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Orlando top destination for Brits
May 21st, 2014 by elisa

Brits just can’t get enough of the sunshine state of Florida, with Orlando the particular holiday favourite for this summer according to recent analysis.

The metasearch website momondo.co.uk analyses its UK flight search data from the last three months, for travel during the UK holiday period and a departure date between June and August 2014 and came up with Brits’ top summer destinations.

Orlando was the clear winner, proving the theme-park capital and family-friendly atmosphere is something that keeps it at the top of our summer holiday list.

The website also studied the most popular places in the world according to data from 20 of the UK’s biggest airports to create each airport’s “Top 5” summer destinations. Orlando appeared in seven out of 20 of these airport lists.

Other firm favourites were Spanish destinations of Alicante and Malaga, coming in third and fourth respectively on overall most-searched destinations for summer 2014. Both also appeared in the top five for 13 out of 20 UK airport lists. 

“It’s encouraging to see Orlando in favour with Brits this year as a popular place to visit over the summer holidays, with its excellent activities and parks for the whole family. And long-haul destination New York was also popular this summer too – at a time when the climate is warm.

“It seems the traditional Spanish summer break though will always appeal to Brits, with short-haul flights and a practical sun guarantee. It is interesting to see Turkey hot on the heels of Spain however, with Dalaman coming in fifth most-popular destination overall. Sizzling hot weather and great deals on this up and coming destination no doubt will be drawing the crowds in this year,” says Julie Pedersen, Spokesperson for momondo.

OVERALL TOP 10 MOST-SEARCHED SUMMER DESTINATIONS FOR BRITS

1) Orlando

2) New York

3) Alicante

4) Malaga

5) Dalaman

6) Bangkok

7) Faro

8) Palma de Mallorca

9) Los Angeles

10) Tenerife

Most family-friendly destinations
May 8th, 2014 by elisa

Florida beach picture by Flickr user Adam Caudill

Florida beach picture by Flickr user Adam Caudill

A survey of 2,000 British parents regarding the most family-friendly destinations in the world found Cornwall to be top of the list, with Orlando in Florida a close second.

The only reason Orlando was pipped to the post was because of the long flying time of around nine hours from the UK, otherwise, its world-famous theme parks and near-constant sunshine ranked extremely favourably for child-friendly holidays.

The Spanish islands of Majorca, Menorca and Tenerife, and the Costa Del Sol on the mainland made up the rest of the top ten for holidays abroad, with Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Isle of Wight for holidays in the UK.

Around eight in ten respondents said making sure a destination is child-friendly is their main priority when booking a holiday. Factors that contributed to a family-friendly holiday included nearby play areas, a good choice of food to cater for fussy eaters, and a shallow sea. Half of the parents polled said the ideal holiday destination must have nice beaches, and 28% said kids’ swimming pools are essential.

The study also found that the ideal holiday would last an average of 10 days, and involve less than five hours of travelling time, making many of the European destinations ideal for family breaks.

 

Flybe adds cheap flights from Birmingham
Feb 3rd, 2014 by elisa

Flybe is adding seven new routes from Birmingham from April and May 2014.

Flybe will offer flights from Birmingham to:

Florence six times a week

– daily flights to Cologne

Toulouse six times a week

Alicante five times a week

– Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto four times a week

Birmingham will become the airline’s biggest regional base when it adds three of its 2×2 seat Embraer 175 jets to the airport.

Seats are on sale now, with one-way fares from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Flights start on 10th April to Alicante, Cologne, Florence and Porto, and from 13th May for the rest.

2013 round up
Dec 30th, 2013 by elisa

It’s nearing the end of 2013, so it’s time for our annual round up of travel news and features covered in this blog over the year.

January is normally the time when you start to examine your finances after the Christmas splurge, and this year was no different for the travel news. A Sunday Times report that found customers were seriously losing out on foreign currency exchange rates when purchasing their travel money at airports.  We also looked at the financial benefits of flying to an airport further from your destination and driving the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Spain was voted the best value destination for 2013, and Eve told us why she thought Spain was a great winter destination.

However, it was all about Greece in February! With its award-winning beaches and Thomas Cook trend survey that revealed a huge increase in bookings during the month. The month ended with a warning to check your travel insurance small print, as many travellers were reported to have fallen foul of clauses in their insurance, which meant they wouldn’t get a pay out on claims.

In March, a woman successfully smuggled a dog onto a plane; we looked at the biosphere reserve that is Menorca; and BA started selling tickets for flights on its ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles in its new super jumbo A380. Easyjet installed new, lighter, seats on its aircraft in an attempt to save on fuel and CO2 emissions. Bitter weather threatened to blight travellers’ Easter holidays, but this didn’t stop Peter Rabbit visiting children at Heathrow.

The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April. Samoa Air launched its controversial pay by weight flights and we looked at the facts about turbulence.

Easyjet began testing its volcanic ash cloud detection technology in May. We found that trillions of air miles are going to waste; and there was the slightly disturbing report of a flight being diverted because the pilot got locked out of the cockpit. There was good news for Harry Potter fans going on holiday in Florida, as the Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

A US ban on using a laptop during take off on flights was lifted in June.

Tenerife enjoyed at 14% rise in arrivals from the UK in July. It was also discovered that many English families were flying from Scottish airports to save up to £500 on their holiday travel costs. It may have been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years, but this didn’t stop large numbers of Brits leaving for even sunnier holiday destinations in the last weekend of July. We gave advice on how to avoid common pick pocketing scams as the Foreign Office issued a warning about pick pockets in Switzerland.

As August enjoyed more of the heatwave, Ryanair had a drop in flight bookings; it also took legal action against an unfavourable Dispatches programme “Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit”.

Etihad Airways launched its “flying nanny” service to look after passengers’ children in September. Helly Kitty planes took to the skies with Taiwan’s EVA Air, and a computer glitch in US Airways system sold $0 flights on its website. Spain enjoyed record visitor numbers over the summer, proving the predictions earlier in the year.

In October, Manchester was announced to be the UK’s first Airport City; and Ryanair announced that it would work on a better customer service.

It was all about the measure of happiness for travel in November, and BA introduced interactive billboards to remind people of the magic of flying.

The Northern Lights in Norway topped Brits’ “must see” list in December. Britain also endured wide-spread bad weather with winds of up to 140mph battering parts of the country, and flooding hitting others.

That’s the round up for 2013, make sure to follow this blog for more travel news and articles in 2014, and book your holiday villas at a wide range of destinations on Villaseek.

Summer sun flight sale
Oct 10th, 2013 by elisa

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

The summer schedule for 2014 has been announced by Easyjet as flights to 100 destinations now go on sale.

It has more than 11.5 million seats, almost 300,000 more than last summer.

With so many seats going on sale, now might be a good time to book your summer holiday and villa while you can get some good bargains and not have to think about it until it’s time to jet off!

With flights to Spain, Italy, France, Greece and many more, we have a holiday villa to suit your needs.

Record summer for Spain
Sep 23rd, 2013 by elisa

Costa Brava picture by Flickr user felipe_gabaldon

Costa Brava picture by Flickr user felipe_gabaldon

Spain was visited by 8.3 million foreign tourists in August, the highest monthly number of foreign visitors since current records began in 1995. 

Most favoured by the British, French and Germans, Spain was the third most-visited country in the world, tied with China and just behind the United States and France.

The number of visitors was 7.1% higher than August last year, according to the country’s tourism ministry. The surge in numbers is likely due to holidaymakers avoiding previously popular budget holiday destinations – Egypt and Turkey – which were hit by civil unrest this year.

Within Spain, the most popular areas for visitors were the northeastern region of Catalonia with Barcelona as the main attraction, the Balearic Islands benefitted from 2.1 million foreign visitors and the southern region of Andalusia didn’t do too badly with 1.1 million visitors also.

The ministry’s data also showed that the increase did not only occur in August either, but overall from January to August 2013, 42.3 million foreign tourists visited the country, 4.5% more than the same period last year and another record high.

It’s not difficult to see why Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, it has wonderful coastlines, countryside, culture and not to mention the gorgeous weather. Read our guides on villa rentals in Spain for inspiration on where to visit and go to our main site to find holiday villas in Spain.

Summer holidays, busy airports
Jul 25th, 2013 by elisa

Spain is still the top holiday destination. Picture by Flickr user Olli365

It may be one of the hottest summer’s we’ve had for years, but that isn’t stopping the two million holidaymakers set to head overseas this weekend.

As the first weekend of the summer holidays for the majority in England, airports are bracing themselves for one of their busiest weekends of the year. The southeast in particular is going to be very busy with 480,000 passengers departing from Heathrow, 276,000 from Gatwick, 125,000 from Stansted and 70,000 jetting off from Luton.

Further up north 160,000 are due to depart from Manchester, 66,000 from Birmingham, 70,000 from Newcastle, 50,000 from Bristol and 30,000 from Leeds Bradford International. Sottish airports don’t fair too badly either with 50,000 leaving from Glasgow alone.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “This weekend sees the start of the main summer holiday getaway and it’s one of the busiest of the year.

“Millions of holidaymakers will be heading off overseas with the Mediterranean countries attracting the lion’s share of visitors.

According to ABTA, Spain remains the top holiday destination with the Balearic and Canary Islands selling especially well. Mexico and Cuba are among the top-selling long-haul holidays, although Florida remains the number one choice for families.

Domestic tourism isn’t doing too badly either, thanks to last week’s heatwave boosting bookings with many ABTA members reporting a surge in business to destinations including the Channel Islands, the Lake District, Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.

“The recent amazing weather at home has also given a great boost to domestic tourism and many ABTA members are reporting a surge in last minute bookings for holidays throughout the UK” said Tanzer.

Eurostar is also reporting an increase in passenger numbers on last year, with 70,000 heading off to Paris and the South of France this weekend.

 

Menorca – idyllic biosphere reserve
Mar 6th, 2013 by elisa

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Turquoise sea, white sands. Menorca picture by Flickr user Paul Stephenson

Menorca is a beautiful Balearic island; and with more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined, it is serious competition for its more famous neighbouring islands.

Known as the more laid-back island, it’s perfect for families with young children or just visitors who want a relaxing holiday and slower pace of life. The resorts tend to be small and occupied with holiday villas rather than large hotel complexes.

The most popular coastal resort is probably Son Bou / San Jaime, with over a mile of white sand, perfect for sun-worshippers! It is not just good for beach-goers though, the newly constructed coastal path, Camí de Cavalls, is ideal for walkers, too. The whole of Menorca has been classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco because of the striking wildlife and natural surroundings. On a walk around, you could see booted eagles, red kites, Egyptian vultures and even osprey! If you aren’t sure where to start, you could book a guided tour with Walk Menorca to ensure you see the best there is.

The capital, Maó, spreads along a cliff above the harbour with bars and restaurants. The old town is filled with small plazas and a market to explore. Across the other side at the western most point of the island is Ciutadella, a picturesque old town with cobbled streets, harbour, Gothic cathedral and museum.

If you like a fiesta, however, then go around the Saints’ days between June and September to enjoy the buzz and jollity of each town’s special programme of celebrations. For more information about up-coming events around the year, visit Menorca Live, which I’ve found rather helpful for finding things to do once you’re there.

We have many holiday villas in Menorca, but if you’d like some inspiration, then you won’t go far wrong with this pretty and spacious villa in Puerto Addaia.

The villa sleeps 6 and has 3 bedrooms (2 double & 1 twin – both doubles have air-con). There is a balcony overlooking the pool, and a large roof terrace with lovely sea views. There is a main bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge with Sky TV and French doors which open onto a partially covered patio with built-in barbecue and large, extendable sun awning. The pool is excellently maintained and has a children’s section. The villa is also close to local shops, restaurants and marina. Also close by is Arenal, a beautiful beach.

Great for family holidays

Great for family holidays

For this villa and many more across Menorca or other holiday destinations, check out our main website for details.

 

Rise in arrests of Brits abroad
Jul 3rd, 2012 by elisa

The number of Britons arrested abroad has risen 6% from last year, according to figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This year the FCO handled 6,015 arrest cases involving British nationals, compared to 5,700 last year. The statistics also show that Britons are most likely to be arrested in Spain and the US.

Minister of State for Consular Affairs, Jeremy Browne, said: “It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law. The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. Whilst we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country’s legal system.

“We find that many people are shocked to discover that the FCO cannot get them out of jail. We always provide Consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison.”

In the past year, around half of the arrests involved people under the age of 34. According to anecdotal evidence from Embassies and Consulates overseas, many incidents are alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular destinations such as mainland Spain, the Canary Islands, Balearics, Malta and Cyprus.

David Thomas, Consular Regional Director covering Spain, based in Madrid, said: “The police on Mallorca and Ibiza have a zero tolerance attitude towards alcohol-fuelled offences and we see many young people being arrested for causing trouble outside bars and clubs at night.”

In contrast, over 70% of arrests in Jamaica, Serbia, Peru and Brazil were drug related.

These figures have been released ahead of the full British Behaviour Abroad report next month.

Cabin weight-saver
Nov 9th, 2010 by jason

Astonishingly, nine out of every ten Brits holidaying in Spain this year will have got there on a no-frills airline like easyjet or Ryanair. The percentage for most other European destinations isn’t far behind. And with the budget airlines’ charge for checking in a suitcase ever rising, an increasing number of holidaymakers are taking just what will fit into a cabin bag with maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm. Ryanair also imposes a 10kg weight limit whereas easyJet allows any weight ‘within reason’.

Ryanair has been especially tough on slightly oversize bags, sometimes creating lengthy departure gate queues as passengers with a cabin bag bulging beyond the max argue with staff then desperately extract enough to slim the bag.

If no-one has yet coined the phrase cabin bag anxiety, it’s time they did. But what the extortionate bag check-in charges do mean is that it’s worth investing in a cabin bag that makes the most of what you’re allowed. Luggage specialist Antler has come up a bag specifically designed for that purpose. It claims the Duolite is the lightest, most durable case it has ever produced. Combining a hybrid ABS and nylon material with a frameless construction, the Duolite is super lightweight, with the cabin case weighing in at just 2.1kg. With dimensions of 55x35x20, it meets most airlines’ cabin bag size limits (but always check before flying).

A weight of 2.1kg probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but we’ve been trying one out and the first thing everyone says is, “Isn’t it light?” The second is that  it nevertheless feels well made and strong in a high-tech sort of way, and the third is that it wheels along very easily. So although it has a recommended retail price of £89 (the lowest discounted price we saw online was £84), that could be a worthwhile investment. Our only reservation is that its width of 35cm is actually 5cm, or a couple of inches, less than most airlines allow, so you aren’t quite maximising the allowance. Having said that, the structure of the case intrudes very little into the internal space, which can also be expanded slightly by undoing a zip-fastened gusset extension to give a depth of 23cm if the airline isn’t being too strict. The bag has one zipped external pocket, and comes complete with a TSA padlock (which can be opened by security staff without having to break into the case).

For those trips where a cabin bag just isn’t enough, Antler does two matching suitcases of similar construction. The medium case (67x44x30/33cm) weighs 2.5kg, with a rrp of £105 and the large (74x49x33/36cm) weighs 2.9kg with a rrp of £109. With excess baggage charges of up to £40 per kilo, the two kilos or so saved compared with a typical case could almost pay for these cases, which all come with a 10-year warranty. Further details and stockists at www.antler.co.uk

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