Falkland Island’s family book Florida holiday with Leeds travel agency.

There are not many places in the world that are more remote than The Falkland Islands. These beautiful islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, have a population of less than 3,000 and are fiercely loyal to the United Kingdom.

So, when we received an email from a Falklands resident asking us to arrange a Florida holiday for her and her family of 12 people  it was the first holiday request that we can remember from these far away shores!

After an exchange of emails, flights from London Gatwick to Orlando were booked by us through the efficient Travel2, as well as a luxury Florida villa, car hire and Disney theme park tickets. This was going to be a holiday of a lifetime for this family and we wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly. All communication was by email and amazingly we did not even speak to our client on the phone.

All flight tickets, villa documents, car rental voucher and Disney tickets were e-mailed to The Falkland Islands for our client to print off locally. Flight E-tickets have been around for a few years now and if we had needed to post paper tickets to The Falkland Islands we would have been nervous that they would not arrive.

Our client and family made their own way to London Gatwick and had a wonderful and busy holiday enjoying Disney and all that Orlando has to offer. They even managed  a day on The Gulf Coast at Clearwater away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks.

Florida is a world away from The Falkland Islands but our clients will have memories of a great holiday that will last a lifetime.

Our Falkland Islands clients sent us this photo of them all outside The Upside Down House in Orlando.

 Falkland Islands family enjoy Florida holiday

New York Holiday Review

We get lots of reviews sent to us from our customers. Here is one about New Year in New York

I travelled with my boyfriend to New York in December 2011 for the New Year celebrations and for my 21st birthday. It was cold, wet, and 2ft deep in snow most of the time… but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

We flew British Airways from Manchester direct to JFK. It cost about £330 each as we booked months in advance with Global Holidays.  The 7 hour flight was extremely comfortable, with in-flight films and 2 nice meals on board.

We stayed at the Jolly Madison, just off Madison Avenue. The taxi from airport to hotel cost about $30 and took about 45mins. You can pre-book transfers and they are a few dollars less but as we booked all parts separately similar prices. The hotel its self is a 4* Italian style hotel. It is very clean and the staff are very friendly. It’s just a 10 min walk from all the sights but is way from all the bustle of Big Apple life. Its restaurant and bar is expensive though so we tended to eat out for all our meals.

There was a diner just over the road call ‘Ruebens‘. We ate mostly breakfast here. The omelettes at about $5 were to die for and there was the usual selection of bagels too. Very reasonable and very tasty. For lunch and tea we went one of the numerous restaurants on and around Time Square and Broadway. It is handy to book these advance or get there early as we waited approx 30mins for table nearly every night. Prices are a bit above what you pay in UK but only to be expected as in any tourist area, and the portions are, well, American size!

After all that food, you need some exercise and what better way to shed the pounds than whilst sightseeing. Skating in central park is one particularly good way. I thought it would be expensive to do as its so popular but actually is only cost $4.50 for entry and $5 for the skates for as long as you want. It does get very busy so get there early. Also, in restaurants and the bars, you should tip. 10% is the norm but you can give what you want. Continue reading “New York Holiday Review”

Seattle: Grunge, coffee and heavy industry

One of the most northerly US cities, Seattle is a thriving mix of counterculture verve fuelled by the machinations of heavy industry.

Its hotels, bars and restaurants are of as high a standard as you would expect in any major US city but it its distinctive culture and history that make the city unique.

Seattle was founded in the 1850’s when people flocked to the north-east coast to make a quick buck in the logging trade. But boom soon turned to bust – as it has done many times throughout the city’s history – as the markets dropped like the trees themselves.

The next period of economic growth was the 1890s gold rush and this was followed by shipbuilding in the early 20th century. None of these industries managed to maintain their early promise, leading to hardship for many of the city’s residents through the generations.

However, recent years have seen Seattle become the home of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division and it has experienced a large growth in the tourist sector.

In the 1990s the city became synonymous with the grunge music scene. Characterised by hard guitar riffs, heavy drumming and grating vocals, grunge was the dominant alternative scene in the 1980s and gradually grew in popularity and influence into the 1990s.

Bands such as The Melvins, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam exemplified this hard rock sound but it was not until Nirvana came along at the end of the 1980s that Seattle’s music scene hit the big time.

The late Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s lead singer and song writer, made the city his adopted home as he attempted to break into the music business. As a consequence Seattle is a liberal hotspot and has a strong alternative cultural scene and is home to large gay and lesbian communities.

As the home of Starbucks, you haven’t truly experienced what Seattle has to offer until you’ve sampled the city’s cappacinos, Americanos and macchiatos while listening to beat poetry or catching up on the day’s events.

Situated on the coast with a large port that used to form the crux of its economy, seafood, particularly crabs and other crustaceans are the city’s culinary specialities along with fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean.

Must see attractions include: the 600 foot tall Space Needle topped with a flying saucer styled viewing deck that dominates the skyline of the entire city; Pike’s Place Market, the US’ oldest market in continual use which sells some of the world’s best fresh fruit, fish and vegetables; and Capitol Hill, the hippy heartland that still encapsulates some of the 1960s hedonism.

Las Vegas, California and Hawaii Holiday Review

It’s great when a customer sends us a written report about their holiday. These two holdiay reviews are about holidays to Las Vegas, California and Hawaii

When my partner said he really wanted to go to Las Vegas, California and Hawaii, I said I didn’t mind but I am so glad he talked me round to going.

We knew we wanted to travel when we got there and bought a map to decide where we fancied going – it wasn’t until we arrived in America and bought a more detailed map that we realised the size of the place!!

Originally we wanted to travel from Vegas to Napa Valley and the Red wood forest then down to San Francisco to Mexico and back to Vegas within 2 weeks – not a chance!!

As we weren’t totally sure where we were heading we booked a direct flight from Manchester to Vegas, 2 nights in the Hotel Circus Circus (purely because we’d heard of it) and we booked a rental car for 2 weeks. Plus our flight back – Vegas direct to Manchester.

The car rental place was just around the corner from the airport and as we were leaving we picked up a few free brochures which was our best move ever. A bit like travel guides full of vouchers for discount hotel prices.

Whilst queuing for our car we were warned by another couple that the company would try and talk us into upgrading our car. They did try to get us to upgrade but we stuck to our guns and they upgraded for free anyway! As neither of us at the time were 25 or over it cost an extra $15 per day for the car so only one of us drove.

We spent the next 2 days walking around with our mouths open in awe of the Las Vegas Strip…….. Continue reading “Las Vegas, California and Hawaii Holiday Review”

Focus on California – the Best Places to Spot Celebrities

The US state of California is one of the most well known destinations in the world. It is home to Hollywood, has miles of sandy beaches and the state has some of the world’s most iconic cities. But California is not just about these things. There are hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Los Angeles and San Francisco . . . . .  so read on to get the low down on what’s hot in California !golden-gate-bridge_istock_000004256859xsmall-300x179

In Los Angeles, alternative shopping areas such as The Avenues of Art and Design in West Hollywood are the real places to spot celebrities. The revitalised Downtown areas offers some of the hippest hotels including The Standard and entertainment with LA Live which is LA’s answer to Times Square.In San Francisco, nearby Sausalito is a picturesque waterfront community and offers amazing views of the skyline whilst visitors can go from to and from the city on a short ferry ride.

In Southern California, the OC and Anaheim are less than an hour from Los Angeles and offer beach towns including Huntington Beach which is known as Surfcity USA. The original Disneyland is here too.Mexican flavours are on the menu in San Diego while the desert oasis of Palm Springs has over 120 golf courses. Furtehr afield is Death Valley which is a one-of-a-kind experience.

If you head out of San Francisco you can experience Sacramento which is the birthplace of California following the gold rush. This route travels past the winelands of Napa Valley and Sonoma, which are just 45 minutes from the Golden Cate Bridge. Further north, drive through Giant Redwood trees in the Redwood National Park and explore volcanoes in the Shasta Cascade or ski in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth.Linking San Francisco and Los Angeles is the famous Highway 1 coastal road. Dotted with charming towns the route slowly makes the transition from the north to the south of California as the rugged beauty of Big Sur gives way to the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara.

The many Californian ski resorts of Lake Tahoe and Mammoth are already open. California enjoys one of the longest ski seasons with ski resorts open from November until the end of May.

Are you wanting advice about a holiday to California or looking for a price on flights to Los Angeles or San Francisco ?

Call Global Holidays FREE on 0800 433 2300 to speak to one of our friendly holiday experts

I want a holiday to Hawaii – Today’s customer request

A customer called today asking for advice and a price about a holiday to Hawaii, so we thought that we would give you some information about what to look for when considering a holiday to the islands of Hawaii.

First of all, Hawaii (the USA’s 50th State) is a long 20 hour flight from the UK and it is composed of many islands so you need to decide which island you want to visit. It is fairly easy to island hop and you can use the ferry or fly between all the islands of Hawaii. The capital of Hawaii is Honolulu which is situated on the island of Oahu and this is where most of the population live so it is the most developed of all the islands. Waikiki beach is the famous place to be seen but it is very built up with lots of nightlife, shopping and restaurants. The island of Oahu is also where you can see Pearl Harbour.

The other main islands are Maui, Big Island, Lanai, Molokai and Kauai and all are very diverse with different things to offer the tourist.

Maui is the place to visit if you like the outdoor life. This is the island where you will find the Hawaian island highest peak, Mount Haleakala. The main town on Maui is Lahaina, which was once the capital of Hawaii.

Kauai island is probably the most beautiful island and here you will find waterfalls, huge canyons, vegetation and high cliffs especially at the north coast of Kauai which is called the Na Pali Coast which is where the movie Jurassic Park was filmed.

Big Island is where you will find an active volcano, Kilauea, as well as tropical landscapes, deserts, and hills that are great for hiking and other outdoor pastimes.

Lanai island only has three hotels so it is a place to get away from the crowds. Lanai island is a great place for a romantic holiday and parts of it look like a lunar landscape although it does have two golf courses. Places to stay would be one of two Four Seasons hotels or the Hotel Lanai in Lanai City. Lanai island is not for everybody so is probably best kept for a second or third visit.

Molokai island is the island of untamed wilderness and is Hawaii’s most secluded island. No building is taller than a coconut tree and there is no traffic. The island stays true to ancient traditions and it is Where you can feel the mana (power) of Hawaiian culture from an area near Maunaloa, said to be the birthplace of hula, to the natural wonders of Halawa Valley. Molokai is for a quiet escape or for outdoor adventures ranging from sports fishing to a memorable mule ride.

Typical prices for a holiday to Hawaii

Four nights at the Hilton Waikoloa Village plus four nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa would cost £2820 based on two people sharing. This price includes flights and transfers.

It is a good idea to break the journey up and have a stop over at one of the west coast cities in the USA. The cost of a family of two adults and two children under twelve years old staying 3 nights at the Holiday Inn Los Angeles and 6 nights at the Maile Sky Court Hotel at Waikiki Beach including flights from Heathrow will cost from £4950 for a September departure.

Call FREE on 0800 433 2300 to enquire about a holiday to Hawaii

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Holidays to the USA

Looking for an Orlando Villa? How about Lake Berkley?

A holiday to Florida is a fantatstic experience. I remember the first time I went to Orlando, Florida I was overwhelmed with the quality of the place. From Disney, Sea World, Universal Studios, the restaurants, the food, the shopping and the friendly people I thought the whole place was brilliant.

When visiting Orlando or the rest of Florida you have so many choices of where to stay it can become difficult to decide what is best for you and this is especially true when trying to decide which villa in Orlando to stay in. Orlando has a large choice of good quality villas and unless you have been to Orlando before you won’t really have much of a clue where you should be staying.

The good news is that most Orlando villas are fairly close to Disney so you will only have a short drive to the theme parks, however, as most Orlando villas are privately owned there can be a difference in quality between them so you do have to be careful which one you go for. Click the “read more” link below to read more about Orlando villas at Lake Berkley.

Continue reading “Looking for an Orlando Villa? How about Lake Berkley?”

Where to stay in Las Vegas

We are often asked whether we can recommend a hotel in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas can be  part of a USA multi centre holiday itinerary which also might include Los Angeles and San Francisco or you could spend all your holiday in Las Vegas. That’s what I did last time I went to Las Vegas. I spent a week there and flew to the Grand Canyon for a day.

So, where can we recommend you stay in Las Vegas ? Well, of course, it partly depends on your budget. There is such a huge choice of hotels in Las Vegas which is good news because you will always find that there are special offers and bargains to be had. Las Vegas has suffered from a decline in visitor numbers because of the recession and several hotels have closed but there are still more than enough hotel rooms to go around.

Las Vegas is a city in the desert. It is only about 30 minutes by plane to the Grand Canyon so it is possible to easily go there for the day. Las Vegas is mainly about The Las Vegas Strip or “The Strip” as it is called. This is where most of the hotels are and it is a wide busy road lined with very large hotels, casinos, restaurants, shops and bars. This is where you need to be staying and your hotel needs to be as close to the centre of The Strip as possible. As a rough guide, the centre is where the Bellagio Hotel is located. Having said that, anywhere on the Las Vegas Strip is good to stay as there is a monorail system that connects many of the hotels.

To read more about where to stay in Las Vegas click the “Read More”  link below.

Continue reading “Where to stay in Las Vegas”

Car Hire in New York

Todays Question from a customer

Question – I want to hire a car in New York City. What are my options?

Answer :

It is possible to hire a car in New York city. There are several car rental companies that have offices on Manhattan island. The nearest car rental office to Midtown Manhattan is probably on West 52nd street.

Whilst we would not recommend driving in New York city itself due to the sheer volume of traffic (It’s easier to use the Metro or taxi), you may want to drive out of New York city to explore outside New York city itself.

One thing to bear in mind that car rental prices for a drop off and New York JFK are more expensive that a drop off at Newark Airport, so if the flight prices from the UK to JFK or Newark are the same then I would recommend flying into Newark to get the advantage of cheaper car hire prices from Newark Airport.

Also, some car rental offices in New York City itself are closed on a Sunday so this is something to bear in mind.

Once you have navigated yourself out of the city there is plenty of beautiful destinations to explore. Depending on the time you have available you could for example drive out to the very end of Long Island and see towns like Montauk  or drive into New York State.

For a car hire in New York please call Global Holidays for a quote FREE on 0800 433 2300.

 

Celine Dion to help attract visitors to Las Vegas

Las Vegas is fighting back against the recession that has hit the city hard in the last few years. I last visited Las Vegas in 2005, just before the American economy took a nose dive and with it the number of visitors to LAs Vegas slumped.

Unemployment in Las Vegas is over 15% and the hotels in Las Vegas lost a record $6 billion in 2010. Something needed to be done so the city decided that Celine Dion had to come back to the save the city from financial meltdown !

I went to see Celine Dion in Las Vegas in 2005. She was in the middle of a run of shows that lasted between 2003 and 2007. In that time every ticket for every show was sold and Caesar’s Palace made profits of over $400 million as huge numbers of visitors went to Las Vegas to see her show. The singer is returning to Las Vegas for a 3 year run of shows and I can recommend that you go and see her.

It is estimated that Celine Dion will create upto 7,000 indirect jobs and bring in $114 million of economic activity a year. The show has already taken over $10 million of box office takings for the first month of the show alone.

Celine Dion has been called a ‘one-woman economic stimulus package’ and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. People will come to the city just for her and they will spend money and as a consequence, she has an outsized impact on the economy,” said Stephen Brown, director of the Centre for Business and Economic Research in Las Vegas.

Dion, 42, is the best-selling female artist of all time – hits include the Oscar-winning theme songs from the films Titanic and Beauty and the Beast. She has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, won more than 1,000 awards and enjoys a deeply loyal fan base.

Few people are under any illusions that Las Vegas can be single-handedly salvaged by one woman and a microphone. On the same day that her new show opened, the fabled Sahara hotel and casino, one-time favourite of stars including Sinatra, Elvis and the Beatles, and the setting for the movie Ocean’s 11, announced that it will close in May, driven to the wall by the recession after 59 years in business.

Appropriately enough for a star expected to work the Midas Touch on Las Vegas, among her songlist on opening night was the theme from the James Bond film Goldfinger. But the star, who is reaping a $500,000 pay packet per show, claims not to believe in her own powers of financial influence.

To book flights and a hotel in Las Vegas as well as Celine Dion show tickets call Global Holidays FREE on 0800 433 2300.

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