SOURCE: Cheapflights.com

Cheapflights.com

January 17, 2012 10:07 ET

Cheapflights.com Ranks Where to Go to Defy Winter Gloom

Releases Cheap and Cheerful List of Value Destinations, Launches Giveaway to Help People Take the Break They Want and Need

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2012) - While some economists are singing a slightly more optimistic tune these days, for most people the financial good times are far from rolling along. Nonetheless, our research, based on a survey of over 8,000 people, shows that an overwhelming 80% of Americans say travel is such a priority that they have cut back expenses in other areas to afford vacations. With that in mind, Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, has made it a mission to help people find a getaway that is both fun and affordable.

As we transition from the joy of the holiday season to the gloom of winter, now seems to be the most important time to embrace travel. To help, Cheapflights has done the digging and crunched the numbers to find the best places to go this winter in terms of travel costs, ground costs, weather and safety. Dubbed our Cheap and Cheerful Destinations list, this guide is a ranking of our suggestions for where to go to defy the gloom (#DefyTheGloom).

"Travel is the ultimate antidote to the holiday hangover that is January," said Lauren Sullivan, site editor for Cheapflights.com. "Gloomy weather, bad headlines, even mailboxes full of bills are all good reasons to want to get away. Don't let the cost scare you. There are great flight deals to some places close by and the dollar still has strong buying power in many countries abroad. We've balanced the cost saving potential on both fronts as well as the sun (or ski) appeal and safety factor to help you pick the break you not only want, but really need."

US travelers are lucky to have a wealth of domestic and international destinations to choose from when planning a winter break. We broke down our research into two lists so that, whether you want to bust out a passport or not, we have you covered. Here are the ten top destinations from each list:

At Home:

1 San Diego, Calif
2 New York, NY
3 Portland, Ore
4 Miami, Fla
5 Los Angeles, Calif
6 Fort Lauderdale, Fla
7 Seattle, Wash
8 Denver, Colo
9 Boston, Mass
10 Fort Myers, Fla

These cities are all great destinations in their own right but offer access to beaches and/or mountains and skiing as well. The Sunshine State of Florida is the most popular cheap and cheerful state with three cities, Miami (4th), Fort Lauderdale (6th) and Fort Myers (10th), ranking in the top 10 and a total of six spots on the full top 20 list. While Seattle and Denver are clear winter sports destinations, Boston and New York also got points for being jumping off spots for top East Coast ski resorts. San Diego and Los Angeles are actually two-for-one destinations where a short drive in one direction leads to beach and warm weather fun but a foray in the inland mountains finds you looking down a 1,000-foot vertical drop within 2.5 hours.

Away:

1 Cancun, Mexico
2 Cabos San Lucas, Mexico
3 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
4 Mexico City, Mexico
5 Nassau, Bahamas
6 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
7 Montego Bay, Jamaica
8 Vancouver, Canada
9 Chennai, India
10 Quito, Ecuador

Mexico clearly tops the list with the combination of good airfare deals and affordable ground costs. Throw in the glorious winter weather and it's a clear winner. For Mexico City, trade the beach for vibrant city layered in history and filled with art and museums. Just note that Mexico is a vast country with pockets where safety is a real concern. Our research showed these destinations all had solid safety ratings, though Mexico City scored a little lower than the others. If you want to see more of Mexico, however, do your homework. Alternatively, the Bahamas and Jamaica are classic and affordable places to escape to the warmth. India, Vietnam and Ecuador are excellent examples of destinations where the extremely low ground costs, such as accommodation, transportation and food, offset the higher airfares making these worthwhile considerations for those looking for something new or different. To view Cheapflights.com's complete list of Cheap and Cheerful Destinations featuring both the top 20 domestic and top 20 international destinations, visit www.cheapflights.com/promos/cheap-and-cheerful-destinations/.

Methodology
Cheapflights took its 100 most popular destinations from December and ranked them based on a combination of factors, namely average round-trip airfare, weather in January and February, recent currency performance, ground costs and third-party rankings on safety for visitors. Our Cheap and Cheerful list comprises the top destinations based on that analysis.

The Great Escape
Our Cheap and Cheerful list is meant to inspire people to shake off the gloom of the season and make true on their travel aspirations. To go one step further, Cheapflights has also launched The Great Escape giveaway on Facebook. The winner of this sweepstakes competition will receive $3000 in travel money to plan an escape to a cheap and cheerful destination of their own choosing. Cheapflights is also giving away travel must-have Kindles every week in the run up to the grand prize draw. The contest is open worldwide, so jump in and get ready to get away.

About Cheapflights Media
Cheapflights Media is an international media network helping over 11 million visitors a month find top travel deals. Our Cheapflights brand was launched in 1996 and pioneered the online comparison of flight deals for users. Today, users compare a wide range of deals from hundreds of partners including online travel agents, consolidators and airlines to find the very best flight deals. With a mission to be the starting point for travel, Cheapflights works to deliver the industry's best airfare bargains, expert tips and inspiration. There are currently Cheapflights sites in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia & New Zealand, France, Italy and Spain. For more information, visit www.cheapflights.com. Our newest brand, Momondo, is a leading travel search engine for finding comprehensive worldwide pricing and availability on airfares. Winner of several awards, the site is ideal for users on specific travel schedules. For more information, visit www.momondo.com.

Contact Information