic building stands at 830m tall, making it the tallest building in the world.

2. Bangkok, Thailand – 8.11

The runner-up for the best winter sun vacation city in the world is Bangkok. Bangkok offers an average of 9.06 hours of sunlight each day in winter. With average temperatures reaching a friendly 63.80 °F Bangkok is ideal for warm and sunny winter escapes. Bangkok is also ideal for those on a budget, with average hotel stays costing around $68 per night.

Bangkok is unique in the way its impressive Buddhist temples contrast with its vibrant nightlife scenes. Bangkok is a hub of cultural and exciting activity from the Grand Palace to Khaosan Road. Sweltering hot all year round, Bangkok is a great city to visit during the winter months when the weather is cooler but still pleasant.

3. Cape Town, South Africa – 7.72

Ranking in third place is Cape Town. For those looking to vacation in Cape Town, sunlight hours average 10.22 each day, from December through to February. Despite these extended sunny days, average temperatures reach 67.46 °F and Cape Town sees a low average of 0.70” of rainfall over winter. Lying beneath the impressive Table Mountain, Cape Town is most known for its bustling harbor and warm weather.

Winter Sun Index Global Table

Winter destinations with the cheapest hotels per night in the US

Winter Sun Index Cheapest Hotels Top 3

1. Orlando, Florida – $87

Not only does Orlando rank as the third-best US destination for a winter sun vacation but it also ranks as the cheapest when looking at average hotel costs. Orlando will see you spend an average of $87 per night on your hotel stay during the months of December through to February.

2. Phoenix, Arizona – $106

Phoenix ranks as the best winter sun destination in the US, and for good reason, with an abundance of sunshine throughout the winter months. Phoenix also ranks as the second most affordable destination in terms of hotel prices, which average $106 per night.

3. Lafayette, Louisiana – $107

The US winter vacation destination that sees the third cheapest hotel prices is Lafayette; here prices average $107 per night. In Lafayette, you can enjoy over 6 hours of sun per day, making it an ideal destination for some winter sun.

Winter destinations with the most expensive hotels per night in the US

Winter Sun Index Most Expensive Hotels Top 3

1. Palm Beach, Florida – $919

At the other end of the scale is Palm Beach. Despite offering an excellent 6.66 hours of sunlight per day at a toasty 68.24 °F, the destination is met with significant hotel costs, averaging $919 per night between December and February.

2. Miami, Florida – $523

Ranking as the second most expensive winter sun destination in terms of hotel prices is Miami. For a price tag of $523 per night, Miami offers some serious winter heat of 70.34 °F alongside a total of 7 hours of sunlight every day.

3. Kailua, Hawaii – $339

Kailua, Hawaii is hotter than Miami, where average temperatures hit around 72.92 °F during the winter months. However, those that desire to soak up these temperatures should expect to pay $339 for a hotel per night.

Winter destinations with the cheapest hotels per night outside the US

Winter Sun Index Cheapest Hotels Global Top 3

1. Murcia, Spain – $56

Murcia, Spain, offers the cheapest average nightly hotel rate from December through to February. Here stays during the festive period average $56 per night. Paired with 7.35 hours of daily sunlight, this destination is perfect for a winter sun getaway.

2. Palma de Mallorca, Spain – $64

In Palma de Mallorca during the winter you can laze in 6.64 hours of sunlight each day for a nightly price of $64. At a cooler 52.40 °F during the winter, Palma de Mallorca is a popular winter vacation.

3. Palermo, Italy – $66

The capital of the popular Italian island of Sicily, Palermo, ranks as the third cheapest location to chase the winter sun, coming in at just $66 per night. For this price, you get 5.37 hours of sun each day.

Winter destinations with the most expensive hotels per night outside the US

Winter Sun Index Most Expensive Hotels Global Top 3

1. Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda – $574

Saint John’s is the capital city of Antigua and attracts visitors from around the globe. Saint John’s tropical temperatures of 77.42 °F and 8.21 hours of sun come at a significant price tag of $574 per night during winter, the most expensive hotel price on this list.

2. Nassau, Bahamas – $457

Nassau is a popular cruise ship stop with clean beaches and attractive offshore coral reefs. However, the dreamy 73.04 °F heat during winter in Nassau will set visitors back $457 per night on average.

3. Saint George’s, Grenada – $377

At Saint George’s, Granada, you can enjoy warm temperatures of 78.68 °F for an average of 8.57 hours of sun each day from December to February. However, such weather offerings come at a price, with hotels costing around $377 per night.

Methodology

A seed list of 60 global and US cities was created from northern-hemisphere winter vacation listicles including trip, dottedglobe, sunshine, and holidu.

Average winter temperatures (°F), average winter precipitation (inches) rates, and average daily winter sunshine hours were retrieved from climate-data.org, calculated to give data for the winter months of December, January, and February.

“City Winter” annual searches and “City Things to Do” during winter were taken from Google Keywords. “City Winter” annual searches were recorded as annual results for each keyword. “City things to do” were taken as winter searches (from December, January, and February) for each keyword.

Average nightly hotel costs were taken from Kayak by calculating the average costs of hotels from December, January, and February. All currency conversions were made on the 28th of October 2022.

The ‘Winter Holiday Score’ was created by giving each factor a normalized rank and then combining these scores. US cities were included in the global ranking. A separate ranking was also created for US cities in isolation.

13 Last Minute Vacations for Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and if you originally decided to stay home this year but are now itching for a new adventure, it’s not too late to book a last-minute Thanksgiving getaway. Here are 13 great places we recommend visiting this year with family and friends!

On Location – The House of the Dragon

With the recent success of House of the Dragon, the world of travel offers new and exciting experiences all over the globe. Since the series wrapped up, we have been left wondering, where are all those incredible sights to be found? Look no further, as we have listed various places where the HBO show was filmed.

Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, Spain

The first location scoped out during the principal photography stage was the breathtaking Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe. This beautiful, historic building can be found in the Cáceres province of Spain. Eagle-eyed viewers may remember this place from the show’s predecessor, Game of Thrones. Scenes were shot for both King’s Landing and the Red Keep, and to keep continuity for this prequel, the exact location was used for House of the Dragon.

The scenes that used this space include Rhaenys’ discussion with Princess Rhaenyra about her being named heir to the Iron Throne, and where Rhaenyra chose Ser Criston Cole as her Kings guard.

Want to revel in a Spanish summer next year? Make sure to pre-book your lot space for your car before flying. ParkSleepFly can help get you the cheapest deal and save you dollars!


Featuring in the second to last episode of House of The Dragon, the Caceres church – San Francisco Javier was the backdrop for an intense scene between Aegon and Aemond Targaryen. The former ran away from his duty becoming king, and his brother was sent to hunt him down. The altercation between characters in this scene is played out in front of the many steps that can be seen before the entrance.

San Francisco Javier Church, Caceres

In reality, this baroque-style church is in the centre of Caceres, a small town located in Spain. This 18th Century church adds to the old town aspects of King’s Landing and made for the perfect addition to the House of the Dragon filming locations.

Flying to Spain soon on an extravagant trip? Add an airport parking lot space to your booking to guarantee your space today!



The next recognisable location can be found across the pond in Holywell Bay, Cornwall. The view from this large cave was used as Rhaenyra and Laenor walked across the beach. It is the primary location used to represent the Valeryon family home at Driftmark. This location was new to the Game of Thrones universe, after not being previously used. The Valeryon home was never featured in the show’s predecessor.

Holywell Bay beach, Cornwall

Cornwall is located in the very far Southwest of the United Kingdom and makes for a great vacation spot. The summers can get particularly warm, so a good place to consider if you want that English charm sprinkled into your next trip. We also recommend traditional fish and chips and Cornish ice cream as a treat!

Fancy a stroll across the bay? Pre-book your airport parking lot space with ParkSleepFly today for the best deal! Pre-booking guarantees your lot space and peace of mind whilst on your trip.


Just a stone’s throw from Holywell Bay is the beautiful St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall. This was the main feature for the Drift mark exterior shots, which served as the Valeryon ancestral home. Laena Valeryon greeted King Viserys and welcomed him to the home in one of the earlier episodes of House of the Dragon.

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

The stunning location is very reminiscent of Mont Saint-Michel in France, but the two locations are totally separate.

We recommend adding this breathtaking historical castle to your trip to Cornwall! There is an online castle tour also available for those keen historians who want to learn more about the destination.

Preparing for your next trip has never been easier than with ParkSleepFly, and pre-booking your airport parking lot space is always recommended. Book now!


Our final destination in Cornwall is Kynance Cove beach near the Lizard Peninsula. Located further south than Holywell Bay, this truly looks out into the ocean. This Cove faces out to the Celtic Sea and the English Channel.

Kynance Cove was the main location used for the Stepstones Battle between Daemon, Corlys and the Triarchy.

Kynance Cove, Cornwall

The blue water of the cove is a sight to be seen on any trip to Cornwall, with the rocky pillars below being the perfect backdrop for a true battle Game of Thrones style. After a walk down to the beach on a sunny afternoon, why not enjoy a fresh Cornish pasty or homemade cake with clotted cream? The Kynance Café and Cottage eco-friendly eatery is a must-visit after a long day.

The 3.2km walk offers scenic views and Lizard point is the UK’s most southerly point. This National Trust location is a protected conservation area, so make sure you dispose of all trash appropriately!

Looking forward to jetting off to Cornwall next summer? Make sure to pre-book your airport parking lot space now with ParkSleepFly!

Spooky Locations Across the US to visit on Halloween

This spooky season, travel is back and better than ever. There are so many fascinating places to visit, from a popular film set to a suspected haunted hotel, here are some ghoulish places you should consider visiting on this creepy Halloween weekend.

Halloween Movie House – Did you know you can visit the real house that was from the Halloween movies? We saw in Halloween Kills the house had an interior re-vamp, but the external face remained the same. Take a trip to 1000 Mission Street, North Carolina and you can find the replica of the original house. Just make sure not to disturb the businesses that currently run out of the building!

A creepy abandoned house, looking similar to the one featured in the Halloween movies.

Hotel La Fonda (Santa Fe, New Mexico) – Back in its Old West heydays, gunfights were a commonality inside the La Fonda, and convicts hung from the gallows out back. The spirits of these western gunslingers are often found still hanging around the old hitching and sleeping post.

Roller King Skating Rink (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Sticking in the Southwest, the Roller King-Skating Rink was famously used as a set for the recent 4th season of Stranger Things. This roller rink is a great activity to participate in for Halloween, so why not dress up and get your skates on? Stylised as Rink-O-Mania in the show, bring back the 80’s flare and give it a try. They have a daily schedule through October to fit into your own spooky plans. Make sure to keep an eye out on their website for other festive events this month.

Looking to fly from your local airport and explore a spooky Halloween location in this post? Make sure to pre-book your airport hotel and parking lot space with ParkSleepFly!



An 80’s Roller Rink inspired the set for Stranger Things Season 4.

The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado) – As soon as you arrive at the idyllic driveway of this hotel, you will realise it inspired the hotel from Steven King’s The Shining. This extravagant building houses ‘spirited rooms’, meaning you can have a real paranormal experience during your stay! Availability is limited in these rooms, so it’s best to pre-book these as early as you can.

If you can’t make it to stay overnight at the hotel, we highly recommend the Spirited Tour. This experience lasts around 60 minutes, and the night-time ambience adds to the spooky atmosphere. The knowledgeable storyteller takes you around the hotel itself and through the dark edges, leaving it the perfect place for a few scares this Halloween.

Estes Park, Colorado, USA – October 5, 2019 – Exterior of the Stanley Hotel, inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, at dusk.


Ramada Plaza Hotel (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) – The basement of this hotel is the exit point of underground tunnels once used by Chicago gangsters to escape from authorities. Former owner Walter Schroeder passed on whilst on the premises, and he now haunts the hotel – turning on faucets and lights, banging on walls, and reportedly yelling.

The RMS Queen Mary Hotel(Long Beach, CA) – Unfortunately currently closed due to ongoing renovations. This massive ocean liner crossed the Atlantic thousands of times, but it has been permanently docked in Long Beach since 1967…where paranormal activity has become the norm. Strange rapping noises can be heard onboard, ghostly apparitions are often seen walking the halls, and stairs have been seen on the side of the docked ship. Due to the temporary closure, a Halloween Festival called ‘Shaqtoberfest’ has been set up alongside the famous ship for Halloween fun this year.

The famous ghost ship located in Long Beach, with the full moon in the background makes for a spooky setting.

Provincial Hotel (New Orleans, Louisiana) – The Big Easy is infamous for being inhabited by spirits, and the Provincial Hotel is no exception. Once a hospital for the fallen, the ghosts of soldiers and doctors roam freely, opening and closing doors, whispering in the halls, and some guests have even reported seeing soldiers in their rooms. Building No. 5 is believed to be the most haunted, so stay and sleep…if you dare.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Known for being ‘haunted’ by the late Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn and Montgomery Clift, this Hollywood Boulevard hotel has gained quite the reputation for scares since its opening in 1927. It’s sure to be spooky fun this Halloween, so why not book a room and see if you can sleep through the night?

Tourists surrounding the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.

Enjoy a spooky stay in an airport hotel this Halloween! Pre-book now with ParkSleepFly, if you dare.


The Airport Layover Index

The best airports for when you need a layover

Quite often, holidaymakers, travelers, and business people will experience layovers as they fly between countries. Layovers can be as short as 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours for international flights.

Layovers can be a great way to discover a new destination. Whether you have a few hours to wander the streets of Paris and grab a croissant, or an evening to take advantage of the nightlife in Tokyo, layovers are a fun way to check out a new city to see if you’d like to return in the future.

By investigating the busiest airports in the world from Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta to Shanghai Hongqiao International, on their food & beverages, hygiene, service, customer satisfaction, shopping, and hotel availability, this report reveals the best airports in the world for an airport layover.

The best US airports for layovers

Airport Layover Index US Top 3

1. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport- Layover Score – 7.22/10

Ranking as the best airport for a layover in the US is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, hitting a layover score of 7.22/10. The airport offers great hygiene and service practices and there is a good selection of 33 hotels within 2 miles of the airport to choose from.

Seattle to Los Angeles is the most popular flight out of this airport. Yet, whilst you wait you can gaze upon the stunning Mount Rainier, visible from the comfort of the Airport’s terminals.

2. George Bush Intercontinental Airport – Layover Score – 6.11/10

George Bush Intercontinental Airport ranks as the second-best US airport for a layover with a score of 6.11/10. George Bush Intercontinental sees excellent ratings across amenities, hygiene, and services. There is only 1 hotel within 2 miles of the airport though, so be sure to book in advance. The most popular flight out of George Bush is to Los Angeles.

3. Denver International Airport – Layover Score – 6.00/10

In third place is Denver International Airport with a score of 6.00/10. Denver has more shopping choices than George Bush International, and the airport also scores well for its food and beverage offerings (4.17/5).

Denver is one of the busiest US airports, servicing almost 60 million people each year. Denver Airport offers a memorable and exciting experience as you investigate its four murals, all of which have been a favorite topic of conspiracy theorists.

Airport Layover Index US Table

The best global airports for layovers

Airport Layover Index Global Top 3

1. Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan – Layover Score – 8.67/10

Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan, ranks as the best airport in the world to enjoy a layover. This Japanese airport has an excellent 4.59/5 hygiene rating to pair with an excellent choice of food and beverages. The service and shopping choices are likewise great here, with several designer fashion shops available, including Burberry, Chanel, Hermès, and Rolex.

There are 31 hotels within 2 miles of the airport to find the perfect place to relax and unwind. Tokyo Haneda Airport shows off its more modern design and is often enjoyed by foreign heads of state upon visiting Japan.

2. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, China – Layover Score – 8.44/10

In runner-up position is the Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. Shanghai Hongqiao International offers excellent amenities, with shopping and staff service hitting 4.5/5 each. The airport also boasts a customer satisfaction score of 6.00/10, a significantly high score for a busy airport.

Shanghai airport has its very own art galleries in the Arrival Hall, known as the Artspace. Antiques alongside modern artworks and paintings are displayed here for travelers to enjoy.

3. Istanbul Airport, Turkey – Layover Score – Layover Score – 7.22/10

Istanbul Airport, in Turkey, ranks as the third best airport to enjoy a layover. With scores for amenities consistently over 4.00/5. Istanbul Airport also enjoys a huge choice of 87 hotels within a 2-mile radius. Despite a lower customer satisfaction score of 3.00/10, Istanbul Airport still scores a 7.22/10 layover score due to its consistently high scores across its amenities.

Luxury Square, at Istanbul Airport, offers a wide variety of world-famous luxury and designer products, with stores covering 800 m². Opened in 2018, this airport has some stunning architecture with its giant glass walls, and it is already one of the most popular airports in the world.

Airport Layover Index Global Table

Methodology

All of the following data was taken from Skytrax:

  • Food and beverage ratings were calculated from ratings for landside and airside choices and prices.
  • Hygiene ratings were calculated from cleanliness ratings for seats, washrooms, public areas, and food.
  • Staff Service ratings were calculated from service ratings for info & help, shopping, and food.
  • Shopping facilities were calculated from landside and airside choices.
  • Customer ratings were taken directly from Skytrax.

The number of hotels within 2 miles of each airport was recorded using Booking.com.

Annual passenger numbers were taken from Wikipedia. These were not included in the ranking calculations.

Most common domestic flights in the US were taken from Stacker.

Data was recorded before October 4th, 2022.

All factors were given a normalized score ranked and combined to give the Layover Score.