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4 years ago

In The Media

Staycations and Short Breaks on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show

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As the summer draws to a close why not grab a last minute getaway. I have city breaks in Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, and Irish breaks in Kilkee, Belfast, Enniscorthy, Enniskerry and Westport. Here are my recommendations for staycations and short breaks as discussed on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show this morning.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery on RTE's Marian Finucane ShowFollow me on facebook

August break to Madrid

Late August is always a good time to get a deal and this year is no exception. Kids are ready to go back to school and those looking for a September break tend to overlook late August, when in fact, prices are much lower. ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks. I like this deal to Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! You can take a tour of the Royal Palace and shop till you drop on the Gran Via – one of Europe’s finest shopping streets. Madrid is also home to Europe’s largest Penneys so there is shopping here for everyone! There is over 3,000 restaurants, so its safe to say it’s a foodie destination and there is enough bars and clubs to satisfy any night-owls. Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in the four star Via Castellana hotel for only €240 on the 28th of August. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Lisbon break with river cruise in September

Although the Algarve is one of our most popular holiday choices, the capital, Lisbon is often overlooked. You can choose to go for a holiday (which I did) and stay in one of the beach resorts, or take a city break and stay in Lisbon itself. Temperatures rarely get higher than 25 degrees in Summer and lower than 14 degrees in Winter so it is a great choice for city break. The old style trams are the best way to get around the city and there are numerous sights to see, including The Belem Tower (defence tower), the Castelo de Sáo Jorge  and the Cristo Rei, which is a large statue of Christ that you can climb and see great views of the city. There are some great restaurants, cafes and music clubs, all very reasonably priced. I went with my kids and there was lots for them to do too. The Aquarium is Europe’s largest and well worth a visit. If you have time take the train to the ancient city of Sintra and some of the nice beach resorts along the coast. Theholidayshop.ie are offering a three night break in a central four star hotel from €339 on the 25th of September. They are also including a free river cruise too. Click here for more details.
short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Cheese & Wine Tasting Weekend in Rome in November

Rome is a great city break destination at any time of year, but personally I think it’s better to go in the winter time, as it’s less crowded. There is so much to see in Rome it doesn’t matter how many times you go, you will always find something new to discover. I found a great deal on travalue.ie where they offer a FREE cheese and wine tasting evening, when you book a two night stay. The price for flights and a two night stay in the popular three star Galileo hotel in November is only €199 per person. They also have offers in September and October from €326 per person. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Christmas Market Breaks in December

Christmas markets are very much back in vogue. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have added extra capacity to many cities throughout the winter with lots of low priced airfares available. I like Berlin as it has over 50 markets to choose from and something to appeal to everyone. Sip some mulled wine while enjoying Christmas carols at the traditional markets of Charlottenburg Castle or enjoy one of the Christmas Rock concerts at the Spandau Old Town market. Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run and ice rink are at the lively Potsdamer Platz market, so there is plenty of choice for everyone. For more info on Europe’s top Christmas markets read my blog here. The price for flights with Aer Lingus and a three night stay in the 4* Park Inn by Radisson Alexanderplatz is only €249 on the 7th of December. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane


City Breaks

For those who wish to stay closer to home, there are plenty of options here in Ireland.

 

August family break: Feather Down, Loop Head, Co Clare.

Recently I had the pleasure of glamping in Ireland’s first Feather Down tents. They have sites all over Europe and have only come to Ireland this year. They are in the grounds of a popular glamping site, Purecamping in Loophead. It is the perfect escape from a big city, you really switch off and it’s a great family experience. The ‘tents’ if you can call them that have 3 bedrooms, a private toilet, shower, stove and also a BBQ if you are lucky to get the weather. They still have availability in August, the price for a three night stay is €599 on the 12th or 19th of August. If you want a cheaper option the Purecamping furnished bell tents are pretty cool too and are priced at €75 per night. You can also choose an unfurnished tent from €35. No matter which option you choose you can avail of the excellent facilities on site, including yoga classes, sauna and a wood fired pizza oven. For more details, read my blog here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Spa breaks

The difference between Monart and other luxury hotels is that Monart is Ireland’s only destination Spa property. It offers a unique adults-only environment and is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. Monart was recently awarded ‘runner up best spa retreat worldwide’, by Conde Nast Traveller. It was also named as Ireland’s best destination spa for four years in a row. If you are looking for a spa break, there is no doubt – Monart is the best!  They have a three night midweek break from €329 per person, on the 29th of August, other dates are also available at a slightly higher price. This special offer includes breakfast each day plus dinner in their renowned restaurant on one evening. You will have unrestricted access to the thermal suite and they are also including a 30 minute spa treatment. Monart is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. For more details click here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

If three nights seems too long, the Rainforest Spa in Enniskerry ( Wicklow) have an excellent offer for a one night stay at the Summerhill House Hotel You will receive a glass of bubbly and petit fours on arrival, an hours use of the spa facilities, a treatment of your choice ( see website for exact choices), breakfast and evening meal – and all for €129 mid week or €149 at the weekend, available in August. Click here for more details.

Operation Transformation at Hotel Westport

If you have over indulged during the summer months and want to get in shape for Christmas, then the Hotel Westport’s Operation Transformation package might be just what you need! You can choose a three day break from €199 or a five day break from €309 from the 9th of October. This four star family run hotel have been running this program, twice a year for four years and they have proved very popular. You will receive breakfast and dinner each day ( where light options are available) and you can join in the many aerobics and wellness classes that are provided free of charge. There is entertainment nightly and no single supplement – so it’s a great way to meet new people. There is no pressure to participate in all the activities, it is very much a laid back approach, in fact if you do not wish to be assessed, that’s fine too. If you fancy a night out in Westport, he hotel is located only five minutes from the centre. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Belfast overnight with Game of Thrones Tour

For any Game of Thrones fans, this is a must! The 4* boutique hotel, Tara Lodge is offering an over night stay with breakfast, and an action packed day visiting filming locations across Northern Ireland. Start your journey along the Causeway Coastal route visiting famous sites from the show. Stop for lunch before visiting the Giants Causeway. The price is only £72 per person and it is still available in August. Weekends are busy but check out their website for more details. The Tara Lodge is rated number 1 of 45 Belfast hotels on tripadvisor and receives excellent reviews. It is a family run guesthouse / hotel and offers friendly service and excellent value. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. For my reviews and city break deals click here. To listen back to my chat with Marian, click HERE.

Sarah

travel deals

 

 

City BreaksDESTINATIONSFeaturedLong HaulRest of the World

Top Ten Things To Do in Dubai

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The worlds tallest building, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s only seven star hotel and now the world’s largest indoor theme park! Dubai never settles for anything less than the best!

 

Of course it’s not only what’s on offer in Dubai that makes it so appealing. There are numerous direct flights from Ireland every week so airfares are excellent value. The holiday options are endless too, you can go for a weekend break, a sun holiday or as a stop over to so many destinations. I spent five days in Dubai some years ago and loved it, but so much has changed since then. Every year there is a new hotspot to visit, a new adventure to try. I decided to consult the experts, Tropical Sky. Twenty of their staff visited Dubai in March of this year so I think it’s fair to say they know their stuff! Here are our top ten things to do in Dubai – tell me your favourite by leaving a comment below.

 

1. Go to the top of the Burj Khalifa

A visit to the tallest building in the world and the highest outdoor observation deck, just has to be done. Make sure you book online before hand as queues can be long in peak season. There are two types of tickets, one for AED 125 ( about €30 ) and one for AED 350 ( about €80 ) , the main difference is that you get to the 148th floor rather than the 124th, there is less queues and crowds and you get some nice pastries. You can judge for yourself if you think it’s worth paying the extra but either way make sure you go see it!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

 

2. Check out the Dubai Mall

The largest mall in the world is not all about shopping. There is also an ice rink, an aquarium and theme parks inside! Some of the 1,200 stores include Bloomingdales, Hamleys and even Marks and Spencer! Of course there are plenty of designer shops and high street stores too – you name it it’s here! And when you are shopped out, relax in one of the many restaurants nearby, and watch the incredible fountain show.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

3. Visit the Burj Al Arab

Where else can you visit a seven star hotel – actually, no where! Yes it is the ONLY seven star hotel in the world. And if like most of us you can’t afford to stay here, afternoon tea is a good alternative. This will set you back €135 including champagne, but you can also opt for high tea ( from 7pm – 8pm ) for €100 including cocktails. What a great way to start a special night out 🍸

Top ten things to do in Dubai

4. Visit the new IMG World’s of Adventure

The world’s largest indoor theme park opened last year and is a whopping 1.5 million square feet! Being completely enclosed, it will offer a welcome relief from the hot temperatures, particularly for families. Expect a Dinosaur adventure zone, MARVEL superhero zone with thrilling rides, live shows, movies and lots more!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

5. Try skiing

Another welcome retreat from the heat is the Dubai ski slope. Actually slope is probably the wrong word, resort is more like it! Located inside the Mall of the Emirates (and this isn’t Dubai’s largest mall! ) you can skiing, go tobogganing, snowboard or just play in the snow. And if you can’t ski  – don’t worry their qualified instructors are on hand if you fancy lessons!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

6. Go on a desert safari

A safari in the Arabian desert can offer many different experiences. You can camel ride, go dune bashing or enjoy a show with a BBQ. There are various trips that can be organised locally so whether you seek adrenaline pumping sand skiing or  romantic star gazing, a trip to the Arabian desert is a must.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

7. Take the monorail to Atlantis The Palm Hotel.

The best way to see the incredible structure that is Palm island, is by monorail. While you are there pop into the Atlantis hotel. This 5* deluxe hotel has an underwater aquarium, a water park and opportunities to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay. The hotel offers free wifi everywhere too so this is a great opportunity to show your friends back home what they are missing!

Top ten things to do in Dubai

8. Go shopping in the souks.

Most tourists flock to Dubai’s shopping malls but wandering through a bustling souk is one of Dubai’s best experiences. There are separate gold, spice, textile and perfume souks. Make sure you explore them and bear in mind a purpose built souk in a mall is not the same… Pick up local souvenirs and jewellery but make sure you haggle, it’s all part of the experience!  Bring your camera too as the souks are full of colour and offer great photo opportunities.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

10. Zipline over the Dubai fountain.

This is a must for thrill-seekers. Until recently, this was by invitation only but now anyone can ride. Tickets cost AED 600 (about €150) and can be bought from the Xline ticketing counter in the Dubai Mall. I would suggest you go on your first day as it can get booked out. Make sure you have ID with you too.

Top ten things to do in Dubai

So there you have it, my top ten things to do in Dubai. This is just a sample of what you can do here, I probably should have typed a top twenty list! When planning your next holiday, make sure you contact the experts, Tropical Sky – they will advise you on the best places to stay and ensure you have a memorable holiday too!

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

In The Media

Last Minute Holidays As Seen On TV3’s SundayAM, 24th July 2016

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Looking for a break in July or August? Check out my top picks for last minute holidays as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

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Availability to the popular destinations (Spain & Portugal mainly) in July and August is always scarce, and this year is no exception. However, there is increased capacity with Aer Lingus and Ryanair so airfares are quite low. In fact Aer Lingus have a seat sale with up to 25% off European flights during August & September, if booked by midnight on Monday, 25th July. If you are prepared to go off the beaten track and stay somewhere further from the resort centre, you can pick up good deals on last minute holidays. I found that Italy is better value than Spain and Portugal at the moment, here are my top picks.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Italy Deals:

Crystal Holidays are offering a  2* Hotel in Lake Garda, the Miravalli, from €340 per person on the 6th of August. This is a basic hotel but located in the heart of Garda, so it’s perfect for anyone who just wants to use the hotel as a base. If you want to upgrade your hotel, Topflight have a Summer sale until the 29th of July with savings of €420 per person. They have Sicily, Lido di Jesolo and Sorrento on sale in August as well as Lanzarote, the Algarve and Madeira.

I like the 3* Astoria Hotel, Sorrento, it’s €789 on the 7th and 14th of August. It is situated right in the heart of Sorrento, it is great value for such a fantastic location. All of Topflight’s prices include flights, transfers and checked baggage. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Family Holiday:

Menorca is surprisingly good value for the next few weeks. With short day time flights and very family friendly, it is an ideal choice for a family holiday. Sunway are offering package deals where transfers and checked baggage are included, staying in the popular Binimar apartments. They are a nice low rise complex, close to the town centre and the beach and have a small splash park on site. The price for 2 adults & 2 children on the 31st of July and 7th of August is €1876. Click here for more details. Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Mid to late August:

With some kids back in school as early as the 24th of August, the last week of August is best time to pick up a bargain holiday. The Aer Lingus sale has some great airfares so you should be able to pick up a package deal to Spain or Portugal for less than €400. If you fancy Greece, Falcon Holidays are offering a week package deal to Zakynthos from €399 on the 30th of August, staying in the popular Katerina Palace Hotel. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks too. I like this one in Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in a four star hotel for only €247 on the 15th of August. Click here for more details.

Tapas Madid, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

5 Tips to find a last minute deal:

1. ClickandGo.com have a ‘dealfinder’ on their website where you can select sun holidays or city breaks within 30 days, 60 days etc and it will list all holidays that they have available.

2. Use Ryanair’s fare finder’ and Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ searches for any destination under a specific price range. Use hotel aggregators such as Trivago & Tripadvisor to search many accommodation websites for the same hotel.

3. The Irish Travel Agents association’s website combines top travel agents offers so you don’t need to search lots of different websites. And I offer my best last minute deals in my best travel deals post which is published every Tuesday on thetravelexpert.ie 🙂

4. Compare like with like. Remember a package holiday with a Tour Operator such as Falcon Holidays or Sunway includes airport transfers and checked baggage. A 20kg checked bag to the Canary Islands with Ryanair is €100 during July and August, so that ‘cheap deal’ you thought you found, might not be so cheap after all.

5. And finally always check with your local travel agent – they are searching late offers day in, day out and will probably know immediately what is the best value at any given time.

 

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

 

Sarah

travel deals

 

Travel

Feather Down Loop Head, Glamping At It’s Finest!

Featherdown

It is safe to say that camping is not one of my favourite activities. Even when the camping is upgraded to ‘glamping’, it is still going to take something extraordinary to tear me away from a nice luxury hotel.

So when the nice people at Feather Down asked me if I would like to try out their latest offering in Clare, I was somewhat hesitant, but nevertheless off I went. My husband was excited to go, presumably thinking that he was ‘Man The Hunter’ and the idea of living off the land appealed to him. My children were excited at the thought of crab hunting, torches, and a lighthouse. Me? Excited? Not so much……! So Friday evening rolled around, perhaps quicker than I would have liked. We loaded more luggage than necessary into the car and like Ossie and Tayto with kids in tow, we headed “Into The West”.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

Kevin and Trea are the owners of Pure Camping, a very well equipped, award winning and evidently popular campsite in the small village of Querrin, 7 kilometers from Kilkee in County Clare. If I said that Querrin is on the south side of Loop Head, that might give you a better idea of its location. Pure Camping is a terrific retreat and combines rest and relaxation with a ‘getting away from it all’ kind of feel. Also, Trea is a qualified yoga instructor and offers classes on site, so if thats your thing……

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

The Feather Down Farm ethos of providing space for people and a departure from their hectic lives is commonly known around Europe, but this is their first site in Ireland. They provide space for families and friends to take part in activities that don’t involve a screen in front of your face! It is somewhere people can give each other full attention without distractions, this is also in keeping with the Pure Camping ethos. So out of this coming together, came two ‘Frills’ tents from Feather Down located in the ‘Orchard’ on the Pure Camping land. Being the only two in Ireland, they are aptly titled “Feather Down, Loop Head”.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

As we left the motorway behind us, we drove onto gradually smaller, narrower roads and eventually arrived about three hours later at Pure Camping, our home for the next two nights. Kevin met us at the bottom of the laneway and gave us a brief chat about the highlights of the area. From the local pier and crab-hunting, to the dolphin watching which left daily from Carrigaholt, which is “just out the road”.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

Then, led by candlelight, our enthusiastic host showed us to our tent. As I type the word tent, I realise this does not adequately describe what we were led to. Real beds, a couch, a six-seater table, a small stove, running water and most importantly, an INDOOR TOILET. Kevin’s enthusiasm for the place was absolutely contagious. All he kept saying was, “Wait ’til ye see it lads!” about every aspect of the so called “tent”. Meanwhile I was having my own Meryl Streep/Out of Africa moment. It wasn’t camping, it wasn’t ‘glamping’. All it needed was Robert Redford and I was set! We even had an outdoor shower with unlimited hot water! This was camping in style, comfort and warmth, and not a sniff of damp in the air.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

After being shown around by Kevin, my husband and daughter made their way down to the local pub/shop/restaurant/undertaker/mechanic to get some supplies. It is about 5 kilometres away at the crossroads where you turn for Pure Camping, so best get your own supplies on the way in. Although I think my husband had a sneaky pint with my five year old whilst there! Anyway, we lit the fire/stove and twenty minutes later we were cooking by candlelight.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

After a great nights sleep in very comfortable beds, the kids took off exploring. There were lots of other children to play with, who were staying in tents on the Purecamping grounds. The facilities on site are excellent. There is a large indoor playhouse and plenty of open fields for kids to play and kick ball. They have a pizza oven where kids ( and adults) are encouraged to make their own pizzas. This is a good way to meet your fellow campers too!

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

At night time everyone gathered around the large campfire, some cooking fish that they had caught that day, others toasting marshmallows. There was plenty of beer and wine, starry skies and best of all – plenty of chat.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

There is lots to do around Loop Head. The highlight for the kids being a visit to the Loop Head lighthouse, were we got to climb the seventy metres to the top. On a clear day, you can see the Blasket Islands in Kerry we were told. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favour when we visited, with low cloud and fog rolling in off the Atlantic. When you walk west out from the lighthouse to the cliff edge, you will be standing on the most westerly point of the country or in other words, the nearest point of Ireland to the United States of America, 6,000 plus kilometers away.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

After the lighthouse, we made our way to Keatings Bar and Restaurant for some lunch. Billed as the last pub before New York, they serve great seafood and pubgrub, so well worth a stop. After lunch it was back in the car for the short drive to the Bridges of Ross, a naturally formed sea arch near the village of Kilbaha. There used to be three but two have since succumbed to the force of the sea. Still worth a visit though and you’ll get some scenic and rugged pictures whilst you are there. It is the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, after all….

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

After a good walk and getting a little wind blown, it was back to the car and back to Feather Down Loop Head. We got some more supplies in Kilrush and made another meal on our stove. There is a BBQ on site too and a large picnic table outside your tent so depending on the weather, you can eat inside or out. It’s amazing what you can cook with a frying pan and a hot stove!

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

Next morning, whilst the kids were playing outside, we packed up our belongings, loaded the car and said our goodbyes to our hosts, Trea and Kevin. Sad that we could not have stayed the third night, but we had to get back to Dublin. En route we passed  Trump Doonbeg, we simply had to pay a visit. I am not a fan of the man, but this luxury beach hotel in Doonbeg is fabulous. We had lunch in the golf club which was not only substantial but affordable too. You need to be a hotel guest if you wish to eat in the hotel though. After a brief wander around the grounds, we were on the long road home.

Feather Down Loop Head Glamping

The luxury Doonbeg hotel and the Pure Camping campsite are worlds apart in their offerings but both unique in their own ways. The Feather Down tent reminded me of time we spent in Tanzania before our children were born. Tanzania is still one of my favourite holidays and anything that reminds me of it comes out ‘Trumps‘ for me. Sorry Donald, Feather Down wins this election!

For more information, visit the Feather Down website.

 

Sarah.


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Travel

Cruise Dubai & The Emirates, Winter 2018, All Inclusive, only €1349 !

Cruise Dubai

Plan early to escape the winter wind and rain and cruise Dubai & the Emirates, all inclusive for only €1349 in a balcony stateroom!

 

Choose to shop in the world’s largest shopping mall or haggle to your heart’s content in the famous souks. Visit the world’s tallest building, enjoy a desert safari, try skiing, or chill out on your own private beach. You will enjoy constant sea-views from your luxurious balcony stateroom on the MSC Splendida. One of MSC’s modern ships, you will be spoilt with excellent choices of dining, entertainment and facilities on board. Tempted yet? Did I mention that all meals and drinks are included, and the average temperatures, are a balmy 26 degrees ❤

Cruise Dubai & The Emirates

A Dubai and Emirates cruise has always been a popular choice, especially during the winter time. Combining some of the world’s most modern cities with the Arabian desert is magical. This itinerary however, has added bonuses of an over-night stay in Dubai and a day on MSC’s exclusive Sir Bani beach in Yas island. The tropical paradise consists of white sandy beaches where you can chill out and relax or join in the organised entertainment or water sports. There are six bars to choose from on the island and a delicious barbecue lunch is included. Kids will enjoy the inflatable water park and play area while you pamper yourself with a massage by MSC’s personnel. Remember as this is an all-inclusive cruise, all drinks and meals are included on this beach day too!

Longhaul holidays

Fly direct from Dublin to Abu Dubai and enjoy your seven night cruise on MSC Splendida for only €1349 per person. The price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage, upgrade to a balcony stateroom and the all- inclusive drinks package!  Visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Oman and Dubai. Many dates are available from January – March 2018, so contact the sales team and they will be able to assist you.

Click here for more details: or Call 01-5397713 – Open 7 days a week!

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by ClickandGo.com but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Uncategorized

What to do if I have booked with Lowcost holidays?

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I was shocked to hear about the demise of Lowcost holidays, they were a company that I had worked with very closely in the past. Many have asked me what to do if I have booked with lowcost holidays – this might be of some help.

Despite the inconvenience that this will cause to thousands of holidaymakers and travel agents, fortunately Lowcostholidays.ie is licensed and bonded by the Commission for Aviation, (CAR). Details will be posted on the CAR website (www.aviation.reg.ie ) early next week about how to make a claim. The bond covers package holidays only however, and not hotel only bookings. If you have booked hotel accommodation with lowcostbeds through a travel agent, contact your agent directly and they will be able to assist you.

What to do if I have booked with lowcost holidays

If you are on holidays now.

Customers who have booked a package holiday (flight & Hotel).

If you are already on holiday you will be in possession of your flight tickets which remain valid. You may be asked by the hotel suppliers, transfer suppliers and car parking suppliers (if you have booked these services) to pay them locally which you may have to pay and reclaim against

Commmision for Aviation Regulation www.aviation.reg.ie

Your Travel Insurance provider (Check that your policy covers this first)

Your credit card provider for services not received.

It would be advisable for you to keep all receipts of expenses incurred in order to claim a refund or compensation.

If you are due to travel

Customers who have booked a holiday with Low cost holidays

If you have booked a combination flights and accommodation (+ other services, e.g. transfer,car-hire, etc) your contract for the flights will be direct with the airline and payment will have been made to them in most cases at time of booking. If you are in receipt of your flight ticket from the airline you will be able to check-in and travel as normal. If you have not received your flight confirmation details, you should contact the airline directly to determine the status of your flight reservation. If the airline informs you that your reservation is not confirmed then you will need to rebook your flights with another provider and make a claim using the options outlined below:

Your hotel reservation will NOT be valid so you will have to re-book your hotel accommodation and any other services that you may have reserved via Lowcostholidays.ie (e.g. transfers) with another company.

You can reclaim lost amounts against:

Commmision for Aviation Regulation www.aviation.reg.ie

Your Travel Insurance provider (check that your policy covers this)

Your credit card provider for services not received.

It would be advisable for you to keep all receipts of expenses incurred in order to claim a refund or compensation.

 

Statement from Lowcosttravelgroup

We deeply regret to announce that the lowcosttravelgroup (LCTG) ceased to trade on 15 July 2016, following exhaustive attempts by the groups directors to rescue the group,which has been hampered by the recent and ongoing turbulent financial environment.

This notice applies to the following companies and brands:

1.Lowcosttravelgroup Ltd

2.lowcostholidays Spain S.L.

3.Hoteling.com part of Lowcostholidays Spain S.L.

4.Lowcostbeds.com A.G.

Smith & Williamson LLP, jointly with CMB Partners UK Ltd have been appointed as administrators over the UK group entities with effect from 15 July 2016. On behalf of LCTG, the directors wish to profusely apologise for the inconvenience and distress that this will cause to our customers.

Please note that LowCostTravelGroup is no longer trading so there is no possibility of contacting the company. If you need to process a claim against LowCostTravelGroup (or any of its companies or brands) please contact lowcosttravelswiss@smith.williamson.co.uk with details of your claim contact can only be made via email.

AmericaDESTINATIONSLong Haul

Discover South America With An Escorted Tour

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Time and time again I have flicked through brochures on South America wondering where do I start.

There are so many countries I want to see, so many natural wonders and so many vibrant cities. I always feel like I need to take a month off to see it properly. Inevitably the brochures are closed and I tell myself – maybe next year.  Suddenly the penny dropped – why not discover South America with an escorted tour?

Insight Vacations, the market leaders of premium escorted tours, have just launched their 2017 USA, Canada & South America brochure. To say I have extreme wanderlust is an understatement!  You can stay inside America’s National Parks, tour the Rockies with an Alaskan cruise, or take a private tour of Graceland with one of Elvis Presley’s close friends! Personally speaking, the pièce de résistance are the new itineraries in South America….

Discover South America With An Escorted Tour

They are offering three new tours as well as the Treasures of the Incas tour, which was extremely popular from Ireland last year.  The eleven day Classic South America tour is magical. It includes overnighting at the iconic Copacabana Palace Hotel. Frequented by many celebrities, it even has a waiting list to stay here! And that’s not all, you will also dine in its Michelin starred restaurant ❤

‘Impossible to follow that’ I hear you say. Maybe not! Your next stop takes you to the only hotel inside the Iguassu National Park. The indigenous Guarani people will welcome you to tell you tales of jungle life, before you go exploring the Iguassu Falls after the park closes to visitors. How cool is that?

Discover South America With An Escorted Tour

If you have more time, Insight Vacations are offering a twenty two day Grand Tour of South America, which takes in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.  Want even more off the beaten track? Try the Quito and the Galapagos Islands tour. This seven day journey includes a five day premium cruise in the Galapagos. It can also be combined with any of their South America tours, depending on how much time, and money, you have!

Discover South America With An Escorted Tour

No matter which tour you choose, with Insight Vacations you can rest assured it will be top class. The attention to detail and the high quality accommodation and dining, means you are getting the best that money can buy, and then some. In fact some of the authentic experiences they offer, are not for sale.

Discover South America With An Escorted Tour

Their coaches come with business class leg room, free wifi and your own tour director or ‘travelling concierge’. Insight’s tours never have more than forty travellers at any one time, the average group size is thirty. Hotel and restaurant tips, taxes and porterage are included, in America this is a big deal! Im told the American tours attract a slightly younger clientele than some of their other tours, and 20% are honeymooners and solo travellers – sounds like a great mix. For more information on the service that Insight Vacations provide and prices on their escorted tours, click here.

 

Like this post? Read my blog on escorted tours here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

HoneymoonersLightening DealsLong HaulRest of the World

5* All Inclusive Maritim Resort & Spa, Mauritius, €1719!

Maritim 2_opt

Think long haul this year and try somewhere new.  Stay at the 5* All Inclusive, Maritim Resort & Spa, Mauritius from only €1719!

 

“Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius” – Mark Twain

When you think about Mauritius, luxury hotels on white powder beaches spring to mind. While that sounds pretty good, it is only scratching the surface. From snorkelling to whale watching, waterfalls to water-sports, fine dining to creole cooking, Mauritius is an island of contrasts. One minute you can be on one of the best beaches in the world, the next, navigating rolling hills seeing remarkable wildlife. All that being said, it’s the luxury hotels and white sandy beaches that attract millions of holidaymakers each year – and Mauritius has plenty of them too!

5* All Inclusive Maritim Resort & Spa, Mauritius, €1549!

I found an amazing deal with TropicalSky.ie staying in the 5* Maritim Resort & Spa. Set on 60 acres of tropical gardens on a white powder beach, it is as their slogan says, ‘beyond paradise’.  You can relax at the infinity pool, the beach or the spa. You can go horse riding, play tennis or a round of golf! There are numerous water-sports on the beach as well a dive centre.

The resort is all-inclusive and as you would expect from a luxury resort and there is a wide choice of dining options. And the drinks are pretty good too! You can choose quality French wines and imported spirits, you can even drink from your own minibar without paying a supplement! Wifi is free in all rooms and public areas, so plenty of opportunities to post selfies from the beach 🙂 If all of this isn’t enough, you are located between Port Louis (Mauritius’ vibrant capital) and Grand-Baie – the lively tourist resort.

5* All Inclusive Maritim Resort & Spa, Mauritius, €1549!

Fly from Dublin to Mauritius and spend seven nights at the 5* All Inclusive Maritim Resort & Spa, Mauritius from €1719 – that’s a massive saving of €800 per person!

 

Click here for more details:

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored in part by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂

 

Sarah
travel deals

In The Media

Last minute holidays on Today FM’s The Last Word

Girl on Beach

Looking for last minute holidays? Read my top picks and tips as discussed with Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word today.

 

The threat of ISIS and the cancellation of flights to places like Egypt and Tunisia has meant that Spain, Portugal and Italy are the most sought after holiday destinations this year. This trend is the same across most European countries. Although the extra capacity with Ryanair and Aer Lingus has seen no shortage of flights – the problem is accommodation to go with them. Think off the beaten track and you will find accommodation to go with the cheap flights, that are available. Greece is also good value, as are city breaks across Europe.

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Mid – Late July:

For people looking for Spain, the Canary Islands are the best value. Prices are available from €550 including flights and accommodation for seven nights from most travel agents. There are cheap flights available to the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, from €170 return with Ryanair but finding good accommodation at a reasonable price is the problem. If you look at towns, villages away from the beach resorts you can get much better value.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute holidays on Today FM's The Last Word

Lake Garda is good value too. Crystal Holidays are offering a week in the Miravalli Hotel for €468 on the 23rd of July for seven nights. This is a basic 2 star hotel, but very centrally located in Garda and has good reviews on tripadvisor. If you want to upgrade your accommodation, Sunway are offering the 3* Meridiana Hotel from €734. This is located in Sirmione, in my opinion, the nicest resort on the lake. All prices include transfers and checked baggage.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute holidays on Today FM's The Last Word

If you are looking for a cheap all inclusive holiday, ClickandGo.com have Fuerteventura on the 28th of July from €675 in the Globales Costa Tropical. Price for 2 adults and 2 children is €2399. Average 3* accommodation but good facilities including a gym, kids entertainment etc.

If you will go somewhere further afield Cobalt air have introduced flights to Cyprus twice weekly for July and August. These were only announced last week so prices are very low. There are plenty of resorts to choose from, lively Ayia Napa or quieter resorts like Protaras.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute deals with Matt Cooper on Today FM

 

Long haul / Luxury:

Mexico has been one of the most popular long haul destinations from Ireland this year and there is still availability in July. Tropical Sky are offering Secrets Silversands, a luxury 5* property for €1899 for seven nights. This includes flights from Dublin, transfers, baggage, and a junior suite on an all inclusive basis – a massive saving of €720 from the brochure price.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute deals with Matt Cooper on Today FM

Late August:

If you are flexible on dates and are not concerned about kids going back to school, the best time to find a bargain is late August. Many people choose the 1st two weeks in September or the last two weeks of August but the middle week, 27th / 28th of August is a good weekend to pick up a bargain holiday. At the moment Rhodes is available from €351 on the 31st of August and Zakynthos from €420 on the 30th of August. Both prices include flights, accommodation, transfers and baggage with Falcon Holidays. Click here for more details.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, Zakynthos, Zante

5 Tips to find a last minute deal:

1. ClickandGo.com have a ‘dealfinder’ on their website where you can select sun holidays or city breaks within 30 days, 60 days etc and it will list all holidays that they have available.

 

2. Use Ryanair’s fare finder’ and Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ searches for any destination under a specific price range. Use hotel aggregators such as Trivago & Tripadvisor to search many accommodation websites for the same hotel.

3. The Irish Travel Agents association’s website combines top travel agents offers so you don’t need to search lots of different websites. And I offer my best last minute deals in my best travel deals post which is published every Tuesday on thetravelexpert.ie 🙂

 

4. Compare like with like. Remember a package holiday with a Tour Operator such as Falcon Holidays or Sunway includes airport transfers and checked baggage. A 20kg checked bag to the Canary Islands with Ryanair is €100 during July and August, so that ‘cheap deal’ you thought you found, might not be so cheap after all.

 

5. And finally always check with your local travel agent – they are searching late offers day in, day out and will probably know immediately what is the best value at any given time.

 

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

 

Sarah

 

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