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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.

 

Details of Diagon Alley in Florida revealed
Jan 27th, 2014 by elisa

Harry Potter fans will be excited to know that Universal Orlando has unveiled details of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Set to open this summer, a new ride – ‘Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ promises to be a “multidimensional, multisensory” experience in which visitors will ride through Gringotts bank vaults in vehicles that drop, spin and turn. The ride will also be more suitable for younger riders than the current award-winning Forbidden Journey.

Diagon Alley will also have lots of new shops, including Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, selling novelty items and magical jokes, Ollivander’s wand shop, and visitors can dress up for Hogwarts school at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.

View from front

View from front

Just 15 minutes from Disney World, enjoy the 5 star treatment at this stunning 4 bed, 4 bath luxury home in the popular gated community of The Shire at West Haven. St. Andrews is situated on a very private plot in this prestigious area, overlooking a natural lake with an abundance of wildlife to watch from the great views from the pool and upstairs balcony.

Fully air-conditioned, the house briefly comprises of spacious living room, family room, formal dining area, fitted kitchen and breakfast nook, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, games room, pool deck and balcony.

There is wireless broadband internet and all bedrooms have ceiling fans, flat screen TVs and radio units with iPod docking stations. The pool deck has a heatable swimming pool with raised spa area, sun loungers and table and chairs for some outside relaxation. Guests also have access to the main clubhouse, which offers a large swimming pool, two tennis courts, beach volleyball and a small gym.

It’s perfectly placed for visiting the popular Orlando family attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. It’s also brilliant for keen golfers with a number of championship courses nearby, including two at the Greg Norman-designed Champions Gate (home to David Leadbetter’s academy), the renowned course at Reunion and Highlands Reserve.

Sun deck and swimming pool

Sun deck and swimming pool

Gorgeous views

Gorgeous views

Luxurious bedrooms

Luxurious bedrooms

 

 

 

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.

Low cost flights to Florida
Oct 18th, 2013 by elisa

Florida is one of the key new destinations for the launch of the first low cost transatlantic flights from Gatwick.

Norwegian is the first airline to offer non-stop transatlantic flights from London at such a low cost. Next summer it will operate flights from Gatwick to New York, Los Angeles and Florida.

Flight start in July 2014 and fares will start from £149 one-way, including taxes and charges to JFK, New York, £199 one-way to Los Angeles, and £179 one way to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Gatwick welcomed the news and said that on average, fares would be up to 50% cheaper than flights from Heathrow.

Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “There’s great demand for high quality flights at a low fare between the UK and the US, particularly to and from London Gatwick, where no other airline currently offers these routes. We are looking forward to welcoming many new customers on board our brand new aircraft. Launching intercontinental routes between London Gatwick and the United States is also an important part of our strategy to expand internationally and get a stronger foothold in markets outside Scandinavia.”

This great news means there is little getting in your way of booking a holiday in one of our many holiday villas in Florida. The saving will mean you can have more to spend while you’re there. Check out our guide for ideas on things to do!

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

US ban on laptop use during take-off lifted
Jun 26th, 2013 by elisa

The ‘outdated’ ban on passengers using laptops during aircraft take-off and landing is to be lifted in the US

The Federal Aviation Authority of the US will formally unveil its findings in September, but it is believed that the use of laptops, iPads and electronic readers during taxi, take-off and landing do not interfere with navigation systems in the way once thought.

Mobile phones must remain switched off, however, as they were not a part of the research.

The findings from the study could lead to a worldwide relaxation of the rules which stop passengers from using such devices. The Civil Aviation Authority said it would be interested in viewing the study before considering whether to do further research on the subject.

A spokesman said: “We will look at the FAA study and if we think we need to do more work, we will. It’s very important that we are all joined up and if we can learn something in the UK, we will look at what they’ve done.”

He added that there is still research and anecdotal evidence that electromagnetic interference by mobile phones can cause concern during critical points such as take-off and landing. He said that they would also need to be sure that there is not a cumulative  effect of the use of electronic devices on a full aircraft.

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.

 

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