Tag Archives: Holiday

The Harry Potter bucket list

When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Orlando resort in 2010, the fans went mad. For so long, they had waited for Harry’s world to become real and they were finally starting to see their dreams come true. Harry Potter Wizarding World

Since then, it’s expanded to become a double attraction in two interlinking parks, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the Harry Potter experience. So what are the must do’s at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando?

Choose your wand

As Ollivander said, the wand chooses the wizard, so when you step into his shop in Diagon Alley, be prepared for an interactive experience. A Wandkeeper will hand you a selection of wands, so you can choose the right one – or rather, the wand can choose you. Harry Potter Ollivanders

Who knows whether you’ll end up with dragon heartstring like Hermione, or unicorn hair like Ron? Find out at Ollivander’s and purchase the wand that chooses you. Don’t forget to use your map and find out where you can cast real spells around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade!

Visit Hogsmeade first

With the two sections of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now being interlinked, you’re best off starting your adventure in Hogsmeade. The Florida heat is punishing, so as the day wears on, you’ll want to head for cooler areas, which leads you nicely to Diagon Alley. Harry Potter Hogwarts ExpressCatch the Hogwarts Express and you’ll find it’s a little bit cooler on your arrival to Diagon Alley, with areas designed to keep the witches and wizards at a more comfortable temperature.

Exchange your money at Gringotts

The world famous wizard bank allows you to trade in your Muggle money for Gringotts banknotes. Head to Carkitt Market, enter the bank and speak to the goblin awaiting you. Ask him anything you like and he’ll give you an answer. Harry Potter Diagon AlleyOnce you’ve got your wizard money, you can spend it almost anywhere within the Universal parks, so head over to the Three Broomsticks for a drink.

Grab a bite to eat at the Leaky Cauldron

You can eat at either the pub in Diagon Alley or the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade – both serve traditional British pub food. Make sure you wash it down with a good old butterbeer as well. You can choose to have it warm, cold or frozen, giving you three very different versions of this wizarding favourite. If you’re feeling brave, try a Green Fishy Ale from the Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley. It looks a tad strange, but tastes amazing!

Fly with dragons

Harry Potter roller coaster HippogriffNot for the faint-hearted, the Dragon Challenge sees a Chinese Fireball and Hungarian Horntail race each other through the sky. These dual roller coasters will make you feel like you’re riding a dragon as they twist and turn, flipping you every which way. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, the Dragon Challenge should be at the top of your bucket list.

Go shopping

You can visit the dark and mysterious Knockturn Alley and see the vanishing cabinet in Borgin and Burkes, or pop into Dervish and Banges for all of your Hogwarts essentials like robes and your copy of the ‘Monster Book of Monsters’. Take a stroll to Honeydukes, where you can stock up on your favourites like Fizzing Whizbees, Chocolate Frogs and of course, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Finish the day with Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, the ONLY place to buy all of your joke gifts and gadgets!

Harry Potter Hogwarts CastleThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter brings the magic to life for everyone both young and old. Whether you’re going with your family, as a couple or even with a group of friends, you’ll be fascinated, amazed and completely hooked by everything that Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley has to offer. Be sure to book the park-to-park tickets for Universal, so that you can absorb every single bit of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and make it a core part of your holiday to Florida.

Bon Voyage can help you with booking your holiday of a lifetime to Florida and we’ll recommend the best hotels to stay in, the best restaurants to eat in, and even give you a recommended itinerary so that you can squeeze in everything Orlando has to offer. To book your 2016 Florida holiday, or for a last-minute trip this year, contact Bon Voyage and one of our holiday specialists will tell you everything you need to know.

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Why a multi-centre holiday to America will be one of the best holidays of your life

Valley of Fire State Park NVLots of people head off to America every year for their annual holiday. Many people fall in love with one destination and continue to visit year after year, while others like to go somewhere new each time. But what if you could visit more than one place on the same holiday? Multi-centre holidays to the USA give you exactly that option. Why stay in one place when you can visit two or more on the same trip?

New options

For those who have gone for a multi-centre trip in the past, places like Los Angeles and San Francisco have been popular options, but many people don’t even entertain the idea of going interstate. Las Vegas, Nevada is a common bolt-on for holidaymakers checking out California, but would these people consider going further to say, New York or Washington D.C.?

The Presidential Mansion.
The Presidential Mansion.

The USA is huge and every state has something dramatically different to offer, so why not make the most of it and visit a couple or even three different destinations during your holiday? Renting a car or RV (recreational vehicle) to drive down Route 66 is one method of fitting in several states, but pre-arranged tours and internal flights are other options available that continue to increase in popularity. If you want to see it all, a multi-centre trip to America really is the best way to do it.

So many destinations, so little time…

Waikiki Beach 2

When you book a USA multi-centre trip, you’ll soon discover that the combinations of destinations are endless. You will easily find yourself booking to visit places that you may not have previously even considered. Perhaps you had never given much thought to seeing the fall in New England, but if you’re planning to visit the Big Apple, New England is only a five-hour drive away. Rent a car or book a connecting flight and experience the local culture, stunning scenery and a completely different America to the one that awaits you in New York City.

Perhaps you’ve always been a sun-worshipper and frequented the Florida Keys to top up your tan each year. Why not team a few days there with an action-packed break in Los Angeles as well? You’ll have a sun-drenched holiday, complete with sightseeing, shopping and something a little different – a unique holiday that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Can this really be America?Or how about the Deep South? Considered by many as the soul of America, the likes of Tennessee and Louisiana are famed for both their music and food, as well as a rich history. You can spend time visiting Graceland and the New Orleans School of Cooking, as well as taking a river cruise on a Mississippi Steamer. Then, head on up to the cosmopolitan city of Chicago to check out the Chicago Blues nightlife, the Sears Tower Skydeck and shop on the Magnificent Mile. You really will get an eye-opening tour of the musical heart of America.

Why multi-centre is better

If you book a holiday to just one destination, it stands to reason that your holiday activities can be limited to those available in your chosen destination. But have you considered, for example, that you could book a winter break and ski for the first half then relax on a warm beach in California or Hawaii before returning home? How about exploring the unspoiled wonders of nature in the National Parks then living it up in Las Vegas or shop-til-you-drop in Chicago, New York or Los Angeles? Opting for a multi-centre trip, things are blown wide open. Not only do you get to do the sightseeing in completely different cities, but you also get to embrace the contrasting cultures along the way.

Las Vegas sign & showgirls

Multi-centre trips will give you a whole different perspective on your annual holiday and allow you to tick more places off of your destination bucket list as well. Why sample the local cuisine of one city, when you can tick off three instead? These sorts of holidays mean you don’t quite know what’s coming next and you can have some of the most wonderful adventures of your life.

Hawaii couple surfboards walking beachUSA multi-centre trips are an increasingly popular choice for honeymooners as well, and with good reason. If you both have somewhere ideal in mind that you want to visit and just can’t seem to completely agree, a honeymoon that features different destinations is the perfect compromise. You can do the busy sightseeing in the cities of New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco or Washington D.C. and finish off with a relaxing week on the beautiful beaches of Miami, Los Angeles or Hawaii. With a combination like that, who can argue? You’re guaranteed to have the honeymoon of a lifetime.

And if you’re just booking your annual holiday? Well, if you can please everyone, then all the better. So what are you waiting for? Next time you start browsing for holidays to America, take a cross-section of different places across the United States and go for something totally different. We guarantee it’ll be one of the best holidays of your life.Lara of Bon Voyage

 

Where Will You Get Your Holiday Kicks in 2015?

It’s a bit early in the year to be declaring a winner, but the current leader of the pack for top American holiday pick for seasoned travellers for 2014 is a Route 66 roadtrip. In this video our very own Theresa Young, American-in-residence at Bon Voyage and Route 66 expert talks about the Route itself, where it goes and what there is to see along the way.

So will you be making 2015 the year of the Great American Route 66 Roadtrip?

Bon Voyage in 2012.

Alan Wilson, here, Managing Director of Bon Voyage.   I wanted to bring you up to date
on some of the new ideas and happenings for holidays this year to the USA and Canada.

Our Route 66 holidays go from strength to strength.  Since the Billy Connolly TV series last year we have been inundated with people wishing to make this most famous of all American road trips from Chicago to Los Angeles.  For me one of the great attractions of the trip is that it begins in the great city of Chicago, with its music influences, chequered history and amazing architecture and finishes in the fabulous California beach resort of Santa Monica, of Baywatch fame.  Add to the mix the nostalgia of the sights and scenes along the way, the opportunity to take detours to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and it has all the makings of a truly wonderful adventure.

For many, a road trip is all about your wheels and this is where we have exciting news.  For the first time we’re able to offer the iconic Ford Mustang convertible as a guaranteed option on Route 66. I should emphasise that the Mustang is a two person experience but there’s nothing quite like an open top on the open road.  Well I say there’s nothing like it but actually our next option is Route 66 on a Harley Davidson motorbike, or even a trike like the one Billy Connolly rode in the TV series.  We will tailor-make your own journey or we can arrange for you to join a group departure.  Give us a call for all the details and prices.

Other new or nearly new thoughts for your next Bon Voyage holiday include a bicycling tour in New England, log cabin stays in the Great Smoky Mountains or maybe one of the great North American rail journeys.  For me there is nothing to beat the thrill of a trip like the Coast Starlight journey all the way from Southern California and up through Oregon and into Washington State.  There are the dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline.  Having feasted on the views by day and dined well you retire to your very comfortable sleeping car and awake to the drama of Puget Sound and arrival into the superb city of Seattle.  Magical.

Finally let me mention some important information for those of you planning a holiday to North America in the near future.  Right now and until close of business next Tuesday 24th January our prices are based on air fares that have been reduced by up to £200 per person.

In order to get the New Year off to a great start we negotiated these lower rates
for British Airways, Virgin, United, American – in fact almost all the big TransAtlantic airlines.

To take advantage of the reduced prices we have to have your booking in by next
Tuesday.  I don’t want to rush you into anything if you’re at the early stages of planning a
trip but if you have reached or are close to deciding your travel plans for this year, it will make sense to speak to us in the next few days.

The team are waiting to help so call us free on 0800 980 7091 or email Bon Voyage.

Happy New Year to you from everyone at Bon Voyage.

A Weekend in Washington

Bon Voyage Director, Phil Newcombe, revisits Washington D.C. for the first time in more than a decade to see what all the fuss is about. He discovers that things certainly “ain’t what the used to be”.

OK. Hands up all those who knew what an outstanding city Washington DC has become. Anyone? Just a few of you then – thanks for keeping that little nugget to yourselves! Continue reading A Weekend in Washington

Are We Different When We Travel?

Waiting for me in my inbox this morning was a message from our partners at the city of New Orleans. A simple message on the face of it – New Orleans has produced a new short video to promote itself to international visitors, and would we like a copy to put on the New Orleans page of the Bon Voyage website to help highlight its attractions to would-be travellers? So I watched it. And I like it! Continue reading Are We Different When We Travel?

Hog Heaven – Where Eagles Ride.

Death Valley
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, 46C, busted starter, motor ticking over rock steady. “Hotter than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut”.

This article was written by Bon Voyage customers – Geoff and Ali Cadman – who travelled on an “EagleRider” organised Harley tour of western America in 2004, and is reproduced on TheBonVoyageBlog with their kind permission. The stunning photographs are their own, and all rights are reserved.

I think Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” was much better than their more popular song “Born to be Wild”, which was rather hi-jacked by the media to become something of a cliché when dealing with any story that revolved around the motorcycle `lifestyle`. I suppose it’s just that I am a dedicated biker and have been one since just before the release of the iconic film  `Easy Rider`. I’m also English, I ride a Harley Davidson, but I also own a BMW motorcycle so I’m not the sort that would ordinarily get all misty-eyed when a travel programme does a motorcycle feature and uses the obligatory, `Born to be Wild` as an intro! I reiterate, not ordinarily. Continue reading Hog Heaven – Where Eagles Ride.