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Sardinia, 28th October, 3 Nights, flights & 4* Hotel, €197

sardinia-526936_1280Sardinia

Sardinia is often overlooked by Irish holidaymakers and I am not sure why? It is full of white sandy coves, stunning mountain back drops and of course amazing Italian food…

With a direct three hour flight from Dublin and a short a 10 minute airport transfer and you can be enjoying nice Italian food in the old town of Alghero, with one of Italy’s best beaches beside you. The old town has cobbled stone streets, plenty of great shops and some fantastic restaurants. There is also a beautiful white sandy beach which is not something that many of the other Italian resorts can boast about.

If you like designer shopping then take a visit the Costa Smeralda, if only to window shop and see how the other half live! You might spot some celebrities while you are there, this is a very popular hang out for the rich and famous! If that doesn’t float your boat, take a trip to the neighbouring island of Corsica and marvel at the stunning scenery – it is well worth a visit.

Fly direct to Alghero and enjoy some great value staying in the Alghero City Hotel  This hotel is in a great central location, close to the town and beach, and receives good reviews on tripadvisor.  Prices on the 28th of October for three nights are only €197 per person including flights – so what are you waiting for?

 

Click here to book flights: €116

Click here to book hotel: €81

 

Like what you see? Click here to see all my travel deals in one place!

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. To ensure you receive my weekly best travel deals please click here to sign up to my newsletter.

 

Sarah

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Family Holiday to the Algarve, 19th July, 2ad & 2ch, €1535!

holiday, Alvor Portugal

A family holiday in theAlgarve is a great choice for a relaxing beach holiday. I spent many holidays in the pretty resort of Alvor a few times and loved it!

 

The white sandy beach is four miles long and I think one of the best in the Algarve.  My kids loved it too, they played in the many rock pools and went crab hunting which occupied them for hours! There are great family restaurants along the beach front that cater so well for families as well as the fantastic choice you will find in the old town of Alvor.

Unlike most of its neighbouring resorts, Alvor remains somewhat unspoilt.  If  you are looking for lively nightlife and a big busy resort, its not for you but if you want a quiet relaxing family holiday without all the crowds then look no further than Alvor.  For more information, read my blog post on Alvor by clicking here.

Family Holiday in the Algarve

I found this great deal departing on the 19th of July for seven nights staying at the popular Alvorferrias apartments. These apartments have been a firm favourite with Irish holidaymakers for many years and are highly rated on tripadvisor.

The price for two adults and two children is only €1610 including Aer Lingus flights and transfers.Use code AWHOLIDAYS75 to save a further €75 at the checkout 🙂

 

Click here for more details:

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability.

 

Sarah

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Family HolidaysTravel TipsTraveling With Kids

Travelling with children

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For some people travelling with children can be very daunting. Where to go? What to pack? How to keep them amused on a long flight? Here is my top ten tips on how to arrive in style and with family relations still in tact!

 

1. Choose your holiday wisely.

The famous saying that “if the kids are happy, the parents are too” springs to mind.  This can mean different things for each family. Some parents love kids clubs, as it gives them much needed quiet time. Others are happy if there is a nice beach or swimming pool.  Some family resorts now have extraordinary facilities, from stage schools and swimming lessons to football academy’s and even water parks on site. These resorts are not for everyonem, but you are guaranteed the kids will never be bored! However, if you have teenagers, you will probably find that free wifi is the most important holiday accessory for them!

2.  Don’t let the flying time put you off.

I am often asked about holidays with short flights, the Algarve and Majorca would be the obvious choices. However make sure you check out the transfer times from the airport. Some resorts like Puerto Pollensa (one of my favourite family resorts) in Majorca or Lagos  in Portugal both have long transfer times. You may find you are ruling out going to Lanzarote because flying time is 4hours 15 minutes yet the transfer from the airport to Puerto del Carmen is only 10 minutes. The total journey time for all three holidays is the same. If you have young kids the chances are they will sleep on the plane so waking them when you land, only to take a long bus journey. You would have to ask yourself which is actually the better option?

3. Check that your passports are valid at the time of booking.

Also ensure that your kids have their own passports. It is necessary for most countries now. Check visas and make sure you have adequate travel insurance. Check the names are spelt correctly on flight tickets, the hotel you have booked is correct and any special requests are noted. If you have requested a cot and you are arriving late at night, you could email the hotel and make sure it will be  in your room when you get there.

4. Plan your trip to the airport.

Make sure there are no road works on the way to the airport and check which terminal you are leaving from. You don’t want to arrive at the airport late, this increases stress levels and inevitably ends in a bad start to the trip. Depending on your departure time it might be a good idea to arrive early and have a bite to eat, I find that it a nice relaxing start to the holiday. Check out more details and airport tips by clicking here.

5. Use your kids hand baggage allowances.

Let the kids pack some toys into their own cases. They will love the independence of packing and wheeling it around the airport. Trunkis  are great, they can also be used as a seat which can come in very handy! Kids will also pack the toys they want to bring so you won’t be scolded when you arrive for forgetting the latest barbie or transformer!  If you are travelling with young kids, I would suggest that you keep their toys in your handbag. Speaking from experience, opening trunkis that are full of crayons and small action figures on the plane is not a great idea – they will end up everywhere!

6. Bring plenty of toys / to play with on the airplane.

Old fashioned crayons are hard to beat, kids of most ages still like to colour and a new colouring book won’t break the bank. For toddlers I find the water based aquadoodles great and very easy to use. Puzzle and sticker books are another good choice and at a very low price. Most kids now can play games on mobile phones, iPads etc. Download the latest peppa pig or minecraft game before you go, or even download a new movie and surprise them with that. A Verbatim MEDIA SHARE is much handier than a portable DVD player. It creates it’s own wifi network so kids can watch movies on their tablets or phones anywhere. It is great to have on the plane, in restaurants, or in the car.

7. Prepare for flight delays and the unexpected.

Make sure you have plenty of nappies, wipes ( don’t go anywhere without them!) calpol, baby formula, and of course food. No matter how much or little your kids eat, you need to make extra allowances for boredom! Just when you think they couldn’t possibly eat anymore, they announce they are hungry again. It also passes the time if you are waiting on luggage, buses or particularly in the dreaded car hire queue! All of this extra food can of course translate into messy clothes, travel sickness or even toilet accidents. So no matter what their age, a change of clothes is a MUST!

8.  Check out the resort you are going to and pack the appropriate supplies.

If there is a shingly beach, bring surf shoes for the kids. Bring a good insect repellent. If you are going to a country where there are mosquitoes I would suggest bug bands. (Check out my blog post on the best products on the market)  Kids keep them on all day, some of them even look ‘cool’!  There are numerous available now, Boots have their own brand but I find the family pack is a great choice. It goes without saying to bring sunscreen but some are better than others. When my kids were small I loved Parasol, it was so easy to apply and great for sensitive skin.  The all in one swimsuits are great, and even the surf tops for older kids. You don’t need to worry about too much sun, and the kids will thank you for not applying cream to them every hour!

9. Check you have adequate supplies for babies and toddlers.

Nappies, wipes, formula are readily available in most family resorts. If your child has sensitive skin you may need to bring your own brand but I find in most cases this is not necessary. The ready made formula is so handy, likewise the Avent 3 scoop powder dispensers.  Try your baby on some ready made food pouches before you go. There are some excellent healthy options on the market now.  If they have tried them before, they are more likely to eat them abroad. These can be life savers on the plane journey, or in resort if you haven’t made  it to the supermarket yet. Don’t forget disposable bed mats, these are a must if your child has just recently been toilet trained. The warm climate generally means a larger intake of liquids and if having late meals, accidents are inevitable.

10. Relax and enjoy it.

Kids sense it if you are stressed and will act up. Don’t panic if your child cries on the plane or misbehaves. People who have kids have all been there and completely understand what you are going through. Remember that in a few hours you will be relaxing, having a glass of wine and enjoying the sunshine! Family holidays are a special time in both your life and your kids lives and unfortunately don’t  happen often enough. They are made of special memories – make sure they are good ones!

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah

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DESTINATIONSEuropeFamily HolidaysFeaturedSunseekers

Why Lanzarote Is My Favourite Canary Island

lanzarote

With year round sunshine, numerous sandy beaches and plenty of interesting sights, Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island.

 

When you land in Arrecife airport the landscape is startling. There are no high rise blocks, just barren terrain and pretty white washed buildings as far as the eye can see. Thankfully building laws prohibit high rise buildings in Lanzarote and all houses, hotels and apartments have to be painted white. This makes even the commercialised holiday resorts, such as Puerto del Carmen, very pleasing on the eye. There are many resorts to choose from, Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise are the largest but there are also smaller resorts, such as Los Pocillos, Matagorda and Puerto Calero – suffice to say there is a resort here to suit all tastes!

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Puerto del Carmen

Puerto del Carmen is one of those holiday resorts that ticks all boxes. Located just ten minutes from the airport, we arrived at our accommodation within a half hour of the plane landing! There is just the right amount of night-life, but you would never consider it ‘rowdy’. For this reason it tends to attract plenty of families, couples as well as girls looking for a nice break away. There are plenty of different areas to stay, the growing ‘new town’ leads in to the neighbouring resorts of Los Pocillos and Matagorda. I stayed in the Aqua Suites, an four star boutique hotel which is superb for families, read why I think the Aqua Suites is the best place to stay in Puerto del Carmen with kids.

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I love the ‘old town’, which has some lovely restaurants and excellent duty free shopping, with shops like Zara and Mango about 20% cheaper than what you would find at home. The harbour is the best place to catch the sun set. There are plenty of bars and restaurants as well as a playground for kids. You can enjoy sundowners while the kids play happily – its bliss!

 

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Families will love the wide sandy beach. With pedalos and an inflatable waterpark, you could easily spend the day here. Don’t miss the open air cinema and enjoy a day out at Rancho Texas Park. This theme park has dolphin and seal shows, a small water park as well as hundreds of animals. For more details read my post on things to do in Puerto del Carmen with kids.

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Puerto Calero

Less than ten minutes by taxi from Puerto del Carmen will bring you to the pretty town of Puerto Calero. Purpose built, its marina is home to many luxury yachts and designer shops. Restaurants are reasonably priced though and it is a great option for lunch if you happen to be staying in Puerto del Carmen. If you are feeling adventurous you can take the coastal walk ( about 90 minutes ) from Puerto del Carmen all the way into Puerto Calero, enjoy a tasty lunch and catch the water taxi back.  You can also take boat trips on stylish catamarans or if travelling with kids, they will love the submarine safari.

Playa Blanca

With plenty of five star hotels and an upmarket marina, Playa Blanca is becoming the ‘sophisticated’ choice. The promenade stretches for 7km from the Marina Rubicon to the small old port where you can catch the ferry to Fuerteventura. There are plenty of inexpensive restaurants here along the seafront and most with stunning sea views. The marina has plenty of upmarket restaurants and designer boutiques, all surrounded by some luxurious yachts. The big draw is the choice of golden sandy beaches as most of the other resorts in Lanzarote have darker sand. 

 

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Playa Blanca is also very popular with families as there are numerous self catering options to choose from, most of them offering an entertainment programme and facilities for children. Aqualava, waterpark is sure to keep the kids entertained and the more adventurous can dive to Europe’s only underwater museum. If you fancy a change of scene take the ferry to nearby Fuerteventura. Once you see it’s white sandy beaches, you will think you are in the Caribbean!

One week package deal to Fuerteventura

Things to do in Lanzarote

Lanzarote is the perfect size for exploring. It is very easy to navigate so I would suggest hiring a car and visiting the main tourist spots yourself. Timanfaya National Park is a must see, the volcanic landscape is spectacular. Over 100 volcanoes erupted between 1730 and 1736 but due to limited erosion, the area still looks almost Martian. It was made a National Park in 1968 and you are no longer allowed walk freely through the park. Coach trips, guided walks and camel rides are all possible but go early as it can get very busy in the afternoon. Try El Diablo restaurant, where you can enjoy meat barbecued by the heat from the Volcano – a truly unique experience. 

 

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Don’t miss a trip to Jameos del Agua, in the north of the island. Famous Lanzarote artist César Manrique created this tourist site in the 1960s, inside lava caves that were formed 4,000 years ago by the eruption of La Corona Volcano. Walk down stone steps into the volcanic tunne,l which is one of the longest in the world, at 6 kilometres in length, to discover a unique restaurant which over looks a small lake. The lake looks almost translucent, which probably has something to do with the small blind albino crabs that are only found here.

lanzarote

You then emerge from the dark cave to find hundreds of tropical plants and a stunning swimming pool. The fact that you are not allowed to swim in the pool only makes it more magical! The Jameos del Aqua is also home to a large auditorium where cultural events and concerts are housed throughout the year. The Jameos del Agua is said to be the perfect harmony between nature and artistic creation.

A short drive from Playa Blanca brings you to the small village of El Golfo. This is a great spot to stop and have lunch, the seafood is fantastic and the setting is perfect. Situated on the coast, with sea views but extremely authentic and thankfully still unspoilt. If you like to haggle, visit the old town of Teguise. With its cobbled stone streets is probably the pettiest town on the island and holds a market every Sunday.

Like this post? You might be interested in these:

Five Things To Do With Kids In Puerto del Carmen

 

Why The Aqua Suites Is The Best Place To Stay In Puerto Del Carmen With Kids

 

Sarah

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Corfu – 1 week including flights and 4* Hotel, only €325

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Corfu, an alluring island close to the Greek mainland has been captivating people for many years. Filled with countless turquoise bays, and white washed hill top villages, it is not difficult to see why. Whether you choose the unspoilt resorts with local Greek tavernas or the livelier resorts filled with disco bars, Corfu is an Island that caters for all tastes. Take a trip to Corfu town and marvel at its history.  Stroll around the cobbled stone streets, have lunch in one of the many Greek tavernas or explore the numerous designer shops!

I found a great deal departing on the 10th of May to the 4* San Antonio Corfu Resort. Enjoy one week including breakfast in a sea view room for only €325 per person. This hotel receives great reviews on trip advisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence last year.

Book flights here: €206pp

Book Hotel here: €119pp

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. To ensure you receive my weekly best travel deals please click here to sign up to my newsletter.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

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Sorrento 1 week from only €421 including flights and Hotel

amalfi-coast

A stay along the Amalfi coast should be on everyone’s bucket list and staying in Sorrento is a great base to explore the area.

Holidays in Sorrento are much lower than in previous years too. A one week break in May including flights is only €421 staying in the popular 3* Villa Fiorita. This is based on the 15th of May departure but there are many more offers available. Check out my blog post on Sorrento by clicking here.

Click here to flights: €139pp

Click here to book hotels: €282pp

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. To ensure you receive my best travel deals each week sign up to my newsletter by clicking here

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

DESTINATIONSEuropeFeaturedSunseekers

Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast

amalfi-coast

Sorrento is a firm favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years,  it is not difficult to see why.

Sorrento is the largest resort on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, but still retains it’s old world charm. Complete with cobblestone pedestrianised streets, it is the perfect place to explore at your leisure. The historic buildings house everything from designer shops to local souvenirs so there is plenty of choice for even the avid shopper. The town comes alive at night with numerous al fresco dining options so you can admire the well dressed Italians as they pass you by.

Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast by The Travel Expert

It is not just the town of Sorrento that draws thousands of tourists to this coastline each year. The neighbouring towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are all highlights and have to be seen. In fact if you are confident behind the wheel, I would recommend hiring a car and driving the Amalfi coast. Marvel at the breathtaking views across the bay of Naples with houses and hotels nestled perfectly on the cliffs edge. Stop off at small hilltop villages and sample some local dishes, it has to be one of the worlds greatest road trips.

Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast by The Travel Expert

There are numerous sights to see in this part of Italy, the ‘coast with the most’! Take a trip to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii or if you are feeling energetic  enjoy the panoramic views from the top of Mount Vesuvius. It is a three hour climb, round trip, but worth it for the profile picture alone!  There is nothing like a boat trip when you are away and no visit to Sorrento would be complete without sailing to the isle of Capri. Take one of the many ferries from Sorrento or pre book an excursion, either way Capri is a ‘must see’. Visit the blue grotto, the summit of Anacapri or try celebrity spotting in some of the designer boutiques in the centre of the island.

Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast by The Travel Expert

A stay along the Amalfi coast should be on everyone’s bucket list and staying in Sorrento is a good base to explore the area.  Go on spoil yourself, I dare you not to fall in love with the place.

Sarah

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Iceland, 9th February, Three Night Weekend Break, €448

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Tired of the same old weekend breaks?

 

I just may just have found the answer for you! How about a three night stay in Reykjavik, Iceland. Wow air are now flying from Dublin five times per week. Marvel at the Northern Lights, relax in the healing waters of Blue Lagoon, or simply enjoy the cosmopolitan city of Reykjavik itself.

The Icelandic people are renowned for their warmth and hospitality and boast of their beautiful rugged scenery. Temperatures are usually a balmy 20 degrees in July but if its the Northern Lights you want to see, the cooler winter / spring months are a more optimum time.

Iceland

A three night stay in the highly rated apartments K in the centre of town including direct flights is only €448 per person departing on the 9th of February. Price includes flights, a three night stay and all taxes.

 

Click here to book flights: €198pp

Click here to book apartment: €250pp

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. 

 

Sarah

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Family HolidaysTravel Tips

Top 5 travel tips when booking your family holiday.

The Travel Expert (3)

With the January sales upon us, here are my top five tips to help you book the perfect family holiday.

 

1. Be prepared!

I can’t stress this enough. Talk to a travel agent or at least do some research yourself online. If it is sunshine you are after make sure you check the weather forecast. For instance the Algarve maybe cold at Christmas time and most Greek resorts don’t actually open until May…

 

2. Check out the flight times and the length of the flight.

You might see that the flights are ‘day flights’ but this may mean a 6am departure which is actually a 4am check in, which equates to a 3am alarm call – not exactly day time! Likewise you may think that short flights are great but if travelling to Alcudia in Majorca or Lagos in the Algarve the bus transfer time is almost two hours, so the actual journey time will be the same as travelling to Lanzarote for example.

 

3. Think about what type of holiday you are looking for.

Do you want a quiet break in a nice resort or a family resort with kids clubs and entertainment? They are two very different choices! You also need to think about whether you want an all inclusive holiday where all food and drink is included or whether you like eating out in the local restaurants.

 

4. Book at the right time.

Generally speaking if you have kids in school it’s safer to book early to secure the right holiday at the best price. Larger apartments in peak season can be booked out early and if you have specific requirements like a beachfront location or creche facilities you will need to book in advance. If on the other hand you have young kids that are not in school yet, take advantage now while you can. Travel in May, June or September and you should be able to secure a great deal.

 

5. Check prices both online and with a Travel Agent.

Usually the Travel Agent will be able to offer you the holiday at the same price or even less. They may also have early booking offers or ten days for the price of seven etc. Your holiday is secure by booking with an Agent as they have to be fully licensed and bonded in order to trade. You will also have the advantage of being able to call them if you have a problem or query, either before you travel or while abroad.

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah

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