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5 years ago


Top Ten Holiday Destinations in 2016


With the recession well and truly over and Dublin airport celebrating their best ever year in 2015, travel agents and airlines are predicting that 2016 will be even better. So where are the hot spots?


It looks like old favourites such as Spain and Portugal will be the most attractive short haul holiday destinations in 2016. Although France will be busy for Euro 2016, many families who enjoyed their Summer holiday camping in France, may decide to switch to campsites near Salou in Spain or Lake Garda in Italy. Cuba, Mexico and Thailand will prove popular for long haul travel as the poor exchange rate with the US dollar is unlikely to change. Here are my top ten holiday destinations in 2016!

Majorca & Menorca

To put it simply, Irish people love Spain! Almost 1.5 million Irish holiday makers visited Spain this year and this is sure to grow again in 2016. The Balearic island of Majorca is constantly one of the favourites. The mixture of family resorts, lively nightlife and stunning scenery is a great combination and ensures Majorca offers something for everyone.

Direct flights to  Menorca were reintroduced last year from Ireland and proved to be a great success. So much so, that an extra flight from Cork has been added for 2016. This smaller and less commercialised island oozes character and is the perfect choice for families looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday in safe surroundings.

Menorca, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


Lake Garda

Although always popular from Ireland, I believe many families will switch from France to Lake Garda this year making the popular Italian resort busier than ever. There are direct flights to Verona and the nearby resort of Peschiera offers plenty of campsite and hotel options. The fact that the award winning themepark,  Gardaland is on it’s doorstep, will add to it’s popularity.

Lake Garda, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


Thailand still offers fantastic value for money for a longhaul destination. There are numerous flights via the UK, Dubai and mainland Europe to Bangkok and Phuket. A one week package is circa €800 including flights and hotel, proving to be a great option for those looking for a touch of exotic, without the expensive price tag.

Thailand, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

Athens & the Greek Islands

Always great value for money and appealing to everyone, the Greek islands will continue to be popular in 2016. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos and extra flights to Athens with Ryanair and Aegean air. This should open up Athens as a top city break destination and allow the bucket list destinations of Santorini and Mykonos to be serviced for the first time.

Santorini, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost twenty flights per week in the peak Summer months. The low priced airfares mixed with numerous resort options, will ensure that the Algarve will attract many Irish visitors in 2016.

Algarve, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


June 2016 will bring the first direct flights to Mexico for many years. The Thomson dreamliner aircraft will fly every fortnight to Cancun from Dublin and is bound to attract couples and honeymooners looking for the luxury all inclusive holiday resort.

Mexico, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved a great success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2016 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

Iceland, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


Diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba are at an all time high and it is likely that more and more Americans will travel to Cuba over the coming years. Many people feel they such see it before it receives the Disney effect! For this reason and the fact that there is more disposable income around, Cuba looks like it could attract many Irish holidaymakers looking to travel long haul in 2016.

Cuba, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


For those looking for somewhere a little different but still close to home, Croatia will be a top choice. The stunning city of Dubrovnik and the introduction of flights to Zadar and Pula will ensure that there are plenty of options for Irish holidymakers in 2016. The proximity to Lonely Planet’s top destination to visit in 2016 (Kotor in Montenegro) will also add to the appeal.

Dubrovnik, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


With four direct flights every day, it is almost impossible to avoid seeing this world class holiday destination on travel agency windows and media outlets, all offering amazing deals to Dubai. With the loss of direct flights to Egypt and Tunisia, Dubai is also an excellent alternative for anyone looking for some Winter / Spring sunshine.

Dubai, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert


So where will you be travelling to in 2016? If I left out your favourite, please comment below 🙂



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Family HolidaysUncategorized

4* Paraiso de Albufeira, Algarve, 1 week inc Flights, 18th October, €194!


Enjoy a week in the popular Paraiso de Albufeira apartments in October, for only €194 per person.

The Algarve is one of the top destinations for Irish holidaymakers and Albufeira is one of the most popular resorts. The combination of the old town, full of character with traditional Portugese eateries, and the typical modern new town, means it offers the best of both worlds.  There are long sandy beaches between both towns and plenty of options to chill out and relax or enjoy the Atlantic surf.

The Travel Expert finds a deal to the Paraiso de Albufeira for €384

Situated within walking distance to the old and new town, the Paraiso are one of the most sought after properties in Albufeira. Complete with numerous facilities on site, including an indoor pool, gym and spa, it is not surprising that the Paraiso receives great reviews on tripadvisor. The large outdoor swimming pool is well equipped and even offers free wifi.

The Travel Expert finds a week in the popular Paraiso de Albufeira apartments for €384

Fly from Dublin on the 18th of October and spend seven nights here for only €194 per person.


Click here for more details:


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



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Pirates Village Majorca, 2ad & 2ch, €3198

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Immerse yourself in the magical world of Pirates and secure your 2017 summer holiday to one of Spain’s most popular family resorts, the Pirates Village Majorca.


One of Ireland’s most popular destinations for families, Majorca ticks all boxes. A short flight from Dublin, Cork or Shannon and you can be chilling out at the pool within a few hours. Majorca has waterparks, theme parks, great restaurants and bars and some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean.

 Pirates Village Majorca

If you like a lively holiday with plenty of family fun, then look no further! The Pirates village is one of Majorca’s top family complexes and is highly sought after each year.  This themed hotel offers kids clubs, pirate themed activities and even has a ship wreck with water slides in the pool. There is also a relaxing pool, babies zone, day and night time entertainment and FREE wifi.

Pirates Village Majorca

One bedroom apartments are bright, modern and well equipped. The hotel is renowned for it’s excellent staff and service and many families return each year for their summer holidays.

Pirates village Majorca

Fly from Dublin on the 14th of July and spend seven nights in the highly rated Pirates Village resort for only €2,123 based on 2 adults and 2 children.

View flights here €136pp

View hotel here €2654

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



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DESTINATIONSEuropeFeaturedSki Holidays

Top Ten Ski Resorts for Beginners


For those of you who haven’t tried skiing yet, my top ten ski resorts for beginners should help you on your way.


Choosing the right ski resort for beginners is so important. You need to ensure that there are plenty of nursery slopes for your first few days, and some blue runs once you start to gain some confidence. Where possible, try to choose a resort that has slopes close to the centre, with gondolas rather than tricky chair lifts. If you feel one of you may not want to ski every day, choose a resort with plenty of amenities, such as snowmobiling, ice skating, or chose a hotel with a swimming pool on site. If travelling with kids, quiet resorts with plenty of open slopes and a ski kindergarten are ideal – believe me they will learn a lot quicker if they have lessons with kids of their own age. I’ve got lot more tips for family ski holidays in this post:

Read: My top tips for family ski holidays

kids ski school family ski resorts for beginnners


I have teamed up with Crystal Ski Holidays, who have been ski holiday specialists for over 35 years – I think it’s fair to say they know everything there is to know about skiing holidays. All of the ski resorts for beginners below can be booked directly with Crystal Ski Holidays either on line or with their experienced sales staff over the phone.



1. Meribel, France

The Travel Expert's top ten ski resorts for beginners

Meribel is visually stunning. Its situation in the Three Valleys ski area offers 600km of piste and beautiful scenery. There are plenty of wide nursery slopes and easy runs down to the resort centre. It’s pretty village offers a wide choice of restaurants, bars and a fantastic aprés ski scene. Live bands play in the local bars and there is also a night club if you still manage to have energy left after a day on the slopes. Take a dip in the swimming pool, try ice skating or even snowmobiling, Mirabel has it all.

Transfer time:  2 hours 30 minutes from Chambery



2. Arinsal, Andorra

The Travel Expert's top ten ski resorts for beginners

Andorra has been a firm favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years. Despite the long airport transfer, it’s all round good value for money make it one of the most popular ski resorts for beginners. It boasts one of Europe’s best ski schools and offers free lift passes for children under 11. There are plenty of wide open slopes and the resort links to Pal for a wider choice of runs. Aprés ski is huge in Arinsal so if you are looking for a lively resort then look no further. Arinsal offers a great choice of accommodation, from basic chalets to 5-star hotels.

Transfer time: 3 hours 45 minutes from Toulouse



3. Neiderau, Austria

ski resorts for families

Niederau is another picture postcard ski resort. Complete with plenty of nursery slopes, its the perfect ski resort for beginners. It’s ski school is renowned as one of Austria’s best and Crystal’s Pepi Penguin Childcare is ideal if you are travelling with kids. Niederau has plenty of aprés ski bars without being particularly lively, and there are plenty of activities like tabogganing and sleigh rides for all the family to enjoy.

Transfer time 1 hour 30 minutes from Innsbruck.



4. Alpe d’Huez, France

The Travel Expert's top ten ski resorts for beginners

Alpe d’Huez offers access to one of Europe’s largest ski areas and has slopes to suit all levels. There are lots of nursery slopes for beginners and easy blue and green runs close to the resort centre. There are also lots of choices for those who want a break from skiing, with a large aprés ski scene, an outdoor swimming pool and an ice skating rink.

Transfer time: 2 hours 15 minutes from Chambery



5. Passo Tonale, Italy

The Travel Expert's top ten ski resorts for beginners

This purpose built resort offers a great lift system, close to most of the hotels, with virtually no queues. It is one of Italy’s highest resorts so gets plenty of sunshine and has a great snow record. The short runs are perfect for beginners but there is also a natural ice rink and skidoo runs if you fancy trying something a little different. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from, all reasonably priced too.

Transfer time: 2 hours 45 minutes from Verona



6. La Plagne, France

The Travel Expert's guide to the top 10 ski resorts for families

La Plagne is another excellent choice for first time skiers.  The mix of nursery slopes, excellent ski school and a 425km ski area has made it one of France’s most popular ski resorts for beginners. Made up of various villages, La Plagne offers something for everyone. Plagne Centre has plenty of shops bars and restaurants, although accommodation is limited here, so early booking is advisable.

Transfer time: 2 hours from Chambery



7. Scheffau, Austria

Soll Austria

Scheffau is the perfect ski resort for beginners looking for a traditional Tirolean resort. It offers wide runs and a dedicated ski area for children. It is home to an excellent ski school and has one of the best snow records in Austria. It is less expensive than other Austrian resorts, and although aprés ski is limited at night time, it does offer a bowling alley, tabogganing and it is close to Ellmau if you seek a livelier scene. Advanced skiers can choose the Alpen AllStar lift pass which covers Kitzbuhel and Westendorf.

Transfer time:  1 hour 45 minutes from Salzburg



8. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

The Travel Expert's guide to the top 10 ski resorts for families

Kranjska Gora is situated only a few miles from the Austrian and Italian border and is a picture postcard village.  This small family friendly resort has an excellent ski school and plenty of nursery slopes which perfect for beginners. Although a small village, it offers a good aprés ski scene and plenty of accommodation choices, from traditional Slovenian pensions to top class hotels with spa facilities. If travelling with kids, Crystal ski offer the Pepi Penguin and Whizz kids clubs for kids from 6 months to 12 years. They are situated at the Hotel Alpina but are accessible if staying in any of Crystal Hotels.

Transfer time: 3 hours 15 minutes from Salzburg.



9. Cervinia, Italy

Ski resorts for beginners

One of Italy’s trendiest resorts, Cervinia offers lots of sunshine, wide open slopes and a lift pass that also allows you to access Zermatt in Switzerland. There is a great après ski scene with a mix of chill out bars and lively clubs to suit all tastes. It tends to attract lots of locals from Milan and Turin at weekends, but during the week the slopes are traditionally quiet with no lift queues.

Transfer time: 2 hours from Turin



10. Seefeld, Austria

innsbruck austria

Seefeld, known for hosting the Winter Olympics, offers top class skiing for all levels. There is a separate ski area for beginners and intermediates and floodlit night skiing for adrenaline junkies. There is also an ice rink, casino and a wide selection of bars and restaurants. It is located very close to Innsbruck, which means a short airport transfer time, and also handy if you fancy a day trip away from the slopes.

Transfer time: 45 minutes from Innsbruck.



So have you picked a favourite ski resort for beginners yet, or perhaps you visited some of them already? I’d love to know your opinion, so please feel free to comment below.




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4* Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel, Gran Canaria, 18th May, 1 week, Half Board, €599!

Gloria Palace Amadores

Go luxury for less in the stunning Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel. It is great value for your Summer holiday!


Perched on a cliff with stunning views of the sea, and only 300 meters from the beach it is not surprising why the Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel and Thalasso has been a favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years. Boasting one of Europe’s top thalassotherapy centres, the spa is just one of the many amenities this hotel offers.

The Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel, July 2016 only €590 from The Travel Expert

Renowned for it’s high quality cuisine and attentive staff, the Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel has received a certificate of excellence from trip advisor along with excellent reviews from repeat customers.  Situated between Puerto Rico and Mogan, this hotel offers the best of both worlds. A relaxing holiday but the option to travel to nearby resorts if you fancy a livelier scene.

The Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel, July 2016 only €590 from The Travel Expert
Puerto Mogan

Fly to Gran Canaria on the 18th of May and spend seven nights in the Gloria Palace Hotel and Thalasso for only €599 per person on a half board basis. This amazing deal includes transfers and checked baggage too!


Click here for more details:

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



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Travel Tips

My Top Ten Travel Hacks

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Planning your next holiday? Check out my top ten travel hacks! They might save you time, money and make travelling a little easier!



1. Use the free passport reminder service.

If you are reading this post and have not already done this I urge you to click here straight away! This free services lets you add your passport details and expiry date and will email you to tell you when your passport is due to expire.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks



2. When booking flight tickets or other travel services online, compare like with like.

Many package holidays will include airport transfers and baggage but if you book flights and a hotel separately, you will have to add these to the cost. Hotel comparison websites such as Trivago or Tripadvisor will search numerous websites for accommodation and you may find significant savings. Don’t forget to check out the Irish Travel Agents Association website, they feature top offers from Ireland’s leading travel agents.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks







3.  Check one way and return airfares.

You may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another.  One airline may also have better flying times on the outward journey and another on the return. Websites such as Skyscanner combine most airlines and quite often you will find the best value flights will be with two different carriers.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks



4. Know your weather

When you see a deal to the Mediterranean for €199 in January, it is probably because you won’t get hot weather! If you are looking for a sunshine break, check the weather forecast for previous years by using the historical tab on

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks



5. Delete your cookies.

The jury is still out on this one! Some airlines have been known to increase the cost of flights when you return to their website. They store your ‘cookies’ and can tell when you search for the same flights a second or third time. There are various opinions on this but to be safe, delete your cookies and use an incognito window when making your booking.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks



6. Photocopy or scan all documents before you go.

It is not something we like to think about but is it possible that you could be a victim of a crime on holidays, or simply loose your passport or other documents. Passport, insurance details, credit cards, flight tickets – all of which are much easier to replace if you have copies of the originals safely stored. Alternatively, store the scanned documents in the ‘Cloud’, using Google Drive (15GB of free space and part of your Gmail account), ‘Dropbox’ which gives you 2GB of free storage space or an app like ‘Evernote’. These digital copies are stored safely online and available by logging into from any computer in the world!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks


7. Luggage tips

Check luggage allowances before you start to pack. You will be surprised how many airlines hand luggage allowance is only 7kg, particularly with charter or long haul flights. Invest in a luggage scales, they are not expensive and will save you a lot of stress, particularly if like me, your case always hovers around the baggage allowance! If travelling with kids, let them use their own baggage allowance, not only will they love the independence but it will save you money and save your back!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks



8. Pre order your meal on the flight

Pre order a vegetarian or special dietary meal if possible. You will more than likely be served first! This is particularly handy for long journeys or night flights, when you want to try to get as much sleep as possible. I usually find the vegetarian options are actually better too!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks


9. Pre book seats before you go.

Check out This offers great advice and photographs on most aircraft seats. You can see what seats are close to the toilets or babies bassinet’s.  They will advise if a seat does not recline or which seats have the most legroom. If travelling as a couple, book an aisle and a window seat. If the flight is not full they will usually leave the middle seat empty. If it is assigned to a fellow passenger, simply ask can you swap seats!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks




10. Make use of the latest travel apps.

Tripit will store all your confirmations and itineraries in one place, just email the confirmations as you get them and the app will provide you with a full itinerary before you travel. Google Maps will allow you to download maps before you travel, for use offline.  Lounge Buddy will allow you to purchase lounge access at more than 800 airports around the world. regardless of whether you are a frequent flyer. TheXE Currency app quickly converts exchange rates so you know the exact price of what you are buying. Tripadvisor will send you push notifications about highly rated restaurants or attractions close by.

The Travel Expert's top ten travel hacks

Did I forget any? Comment below with your favourite travel hack.


Want to see more travel tips? Click here!



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery




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