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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.

 

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 resorts change disabled visitor policy
Sep 27th, 2013 by elisa

Disney World queue picture by Flickr user mrkathika

Disney World queue picture by Flickr user mrkathika

Disney World in the US is changing its disabled visitor policy after an increase in able-bodied visitors abusing the current system to skip queue waiting times.

Disabled visitors will no longer be able to automatically skip long queues but instead will be issued with reserved time tickets which will allow them on the ride at an allotted time on busy rides. This means that if a queue for a ride is around a 45 minutes long then the ticket will be issued for in 45 minutes time allowing the disabled person to go to a less busy attraction in the meantime.

Until now, Disney has allowed anyone in a wheelchair to bring as many as six guests with them to a ride’s backdoor entrance. According to a New York Post article, wealthy New Yorkers have been abusing this system by hiring disabled “black market Disney guides” to Disney World in Orlando.

The guides reportedly offered their services to pose as family members to enable their clients to skip the queues. They would charge around $130 and hour (£81), or just of $1,040 (£649) for a full day.

Walt Disney World issued the following statement: “We have an unwavering commitment to making our parks accessible to all guests. Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process to create a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities.

“We engaged disability groups, such as Autism Speaks, to develop this new process, which is in line with the rest of our industry.”

The policy has not been universally welcomed, with some disability groups arguing that the change could deter disabled visitors to the parks in future. Disney said further details will be announced once park employees have been briefed.

New luxury villa listing – Florida
Jul 17th, 2013 by elisa

Florida is an extremely popular destination for Villaseek customers, and for good reason; the “sunshine state” is a family holiday dream! Orlando in particular is one of the entertainment capitals of the world, with enough theme parks, shopping malls, golf courses, restaurants and nightlife venues to keep you occupied for the duration of your holiday.

Luxury living in Florida

Luxury living in Florida

We’re delighted to present one of our newest additions to the villa listings, this beautiful villa ideally situated in a very peaceful location at Hampton Lakes, Orlando. One of the most sought after villas in the area, this is a luxury, detached, two-storey home surrounded by orange groves making it totally private and not overlooked.

It comfortably sleeps 11 and has all the amenities you would expect and more. There is an outdoor bar and summer kitchen with electric grill perfect for BBQs.  The spacious 50ft x 25ft decking area leads to a stunning pool and Jacuzzi. If you can tear yourself away from the outside space, the high spec living room with 56″ home cinema TV system, free calls and wifi will be sure to keep you entertained.

Spacious living room

Spacious living room

Luxurious bedrooms

Luxurious bedrooms

Only 11 miles from Disney World Florida and close to all the other major attractions, such as Sea World Orlando, Busch Gardens Orlando, Universal Studios and Discovery Cove. At prices starting from £575, you can’t go wrong!

For more information on Florida, click on our guide or search for more villas on the main site.

 

 

 

 

 

More Harry Potter in Florida!
May 22nd, 2013 by elisa

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment have announced a new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

The new area will be built across both theme parks by next year, and aims to bring to life some of the places in the Harry Potter books and films.

Universal already offers visitors a Hogwarts and Hogsmeade experience at its Islands of Adventure theme park, but now Diagon Alley and ‘London’ will be located within the Universal studios Florida theme park. Just like in the books and films, visitors will be able to travel between the two on the Hogwarts Express.

“Our vision is to create two amazing theme park experiences that combine into one, complete, magical journey,” said Universal Orlando Resort EVP of marketing and sales Alice Norsworthy.

We have plenty of accommodation in the sunshine state of Florida, many which are an easy distance from the theme parks. Why not try one of these 3, 4, 5 & 6 Bedroom Holiday Homes and Resort Town Homes with private pools, spa, hot tubs, game rooms and home theatres.

Also, don’t forget to check out our recent Florida guide.

 

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.

 

President Obama to speed visa processes for some
Jan 24th, 2012 by elisa

President Obama has announced plans to streamline the visa process for some nationalities to visit the US.

He made the announcement at Walt Disney World in Florida, stating that those from China and Brazil should have a faster visa processes to encourage them to visit the US and boost tourism.

He said: “I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world. The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It is that simple.”

He also called for Commerce and Interior departments to develop a national tourism strategy which will highlight America’s national parks, and cultural and historic sites.

“The steps the president took today are significant and will boost travel to and within the United States,” said Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association.

 

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.

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