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Overview

The Sims 2: Bon Voyage is the sixth major gameplay expansion for the best selling life simulator.  With three premade vacation spots, a wide variety of new group activities, and nearly two dozen hidden keepsakes to collect, it has a distinct focus on providing fresh ways for friends and family to build up strong relationships free from the demands of their daily routines.

Bon Voyage requires the base Sims 2 game in order to install and run, but it can operate without any of the other expansion packs in the series.  Because so much of its content takes place far away from the many college, downtown, and business locales featured in the previous add-ons, this pack is particularly independent from the many gameplay additions made by its predecessors.  The most notable exception is The Sims 2: Nightlife which, when used in tandem with Bon Voyage, allows sims to enjoy dating activities during their vacations.

Vacations

Three predesigned destinations are added to the game by default: the Far East village of Takemizu, the campgrounds at Three Lakes, and the tropical island resort on Twikkii Island.  Attaching all of these locations to a neighborhood allows the residents to choose among them while booking their trip, and players are also free to design additional vacation spots from scratch.

Using their home phone or computer, sims can schedule their destination, day of departure, and select which of the local hotels they'd like to check into once they arrive.  All lodgings offer at least beds and room service, but the places with bonus perks like swimming pools, staff masseuses, and fancier beds are going to cost a lot more to rent than those without.  Fortunately, in addition to a brief description of what each hotel is like, they're also rated on a simple four-point scale to indicate their average cost per night.

"Room service!"
The exact charge isn't set until the character's flight lands.  Upon arriving at the hotel, sims can peruse the different accommodations to find one suitable for their party.  Each door has a nightly price tag listed: larger rooms with higher quality furniture and more beds are naturally more expensive, though somewhat less so than renting out private rooms for each member of the group.  Players had best have their sims decide quickly, though, as NPC tourists will swiftly arrive to take up residence in any unclaimed suites.  If the place seems too dumpy or too pricey -- or if a party gets kicked out by the management for being too disruptive -- sims can book new lodgings in a different hotel at any time.

Once sims have checked in, they're free to visit the wide variety of locales that each region has to offer.  There are beaches for building sand castles and swimming in the ocean, ruins to explore, luxurious spas to visit, and local shops with special decorations that can't be acquired through the game's normal Build Mode.  Each vacation setting also has its own distinct customs, cuisine, and NPCs to meet, plus some secret locations and characters to uncover.


Picking three benefits from a relaxing vacation.
Benefits

Depending on how well a trip goes, sims experience lingering affects from their time away from home.  Successful trips result in the ability for the player to choose a couple temporary bonuses, such as improved work performance or an additional Want slot to make that sim's Aspiration easier to pursue for a time.  More disastrous ones, however, lead to a severe case of jet lag which leaves the vacationers exhausted and in poor spirits for a few days after returning.


Souvenirs

Souvenirs are unique collectibles that can only be found through specific means.  Some might be available for purchase at a local shop, buried in the sand at the beach, given as a gift to a sim who masters a native custom, or discovered in a number of other ways.

By putting these mementos out for decoration back at home, traveling sims can use them as conversation pieces to boost relationships with curious acquaintances.  Frequent fliers who successfully find every keepsake from all three vacation destinations will even earn themselves a mysterious and especially powerful relic....

Customizing the jewelry on a new sim's everyday outfit.
Jewelry

Beyond the typical assortment of new clothing that have been a staple of the previous expansions, Bon Voyage adds the ability to customize each character's personal accessories such as earings, necklaces, rings, and watches.  Only one sort of jewelry can be placed in slot, but each ear, wrist, and hand can be ornamented separately to suit a sim's particular style.

Since people rarely wear elaborate dangling jewelry while working out or going for a swim, accessories can be set differently depending on what a character is wearing.  This not only makes it easy to create sims who reserve their fanciest bling for their formal wear, but also helps resolve some of the graphical clipping that can occur with many of the "Outerwear" sweaters and coats introduced in Seasons.

Attraction

The Sims 2: Nightlife first introduced the Attraction system where each sim in the game identifies certain attributes as appealing ("turn-ons") or repellent ("turn-offs").  This mechanic became an integral part of the game and has been a default inclusion in the expansion packs that followed, but Bon Voyage has the distinction of really overhauling the system with a spectrum of new options.

While sims were previously pretty shallow, gauging attractiveness almost exclusively on superficial aesthetics like clothing or hair color, this pack broadens the options to include high skill levels like "Great Cook", employment status, and even special states like vampirism and lycanthropy.  These new options can become available to any existing sim who purchases and drinks a "ReNuYu PortaChug" potion.

Trivia

  • Upon its release, Bon Voyage suffered from a severe bug which caused it to infinitely duplicate NPC character files until the game could no longer be run.  This problem was later fixed in a free patch available through the game's official website at Sims2.com.
  • Bon Voyage is the first major expansion pack to ditch the series' traditional Safedisc copy protection program in favor of SecuROM, a more aggressive form of protection which will occasionally refused to run the game on a computer with virtual drive software, or even on systems with disc burning drives.  Subsequent patches released by EA and SecuROM have greatly alleviated these initial problems.

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