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3 years ago

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4 Unique African Safari Holidays in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania

safari

From tented camps to luxury lodges, whether to self-drive or take a tour? Should you incorporate a safari with a holiday to South Africa or add on a week at the beach? There are so many different options to choose from when booking a African Safari holiday, check out my favourites.

 

When I went on my first African safari it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I know this may sound like a cliché but it was really more of a life experience than a holiday. We loved it so much that we booked a safari in Tanzania for the following year. Nothing compares to seeing wild animals in the African savanna, where you are the guest in their home. There are so many different safari experiences available and each one has a unique landscape, some with rivers, mountains and thick vegetation, while others will have wide open plains. The experience you have with each one is completely different and that is why many choose to try two or three different safari options within one holiday. Remember it is going to be a trip of a lifetime so make sure you do it right. Go in a 4×4 and not a small mini-bus, ensure you have a window seat for optimum viewing and at some stage opt for a tented camp or eco lodge to give the most authentic experience.

african safari holiday

I have teamed up with Tropical Sky, who offer a wide selection of African Safari holidays. All prices include flights, accommodation and transfers or car hire. Safaris include two game drives per day and all meals.  Here are some of my favourite African Safaris, hopefully there will be one here to suit you 🙂

 

Luxury Cape Town, Winelands & Five Star Safari, Self Drive, 10 Nights €4799

A South African safari is one of the most popular for Irish holidaymakers. It was where I was introduced to it and is ideal for first timers. Of course it is not just the safari that attracts people to South Africa. During this luxury self drive holiday you will encounter many highlights, including a four night stay in Cape Town. Climb to the top of Table Mountain, drive out to the Cape of Good Hope or spend a day in Robben Island. Evening times can be spent along the cosmopolitan waterfront or at some of the trendy bars and restaurants in Camps Bay.

african safari holiday

After an action packed four days you will go to Stellenbosch for a three night stay in the Winelands, before finishing off your holiday at the five star Shamwari Game Reserve. This has been voted the World’s Leading Safari and Game Reserve and Conservation Company for many years. Enjoy two game drives per day searching for the Big Five, (lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and buffalo) and stay in luxurious accommodation in an authentic African setting, with all meals included. As this is situated on the Eastern Cape, it is malaria free, so there is no need to take malaria tablets before you travel. The icing on the cake is that there are are no lengthy bus journeys back to the airport, as you will fly home from Port Elizabeth.

african safari holiday

Click here for more details:

 

Cape Town, Garden Route & Luxury Kruger Safari, Self-Drive, 11 Nights, €2879

Another South African classic, this time incorporating the Garden Route and Kruger National Park. Start your holiday with a three night stay in Cape Town before overnighting in the wine town of Montagu. Stays in Oudtshoorn, Kynsna and St Francis will ensure an action packed few days, seeing the highlights of the Garden Route. Drive as far as Port Elizabeth where you will return your car and fly to Hoedspruit. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Thornybush Private Game Reserve. Another one of South Africa’s finest, you will be staying in a luxury tent for three nights and will experience a truly authentic African safari. You will have the opportunity to spot the Big Five from your open top safari vehicle and enjoy tasty African meals which are included the price of your stay.

african safari holiday

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Magical Kenya Safari, 4 x 4 Safari, Full Board, 7 Nights €2299

The Magical seven night Kenya Safari departs every Thursday and is one for the purists. There is a maximum number of seven passengers on each safari and you will visit the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Samburu and Aberdare National Parks. You are guaranteed a window seat in the 4×4 vehicle and if travelling as a family, you are able to pay a supplement to book a private vehicle.

african safari holiday

After a quick overnight in Nairobi you will drive North to Samburu National Reserve where you will spend two nights. The Ewaso Ngiro River here attracts elephants, zebras, giraffes and lions in large numbers. You will then drive to Aberdare National park where you will stay in the Ark Tree Lodge. There is a waterhole beside the hotel where animals come at night time; you will no doubt be viewing wildlife into the small hours. Your next stop is Lake Nakuru National Park where you will overnight. Expect to see white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Your last two nights will be spent in the Masai Mara National Game Reserve, where you will overnight in Keekorok Lodge. This world famous reserve is not only home to incredible wildlife but you will also have the opportunity to see the Masai villages, a sight that is worth a trip to Kenya alone. You will then drive back to Nairobi where you can return home, or choose to extend your stay in Mombasa, Zanzibar or even Mauritius.

Click here for more details:

 

Taste of Tanzania Safari & Zanzibar, 12 Nights, €3349

Safaris in Tanzania are so diverse. From the wide open plains of the Serengeti to the natural wonder of Ngorongoro Crater, it has been almost 20 years since I visited, but it is a holiday experience I will never forget. For anyone who has been following me, you will know that my safari in Tanzania was the best holiday experience I have ever had.  This once in a lifetime trip combines the Taste of Tanzania tour with a stay in the paradise island of Zanzibar. Your holiday will include over-night stays in Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Serengeti National Park, as well as a game drive through Lake Manyara, in search of the iconic tree-climbing lions that frequent there.

african safari holiday

You will have picnics in the bush and stay in unique accommodation. You can opt for luxury tented camps which offer a more immersive experience or luxury lodges with stunning views. After your five night safari tour you will be flown to Zanzibar for a seven night stay in the luxurious Dream of Zanzibar resort. Chill out on the beach, scuba dive in the Indian Ocean or explore the sights and sounds of StoneTown.

african safari holiday

Click here for more details:

 

 

The above are just a small sample of the African safari holidays that Tropical Sky feature. They can add on stays in cities, at the beach or even combine safaris in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana. Call Tropical Sky on 01 6649999 or 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

 

 

 

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Weekend in Iceland, 30th March, Flights & Hotel, 3 Nights, €297!

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Scratch one of the bucketlist and enjoy weekend in Iceland! This super deal includes direct flights and three nights in the city centre hotel.

 

I went to Iceland in last 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. Winter time 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.

iceland after christmas

I found a great deal staying in the popular City Centre Hotel. Situated in the heart of Reykjavik, this is a great option for weekend in Iceland Fly direct from Dublin on the 30th of March and enjoy a three night stay for only €297 per person.

View flights here  €127pp

View hotel here  €170pp

 

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

 

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Royal Caribbean Previews World’s Largest Cruise Ship, Symphony of the Seas, in London

RCI-THE-NEW-SOUND-OF-ADVENTURE

I’m a big fan of Royal Caribbean Cruises so when they invited me to see the first interactive cruise experience on dry land, I jumped at the chance!

 

The world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas will be cruising the Mediterranean this Summer and Royal Caribbean wanted to give the public a taste of what they can expect to find on a Royal Caribbean holiday.  This pop-up experience was open to the public for two days right in the centre of London, and was aptly named Symphony of the Senses.

Food glorious food! I have been fortunate to cruise with Royal Caribbean before and the dining options are superb. In true Royal Caribbean fashion we were greeted with champagne and canapés and throughout the experience there were indicators of just how much variety you can expect on board. We were treated to a rendition of La Bamba by Mexican singers – a reminder that El Loco Fresh, a delicious Mexican Restaurant, will be on Symphony of the Seas, serving up burritos, fish tacos and chicken enchiladas. You will find lots more dining experiences on board such as ‘Hooked’, Royal Caribbean’s first New England-style seafood restaurant as well as firm favourites, Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian and Wonderland. There are a staggering 18 different restaurants to choose from …..

Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas will also have a dedicated place for those with sweet tooths – Sugar Beach. This will be fully loaded with all your favourite sweets and homemade ice cream. Kids can even decorate their own cakes! We met ‘Lolly’ who showed us exactly what to expect.

Symphony of the Seas

We were allowed ‘backstage’ at Hairspray the Musical where Tracy Turnblad burst into song in front of us! The Broadway hit Hairspray will be one of the many shows on Symphony of the Seas this year.  You can also expect to be treated to an ice rink spectacular and the jaw-dropping acrobatic show at the AquaTheatre. I saw a similar show on Symphony of Seas’ sister ship, Harmony of the Seas. You can read all about my review of Harmony of the Seas here.

Symphony of the Seas

A walk through the jungle reminded us of how much adventure can be had on a Royal Caribbean holiday, both on board the cruise ship and when you dock in various ports. Symphony of the Seas will cruise the Mediterranean this Summer but will move to the Caribbean during the Winter time. Royal Caribbean visit 250 destinations in 77 countries across 6 continents, suffice to say there is plenty of adventure to be had when you are on land too.

Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas offers extraordinary facilities for families.  There is a kids waterpark, a trio of water slides, the Ultimate Abyss (the tallest slide at sea), surf simulators, a new glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena and Puzzle Break, where teams try to escape a submarine-themed room. There are many accommodation options to choose from, the ultimate family suite being the top of the range. This two bedroom suite can sleep up to eight and includes a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a slide from the kids bedroom to the lounge, a movie room with a popcorn machine and a 3D TV. And that’s just the inside! The 212 square foot wrap-around balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool that will provide unmatched ocean views.

Symphony of the Seas

 

It looks like a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas will provide the ultimate family holiday. I hope I get the chance to try it! For more details visit their website.

 

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

 

Sarah

 The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

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3 Nights In Hong Kong & Dubai With A 5 Night Asia Cruise, 2nd May, €1539!

Ovation of the Seas

This eleven night holiday is a trip of a life time! Enjoy a five night Asia cruise on one of Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise ships, Ovation of the Seas with three night stays in Hong Kong and Dubai –  in one magical holiday!

 

Three nights in Hong Kong is just what you need to enjoy all the highlights! Ride the cable car, take a dragon boat ride, do some duty free shopping (there is no sales tax in Hong Kong), and enjoy one of the best night skylines in the world. Enjoy an action packed three days before boarding the luxurious Ovation of the Seas for five nights. You can enjoy the ocean views from your balcony stateroom before making your first stop in Vietnam.

asia cruise

Your Asia cruise includes two stops in Vietnam, Hue (Da Nang) and Nha Trang. Discover the famous ‘China Beach’ where American soldiers relaxed during the Vietnam war, or visit the Forbidden Purple City in Hue. Snorkel in the turquoise waters of Nha Trang amidst it’s tropical islands. Vietnam is renowned for it’s delicious food, why not try a street food tour in Da Nang or enjoy some of the best sea food in Nha Trang.

asia cruise

Although you are visiting exotic locations, you will also have plenty of time to enjoy all the facilities that Ovation of the Seas has to offer. I had the pleasure of being on board last year and I loved it. It is longer than three football pitches and taller than the Sydney Harbour bridge! Thrill seekers will love the circus school, surfing and sky diving, and if you just want to have some fun, try the roller skating or bumper cars. Let the robots pour you a drink in the bionic bar before sampling some of the top class entertainment on board. There are seventeen restaurants to choose from, including the popular Jamie’s Italian and fine dining options. For more information on Ovation of the Seas you can read my blog here.

asia cruise

Your trip doesn’t end there. After your five night Asia cruise you will then fly to Dubai for a three night stay in one of the World’s most impressive cities. 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 or enjoy a desert safari, anything is possible in Dubai!  If all of this sounds like hard work, just relax and chill out on some of the Dubai’s magnificent beaches!

asia cruise

Whats included:

  • Flights from Dublin to Hong Kong
  • 3 Night stay in Hong Kong
  • 5 Night cruise on Ovation of the Seas in a balcony stateroom, with meals and entertainment included.
  • Flight from Hong Kong to Dubai
  • 3 Night stay in Dubai
  • Flight from Dubai to Dublin
  • All taxes & fees.

This offer is exclusive to Sunway and won’t be around for long so call their dedicated sales team on 01-2311868 or

Click here for more details.

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

 

Like cruises? See my cruise reviews and more cruise deals here.

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Top 10 Summer Holidays for Families with 2 Adults & 3 Children

family

I have had many emails and messages from people asking me for a post on holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children, so I teamed up with TUI and searched their website to bring you my favourites.

 

I have hand picked these holidays so you can rest assured all receive good reviews and are family friendly resorts. All TUI holidays include flights, accommodation, transfers and checked baggage with a maximum deposit of €75 per person.


 Costa Dorada – Salou

The Costa Dorada is one of the most popular family holiday destinations, partly because of its proximity to Port Aventura Theme Park and the city of Barcelona, but also because of the family friendly resorts.

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

4* Pineda Park, 2 bedroom apartment, Self Catering – sleeps up to 6

Located just five minutes walk the beach, these spacious 2 bedroom apartments tick all boxes for a family friendly holiday. As well as an adults and children’s pool, there is a outdoor terrace that offers evening entertainment. There is also a games room with pool table and mini discos for children. Port Aventura is only 5km away and the popular waterpark Aquapolis is within walking distance. The Pineda Park apartments are highly rated on tripadvisor and have many repeat guests.

family holiday in salou

 See more here

 

TUI Family Life 4* Avenida Suites, Half Board – sleeps up to 6

The TUI Family Life Avenida Suites are one of the most highly rated family properties in Salou. Located just 10 minutes walk to the beach and within easy access of the town centre and Port Aventura, they are superbly situated. Suites are bright and modern and come with mini-fridges and microwaves, which is ideal for families with young children. There is a large swimming pool as well as a kids pool with a slide and a host of on-site activities for all the family to enjoy. Kids will love the kids club and mini-disco, teens have their own ‘Hangout’, and there is also a baby club for little ones. Breakfast and evening meal is included in the cost and the reviews of the food are excellent on tripadvisor, in fact this complex is rated the 2nd best out of 92 hotels in Salou.

See more here

 Tenerife:

All-Inclusive, 4* Villa Mandi & Siam Park, 2 bedroom apartment – Sleeps up to 6

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

This popular All-Inclusive resort offers free access to one of the world’s best waterparks, Siam Park, throughout your stay. Located off the beaten track, you can enjoy some quiet time but are also within easy reach of the lively Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos. This large complex resembles a Mediterranean village and comes with four swimming pools, two playgrounds, a kids club and plenty of activities for adults and children, including a football pitch and live music shows.  The beauty of staying here is that not only are all meals and drinks included, but you have added advantage of staying in a 2 bedroom apartment, and not a small hotel room. Of course you also have free access to Siam Park which is accessible by a free shuttle bus. Highly rated on tripadvisor, this is sure to please an active family.

 See more here

Portugal

Cerro Mar Garden, 2 bedroom apartment, Self Catering – sleeps up to 6

Located in lively Albufeira this is an excellent choice for families looking for good quality self-catering accommodation. Highly rated on tripadvisor, there are some great on-site facilities including a spa, gym and whirlpool. Kids will love the bowling alley, games room and large swimming pool, and there is a separate splash zone for little ones too.

Sun Holidays from Cork - The Algarve

See more here

 

 Gran Canaria:

Las Villas de Amadores, 2 bedroom apartment – sleeps up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

These modern 2 bedroom apartments all come with sea views. Located in the quiet resort of Amadores these are an ideal choice for a relaxing holiday, yet are within easy reach of the livelier resort of Puerto Rico if you want a change of scene. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the swimming pool that overlooks the ocean you can take the complimentary shuttle service to the beach and enjoy some of the excellent waterfront restaurants. Children are catered for with table tennis, billiard tables and bikes for hire.

See more here

 

Corfu:

Loulas Village, 1 bedroom apartment, Self Catering – sleeps up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

Rated number 1 on tripadvisor, the Loulas Village has been receiving Irish holidaymakers for many years. Kostos will be sure to give you a warm welcome and make you enjoy this laid back, family run apartment complex. Ideally located with some excellent restaurants and bars close by, this is a family property with traditional Greek charm.

See more here

 

 All-Inclusive, Aqualand, Duplex Studio – sleeps up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

For families looking for adventure, the highly rated Aqualand Village won’t disappoint. With a waterpark next door and an afternoon and evening entertainment programme, the kids will be spoiled for choice! Apartments are duplex style with cooking facilities, not that you will need them, because all meals and drinks are included in the price!

 See more here

 

  Zakynthos:

4* Alykanas Beach Village,  1 bedroom family room, sleep up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

This highly rated All-Inclusive resort has a small splash park for young children, kids clubs and a great entertainment programme for everyone. There is also a quiet, adults only pool beside the beach if you fancy some quiet time! (I spent many afternoons there)! Visit Shipwreck Beach or swim with the turtles, Zakynthos is a beautiful island with lots to do for all the family.

See more here

 

Crete:

Golden Bay, 1 bedroom apartment, Self Catering – sleeps up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

Located in the quite seaside resort of Gournes, this highly rated complex is ideal for families looking for a relaxing holiday beside the beach. There is a pool and a children’s pool on site as well as a play area, pool table and games room. The traditional Greek taverna serves up tasty food with sea views and has a separate kids menu. Although low key, there is regular evening entertainment with live music and cocktail parties to ensure guests stay on site, however there is also a small selection of bars and restaurants close by.

See more here

 

 

Costa del Sol:

Globales Playa Estapona, All Inclusive, 1 and 2 bedroom Family Rooms – Sleep up to 7

As well as a brand new waterpark on site, the highly rated Globales Playa Estepona has numerous sports activities, kids clubs, day and night time entertainment and even has its own beach club restaurant. The waterpark has a space bowl, tube slides, body slides, a multilane number and a kamikaze slide – all are suitable for children 120cm and over. Younger children have their own spray park and mini slides in a pirate-themed area. The hotel is situated close to glitzy Puerto Banus and offers a shuttle bus service 2-3 times per day into the centre.

 See more here

Bulgaria:

All-Inclusive, TUI Family Life Nevis Resort, Family Suite – Sleeps up to 5

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

As the name suggests the TUI Family Life Nevis Resort is a great resort for families. Only opened in 2017 this modern hotel features large family suites, a splash pool, a multi-sports court for children and even a spa! There is a selection of kids clubs including a baby club and ‘The Hangout’ for teens. There is day and evening entertainment for adults and children as well as a selection of swimming pools. You can choose to chill out at the quiet pool while the kids enjoy the slides in the family pool. The adult only gym offers a host of fitness classes and the spa offers a variety of treatments. All meals and drinks are included in the price of your stay so if you are looking for an All-Inclusive family resort , why not try Bulgaria for a change?

 See more here

 

Lake Garda:

Poiano Apartments, 2 bedroom apartment, Self Catering – Sleeps up to 6

summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children

Lake Garda is becoming more and more popular with families. Not only is it visually beautiful, but there are many activities on the lake for families to enjoy.  Gardaland theme park is  also close by which is a great day out for all the family. The Poiano offer the best of both worlds, you can enjoy the advantages of staying in a 2 bedroom family apartment, but also have the benefits of hotel facilities. There is an Olympic-size swimming pool on site as well as a kids pool and a host of activities such as tennis, archery, beach volleyball and yoga. There is also a kids club (5-12 years), restaurant and a spa at the Hotel Poiano, with live music a few nights each week. You can hire bikes and cycle into nearby Garda or take the free shuttle bus, it is only 2km away.

See more here

 

Lanzarote:

All Inclusive TUI Family Life Flamingo Beach, 2 bedroom apartment – sleeps up to 6

Formerly known as the Holiday Village, the TUI Family Life Flamingo Beach is super family complex with kids clubs for children, teenagers and even babies. With three pools, three restaurants, a host of sports activities and nightly entertainment, there is something here for kids of all ages.

top picks for family holidays

See more here

 

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 Summer holidays for families with 2 adults and 3 children and that you found something to suit you. All prices are correct at the date of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by TUI but all views, as always, are my own. Note the links above are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

 

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AmericaAsiaEuropeLong HaulRest of the World

The Worlds Best Road Trips – Prices from €1429 Including Flights, Hotels & Car Hire.

road trip

From California to Cape Town, Christchurch to Canada, check out the worlds best road trips and get planning your next adventure.

 

I spent a month driving through France and Italy, drove the PCH from San Francisco to San Diego, the Garden Route in South Africa and even drove Sydney to Byron Bay – as you can see, I’m a big fan of road trips! I love visiting different places. Having a car ensures you go off the beaten track and experience places you may not have seen otherwise.

However, while I like the freedom a car brings, I also like to pre-book accommodation so I don’t have to spend my valuable vacation time searching for somewhere to stay. Having your itinerary mapped out and hotels booked also ensures you actually get to all the places on your ‘to do list! I have teamed up with Tropical Sky who through their various brands including, American Sky, Canadian Sky and Australian Sky, offer a wide selection of self drive road trips and escorted tours to destinations all over the world. Here are five of their best road trips, all with flights, hotels and car hire included.

 

 

South Africa: Cape Town, Winelands and Eastern Cape Safari

best road trips

We went to South Africa for our honeymoon and loved it so much we went back at Easter with the kids! On this trip you will stay in one world’s greatest cities, visit the magnificent wine region and hopefully see the Big 5 in one of South Africa’s best Game Reserves. In between all this you can be adventurous and paraglide off the top of Table Mountain or go shark diving! If that’s not your thing, just spend a day chilling out on one of South Africa’s amazing beaches.

This luxury road trip includes flights, car hire, a four night stay in Cape Town and a three night stay in Stellenbosch, before catching a flight to Port Elizabeth for a three night stay in the five star Shamwari Game Reserve. You will be staying in luxury hotels throughout and on safari you will have two game drives per day and meals included. You can add on extra nights if you wish, Tropical Sky will tailor make an itinerary to suit you.

Price from €4209 – click here for more details:

 

 

 

13 Night Great Parks Of  Western Canada

best road trips

Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Jasper, Whistler – this road trip is firmly at the top of my bucket list! Hike, cycle, try white water rafting or kayaking, Canada will make you want to get active and bring out the nature lover in you. You begin your holiday in Vancouver before setting off to explore the magnificent Canadian National Parks. Explore the Okanagan Valley and Glacier National Park before spending two nights in the resort town of Banff. Visit Lake Louise, one of the world’s most spectacular lakes. Stay in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Jasper and explore the largest National Park in the Rockies. Go hiking, white water rafting or check out the Japer SkyTram for stunning views from the top of the mountains. Drive through the Yellowhead Pass and enjoy a host of outdoor activities in the celebrity town of Whistler. This 13 night road trip will allow you experience the best of Western Canada. Price includes flights, car hire, 3 nights in Vancouver, 1 night in Penticton and Revelstoke, 2 nights in Banff, Jasper, 100 Mile House, and Whistler.  You will also receive a personalised Canada Roadbook, containing essential travel information featuring overview notes, local sightseeing and attractions, daily itinerary highlights, provincial maps with city guides and customised day-by-day routing maps.

Price from €2129  – click here for more details.

 

 

 

13 Night California & Las Vegas – Best of the West

best road trips

I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA last year and loved it, but this trip is even better! The Best of the West road trip includes Arizona and Nevada too. It combines the coastal towns of Santa Barbara and Monterrey with the jaw dropping cities of LA and San Francisco, the natural landscape of Death Valley with the dazzling lights of Las Vegas. Visit Alcatraz, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or hang out in Hollywood. You can go designer shopping in Palm Springs and take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. This trip also allows you to see the spectacular rock formations in Yosemite National Park. This 13 night trip includes flights, car hire, 2 nights Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, 1 night in Palm Springs, Phoenix, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, Monterey and Ventura. You will also receive a welcome kit with maps and a day-today itinerary. Add on extra nights or make the trip shorter by flying home from San Francisco. Like all of these road trips, Tropical Sky can tailor make an itinerary to suit you.

Price from €2059 – click here for more details.

 

 

 

22 Night, Grand New Zealand Road Trip

best road trips

Spend over three weeks exploring the islands of New Zealand on this once in a life time road trip! Explore the vibrant city of Auckland before setting off to to see the magnificent Bay of Islands. Travel through the wilderness of Waipoua Forest and Rotorua, the heart of Maori culture. Marvel at the geysers, waterfalls and overall thermal activity and enjoy a traditional Maori dinner. En route to Wellington you can visit the Lord of the Rings territory before taking a scenic boat trip to the South Island. Go whale watching in Kaikoura and enjoy some wine tasting in the Waipara Valley before arriving in Christchurch. Take the Milford Sound Nature Cruise, cutting through the fiords in search of dolphins, seals and penguins. Drive south past wineries, glaciers and breathtaking scenery to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, your home for two nights. Skydive, bungee jump, go white water rafting, you name it, it’s in Queenstown. Visit the Franz Josef Glacier before ending your trip on the iconic Tranz Alpine Scenic Train back to Christchurch. The price below includes flights, car hire including insurance, GPS, ferry / terminal fees, motel accommodation and a tour pack with detailed driving instructions, maps and guide books. When you click on the link the price will show at €2699, which is excluding flights. If you wish to add or reduce the number of nights on this itinerary, talk to the staff in Australian Sky and they will tailor make an itinerary to suit you.

Price from €4589 – Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 

11 Night, Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island & Adelaide.

best road trips

The Great Ocean Road is no doubt one of the world’s most iconic coastal drives and many say is was the inspiration for our own Wild Atlantic Way. You will begin your journey in the dynamic city of Melbourne where you can soak up Australian city life for three nights before embarking on your road trip.  Your first stop will be Torquay, the surfing capital of Australia before driving onwards to famous Bells Beach and spending a night in Apollo Bay. Drive along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell passing the iconic Twelve Apostles and discovering the London Bridge. You can then choose the short route to Robe or choose to drive via the Grampians National Park, both options offering stunning scenery and interesting attractions. Drive along the coast to Coorong National Park past Lake Alexandria and Lake Albert before arriving at the seaside town, Victor Harbour. Walk across the Causeway and explore Granite Island. Take the car ferry to the unique Kangaroo Island and enjoy two days with the native kangaroos, koalas and sea lions! You will finish your journey in Adelaide where you will have two days to explore this city of culture. The price below includes flights, accommodation and car hire but when you click on the link the price will show at €1299, which is excluding flights. If you wish to add on stays in other Australian cities, talk to the staff in Australian Sky and they will tailor make an itinerary to suit you.

 Price from €2299 – click here for more details.

 

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

 

 

Like long haul travel ? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Family HolidaysFeaturedHolidays in Ireland

5 Luxury Family Hotels In Ireland

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Five Star hotels and kids don’t always go together, but I found five luxury family hotels in Ireland that managed to tick all boxes.

 

With more of us holidaying at home, luxury family hotels in Ireland are in high demand. Sometimes it can be hard for hotels to get the balance right – we might want a five-star experience, but it is also important that hotels are family friendly. I’ve stayed in all of these hotels with my family and can highly recommend them. Some hotels have family rooms or interconnecting rooms, while others have lodges on the grounds of the hotel.

luxury family hotels in Ireland - Mount Juliet

It is important to note that some facilities listed below may have restrictions imposed. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or if you have to change your plans at the last minute. However, if you are booking a non-refundable room, check out staycationinsurance.ie.
 

 

 

1. Fota Island Resort

One of our favourite luxury family hotels in Ireland, we have visited Fota Island Resort on a many occasions. While the hotel is perhaps not as luxurious as some of the others on this list, the hotel facilities and the on site self catering lodges are superb for families. We stayed in one of the new three bedroom Fushia lodges last year and loved it. Not only were they very spacious, but the modern interiors were some of the best I have seen. The children loved playing in the large back garden and we even had some resident rabbits join us each morning for breakfast! 

 

Fota Island Resort has a large outdoor playground, an indoor pool and a kids playroom. There are also lots of kids camps to choose from during school holidays. Camp Fota (€10 per session) operates for 4 – 12 year olds with indoor and out door games in their own dedicated kids lodge. There are also golf camps and an adrenaline adventure centre (age 8+ ) with kayaking, bush craft and lots more (€20 per session). The restaurant has supervised kids buffets at 6.30pm followed by movie nights and quizzes so parents can even have a date night!  However, It is important to check that these camps and facilities are still running when you are booking.
 

 

 
We also stayed in the hotel rooms at Christmas time when we were lucky to see the Fota Beyond Christmas experience. This is one of Ireland’s best Santa Experiences and one I would highly recommend. The dark furnishings in the hotel lend itself perfectly to the festive period. With warm fires and lavish decorations, this is a great time to visit. All children also receive a large teddy bear in their room, Bea, which soon became our new family pet!

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland
One of the advantages of staying in Fota Island Resort is its close proximity to Fota Wildlife Park. To witness many animals including kangaroos and lemurs roam free, is something that we all loved. Fota Wildlife Park also runs a Summer camp for children aged 4 and above, that focuses on the importance of animal conservation through five themed days. Fota Island Resort is also very close to Cobh where you can take the Titanic experience tour, or take the boat trip to spooky Spike Island, to explore the fortress that once held 2300 prisoners. Check directly with hotel for more details and read my Fota Island Resort, read my review here.

Check prices here

 

 

 

2. Castle Leslie

 

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One of my favourite hotels in Ireland, Castle Leslie is not like a traditional hotel. The Leslie family still live here at times during the year and the hotel even closes at Christmas time for a large family get together. The minute you enter the hotel you get the sense that you are visiting someone’s home. Although it is less grand than Ashford or Dromoland Castle, it has a relaxed, cosy atmosphere that is extremely inviting.
 

 

 
The grounds are spectacular with plenty of activities available for guests. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, but it makes up for this by having one of Europe’s finest equestrian centres and one of Ireland’s best preserved lakes for fishing. You can also try kayaking, clay pigeon shooting or even take a hot air balloon ride.
 

 

 
The lodges are located in the village of Glaslough, about five minutes walk from the Lodge at Castle Leslie. These four and five bedroom lodges are more like luxury town houses. All have open fires, nine foot ceilings, are lavishly furnished and cater for 8 – 10 people. They are located only a few minutes walk from the village of Glaslough and the Lodge at Castle Leslie, and about ten minutes from the Castle. For more details on Castle Leslie, read my blog here.

Village Cottage

Geplaatst door The Travel Expert op Woensdag 16 augustus 2017

The village of Glaslough is an attraction in itself, with quaint shops and family friendly pub in the centre. Make sure you pop in to Ambledown Cottage for some great pizza in a beautiful, albeit quirky setting. Another must do is a visit to nearby Lake Muckno. Located in Castleblaney, this lake is undoubtedly Monaghan’s finest, with spectacular scenery from all sides. Take the time to do the Black Island walk. Enjoy the forest trails with fairy doors and Wilbert’s adventure playground. We tried kayaking and loved it. The water was so calm, it was even suitable for small children. You can wakeboard, waterski or take a boat out on the lake and prices are very reasonable. 

 

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See more here
 

 

 

3. Lough Erne Resort

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

This luxury hotel is situated on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking two championship golf courses and lower Lough Erne lake. The lodges are a huge attraction, with conical roofs that look straight out a fairytale. The food at the hotel is superb and there are are lots of options to choose from, with a fine dining restaurant, a Loughside Bar and Grill, as well as some tasty bar food. The large indoor pool allows for family swims from 8am – 11am  and 4.30pm-530pm. There is also an unsupervised play room, Ernies Den, with table football, air hockey and lots more. For more information on Lough Erne Resort read my blog.

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

There are some excellent walks around the hotel golf course with stunning views over the lakes. There are also more arduous walks close by, the famous Stairway to Heaven boardwalk at Culcaigh Mountain, being one of them. This is more suited to older children as it is a 15km round trip with 450 steps. A popular spot for social media enthusiasts, no doubt teenagers will enjoy taking selfies at the top!
 

 

 
Marble Arch Caves and Lough Navar Forest Park are also close by as well as Corralea activity centre. The town of Enniskillen is only 5 minutes drive from Lough Erne if you fancy a change of scene. Make sure you pop into Francos for some good food in family friendly surroundings.

Check prices here
 

 

 

4. Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford - luxury family hotels in Ireland

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, it is no surprise that Kelly’s Resort Hotel is considered one of best luxury family hotels in Ireland. Although officially only a four star hotel, the service and facilities on site deserve five stars. There is non stop entertainment for both adults and children available, with kids clubs, mini-golf and a multi-award winning spa, all on site. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the hotel, (many don’t), there are lots ofthings to do in Wexford with kids.

The food is superb, with an extensive buffet (probably one of the best I’ve seen) and an a la carte restaurant, where parents are encouraged to dine alone, while the kids enjoy the buffet with their new found friends. There is complimentary child minding from 7-9pm which allows for a romantic dinner for two, a rarity for parents with young children. For more information and to find out if Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland, check out my blog.

 

 

 

5. Mount Juliet Estate, Co. Kilkenny

luxury family hotels in Ireland

Mount Juliet is one of Ireland’s finest hotels and is one of the most popular luxury family hotels in Ireland. We stayed here recently and had a fantastic experience. The grounds, the facilities and the choice of dining options are superb. You can choose to stay in the Manor House, as we did, or the more modern Hunters Yard, which I’m told caters extremely well for families, and offers great value too.
 

 

 
I was surprised at how much children’s activities are available in Mount Juliet. There is a large playground with a zip line, as well as a fairy trail located in the gardens. Extensive kids clubs operate during school holidays, (extra charge applies), so parents can enjoy a round of golf or spa treatment while the kids avail of the supervised activities. 
 

 

 
There are two kids clubs, one from age 5-12 and the other 12+. Activities range from archery, equestrian and meet the owls, to baking, golf, treasure hunts and arts and crafts. It is important to check activities in advance with Mount Juliet as some activities may change. There are also evening activities such as a talent show and movie nights, and children can dine with their new pals giving parents the opportunity to have a date night.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There is also a leisure centre and equestrian centre which we loved. I tried horse rinding for the first time with my daughter Alex and it was fabulous! We trotted past the Manor House, through the woods and along side the golf course – it was an experience I would highly recommend. For more information read my review of Mount Juliet.

Check prices here
 

 

 
I hope this post on luxury family hotels in Ireland will help you plan a family break soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotel for clarification. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or you need to cancel due to personal reasons.
 

 

 
Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.  Read more in my privacy policy.

 

You might also like:

The ultimate guide to Center Parcs Longford Forest

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

The best beach hotels in Ireland – my top 20 picks

Top picks for glamping in Ireland

20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Family HolidaysTravel

Walt Disney World Orlando – The Best Tickets To Buy And Where to Stay!

minnie mouse

Planning a trip to Orlando? Get 14 days for the price of 7 at Walt Disney World, get free hotel nights, free Disney Fast Pass+, free Memory Maker and even free money – yes you did read that right!

 

Walt Disney World offers children the chance to come face to face with their favourite Disney characters, see extraordinary parades and amazing firework displays. It is where children and adults experience unparalleled Disney magic, but it also offers so much more. Some of the best attractions in Orlando, such as Pandora, The World of Avatar and Toy Story Land are in Walt Disney World, and let’s not forget that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will be opening later this year!  Walt Disney World has six different parks, including Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and two water parks. You may need to spend more time here than you think….

best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

I have teamed up with Attraction Tickets Direct, the theme park experts, who are offering amazing deals on Walt Disney World tickets and Disney Hotels right now. Not only do they offer the best value theme park tickets on the market, but they also offer the best variety. Attraction Tickets Direct only sell theme park tickets – they are the experts! They send you real park tickets (not vouchers) so there is no need for queues, just sail through the entrance doors! They offer free delivery and no credit card fees and also include so many FREE extras that you won’t get elsewhere.  They are currently offering the 14 day Ultimate Disney Ticket for the price of 7,  which comes with all this……..

Free Fastpass+

Pre-plan your stay by using the Disney Fastpass+ which allows you to pre book for popular attractions like Frozen Ever After, character greetings and special viewing areas for parades and fireworks, 30 days before your arrival.

Free Memory Maker Worth $199!

There is no need to panic when you can’t take your camera on a water ride or if you are holding on too tight to get the camera out of your pocket! With Memory Maker, all your favourite memories from the rides will be captured. You can relive all the theme park fun when you get home and enjoy the photos taken of your family by Disney PhotoPass photographers. Photos are linked to your Disney account so you can download them immediately and print them as many times as you like! This normally costs $199, but it is FREE if you purchase Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct.
 best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

Free money!

Receive $25 Disney spending money per person with all Walt Disney World Orlando tickets purchased for 2020. Thats $100 for a family of four. Shop some souvenirs, meals or drinks throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
See more here

 

And that’s not all….

For a limited time Attraction Tickets Direct are also offering ALL OF THESE FREE when you book Disney Ultimate or Disney Combo tickets. 

ICON Orlando™

Orlando’s answer to the London Eye, this observation wheel is the largest on the East Coast of America and is the best way to get a birds eye view of downtown Orlando and all the theme parks. Tickets are flexible so you don’t need to pre-book just decide when you want to ride this big wheel when you arrive.

SEA LIFE Orlando

Come face to face with more than 5000 marine animals at Sea Life Orlando. Marvel at the 360-degree ocean tunnel and be amazed at the floor-to-ceiling ocean displays. 

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Instagram to your hearts content with all your favourite celebrities at Madame Tussauds Orlando, another fun-filled attraction for all the family. 

Tickets to all of these are flexible so you don’t need to pre-book, just decide when you want to ride this big wheel, when you want to visit Sea Life and when you want to meet your favourite celebrities, when you arrive in Orlando!

And Attraction Tickets Direct give you even more…..

Free entry to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Free 1-Drive Nascar Go Karting Race & Meal with every booking over €250
Free entry to Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and free round of mini golf each day at one of Disney’s mini golf courses.
Free Planet Hollywood Orlando $10 voucher plus VIP priority seating per booking
Free Dollar Off Drinks cards with every Orlando booking over €500
Fee VIP Shop & Dine 4 Less card Gold with every booking over €500
Free Disney autograph book with all child tickets.
Unlimited use of Disney’s transportation system.

 

14 Day Ultimate Tickets cost from €517 for adults & €494 for children

View offer here

 

Love Walt Disney World? Why not stay in a Disney Hotel!

The only thing better than telling your kids you are going to Walt Disney World in Florida, is telling them you are staying there! Imagine feeling the Disney Magic 24/7, enjoying Disney’s movies under the stars from your hotel swimming pool, with the added bonus of easy access to Disney’s parks and nightlife options. By staying at a Disney hotel you also receive Disney Magical Hours which offers early admission to the park before anyone else and Disney’s Magical Express which gives free transportation to and from the parks and the airport.

best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

Attraction Tickets Direct are currently offering up to four nights free when you book a two week stay in one of Disney’s Hotels. You can secure a booking with €100 deposit and amend or cancel your dates free of charge. With prices from €71 per room per night, a holiday at Walt Disney World Resort might be a lot less than you think…

See more here

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Travel

Feel the Love with Double Avios at Kildare Village And Lots More in February

shopping

Celebrate Valentines Day with these amazing offers from Avios in February! Collect DOUBLE Avios at Kildare Village, BONUS Avios at Appleby Jewellers and lots more offers via the Avios eStore. Here are some of my favourites!

 

Kildare Village – Collect 10 Avios for every €4 you spend & an extra 10% off  Village prices!

I love an excuse for a trip to Kildare Village and this is definitely right up there with the best of them! Provide proof of your AerClub membership and you will be given an exclusive Kildare Village VIP card for an additional 10% off your purchases! And that’s not all, you will also collect DOUBLE Avios points, so that is 10 Avios for every €4 you spend instead of the usual 5 Avios. If you can’t make it to Kildare Village before Valentines Day – don’t worry, this promotion is running for the month of February!

Kildare Village has over 100 different brands offering up to 60% off recommended retail prices. From Superdry to Samsonite, Timberland to Ted Baker, designer handbags to statement jewellery, its all available at the Village. Check out their Valentines Day gift guide for some more inspiration.

double avios

Appleby Jewellers – Treat your loved one this Valentines Day and collect BONUS Avios!

Treating your loved one this Valentines Day? Pop into Appleby Jewellers in Dublin and collect 500 BONUS Avios with any purchase, or 1000 BONUS Avios if you purchase a diamond ring.  You will also collect up to 5 Avios for every €1 you spend in store and this is valid for the month of February!

double avios

Give the gift of travel this Valentines Day and collect BONUS Avios!

Whether you want a romantic overnight stay in Ireland or a weekend in Paris, by purchasing via the Avios eStore you can accumulate BONUS Avios in February. Travel website Expedia is offering 7 Avios for every €1 spent. So if you book a city break to the value of €500 you can collect a whopping 3500 Avios!  Daily deals site Groupon have date nights, romantic getaways and lots more and are offering 7 Avios for every €1 spent.

Click here to shop via the Avios eStore

double avios

Enjoy BONUS Avios with Valentine’s day gifts.

Shop the latest trends or treat your loved ones to Valentines Day gifts and receive BONUS Avios at the same time! Top beauty website Lookfantastic has lots of suggestions for Valentines day gifts and is offering DOUBLE Avios – you can now collect a staggering 14 Avios for every £1 spent! Online favourite Not On The High Street has a selection of gift ideas for women, men and even children and is offering 6 Avios for every £1 spent. House of Fraser is also offering 6 Avios per €1 spent while local favourite Debenhams is offering 3 Avios for every €1 spent.

Click here to shop via the Avios eStore

double avios

Interflora – Say it with flowers this Valentines Day.

Stuck for time? You can never go wrong with flowers!  Choose from a wide selection of flower bouquets at Interflora. Shop via the Avios eStore and collect 6 Avios for every €1 you spend.

Click here to shop via the Avios eStore

double avios

For those of you who have been following me on my journey, I am delighted to say that I have accumulated 41,000 Avios in 2017, and most of these were accumulated by shopping! For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, read my first post about how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points.  Remember in order to collect Avios from your favourite online shops you must be logged into your Avios account. Once you are logged into avios.ie you can click through to your favourite retailers and shop online in the usual way, but your purchases will be tracked, and your Avios account will be topped up with points! Click here for the full list of all participating stores. Note: certain exclusions apply to each stores, see individual retail pages within the Avios eStore for details.

Looking to sign up?

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 Avios eStore. For those who have not yet joined, you can join AerClub 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.

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

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