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Travel Tips

Top Tips To Find A Last Minute Deal To The Sun

Last minute deals

Trying to find a cheap week away and wonder where you are going wrong? Check out my top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun and wave goodbye to expensive holidays!

 

1. Be flexible on your dates

This is probably the most deciding factor. Do not expect to get a week in Marbella’s top hotel in August for half price, just because you booked it last minute. You need to be flexible on where and when you go. If you don’t have kids and don’t have to go during July or August – don’t! Choose the middle two weeks of a month or the last week of one month and the first of another. People tend to book annual leave in blocks, i.e the first two weeks of July or the last two weeks of July. Travelling during midweek can also be less expensive than weekends, and the airports are less crowded!

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

2. Choose typical times when deals are available

There are times in the year when last minute deals are more readily available so if you have plenty of annual leave, are retired or simply a good planner, these would be my suggestions for optimum times to get the best deals. During the summer season, most sun destinations are reduced in May, June and late September. The last week of August can also be a good time to take a two week holiday. In fact sometimes two weeks are cheaper than one at this time. During the winter time holidays from late November until Christmas time are always very reasonable and holidays also tend to reduce in price in April after Easter holidays. ClickandGo.com have a very useful special offer search where you enter the date you wish to travel and it will give you a list of what is available, in many destinations, at the lowest prices. Use my exclusive promo code TRAVELEXP10 to save 10% on your accommodation on any sun holiday or save €20 on any city break using TRAVELEXP20

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3. Be flexible on your destination

Spain, Portugal and the Balearic islands are popular with families so if you want to travel during the peak summer months, look at alternative destinations. The Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey will offer better value at that time, as will city break destinations. If you are looking to get away in September, Greece, Croatia and Italy are very popular with couples. You will find Spain and Portugal better value at that time of year, as children are in school.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

4. Fly out with one airline and back with another

In many cases Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly to the same destinations. You will find that sometimes it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with the other. Not only might this save you money, but the flight times might suit you better too.

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5. Use comparison hotel sites.

Trivago and Tripadvisor will offer you prices for hotels or apartments across many different websites. You will be surprised at the price differences for the same property, between one hotel website over another.

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6. Use Ryanair’s fare finder and Aer Lingus ‘anywhere’ search

These are really useful tools if you are just looking for a break away and don’t care where you go. You can select specific dates or a particular month and narrow the search to beach, city break, nightlife, family etc. You will see a list of the cheapest prices for the time you wish to travel. Aer Lingus’ search is clear on the home page but Ryanair’s is not as easy to find, so click here. Skyscanner’s everywhere search is also great, particularly if looking to go somewhere further afield.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

7. Compare like with like

Remember many package holidays include transfers and checked baggage. This can save you a lot of money over all, particularly if your accommodation is a long distance from the airport. All inclusive holidays may appear more expensive but when you consider all your food and drink is included, it might be worth paying the extra money before you travel. If you see a cheap holiday online, ask yourself what is included and compare the price with a package holiday to the same destination.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

8. Think longhaul

Sometimes longhaul holidays can be better value than short haul, particularly in the summer months when families are looking for short flights. A week in a luxury hotel in Thailand for instance might cost less than a similar hotel in Spain. And when you factor in the low cost of living, you may find overall there will be a significant saving. Tropical Sky have deals to Asia and the Caribbean from €999. With the introduction of direct flights to Jamaica and Mexico this year, there is incredible value for package deals with prices from €1199 for two weeks staying in a luxury hotel on an all inclusive basis.

top tips for finding a last minute deal to the sun

 

9. Use a Travel Agent

Travel agents are constantly checking travel deals. That is what they do, day in day out. Chances are they will know instantly what the best value is for a particular time of year. Call your local travel agent or check out the top deals by travel agents on the ITAA’s ( Irish Travel Agents Association) website. They will save you time and money searching various websites.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

10. Read Reviews

And finally remember a deal is not a deal if you have a terrible holiday! If you are not booking with a travel agent, make sure you check hotel reviews on tripadvisor and check transfer times etc. If travelling further afield make sure your cheap flight to Thailand doesn’t take you three days to get there!

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

I hope you found this post helpful and you find a last minute deal to the sun. Where ever you go – enjoy!

Sarah

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Product ReviewsTravel Tips

My Top Ten beauty buys when travelling.

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So I’m not a beauty expert but I have been on many plane journeys and had many sun holidays, so I think I know a good travel product when I see one! Here are my top ten beauty buys when travelling. I hope you find them helpful when shopping for your summer holidays!

 

On the plane:

Lip Balm

Flying dries out your skin and for me, my lips and hands are the first place to feel it. I love Elizabeth Arden’s eight hour intensive lip balm. It hydrates better than any others I have tried. You can pick it up in Boots, in duty free, or on most airplanes, for about €20.

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

Hand cream

It doesn’t take long before my hands start to go really dry on an airplane. I have actually bought hand cream on board when I realised it was in my checked luggage, for me it’s a must have! I guess most hand creams will help with dryness but my favourite is L’Occitane Shea butter. You can get it in The Loop before you fly, in a handy 30ml travel size, for only €6.80.

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

Mac prep and prime fix spray

This is a godsend on long flights. If like me, you don’t want to take off your make up and do the whole cleansing routine mid flight! You can spray this over your make up for an instant refreshing feel.  You can buy a 100 ml size at the Loop for €17.85

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

 

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip Potion

I love these travelling, well actually I love them anytime! Unlike a lip gloss that gets stuck to your hair when you try to snooze on a plane, these are matt when dry. Of course, they also last much longer and than lip gloss too. I love the travel exclusive set, you can get three glosses for €55 in The Loop or buy a single one for €20. My favourite is wicked sweet 💋

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

 

At the beach:

 

Clinique sun creams

I only got these recently and I must say I love them! This Summer essential kit includes a face cream ( spf 30) , a body cream (spf 30) and a delicious aftersun rescue balm 💛 all in a nice bright yellow waterproof wash bag. And you can buy them in duty free for €30, before you fly!

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

Piz Buin sun spray

This is my other ‘must have’ for the beach. I know I should use nothing less than factor 20…. but for the last few days when the legs are still white and you need a glow – try Piz buin’s tan and protect sun spray. It is available in factor 30, 15 and 6, in all boots stores.My favourite beauty buys when travelling

 

Cucumber wipes

I use these all the time on holidays, they are so refreshing! Particularly after a day at the beach or if I come home late at night, and am too lazy to take off my make up properly! At €1.25 for 25 wipes, I can afford to use them whenever I want!

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

Hair:

 

Kérastase Lait Richesse treatment &  VO5 Give me texture oomph powder.

To repair your hair from sun exposure, there is nothing better than Kérastase Lait Richesse . It can be used daily and since I started using it my hair always feels soft and shiny on holidays. No more dry holiday hair! My favourite on the go hair product is VO5 give me texture oomph powder. You can buy a small travel size bottle in Boots for €5.99 . Its great for your handbag and ideal for a long plane journey. A small dusting in our hair gives you that much needed ‘oomph’ after travelling.

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

 

 

Bed time:

 

Estée Lauder advanced night repair serum.

I don’t leave home without my Estée Lauder advanced night repair serum. I actually use this all the time now but find it particularly effective on holidays to combat excessive sun exposure, or dry skin. It’s not cheap at €116 but I think it’s the best!

My favourite beauty buys when travelling

 

I hope you enjoyed my top ten beauty buys when travelling. Have you any favourites? I would love to hear from you, please comment in the box below.

 

Like this post? Why not pin it.

 

Sarah

 

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Uncategorized

The Big June Holiday Sale!

The Big June Holiday Sale

Falcon Holidays have so many amazing deals in June that I thought I would pick some of my favourites and share them with you!

 

As usual, I only recommend places that I have personally been to or have received good feedback from guests. All the prices below include flights, transfers and checked baggage – with NO HIDDEN EXTRAS! Hopefully there will be something to suit you in the big June holiday sale!


 

1. Rhodes, 15th June, 1 week, €299!

The Big June Holiday Sale

I love Rhodes. it’s simply stunning and if you haven’t already visited – well, you just have to go!  Rhodes town is magical, the chic waterfront with trendy bars on one side and the Colossus of Rhodes in the old town on the other. You couldn’t ask for more! There is lots to discover outside the capital too, from the hilltop town of Lindos to the neighbouring islands of Simi, the only problem is, you will wish you booked for two weeks! Stay at the highly rated Cosmos Maris Studios which were awarded a certificate of excellence and have received rave reviews on tripadvisor, for only €299! Want to bring kids? Choose at the excellent 4* Lindia Thalassa apartments for only €1425, based on 2 adults and 2 children in a 2 bedroom apartment.

Click here for more details:

 

2. Algarve, 12th June, 2 adults and 2 children €1,225

The Big holiday June Sale

The Algarve is a great choice for a family holiday. Only a short flight from Dublin, with wide sandy beaches and plenty of family friendly resorts, it ticks all boxes. Stay at the popular Janellas do Mar apartments which are close to the Albufeira and are a good choice for a family looking for a holiday on a budget. The on site facilities include two swimming pools and plenty of sports activities to choose from.

Click here for more details:

 

3. Puerto Rico – 16th June, 1 week €499, 2ad & 2ch €1,720

The Big June Holiday Sale

Puerto Rico is one of the Canary Islands most popular resorts and has been a firm favourite with Irish holiday makers for many years. It is a lively resort with plenty of bars and restaurants that open until the small hours. By day it is more relaxing with most apartments offering plenty of places to enjoy the spectacular sea-views. Stay at the popular Cala D’or apartments which are very highly rated on tripadvisor for only €499 per person. Want to bring kids?  I love the 4* Terrazmar suites apartments, they have a huge pool area on the roof and the apartments have large balconies, ideal for sunbathing. Price is only €1,720 based on 2 adults and 2 children.

Click here for more details:

 

4. Kos 18th June, 1 week, €382; 2ad & 2ch €1,241

The Big June Holiday Sale

Kos has some of the best beaches in the Greek islands. It has a cosmopolitan capital, Kos town, but is also full of medieval columns and castles at every corner! What’s great about this deal is that it offers the best of both worlds. You will be staying at the highly rated Nicon apartments in Psaldi. This is a quiet resort so the perfect place to chill out by day. However if you fancy the buzz and nightlife of Kos town, it is only five minutes away by taxi. You can sip a cocktail overlooking some mega yachts at the harbour, or wander through the old town and enjoy some shopping or some great night life – the choice is yours! Want to bring kids? Price for 2 adults and 2 children is only €1.241!

Click here for more details:

 

5. Jamaica, 2 Weeks ALL INCLUSIVE, 12th June €903 ; 19th June, €954!

The Big June Holiday Sale

Step on board the modern dreamliner aircraft for your direct flight to the Caribbean! How great does that sound? I was on this aircraft last year and loved it. It is so airy and comfortable, the time will fly in ( excuse the pun!). It is hard to believe you could be enjoying a two week holiday with all meals and drinks included for less than €1000! You will be staying at the highly rated Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay. Sitting on a 2km stretch of white sandy beach, complete with it’s own private island and four á la carte restaurants, it’s paradise but without the price tag! Want to bring kids? Price for 2 adults and 2 children is €3,426. Use code Jamaica to save €50 per adult at the check out 🙂

Click here for more details:

 

So there you have it, my best buys from the big June holiday sale. I hope I have managed to find one that might suit you! If so, let me know, I would love to hear from you. Leave your comments in the box below. This post was sponsored in part by Falcon Holidays but all views, as always, are my own 🙂
Sarah

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TravelUncategorized

MSC Cruises Get Ready to Launch State Of The Art Cruise Ships

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MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise line, is expanding it’s capacity by 31% over the next two years, by adding two new new ships to their current fleet of twelve.

This means that MSC Cruises will reach a staggering capacity of 80,000 passengers per day in 2017. It doesn’t stop there, they plan to build a further nine ships over the next ten years which means that MSC Cruises will have 23 cruise ships at sea by 2026. Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises said that “the new ships will be the biggest cruise ships ever built by a European ship owner: not only will they be able to dock in any port around the world but they will have extraordinary features that will make them the perfect choice at sea”.

MSC Cruises get ready to launch state of the art cruise ships

Costing circa €700 million each these new ships will continue to offer MSC’s outstanding dining options and entertainment, but will also offer a bigger theatre, an amusement park, an outdoor aqua park and a two deck interior promenade. It’s recent partnership with Cirque du Soleil will ensure world-class shows. There will be specially designed cabins for families and are larger MSC Yacht club offering a solarium, private lounge, restaurant and duplex suites.

MSC Cruises get ready to launch state of the art cruise ships

MSC Meraviglia ( meaning wonder in Italian ) will be delivered in April 2017 and MSC Seaside will be delivered in November 2017 with further ships in both classes delivered in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Seaside will cater for over 5,100 guests, and Meraviglia 5,700. Seaside’s unique features include a sea-level promenade that surrounds the ship with outdoor shops and restaurants as well as panoramic lifts with sea views. Both ships also boast technological innovations including reducing fuel consumption by 25%.

MSC Cruises get ready to launch state of the art cruise ships

MSC Cruises have also committed to building a further two ships (Meraviglia-plus class) housing over 6,300 passengers which will be delivered in 2019 and 2020. These will feature the first and only classic and contemporary fine art museum at sea. The interior promenade will be 111 meters long and will have 5000 square foot led screen beaming out visual events, sunrises, sunsets to animate the entire promenade creating a unique atmosphere.

2015 was another year of unprecedented grown for MSC Cruises, with 10% increase in sales and 1.7 million guests travelling on their 12 cruise ships.

For information on these ships or all MSC cruise ships, check out their website by clicking here.

 

Sarah

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Top Ten Holidays For Girls

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Planning a girls weekend away or something further afield? Check out my top ten holidays for girls for some travel inspiration.

 

1 New York Shopping Trip.

A New York shopping trip has to be one of the top ten holidays for girls! Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Century 21, Chinatown, the list is endless! Although shopping maybe the main reason for going, it will probably not be the highlight of your trip! The buzz of Times Square, the trendy scene in Soho, Central Park and the World Trade Centre – there are so many sights to see. Don’t forget the obligatory ‘ Sex and the City ‘ tour and check out my blog on 25 things to do in New York here.

Top ten holidays for girls

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2. Sun and fun in Marbella.

A girls holiday in Marbella is all about style and sun. Party until the small hours and then chill out in one of the cool beach clubs during the day. Do some designer shopping in Puerto Banus before having a drink in Sinatra’s bar. However, if you don’t want the club scene, the old town is pretty cool too, without requirements to wear the latest fashion labels or have HD brows! But if you seek the glitz and glamour that Marbella is renowned for, remember the saying, ‘no carbs before Marbs!’.

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

3. A weekend in Dubai.

A classy choice for a long weekend away, Dubai ticks all boxes. Enjoy year round sunshine, five star deluxe hotels and the world’s largest shopping malls! Dubai is also a great choice if you fancy some action. Take a desert safari, visit the world’s tallest building, check out Palm Island and have some afternoon tea in the Burj Al Arab. If all this isn’t enough, you can even try skiing! Check out my blog on the top ten things to do in Dubai if you still need convincing.

top ten holidays for girls
 

 

4. A holiday in the Côtes d’Azur.

The South of France is always a good idea, and a great choice for a girls holiday. Choose the stylish resort of Cannes, the old towns of Nice or Antibes or the glitzy resort of San Tropez. The train hugs the coastline so you can take a day trip to Monaco or even pop into Italy for a bite of lunch!

top ten holidays for girls
 

 

5. Paris in the spring.

Paris is the sophisticated choice for a girls weekend away. Visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and take a stroll around Montmartre. Let a street artist draw your caricature while getting the best view of the city from the Sacre-Coeur. Of course no trip to Paris would be complete with some shopping in the Parisien boutiques on Avenue Montaigne, or the famous department store, Galeries Lafayette!

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

6. California.

For a longer holiday, take a trip to California. Enjoy celeb spotting in LA, stroll down Rodeo drive and have some cocktails in West Hollywood’s trendy bars. There are so many cool beach towns to choose from, Malibu, Santa Monica, Long beach, are all close by. For the ultimate Thelma & Louise story, hire a car and drive the Pacific Coast highway, from San Francisco to San Diego. For more inspiration read my blog on my California road trip here.

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

7. Island hopping in Greece.

The Greek islands offer something to suit everyone. Visit the stunning island of Santorini and see the most spectacular sunsets. Party all night in Ios or Paros or have a Shirley Valentine moment in Mykonos. If you don’t fancy island hopping, the larger islands of Rhodes, Crete or Kos offer a great choice for a weeks holiday, easily reachable by direct flights.

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

8. A full moon party in Thailand.

Clearly a full moon party is not for everyone! However, if you are lucky enough to be travelling the world in your twenties, then the all night, full moon party, just has to be on your list! For the rest of us – well you are as old as you feel, right?

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

9. Barbados baby.

One of my favourite Caribbean islands, Barbados has it all. White sandy beaches, great night life, some incredible restaurants and plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets. Unlike some of its neighbours, it is not full of honeymooners! There is great night life on the south coast and plenty to see and do. For the ultimate beach experience take a day trip to the nearby Grenadine islands – pure bliss! Check out my blog post on Barbados here.

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 

10. Party time in Ibiza.

Contrary to what you might think, nightlife in Ibiza is not just for students. In fact some of the towns have evolved to offer some chic trendy bars and hotels, albeit with a hefty price tag. You can still party all night in San Antonio and enjoy the famous Ocean beach, or the original sunset bar, café del mar. But if you want a more sophisticated choice, choose the cool Ushuaïa or Experimental Beach Club, before dancing the night away at Pacha. Enjoy some boutique shopping in Ibiza town too and some cocktails at Bar 1805.

Top ten bucket list holidays for girls
 

 
I hope you enjoyed my top ten holidays for girls and that they helped you with your travel plans. Have I missed any of your favourites? Please comment below I would love to hear from you 🙂

 

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Happy trails!

 

Sarah

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In The Media

Family Holidays – As Seen on TV3’s Sunday AM – 1st May 2016

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For those of you who are still looking for family holidays this summer, check out my top picks below, along with some top travel tips to help you on your way.

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Algarve, 4* Estrela do Vau, 13th August, 2ad & 2ch , 1 week €1870

This is fantastic value for a four star property in the Algarve during school holidays. The complex is located close to one of the best beaches on the Algarve and it is family orientated with two swimming pools. You are close to the quiet village of Alvor and the larger resorts of Praia da Rocha and Portimao so it offers the best of both worlds. The Algarve also offers theme parks and water parks and plenty of options for family fun days out.

Click here for more details:

A Family deal to the Algarve by The Travel Expert

 

Rhodes, Pefki Islands Resort, 10th August, 2ad & 2ch, 1 week €1969

This is an excellent family property that is highly rated on tripadvisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence. It is situated beside the beach, has two swimming pools with swim up bars, as well as some organised evening entertainment. It is very close to the resort centre and within easy access of Lindos and Rhodes town. I also love that the price includes a large 2 bedroomed apartment, transfers and checked baggage!

Click here for more details:

Pefki Islands Resort, Rhodes as discussed for family holidays on TV3

 

Harry Potter Experience, London. 11th August, 2ad & 2ch , Two nights, €956

If you are looking for a short break away then why not consider London? Visit Warner Bros studios and enjoy the Harry Potter Experience. You will visit the sets where the movies were made and see the famous Hogwarts Express. This trip also includes entrance to the West Midlands Safari Park which has over 165 exotic animals and an adventure theme park. Price of €956 includes a two night stay at the Holiday Inn Express on a bed & breakfast basis, entrance to Warner Bros studio and the West Midlands Safari park, return ferry and coach transfer, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

Click here for more details:

Harry Potter Experience London as discussed for family holidays on TV3

 

4* Oranmore Lodge, Galway. Two night stay BB, 2ad & 2ch €170.

For any of you who thought you might not get away this Summer, this is a great deal that won’t break the bank!. Spend two nights in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel on a bed & breakfast basis from only €170 based on 2 adults & 2 children, throughout the summer months. This family run hotel has a leisure centre, gym and free wifi and is only 7km from Galway city.

 Click here for more details:

 

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Travel Tips for travelling with kids.

 

 1. Make sure the holiday you are booking offers facilities that suit you.

Different age groups have different priorities. You will find with younger kids a pool or mini disco might be the most important thing, with teenagers it could be free wifi. Remember also to check the season and weather for the destination you are going to, there is a reason why prices to the Algarve are very reasonable in November, you may not get any sun!

Top tips for travelling with kids as discussed for family holidays on TV3

2. Choose your flights wisely

Short flights are handy when kids are crawling or too young to watch tv or play with tablets. Otherwise, I would say don’t let a longer flying time put you off. Kids can watch movies and easily amuse themselves for longer journeys now. Also bear in mind airport transfer times. Northern Majorca or Western Algarve can have two hour airport transfer, Lanzarote for instance might be a longer flight, but the airport transfer time to the main resort, Puerto del Carmen, is only 15 minutes.

If travelling long haul, especially to the USA – pay the extra cost and go direct. Clearing immigration in Ireland will mean when you arrive (tired ) you don’t have to queue to go through customs. You also wont have the stress of missing connections and your bags not arriving, which happened to me twice recently via London. I should have remembered that #smartfliesaerlingus! If there are no direct flights available, give yourself loads of connecting time.

Top tips for travelling with kids as discussed for family holidays on TV3

3. Buy a mediashare – Approx €30.

This was a life saver on our recent family holiday. The Verbatim MEDIA SHARE creates an ad-hoc wifi network of its own so the kids can watch movies at any time on their tablets or phones. Simply put movies on a USB stick or and SD card and plug them in. Install the MediaShare app from the Google Play or Apple App store. Open it, find the Media share device and click on the movie you wish to watch. The device can support up to five devices watching different movies at the one time. You no longer need to bring a portable DVD player and lots of discs. I have used the device in lots of hotel rooms and restaurants when the kids get bored. I will have a full review on this device in my new ‘News & Reviews’ section which will focus on great devices for the twenty first century traveller. Here is a video from the company showing how it all works

 

 

 

4. Bring supplies

Check before you go and if the beach is stoney, bring surf shoes. If you are likely to have mosquitoes, bring bug bands or deet sprays. If the weather is particularly hot, surf tops are ideal to save you worrying about kids getting burnt. If driving, going on a boat or a theme park with rollercoasters, bring seabands. My kids used them for our recent road trip and I found them great.

 

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

 

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Sarah

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