Romantic Valentine’s Day Destinations

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Are you looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day trip? We all know that a trip to Paris or Napa Valley can be romantic, but there are lots of other cities in the world that can ignite the spark.  Whether you want to embrace the winter weather or travel to somewhere a little warmer, below are five romantic places to take your Valentine for a special getaway.

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING
Cupid’s favorite holiday technically falls at the end of winter, so embrace the season.  Jackson Hole is remote, so it’s one of the least crowded places to choose if you’re looking for a winter wonderland.  Hit the slopes at one of the five ski resorts, take a sleigh ride through the Elk Refuge, or take a Dog Sled Ride to Granite Hot Springs. After your day out in the snow, cuddle up together at one of Jackson Hole’s many B&Bs or Resorts.  Can’t wait to plan a trip?  All the information you will ever need about this snowy city can be found on the dedicated Jackson Hole website.

HOTEL KAKSLAUTTANEN,  LAPLAND, FINLAND
Hotel Kakslauttanen offers many different accommodations, one of the more exciting being its glass igloos.  Cuddle up together in bed and gaze up into the Northern Sky.  These igloos provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to view the Northern Lights.  From the resort, you can go ice fishing, or take a Husky or Reindeer winter safari.

Looking to kick-start your Lapland trip? Dont forget to pre-book your hotel + parking package with ParkSleepFly before your trip!



MADIERA, PORTUGAL
Temperatures here rarely get below 55 °F even in the winter months, so it’s a great destination if you just can’t take the cold winter weather anymore.  The island has an abundance of protected reserves.  Hike up to breathtaking mountain views or explore the many manicured gardens.  Adventure seekers can scuba dive under the crystal-clear waters, and culture connoisseurs can explore churches and convents that date back to the 15th century.  Of course, you’re never too far from the beach, so relaxing in the sand is always an option.  Their official tourism site has an English option, so check it out.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Savannah, GA is the go-to romantic getaway in the South-eastern United States, but why not try something a little different?  New Orleans can be just as romantic.  The charm of the French Quarter can make you feel like you’re on the streets of Europe.  No other American city has such a distinct and unique cuisine, from beignets to crawfish to gumbo, you’ll find you don’t have enough time to taste all that New Orleans has to offer.  Hit up a jazz club for a romantic night of dancing or enjoy the ambience at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar.  Right at the end of busy Bourbon Street, it is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.

NAKED STABLES PRIVATE RESERVE MOGANSHAN, CHINA
You’ll have to pack for cooler weather, February temperatures are generally in the 40s and 50s, but this 60-acre resort promotes wellness as a lifestyle.  Stay in one of their cozy earth huts and restore your balance and spiritual and physical well-being.  Connect with nature and each other by taking one of many hikes, bike riding tours, or horseback riding tours that they offer.  You can also learn something new together; the resort offers calligraphy and tea-picking classes as well as yoga workshops, kite flying, and archery.

Prepare for your trip to China by pre-booking your parking lot space and hotel room the night before you fly. ParkSleepFly can help save your dollars and guarantee your lot space at your chosen airport!

Where will 2023 take you?

Looking ahead to 2023 vacations is on a lot of traveler’s minds at the moment. The main question is where should you be taking a trip to? We have compiled a list of recommendations and trending destinations covering the US for domestic, European, and further afield worldwide travel.

There are many reasons to go on a trip to certain places, mostly including relaxing and tasting the best foods. To get our list started, we will look at some featured destinations for the best cuisine.

Best places to eat

Panoramic view of the historic town of Assisi on a beautiful sunny day with blue sky and clouds in summer, Umbria, Italy.

Umbria, Italy – Italy is already known for its outstanding taste when it comes to food, and the historic region of Umbria is a hidden gem within this country. From truffles to Pecorino cheeses, refresh your palate after indulging in fresh pasta with the finest wines from the region. It’s recommended you pair these decadent flavours with a deep Montefalco Sagrantino or Torgiano Rosso Riserva, both are made from the Umbrian red grape.

Petronas Towers, also known as Menara Petronas are the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The capital of Malaysia is always guaranteed to get your tastebuds tingling, and the large varieties of foods available mean you are always spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in this city. Roti Canai, a traditional east Asian dish has become popular in Kuala Lumpur over the years, and the multi-cultural impact of the city can be seen among many restaurants. Other dishes include Nasi Lemak, rice soaked in coconut milk, which is a staple recipe in Malaysia. This dish is very versatile and enjoyed at all times of the day.

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Fukuoka, Japan – The bustling city streets of Japan are filled with numerous places to soak up both the culture and the food of the East. Japanese food is becoming a big hit in the US, but it never beats trying traditional recipes in its homeland. From Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) to Tonkotsu Ramen and vegetable or pork Gyozas, there’s something to suit everyone in Fukuoka. Soy sauce, Miso and Salt are common ingredients to use throughout Japan and give a full-bodied Umami flavour to anything you pair it with. Vegetables, meats, and ramen are prepared and cooked with the utmost skill and enjoying Sake on the side is always recommended.


Lima, Peru – From the far East to the far south, Lima in the heart of Peru offers a plethora of interesting flavours that you won’t want to miss. Ceviche, the national dish of this country is the top of the list when it comes to enjoying food in Peru. This cold ‘cooked’ fish dish takes the region by storm and can be found on a large majority of menus throughout Lima. Lomo Saltado (Stir Fried Beef) is a big hit with meat eaters, and the traditional Peruvian preparation and cooking of this dish makes it a standout to try when you visit. Papas a la Huancaina (Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce) is also the perfect carb-filled alternative if you aren’t one for eating heavier meat dishes. Peruvians take a larder staple and add a variety of spices to potatoes to create a mouth-watering dish that leaves you wanting more.

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Beach and Twelve Apostles mountain in Camps Bay near Cape Town in South Africa.

Cape Town, South Africa – Cape Town is all about community, and their version of a BBQ, known as Braai, brings together the local community. If you can find a Braai cookout when you visit, we highly recommend trying something new from the grill. Choose from meats including an exotic Warthog or Ostrich!


Best places to unwind

Aerial view of the coastline in Halkidiki, Greece

Halkidiki, Greece – The traditional European beaches offer beautiful coastlines and Halkidiki is guaranteed to not disappoint. Rest and recuperation are in high demand, so enjoying the sun in this coastal town gets you away from the hustle and bustle throughout 2023. If you want to take some time out for yourself, the turquoise waters lapping at the sand are the perfect place for you.


Jamaica – Just south of the US you can find the Island of Jamaica, which boasts multiple spa resorts, perfect for unwinding after a busy 2022. Enjoy full body massages, heated pools and saunas whilst enjoying the winter sun at the start of 2023. Montego Bay is guaranteed to offer a vacation of luxury, whilst the Martha Brae is the perfect place to steep yourself in nature by taking a raft out onto the river.


Beautiful view of Gozo island from a boat, the background landscape boasts the old town buildings

Malta – The Phoenicia Malta Gardens is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll and to immerse yourself in your favorite book. Featuring views of the harbor, and a breathtaking infinity pool, you have the opportunity to soak up true Maltese culture. Finish your evening with a trip to The Phoenix restaurant and a cocktail or two at the Club Bar with views of the coast.


Raja Ampat, Indonesia – Indonesia is known for its long-term use of Eastern relaxation techniques as well as medicine. Raja Ampat boasts a Biodiversity Nature Resort, offering the perfect options for unwinding and relaxing before a busy 2023. With free breakfasts, Wi-Fi, and something for the kids, it’s a great choice for families looking to get away from a busy city setting.

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Jordan – After a busy 2022, why not explore Jordan in 2023? There you can find the Hammamat Ma’in hot springs. These mineral water springs and waterfalls offer the ultimate relaxation after a busy Christmas and New Year season. This resort and spa location means you can enjoy a hot soak just south of Amman and at 264km below sea level!

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Other trending destinations to visit in 2023 include Sydney Australia, Auckland New Zealand, and Salvador Brazil. All guarantee to offer even more interesting cuisines and dishes for you to try, or to enjoy a relaxing spa break before a busy rest of the year. Do you already have your flights booked for one of these destinations?

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

Global Surfing Spots

Global Surfing Spots Header

The best surfing locations to catch a wave in the USA, and across the world

Our world is made up of 71% water, so what better way to experience it than riding a wave? Surfing can be the perfect way to connect with nature allowing us to view our oceans from a completely different perspective.

From the likes of Montauk, New York, to La Jolla, San Diego, for those dreaming of taking on the adrenaline rush that surfing brings, the surfing spot options are endless.

If you are not sure where to start your surfing adventure, and you need a little inspiration, then keep reading as we reveal the most popular surfing spots across the USA and the world.

The USA’s top surfing spots

USA Top 3 Surfing Spots

1. Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA – Surfing Spot Score 8.32

Located in the sunshine state of Florida, Cocoa Beach is a popular destination for surfers and sunbathers alike. The beach is an iconic and busy surfing hub with an extensive surfing history dating back to the 1950s. Cocoa Beach is particularly popular on social with over 3,000 surfing-related Instagram hashtags. The sea temperatures are also favorable, averaging 27°C, so whether you are looking to surf or to swim, it’s going to be a great place to take to the sea.

2. Waikiki, Oahu, USA – Surfing Spot Score 7.69

Hawaii is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and warm seas so it’s no surprise that Waikiki in Oahu ranks in second position. Oahu offers 122 surf breaks and a coastline of 3.8km to explore. Similarly to Cocoa Beach in Florida, surfers are in for a warm ride with average sea temperatures of 27°C.

3. Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, USA – Surfing Spot Score 6.67

Huntington Beach is located in the popular surfing area of Orange County, California. The surfing spot ranked well for the number of surfing breaks at 51, and on average the spot is searched 1,770 times per month across the globe. The seas appear to be slightly cooler here than in Florida and Oahu though, averaging at 21°C.

USA Top Surfing Spots Table

The world’s top surfing spots

World Top 3 Surfing Spots

1. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico – Surfing Spot Score 7.50

Puerto Escondido is a laid-back coastal region, yet it is home to one of the world’s most thrilling waves, making the surfing spot perfect for expert surfers. The thrillseekers paradise is also highly sought after online, with over 3,000 tags on Instagram, and 6,120 monthly Google searches.

2. Noosa, Queensland, Australia – Surfing Spot Score 6.38

In second position is Noosa, Queensland, Australia. Located on the sunshine coast, this is the perfect spot to take to the waves. This resort has waves for all levels, and the best time to surf is during April when sea temperatures average 21C. According to the research, Noosa has a total of 69 surf breaks, and it is also highly popular on Instagram with over 16,000 tags.

3. Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada – Surfing Spot Score 5.76

Ranking in third place is Tofino, Canada. Tofino offers a range of surf breaks with varying difficulty levels, perfect for beginners and avid surfers alike. The best time to surf Tofino is in January when the weather and atmosphere are most ideal. During this time waves begin to increase due to fluctuations in wind activity providing perfect surfing conditions. Interestingly, surfing in Tofino has been tagged more than 700,000 times on Instagram.

World Top Surfing Spots Table

The most searched for surf spot

Most Searched For Surf Spot

Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia – 10,000 total searches

Located on the southern tip of Bali, Uluwatu offers an abundance of fast and powerful waves for thrillseekers. With 10,000 combined average monthly Google searches over the last 12 months for ‘surfing in Bali’ and ‘surfing Uluwatu’, this is the most searched surfing location on our list.

The most popular surf spot according to Instagram

Most Popular Surf Spot Instagram

Noosa, Queensland, Australia – 16,036 total tags

Noosa, Australia is the most popular surfing spot according to Instagram, with a total of 16,036 tagged posts. This surfing spot is great for those in search of smaller swells, whilst big swells do appear they are inconsistent. The area is well known for its gorgeous golden sands and clear waters, making it ideal for surfing.

The surf spot with the most breaks

Surf Spot with the Most Breaks

Waikiki, Oahu, USA – 122 total breaks

A surf break is an obstruction in the sea or ocean that causes a break in the tide to create a barrel wave – perfect for surfing. In Oahu, Hawaii there are 122 breaks, creating several surfing options. Some of the surfing breaks along Waikiki are Canoes – which provide perfect conditions for beginners, Queens – home to plenty of surfing competitions, and The Wall – perfect for practicing on smaller waves.

The surf spot with the longest coastline

Surf Spot with the Longest Coastline

Reunion, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – 600km

The surf spot of Reunion is located in Durban, and it is home to a total of 600km of beaches on its coastline to explore. The extensive coastline and glorious weather year-round make this the spot ideal for surfers and beach lovers alike.

The surf spot with the highest sea temperatures

Surf Spot with the Highest Sea Temperatures

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico – 30.67° C

Although there’s no optimum surfing temperature, warmer climates can make the experience much more comfortable. With average sea temperatures of 30.67°C, Puerto Escondido, therefore, ranks in first place. This surfing spot is one of the most famous in Mexico, offering plenty of waves in its warm waters.

The best global surf spots for each month of the year

Best Global Surf Spots Monthly

Methodology

Initially, ranking lists of surfing spots for the terms ‘top surfing spots around the world and ‘the world’s best surfing spots’ were analyzed to create a list of 150 key surfing locations.

This list of over 150 surfing locations was then narrowed down to 30 focusing only on those with the highest search volume.

From here any surfing locations that were not surf breaks were reviewed using the quality rating from Surf Forecast. The surf breaks with the highest ratings were selected.

Using this list we then undertook research into the following factors to identify the best surfing spots across the world.

Google Searches

Using Keyword Planner, average search volumes for the keyphrases that contain the location name and surfing term [example, ‘surfing in Bali’] were analyzed to reveal the overall search volume for each surfing spot. All terms searched included the word surf or surfing to ensure the intent was relatable to the concept.

Instagram Tags

Social data was gathered by analyzing the number of times each surfing spot was tagged on Instagram along with the word surf or surfing e.g. waikikisurf and waikikisurfing. The number of tags per hashtag was then added together to provide a total number of tags for that destination.

Coastline Length

To determine coastline length details a combination of tourist boards and surfing publications were used.

Average Sea Temperatures

Finding the lowest and highest sea temperatures in each location were completed using seatemperatures.net, and lowpressure.co.uk for Mentawai Island.

Best Month to Surf

To identify the best month to surf in each location Surf Forecast was used, for the locations where the best surfing month was unavailable alternative surfing publication sources were used, mywavefinder and surfline.