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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The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April.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.

Disney World, Florida, Villas!
Jan 24th, 2013 by elisa

Disney World, Florida - picture by Flickr user AndrewH324

Disney World, Florida – picture by Flickr user AndrewH324

It’s so cold here in the UK! We’ve been snowed in, and we don’t really like it. So, it’s time for a holiday somewhere warm and sunny, and where could be better than Florida!

The next few months are a great time to visit the sunshine state, there are deals on flights with many of the major airlines and it’s home to the world’s most famous theme parks, Walt Disney World! A definite win if you have younger children. Also, Florida is a golfer’s paradise with many wonderful places to tee off from.

This luxury four bedroom, three bathroom villa in the popular Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club has an enlarged pool deck that is not overlooked but has marvellous views over the 16th fairway. It’s within walking distance of supermarkets and restaurants, and is only 20 minutes away from Disney and all it’s attractions.

The list of all its amenities is extensive, with all you’d expect for a luxury villa and family break away, such as air conditioning, flat screen TV, music system and games room, plus free high-speed internet connection and free local and international phone calls!

Luxury Villa in Florida

Luxury Villa in Florida

South West facing pool, sunshine all day long!

South West facing pool, sunshine all day long!

Open plan living room with large, comfy sofas

Open plan living room with large, comfy sofas

 

The villa accommodates eight plus an infant, and prices start from £495, a great deal for everything that’s included.

 

For many more quality holiday villas in Florida, visit our main site.

 

Ibiza flights and accommodation
Jan 20th, 2013 by elisa

Beautiful Ibiza - picture by Flickr User victoriapeckham

Beautiful Ibiza – picture by Flickr User victoriapeckham

British Airways will launch new weekend flights from Heathrow to Ibiza on 27th April this year. Flights will depart Heathrow on Saturdays at 11.15, returning at 15.30; they will also depart on Sundays at 07.05 and return at 11.15.

Flights cost from £66 one-way and are on sale now. 

We have a range of affordable properties in the Spanish Balearic Islands to choose from. Ibiza is known as the party island, but it also has a beautiful and quiet side, perfect for a getaway for group and family holidays, or couple’s retreats.

A holiday here could be split in two, one half spent partying at the island’s many world-famous clubs, hanging out at the beach and variety of bars. Meanwhile, the other half could be spent exploring the woods, coastal walking trails and relaxing on some of the quieter and more secluded beaches.

Places such as Santa Eulària d’es Riu and the small resorts and coves of the northeast are ideal for family holidays. The island’s party season is mainly in July and August.

2012 Round up
Jan 2nd, 2013 by elisa

Happy new year to all our readers! 2012 was an eventful year for travel news, so here’s a round up of the major stories that we covered over the year.

The year started with opposition to the newly introduced European Commission’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with the China Air Transport Association (CATA) stating that its members would not cooperate with the new tax; followed by a meeting between other opposing countries to discuss possible retaliatory measures.

February continued with the debate over ETS. Europe dug its heels in to keep the scheme while opposing countries signed a declaration regarding measures they wished to be taken before they would comply.  Meanwhile, growing social unrest in Greece prompted warnings from the Foreign Office.

KLM and Malaysia Airlines launched their own cheeky social networking in the sky schemes in March. Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines suspended international flights on eight major routes shortly after BA suspended its codeshare agreement with the airline. Ryanair caused controversy as it was investigated over leaving exit seats empty after introducing a premium charge for the extra legroom they provided.

April began with travel disruption in Spain and Portugal. Malaysia Airlines implemented adult only sections on flights. Up to 1,200 redundancies at BMI were announced after the takeover by IAG.

Speculation over the improbability of IAG finding a buyer for BMI Regional was quashed when it sold the airline in May.

Positive news in June as figures for international air travel rose by 7% compared to the previous year. However, these figures were not enough to stop Easyjet from announcing the closure of its base in Madrid.

A landmark move by the Office of Fair Trading forced airlines to be transparent about their credit and debit card charges in July. Strikes at major UK airports were averted at the last hour on the eve of the Olympics, preventing large-scale travel disruption.

The UK and the world was overtaken by London 2012 Olympics fever in July through to August. Helped by around 1,300 volunteers, Heathrow gave the athletes a grand London-themed send off.

A new generation of security scanners was trialled at Manchester Airport in September. A new compensation ruling was implemented in October for flights over three hours late. Hurricane Sandy battered the East coast of the USA at the end of October, which caused many flight cancellations.

Ryanair introduced a 2% credit card fee to bookings in November. In the same month, a new low-cost African airline, Fastjet, was launched.

Gatwick reinstated the volunteers which were so well received during London 2012 to help with Christmas cheer over the busy festive travel season.

 

So, that was 2012. What a year! Keep an eye on this blog for more travel news over 2013!

Heathrow gives London-themed send off to London 2012 athletes
Aug 13th, 2012 by elisa

It’s the send-off London Heathrow have been preparing for seven years for, according to BAA chief executive Colin Matthews, the day after the close of London 2012.

Today the airport will see off around 116,000 people, compared to around 95,000 departing passengers on an average day. It will be the first use of the specially constructed temporary Olympic terminal, which is around three times the size of an Olympic swimming pool, and has been transformed to look like a London park. It has plants, park benches, replica gas lights, trees and model stags. London’s skyline is printed on the walls and some Heathrow staff are even dressing up as park wardens for the day.

The departing athletes will be invited to record their favourite memory of the Games and hang it on a tree, which will be displayed at the airport after the games. The comments will also be put into books to be given to the 1,300 Heathrow volunteers.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “We want to continue the feel-good factor of the Games at the airport on our busiest day for departing athletes. I hope our Games Terminal park will bring a smile to passengers’ faces and contribute to final happy memories of London.”

“Olympic Village check-in went according to plan yesterday with thousands of bags being processed at Heathrow overnight. Today’s departures present a fresh challenge with new facilities like the Games Terminal being used for the first time. We have been preparing for seven years to deliver a farewell of which Great Britain can be proud.”

Brits head abroad for festive period
Dec 14th, 2011 by elisa

New Year and Christmas is proving to be an even more popular time for holidaymakers to leave the UK in search of a different festive experience. According to ABTA, it estimates that 4.25 million Brits will be travelling away during this period compared to just under 4 million last year.

Peak travel days are expected to be 22nd and 23rd December so holidaymakers can touch down and settle in just before Christmas day.

Types of holidays vary greatly, some opt for warmer climates such as the Canary Islands, Dominican Republic and Cuba, whereas others want a Christmas snow at ski locations.

Paris, Reykjavik, Rome, Dublin and New York are popular New Year’s Eve destinations for a party vibe.

Mark Tanzer ABTA chief executive said: “With all the doom and gloom of the economy it looks like people are keen to escape for a break, whether they are visiting friends and family or looking to enjoy winter sun or guaranteed snow.”

Check out lots of foreign holiday lets at the Villaseek website to get your perfect festive getaway sorted.

 

Happy New Year from Villaseek!
Jan 4th, 2011 by elisa

From all at Villaseek, we would like to wish readers of this blog a very Happy New Year! Most people will be back at work from today, but let’s try to ignore this for now and think about the holidays which have just gone by. Where did you go? Have you been abroad to one of Villaseek’s villas and how did you find it? I was not lucky enough to go abroad this year, but did have a cosy time at home eating lots of crackers and cheese in front of the Christmas television!

The past year has been full to the brim with travel stories, so I will soon post a run down of some of the most prominent in case you missed out on any! 2010 certainly was an eventful year for the travel industry, and in many ways I think most will be hoping that 2011 will be much quieter!

For the moment though, let us indulge in the holidays which have just gone by. Below is a festive picture I took with my new camera to get you in the mood. Please let us know what you got up to over these holidays, try also to include links to pictures of your holiday villas and surrounding scenery so we can get a feel for where you’ve been!

Wizard ways
Oct 23rd, 2010 by jason

Harry Potter

There’s a new reason for visiting Florida, especially if you have young Harry Potter fans in tow. Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando has just opened its newest, grandest and most ambitious addition: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Wizarding World is full of sights from the Potter universe. Rides including Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and the Forbidden Journey promise to bring thrills to guests of all ages, while sights like Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Hagrid’s Hut and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods will delight Potter fans.

If that list of whimsical flights of fancy leaves you cold, flight search website Skyscanner is trying to drum up business with a list of alternative wizard venues. Starting with New Zealand, used as the setting when JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. With unrivalled vistas and great natural beauty, it’s the perfect setting for the wizard Gandalf to bestride Middle Earth. Tolkien fans continue to catch flights to New Zealand to experience the world of hobbits, elves and orcs for themselves.

Orcs no good? Then there’s always the Wizard of Oz, in Kansas, USA. In 1900, L. Frank Baum described the adventures of one Dorothy Gale, a young girl who is whisked away by a tornado, ending up in the Land of Oz. Befriending a talking scarecrow, a cowardly lion and a tin man, she journeyed to visit The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and get back home to Kansas, where today fans can visit the Oz Museum which holds masses of memorabilia from the books, films and musicals.

Possibly even more magical, if you’re a basketball fan, would be a visit to the Washington Wizards in Washington, DC. Based in the capital city’s Verizon Center, this professional basketball team had a genuine wizard of the court play for them in the form of superstar Michael Jordan from 2001 to 2003. They still fill their arena for every game and their skill and showmanship make for an unforgettable experience. Or so they say.

Parc Asterix

Closer to home is Parc Asterix, a theme-park 22 miles north of Paris that’s based on the world of cartoon character Asterix. There you can meet the wizard, a member of Goscinny and Uderzo’s tribe of rebellious Gaul warriors who comically torment Julius Caesar’s legions in ancient France. Getafix is a potion-concocting druid who can prepare an elixir that grants superhuman strength to those who drink it.

Party Time!
Jul 2nd, 2008 by eve

Hello,  

Theoretically, the weather in the UK is at its best in July and August, which is why many people not tied by school holidays choose to go away at the end of the summer, in September and even October. There are big advantages to going away at this time – you don’t need me to tell you, but I will anyway: villas and apartments are cheaper after the peak summer season; the weather is more pleasant – you can actually go for walks and not be uncomfortably hot; the sea is at its warmest; and there are fewer people around, particularly little people.

If you decide to take an end of summer break, well here is a taster of some of the cultural events on offer in popular villa holiday spots:

FRANCE

29 Sept-5 Oct 

BIARRITZ FESTIVAL 

This year’s Biarritz Festival is dedicated to Latin America. There’s a week of exhibitions, concerts and workshops as well as the film competition, in which respected directors hope for festival prizes.

Every month (but more pleasant when not during the heat of the summer)

OLD BOOK MARKET

Aix-en-Provence

On the first Sunday of each month, you can browse through old and rare books at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville. Birthplace of Emile Zola, the town has great charm and a strong literary tradition.

 

October

INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL 

Montpellier

Guitar playing in all its guises at venues all over town. The festival features guitarists from around the world including Australia, Venezuela and the USA.

 

SPAIN

10 Sep-11 Oct 

SEVILLE FLAMENCO FESTIVAL 

Seville

 What better place to see flamenco than in its birthplace city? Seville’s 15th biennial flamenco festival features world famous artists – dancers, singers and guitarists  – performing all over the city, mainly in theatres, but some in the open-air.

October

CAVA WEEK

Sant Sadurní d’Anoia

Catalunya’s main Cava-producing town celebrates by crowning its Cava Queen; a huge bicycle race; an art exhibition; lots of music and the annual Barcelona train ride: every Oct 12th, 1000 people from Barcelona board the Cava train, are met by carnival characters and treated to a tour of cellars, lunch and entertainment.

ITALY

Oct 2008 

FOOD FESTIVAL 

Abbadia San Salvatore

Local cooks compete to create the best Tuscan meals in the main square of this medieval town. If you’re lucky you get to sample some of the dishes, all based on local ingredients. The two day festival also features dancing and live music, arts and crafts exhibitions and antique stalls.

 

2nd week, Oct

CHESTNUT FESTIVAL  

San Giovanni Ilarione

The scent of chestnuts roasting permeates the air  at this festival. The chestnuts are de-shelled in the main square where there is live music and parades.

CROATIA

Nov

INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 

Pula

Croatia International Music Festival features contemporary Croatian music from soloists, ensembles and guest musicians in various venues.

BARBADOS

3-11 Oct 

TASTE OF BARBADOS

Sample Barbadian dishes at venues all around the island during the Taste of Barbados Food Festival. There will be talks, tours of rum factories and sugar plantations and farmers’ markets amidst a party atmosphere.

 

USA

11-12 Nov 

ORLANDO BEER FESTIVAL 

Orlando’s Universal CityWalk turns into one massive celebration of beer for one weekend in November. During the 8th Orlando beer festival,  more than 150 beers will be featured. Plenty of food, live music and entertainment, too.

 

13-15 Nov

NATIVE AMERICAN CELEBRATION

Silver Springs

This annual festival celebrates Native American Culture with dance performances, food and live entertainment, including various educational  events put on by the White Buffalo Society.

 

 

 

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