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3 years ago

Travel

Transatlantic Luxury Cruise to New York And 3 Nights in Fitzpatricks Hotel, €1579!

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Scratch one off the bucket list and cruise to New York city on the iconic Queen Mary 2! Audrey Hepburn, Clarke Gable and even George Bush have all cruised on this luxury liner. Now you can too…

 

Cunard’s flagship cruise-liner the Queen Mary 2 has been remastered with a staggering £90 million makeover. She has all the glitz and glamour associated with luxury cruising but now with added contemporary styling. Expect fine dining, the best wine cellar at sea, exceptional service and sophisticated shopping.

There are five main dining options on board all included in the cost of your cruise, as well as two speciality restaurants which incur a charge. Have a glass of Vueve Cliquot in their dedicated champagne bar or try Cunard’s signature Commodore Club. This bar majestically overlooks the bow of Queen Mary 2 and provides glorious panoramic views as you sail towards the horizon. Of course no Cunard cruise would be complete without their signature afternoon tea, which incidentally is included in the price of your cruise.

Entertainment is what you would expect from Cunard – world class. From West-End style shows in the grand Royal Court Theatre to string quartets in intimate bars, the choice is yours. The Queen Mary 2 has a full-scale planetarium, famous speakers giving informative presentations, the largest library at sea and a luxury spa. This really is cruising at another level.

Enjoy this luxury cruise to New York from Southampton on the 5th of December with a three night post cruise stay at Fitzpatricks Grand Central Hotel, before flying back to Dublin on a direct Aer Lingus flight. The Christmas lights will be turned on and it’s the perfect time to do some Christmas shopping.

cruise to new york

Price of €1579 includes seven night cruise, all meals, three night hotel stay and the New York – Dublin flight with checked baggage. Flight from Dublin to Southhampton is extra but at the time of publication the fare was only €60.  Other dates are also available so if these dates don’t suit contact the cruise sales team 01- 2311868 and they will be able to assist you.

Click here for more details:

 

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

 

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

 

Sarah

travel deals

Travel

A Luxury South Africa Holiday, Cape Town, Winelands And Safari

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A luxury South Africa holiday visiting Cape Town, the winelands as well as a five star safari. If you want to discover South Africa, this is the way to do it.

 

South Africa is one of my favourite countries to visit. We spent our honeymoon there and I have already booked to go back next Easter with my family. There is only a two hour time difference between Ireland and South Africa so thankfully jet lag isn’t a problem and the cost of living is so low, you need very little spending money. South Africa has everything you could possibly desire in a holiday destination, and then some! It is home to one of the world’s greatest cities, a sophisticated wine region, endless pretty towns and villages to explore and a multicultural society, that despite it’s history, live together happily. Dining options and sports activities are endless. Whether its shark diving or bungee jumping, sushi or spaghetti, you will find it in South Africa. Of course let’s not forget the opportunities to see the BIG 5, with a choice of luxury safari options, you will be spoiled for choice here.

luxury south africa holiday

I have teamed up with Tropical Sky who offer a wide range of holidays to South Africa. Whether you seek a city break in Cape Town, a trip along the Garden Route or a combination of both, Tropical Sky can arrange a holiday to suit you. I have chosen this luxury South Africa holiday, visiting Cape Town, the winelands as well as a  five star safari, because not only do I love the variety on offer but it is also great value. The prices quoted include flights, car hire, luxury hotels and a five star safari with meals and game drives included.

After flying into Cape Town you will collect your car and drive to the Vineyard hotel for four nights. This elegant boutique hotel over looks Table Mountain and is located in the Newlands district.  Explore the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, climb to the top of Table Mountain and drive around the Cape of Good Hope. Get the obligatory picture as you stand at the most south western point of the African continent! Don’t miss the trendy sea side town of Camps Bay and the colourful beach houses on Muizenberg beach. Just writing this is bringing back some amazing memories!

luxury south africa holiday

After an action packed four days you will then drive to the popular city of Stellenbosch, which will be your home for the next three nights. This is your chance to relax, enjoy some wine and the surrounding countryside. The town of Stellenbosch comes alive at night time, with some great night life, dining options and of course a wide selection of wineries to choose from. We shipped some home when we were there and had some great nights reminiscing about our trip when we were back in Dublin. You will be staying in the highly rated Oude Werf Hotel. This hotel is full of history and it’s unique mix of old style classics with contemporary styling will be sure to please.

luxury south africa holiday

After a relaxing few days enjoying some delicious South African wine you will then catch a flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth where you will be transferred to the 5 star Shamwari Game Reserve for a three night stay. This is the perfect way to finish off your South African adventure. Enjoy two game drives per day searching for the Big Five and stay in luxurious accommodation in an authentic African setting. The best holiday experiences I have had were on safari. There is nothing quite like being out in the African savanna , being a guest in the animals home. It is an experience like no other and one that you can only comprehend once you have done it 💛 The icing on the cake is there are are no lengthy bus journeys back to the airport as you will fly home from Port Elizabeth.

luxury south africa holiday

This luxury South Africa holiday will be an unforgettable experience. There are natural wonders all around you, take advantage and do something you have never done before. Abseil off the top of Table Mountain, go whale watching in Hermanus or shop some organic produce from one of the South African townships.  You will see many of South Africa’s highlights, experience the fascinating culture and see some incredible wildlife.

Tempted? Prices start from €2209 including all flights, hotels, car hire as well as all meals included during the safari. Call Tropical Sky on 01 6649999 or click on the link below for more details.

 

Click here for more details:

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

 

Family HolidaysTravel Tips

Top Tips for Travelling with Babies and Toddlers

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Check out my top tips for travelling with babies and toddlers, hopefully it help you with your travel plans.

 

Before you go:

Do your research.

Discuss what type of holiday you want with your partner. Many parents book the top family hotels because they think they need to. A kids pool may be all you need. Kids clubs can be handy, but many kids clubs only start at age 3, you will need a specific club or creche that caters for babies and toddlers.

If travelling with an infant, ask yourself are you going to leave your baby in a crèche? So many parents don’t even use the facilities on offer. Trust me there will be a time when you need to book the best family properties, where slides in the pool and mini discos will be the best part of your child’s holiday. But for now, why not take advantage while you can and book a holiday that suits you too?

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

If you want to book a top family complex that caters for babies and toddlers, look at TUI Holidays Holiday Villages or Family Life resorts. These are all inclusive resorts where all meals and drinks are included in the price of your stay. They will also have evening crèche facilities so you can have a ‘date night’! 

You don’t have to worry about bringing the kitchen sink because most will have baby packs with highchairs and blenders that you use. Many even have their own baby corner at meal times, where you can choose what you want from the buffet and blend it yourself. What ever hotel or apartment you choose, check beforehand what baby equipment they have available, it may be a lot easier and cheaper than bringing them in your luggage allowance.

Don’t travel during school holidays.

One of the best things about travelling with babies and toddlers, is that you can travel at any time! Take advantage of the fact that your child hasn’t started school yet and travel off peak.  Not only will you save yourself a lot of money but you should be able to get availability in the best hotels / apartments and should also avoid the crowds.

 

Stay near a beach

If you want time to sunbathe, book an apartment or hotel close to the beach. Babies and toddlers can entertain themselves for hours with a bucket and spade. If you base yourself a distance from the sea shore, you won’t have to worry about them going into the water. Sitting by the pool with a crawling baby can not only be quite stressful, but you will spend your day jumping up and down from your sun lounger for fear that they will fall into the pool.

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

 

Don’t be put off by long flights.

With the exception of the crawling age (usually 7 – 12 months) travelling with babies and toddlers on airplanes should not be a big ordeal. In most cases they will have a nap, and once you bring plenty of snacks and toys to keep them entertained, it is usually fairly straightforward. Many people choose to book short flights to Majorca or the Algarve (2 and a half hours) but then spend 2 hours on a coach to get to their resort. Personally I would prefer to spend 4 hours on a plane and take a 10 minute taxi ride to my accommodation (Lanzarote, Tenerife etc.)

If you are flying to the USA, fly direct where possible. Being able to clear customs in Ireland before you fly is a life saver. There is nothing worse than arriving after a long flight only to queue for 90 minutes to clear customs. We flew via Heathrow to San Francisco last year and we barely made the connection, we literally had to run onto the plane. And although we made the flight, our bags didn’t! We had no luggage for two days. I’m a firm believer that families should fly direct where possible. If this is not feasible, make sure you allow lots of connecting time between flights.

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

 

Make use of your child’s luggage allowance:

Considering you pay as little as €20 for flights for babies under 2, some airlines give a very generous baggage allowance. Ryanair allow a 5KG baby bag plus two pieces of baby equipment, a buggy and either a booster seat, a car seat or travel cot. Aer Lingus offer the same, although they state the baby bag must be part of the adults allowance. Airlines policies vary but check the luggage allowance before you go. Once your children turn two, you have to pay for a seat and so they may be entitled to a 5-10kg hand luggage allowance, as well as a buggy, so make use of this too and save on checked luggage charges.

This might sound obvious but always count every single piece of luggage you have (there can be a lot with babies) and keep that number in your head when collecting from the carousel. I left a bag on the carousel once. Whether it was baby brain or just having too many bags, I forgot one and there is no re-entry back into the baggage hall…

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

Make lists!

Make a list of all things to do/bring and do this in the run up to the holiday and at your leisure. The night before the trip can be fairly hectic and something can be easily overlooked. That way you won’t arrive at your destination, having forgotten something. Maybe a checklist of the most important items that must come home too, so you know you won’t leave anything behind.

 

Airport and Plane Tips:

Prepacked formula is your best bet.

Babies’ bottles technically don’t fall under the 100ml liquids rule, but not all airports, or airport staff for that matter, tend to acknowledge that. You should be ok to bring large bottles through security in Irish airports. They might just ask you to taste it to prove it is formula. However I would always bring empty sterilised bottles and powder dispensers just incase the baby’s bottle is taken from you, particularly for your return journey. You can also bring pre packed formula cartons that are 100ml size. Calpol comes in sachets now too which are much handier for the plane.

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

Bring plenty of supplies for the journey.

Change nappies right before you board the plane, as the changing facilities on planes are tiny! Bring a change of clothes too, in case of accidents and a blanket to help your baby sleep. When travelling with babies and toddlers, snacks can be a life saver, especially if delayed. Bring more than you think you need, babies always seem to eat more when travelling.

Depending on the age of your child, I found the Aquadoodle great, you don’t have to worry about markers destroying your clothes, or the airplane, and they are suitable from 18 months. A new toy is always a good idea too, something to keep them occupied for a while. If they have a favourite toy that they can not live without (there is usually one!), bring a second one. If you loose it when abroad it can ruin your trip, having a second one in the bag can be a life saver.

 There are phone Apps that cater for young kids too and if they are watching TV at that stage you could always download a movie or TV programme that they could watch on a tablet or phone. I have a media share which is a portable device that creates it’s own WiFi network so you can watch movies at any time, on the plane, in restaurants, the car etc and you don’t need WiFi to use it. I don’t travel anywhere without it, but it might be used more with older kids.

Verbatim 49160 MediaShare Mini Wireless MicroSD Card Reader Black Amazon.co.uk Computers Accessories

 

While you are away:

Keeping safe in the sun.

I think it goes without saying to apply sunscreen regularly, but you should also test it on your baby’s skin before you go, to ensure they don’t break out in a rash. There are sensitive skin creams for babies, I use the Boots ‘Soltan’ sensitive brand normally and find it good. Body suits can be a God send – you don’t have to worry if you missed a spot! Sun Tents are also a good buy, if you plan on spending a lot of time at the beach.

Buy light coloured clothing as dark colours hold the heat more. Bring a few hats and sunglasses – you will lose one or two! Download the Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App. It will tell you UV forecasts so you can see what time of the day the UV rays will be at their highest, it is not always midday!

tips for travelling with babies and toddlers

Keep your baby cool.

Give your children plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If travelling with babies and toddlers during very hot temperatures, always book a hotel or an apartment with air conditioning. Check that it is in the bedrooms too and not just the living room. Hire a white or light coloured car as dark cars hold the heat. This might be a hard task to guarantee, so if you can’t get one, buy a cheap windscreen reflector from a local supermarket.

 

Sarah

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here!

 

The Travel Expert

Travel

Christmas Shopping in New York – Flights & 4* Hotel, 2 Sharing, €597!

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Christmas shopping in New York simply has to be done, at least once in a lifetime! Why not make it happen this year….

 

Christmas magic is on every street corner. Bloomingdales, Macys, Tiffany, Saks, all the big department stores bring a whole new meaning to the term window shopping, with displays that take months to prepare. If you thought Brown Thomas’ window was good, wait till you see Saks Fifth Avenue, check out the short video below and you will know what I mean! There are also Christmas markets in New York if thats your thing, in Bryant Park and Union Square. Both offer plenty of local souvenirs and Christmas decorations to bring home with you, as well some tasty New York treats. You can pick up plenty of stocking fillers in Canal Street (Chinatown), the latest Tiffany necklace for about $10 or maybe a Michael Kors watch for $20! If its the real thing you seek then head for Macys or Bloomingdales, where you will pick up presents for a lot less than at home. If you have time, take the bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, the savings are incredible! Read my blog here on the best places for Christmas shopping in New York .

If you fancy a break from shopping but still want some Christmas cheer, try ice skating at the Rockefeller Centre or in Central Park. If you have time, try to visit the One World Observatory and take time out on the Highline. Check out my list of the top 25 things to do in New York for some more inspiration. The Christmas tree in Rockefeller centre will be illuminated on the 29th of November. Thousands will gather to watch the famous ceremony as well as millions from around the world. I have teamed up with Click&Go who offer a variety of packages to New York and who have lots of offers for Christmas shopping in New York in November and December.

I have chosen the 4* Wyndham New Yorker hotel which is ideally situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and receives good reviews on tripadvisor. Fly direct from Dublin with Aer Lingus on the 19th of November and enjoy a three night stay for only €597 per person, based on 2 sharing. Bring a few friends and the price is even less! If you want to wait until the Christmas lights are on in December they have a deal flying on the 13th of December for €699! Both prices include a 23kg checked bag each and if you book now you only need to pay a €100 deposit per person! If the dates below don’t suit or you want to stay a little longer you can search easily on the Click&Go website or call the dedicated sales team (who are there seven days a week) on 01-5397723.

Christmas Shopping in New York

 

Click here for 19th November: €597

Click here for 13th December: €699

 

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

 

Sarah

travel deals

 

Travel

Collect Double Avios points on Back to School Shopping and Triple Avios Points With SuperValu!

In my latest post for Avios, I’ll tell you how to collect double Avios points on back to school shopping as well as triple points from SuperValu!

 

I am a SuperValu shopper, so I was delighted to learn that they are giving away triple Avios points if you convert your real rewards or money back vouchers before the end of August. Instead of the collecting the usual one Avios for every €1 spent with SuperValu you will now collect 3 Avios points! If you haven’t received your money back vouchers yet don’t worry you can convert them easily online or by using the SuperValu app and still collect your triple points. See here for more details.

Collect double Avios points on Back to School Shopping

With the summer almost over, it’s time to start thinking about your winter wardrobe and for families, some back to school supplies. Avios have you covered with some excellent collection offers when you shop online via their Avios eStore. For those who are not familiar with the Avios eStore, this is the quickest and easiest way to collect Avios points in one go, on the items you had already planned to buy! Read my post about how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points. Once you are logged into your Avios account, just shop online like you normally would and your purchases are tracked, so you collect Avios points from your favourite stores. Marks and Spencer is giving eight Avios for every €1 spent instead of the usual four, from the 21st of August until the 10th of September and Eason is giving ten Avios instead of the usual five from the 21st of August until the 21st of September.  You can collect Avios points from lots of other great stores too. Gap are giving nine Avios per €1 and Nike seven Avios per €1. So if your child is looking for new Nike runners before he or she goes back to school, maybe now you can justify the purchase! If you are planning any winter breaks, accommodation website Hotels.com is giving eight Avios per €1 instead of their usual six Avios, until the 20th of August.

Irish Independent and Sunday Independent readers will be delighted to hear that if you subscribe to their home delivery you will receive thirty thousand Avios and those subscribing to a years digital subscription will collect eighteen thousand Avios points. See here for more details. For those of you who are following my Avios journey, I now have 25,000 points, in just eight months! Watch out soon for a detailed account of how I obtained these Avios points and I will show you just how easy it is to collect with your day to day shopping!

How to join:

If you are already an AerClub  member, your existing log in and password will suffice. Collect Avios points by logging in to avios.com/ie with your AerClub details and clicking through to the eStore. For those who have not yet joined, you can join any of the airline programmes here. Why not download the free Avios app too, it will allow you book flights on the go, check your Avios balance and find out where to collect.

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here!

 

This post was sponsored by Avios but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

 

Best Travel Deals

October Bank Holiday Weekend in Bilbao, Flights & 4 Star Hotel, 3 Nights, €299!

48 hours in Bilbao

One of the world’s finest art museums, some of the best Spanish cuisine and a bustling old town, spend the October bank holiday weekend in Bilbao.

 

We enjoyed the October bank holiday weekend in Bilbao last year and loved it.  The city is so easy to navigate on foot but there are trams, buses and a metro too. The old town is full of character with pintxo bars (similar to tapas) on every corner. Locals spilled out of bars enjoying a glass of Rioja and light bites, the buzz was electric. Prices are great too, with a glass of wine from €1 – €2 and pintxos from €1 – €5.

For a great view of the city, take the three minute funicular to Mount Artxanda at a cost of only €2!  If like us, you manage to get nice blue skies, you can also pop down to one of Bilbao’s many beaches. Shoppers will love the Gran Via and make sure you visit the Plaza Neuva to chill out when you are done. This old square is packed with tourists and locals enjoying the Spanish culture. Of course no visit to Bilbao would be complete without a trip to the famous Guggenheim museum. Even if you are not an art lover you can not help but be impressed with the stunning architecture. For more details on my weekend in Bilbao, read my blog, 48 hours in Bilbao.

If you fancy going further a field you could rent a car ( prices from only €40) and visit the wine lands of Rioja (75 minutes away) or the Game of Thrones stunning location, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, 50 minutes away.  We visited both as we took a week long road trip of the basque country, visiting Rioja and San Sebastian too.

I found a great deal to the highly rated 4* Barcelo Bilbao Nervion. Ideally located in the heart of Bilbao, only a ten minute walk to the old town and the Guggenheim, this is an excellent choice to explore this great city. Fly from Dublin to Bilbao with Aer Lingus on the 28th of October and enjoy a three night stay for only €299 per person.

Click here to book flights: €147 per person

Click here to book hotel:  €152 per person

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

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Family HolidaysTravel Tips

Top Tips to Keep Babies Safe In The Sun

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For families with new babies, hot temperatures can be a worry. Read my top tips to keep babies safe in the sun and get planning that next holiday!

 

I remember that anxious feeling when I was travelling abroad with my son for the first time. I think the poor child was covered from head to toe in full body swimsuits for the first few days! I’m pretty sure most first time parents are the same, we want to make sure we protect our kids in the best way possible. Over the years I have found that applying high factor sunscreen regularly, taking advantage of the free apps which will give UV forecasts as well as some other top tips mean I am no longer worried about going on holidays when temperatures are very high. In fact if this year is anything to go by, it is impossible to predict what the weather will be like when you are booking your holiday. We have just seen temperatures soar above 40 degrees in Spain and Portugal recently so if you are planning on avoiding the Middle East or even Greece because you think they may be too hot, think again. My motto is Always Be Prepared! Check out my top tips on how to keep babies safe in the sun that I wrote for the Falcon Holidays blog 🙂

tips to keep babies safe in the sun

Just click on the link below to read the full article.

 

Source: How To Keep Babies Safe In The Sun – Falcon Holidays Blog

 

Sarah

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here!

 

The Travel Expert

 

 

Travel

Weekend in Iceland, 17th February, 3 Nights, Flights & 4* Aparthotel, €373!

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Looking for a short break with a difference? Try a weekend in Iceland.

 

I went to Iceland in February of this year and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be and so much more! The scenery, the people, everything about the trip was amazing, even though we had crazy snow storms! We saw the Northern Lights, something that was on my bucket list for years! February is the optimum time to see them, so fingers crossed you will too. We also swam in the Blue Lagoon. Bathing in the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon with snow all around us was something really special. In fact the whole island looked like a Winter wonderland! You can read all about my adventures in Iceland here.

weekend in Iceland

I found a great deal staying in the highly rated Room With A View Aparthotel. Situated in the heart of Reykjavik, these hotel apartments are superbly situated to enjoy all that Reykjavik has to offer. The modern interiors, spa tub, steam room, rooftop terrace and free WiFi have made them very popular with guests.  Fly from Dublin with WOW air on the 17th of February and enjoy a three night stay for only €373 per person.

 

Click here to book flight: €130pp

Click here to book Aparthotel  €243pp

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

travel deals

Family HolidaysTravel Tips

Top Tips for Family Holidays

lanzarote easter holidays

          Whether you are travelling with kids for the first time or just looking for some help for future holidays, check out my top tips for family holidays.

 

Luckily I get to travel a lot and I tend to bring my kids with me for most of my trips. From city breaks to beach resorts, Lapland to California, thankfully we have had some great trips together. My kids are 6 and 9 now so I have lots of experience travelling with babies, toddlers and older kids. My 24 years as a travel agent also thought me a lot about what suits cool teenagers! I was asked by Falcon Holidays to write some of my tips for family holidays for their website but I thought I would share it here with you too 🙂

top tips for travelling with kids

Just click on this link to see the full article.

 

Source: Top Tips for Travelling with Kids – Falcon Holidays Blog

 

Sarah

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here!

 

The Travel Expert

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