Avis car hire were a disappointment
Thank you again Nicole for all your help and excellent service.
We had the best time - a HUGE thank you to Libby for all her hard work and patience during our booking.
Very helpful and knowledgeable
Stan was fantastic from start to finish.
Thank you Raphael for all your help with booking our magical holiday to Florida! Always efficient and answered any question I had regarding our trip which was perfect!
I'd heartily recommend DialAFlight
Connie was fantastic from start to finish!
My family cannot thank Aidan enough. He is so professional and ensures from the very start of our booking to the end that everything is OK. If we need help it is done Immediately. We always go through DialAFlight. Thanks again
As usual, Kieran was brilliant in helping us to sort out our flights and provide reassurance as uncertainty around the airports and flights became apparent. We always use DialAFlight
Danny has been great throughout, we’d definitely contact him first for future holidays
Excellent as always. Harry Clark was brilliant and responsive from quote through to travel
Great service as ever. Everything went as planned. Advice and support for travel really helpful. Excellent service with thanks to Declan and Orlando.
This was booked over a difficult period with covid and the holiday was moved on twice plus we added one person to our party of 14. Elliot stuck with it and we finally got our holiday. This was the 3rd time we have used DialAFlight.
Kylie and the team are amazing - please pass on our thanks.
Lucy MacNab. Superb! So patient and attentive, lots of suggestions offered great advice! So much so that we’ve booked a further trip and flights for a third holiday!
Roy was great as always and did a great job. I always recommend him
Zoe was amazing from the first time I spoke to her about what kind of holiday I wanted
Fantastic customer service as always
Olivia and the team, absolutely fantastic. She goes above and beyond. Wouldn’t use any other company.
The service provided by DialAFlight is excellent. Timely responses and great customer service
I would like to give a special mention to Elliot Webb. He was superb from the first contact back in January. He dealt with numerous problems that arose before, during and after our stay, with accommodation, and several cancelled BA flights. He always replied very quickly and went out of his way to help us, often replying even on his days off or working late. After our excellent experience with Elliot I have recommended DialAFlight to numerous friends and relations.
Dale’s fantastic assistance, ownership and care made us feel supported and valued even in stressful times. We continue to be loyal customers and it’s the personal touches and your speed to resolution that sets DialAFlight apart from the other companies in the industry. We’ll be returning soon to book more amazing experiences with you.
Tristan was very efficient, easy to contact and deal with.
Would definitely use again. Danny made himself available when I had questions.
Efficient, professional, friendly and informative service from Rupert as always. And a very competitive price! I always highly recommend DialAFlight
Fantastic holiday. Perfect villa and location and would not hesitate in recommending yourselves to any family or friends. Better start saving again! Glen was an absolute pleasure to deal with and we look forward to dealing with him in the future.
I have used DialAFlight for more than 12 years and always recommend to friends and family. I always deal with Daryll and he is amazing at getting back to me, sorting any issues and booking us good deals
Had a lovely holiday. All went smoothly at the airports. No hold ups. Perfect
Always very quick to reply to any queries. Richard was fantastic at planning my holiday
In January 1981 when mass tourism from the UK to Florida had hardly begun, I made my first trip to the Sunshine State - flying to Miami; this was memorable if only because in the departure lounge at Heathrow I found myself standing next to Eric Morecambe and his wife Joan.
Bring me sunshine, he was probably singing to himself. He needn't have worried; it was freezing in London but when we landed in Miami in the late afternoon, it was roasting. In January! Yet in 1981 Miami was in decline. In the 1960s, for example, when The Beatles made their first trip to the US in 1964 to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, they demonstrated their stratospheric success by finding time for a sunshine break in glamorous Miami Beach.
But 20 years later the Al Pacino gangster film Scarface showed how fast Miami Beach had fallen - business was so bad that plans were laid to demolish the famous Art Deco hotels which had largely become hostels. (Curiously, it was the filming of the 1980s cop series Miami Vice that initiated the preservation campaign - the rundown buildings clashed with the show's Ferraris and Armani suits, so the city was forced to smarten up.)
By 1981 Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, had been open for almost a decade but the place was relatively modest; EPCOT didn't open until 1982.
My trip in 1981 was to write a piece on Air Florida, which had announced the start of low-cost flights between Miami and Gatwick - a route on which it was to compete with Laker Airways. Laker went bust the next year while Air Florida collapsed in 1984. But by the mid-Eighties, thanks to the marketing of some mass operators, Florida had begun to dominate the UK long-haul market.
It had good year-round weather and offered extraordinary value for money. Brits found the accommodation well-appointed and spacious and in the favoured Orlando suburb of Kissimmee, theme parks were on your doorstep.
Since that first visit, the more I've seen of Florida, the more I like it. I've been pretty much all over from Key West - so far south it is just 100 miles from Cuba - up to St Augustine and beyond. I like it all but I'm beginning to decide that I like the western Gulf coast the best, especially the stretch between Tampa and Sarasota.
For a week recently I had a house rental on Anna Maria Island, about an hour's drive south of Tampa. Tampa is an attractive entry point into the States, with shorter immigration queues.
Everything in Florida is nice and easy, from picking up a hire car to obtaining the keys of your holiday house (most have lock boxes, all you need is the combination - I never met anybody from the house rental company). Florida has everything to make a holiday perfect. Had we wanted, we could have made the two-hour drive to Orlando for a theme-park fix, but Anna Maria island has pretty much all you need.
The property came with a golf cart for short trips to the shop or the beach - bikes were also available. There was a large pool, a table-tennis table, a multi-channel TV with domestic TV catch-up - and the fastest wifi I've come across: 80mbps (ten times faster than I get at home). With a Slingbox connection, I was able to sit next to the pool and watch England beat the Aussies in the Ashes - holidays don't get much better than this.
Bradenton was a 25-minute drive, worth it to visit the Ellerton premium outlet mall with outrageous bargains on designer clothes. A similar distance away down at the end of Longboat Key (winter home to writer Stephen King) was Sarasota, worth visiting to stock up on food and drink at Whole Foods: not as cheap as the Publix, a ten-minute golf-cart ride away from the house, but in a different universe in terms of quality.
Because Anna Maria is a place which doesn't attract day trippers, the beaches are never crowded, and at many times of day, if you avoid the busier stretches, you will have them to yourself. Keep an eye out and you will spot dolphins skimming the offshore waters.
The house had a rooftop deck area where one night we watched the Perseid meteor shower stream across the night sky.
Even on non-meteor-shower nights, it was a delight to sit up on the roof and look at stars that seemed close enough to touch. There may be more perfect places to holiday than Florida but, at this very moment, I'm finding it hard to think of one…
First published in the Mail Online - January 2016
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