2 years ago

Travel

Thailand Holiday for Three Weeks: Bangkok & The Islands, Well Rated Hotels & All Flights – €1184pp

It is never too late to have a “coming-of-age” styled holiday. Take a Thailand holiday for three weeks, with prices like this, why not make it happen?

 

Thailand is a country that is worth a visit all year round. There are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, chilling on tropical beaches and sipping from buckets in trendy bars. I have constructed a package for November that will see you explore the best of Thailand across twenty-two fun filled nights.

 

 

DIY Thailand Holiday for Three Weeks – Itinerary

It should be stressed that this is a package that I found myself. If the dates don’t suit, play around with them to find something that works for you!

  • Bangkok –  04/11/2019 – 06/11/2019
  • Phuket – 06/11/2019 – 09/11/2019
  • Phi Phi Island– 09/11/2019 – 13/11/2019
  • Koh Tao – 13/11/2019 – 17/11/2019
  • Koh Phangan – 17/11/2019 – 20/11/2019
  • Koh Samui – 20/11/2019 – 24/11/2019
  • Bangkok – 24/11/2019 – 26/11/2019
  •  

Accommodation

The hotels I have selected for this  Three Weeks in Thailand holiday are a selection of highly rated 3 and 4-star hotels from Expedia. There are some gems among them and put you in the perfect positions to explore the best of what the surrounding area has to offer.

  • Villa de Khaosan – Bangkok – 2 Nights – €79pp – Book Here
  • Lub D Phuket – Phuket – 3 Nights – €55pp – Book Here
  • Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort – Koh Phi Phi – 4 Nights – €236pp – Book Here
  • Sai Daeng Resort – Koh Tao – 4 Nights – €142pp – Book Here
  • Sea Breeze Resort – Koh Phangan – 3 Nights – €43pp – Book Here
  • Banburee Resort & Spa – Koh Samui – 4 Nights – €101pp – Book Here
  • At Ease Saladaeng – Bangkok – 2 Nights – €54pp – Book Here

Thailand Holiday Package

 

 

Flights & Transfers Information

Transport in Thailand is fantastic if you do your research and prepare a good bit in advance. There are a lot of private taxis and catamarans but I would always recommend using Lomprayah for getting from island to island. They are high end for what is available but the pricing is extremely reasonable. Usually you are able to ask your hotel receptionist to help you book your connecting transport which is a lifesaver.

 

The flights I have found for you are all flights that I took myself for my own trip and it all went off without a hitch. Koh Samui Airport is really stunning and has to be seen to be believed.

  • Dublin – Bangkok (BKK)
    Return Flights – 03/11/2019 – 26/11/2019  – €496pp Book Here
  • Bangkok (DMK) to Phuket
    One Way – 06/11/2019  – €16pp Book Here
  • Koh Samui to Bangkok (BKK)
    One Way – 24/10/2019 –  €102 Book Here
Thailand Holiday Package
Khaosan Road Hotel – Photo taken from Expedia
 

There are of course, other things to consider ahead of your trip. It is important before any trip to Thailand to make sure you have all necessary vaccinations up to date. When taking any trip, it is also highly recommended that you get yourself travel insurance to cover you in the eventuality of the worst case scenario.

 

Aside from all that serious business, what you have above is the perfect platform for a once in a lifetime experience. If its taking in the buzz of the Khaosan Road or snorkelling and sunsets in Koh Tao this DIY Three Weeks in Thailand Package has something for everybody. Prioritise travel in 2019 and you will never look back…..

 

 

 

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*Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Please note that these links are affiliate links where we receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

 The Travel Expert Team

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Travel Tips

What Airlines Allow Pets On Planes?

dog-on-plane-shutterstock-compressor

I am often asked about airlines pet policies so I asked Purring Pal, a leading source of information for cat owners, to help me out. Check out their list of what airlines allow pets on planes below.

 

Travelling with your pets overseas is not as much of a hassle as it used to be. Thanks to the efforts that airline companies have made, they encourage passengers to embrace the “animal on board” philosophy. With as little as a passport, up-to-date shots, and a microchip implant, your furry companion can finally join you on that perfect holiday getaway that you have been planning for. See more about what you need to do before you bring you pet to and from Ireland here.
 

 

 
However, pet policies differ among individual airlines. Travelling to and from Europe can be more hassle than you think, that is if you haven’t spent enough time familiarising yourself with the policies of the airline that you plan to book. To get you started, here’s a list of airlines that fly from Ireland that allow pets in either the cabin or the cargo hold, as well as their various policies regarding pet travels. Check out the PurringPal website for a list of pet policies of 33 worldwide airlines with prices too. Note these policies can change at any time so make sure you check with your airline directly before you make a reservation.

pets on planes
 

 

 

Aer Lingus

For flights within Europe, pets need to be booked through a freight forwarder such as IAG Cargo in order to be transported in the hold. Only dogs, cats, and rabbits are accepted for regional flights, and no animals are allowed in the cabin except service pets.  Policies differ for transatlantic flights. Several dog breeds aren’t allowed, even in the cargo hold, for various safety reasons: American Pit Bull, Mastiff, Akita, Pug, Boxer, and Rottweiler, among others. Pet carriers should not weigh more than 64kg. Recognised assistance dogs are allowed in the cabin free of charge provided that all necessary requirements are submitted. The request should be made at least 48 hours before travel. See more here

pets on planes

Ryanair

No animals are allowed on any Ryanair flights, whether in the cabin or the hold, except assistance and guide dogs. These must be booked in advance and a pet passport or official vet health certificate must be presented. Only four maximum service dogs are allowed per flight. See more here.
 

 

 

Aegean Airlines

Pets are allowed to travel in the cabin or hold. Cats, dogs, and animals in the ferret family can ride in the cabin, with the exception of certain breeds. Each passenger is allowed one pet companion in the cabin, although more can be hand-carried as long as they fit in one container and the carrier doesn’t weigh more than 8kg. Reservations should be done in advance, as only a limited number are allowed to travel on each flight. Service dogs are welcome, as long as requirements are submitted prior to booking. See more here.

pets on planes

Emirates, Etihad

These airlines do not allow any pets to be brought into the cabin, but dogs and cats can be transported in the hold. However, a falcon can be brought in the cabin as long as it is cleared for travel and the necessary paperwork has been submitted. See more from Emirates here and Etihad here.
 

 

 

Air France

Dogs and cats are allowed in the cabin, up to a maximum weight of 7.7kg, including the carrier. All pets travelling within the EU should be chipped and have a European passport. Heavier animals that can’t be brought in the cabin can be stored in the cargo hold or shipped via freight. See more here.

pets on planes

Turkish Airlines

Cats, dogs, and singing birds (canaries, parakeets) are allowed in the cabin. Other types of birds and other pets can be carried in the cargo bay. Certain breeds of dog, however, are disallowed from flying, including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Doberman, and American Bulldog, among others. See more here.
 

 

 

Aeroflot

Many types of domestic and tamed pets are allowed on-board, including dogs, cats, and birds. Animals in the cabin must not exceed 8kg. All others that exceed the weight limited can be checked in for transport via the cargo hold. Only one pet container is allowed per passenger, per flight, and it should meet certain dimension requirements. Service dogs are allowed in the cabin and should be booked in advance. See more here.

pets on planes

 

Easyjet

According to the terms and conditions, no pets are allowed on flights; either in the cabin or the hold. The only exception is service dogs which must be booked at least 48 hours in advance and should be trained by a recognised organisation and have certification. See more here.
 

 

 

AirEuropa

Pets can be transported via the cabin or in the cargo hold to any country in Europe, with the exception of the UK. Accepted animals include dogs, cats, birds (not including birds of prey), fish, and certain types of rodents. A traveling pet should have health certification and a passport, and the total weight of its container should weigh no more than 8kg to qualify for the cabin. Other types of animals such as reptiles, ferrets, and other breeds of dogs can be transported in the hold. Brachycephalic dogs and cats are not accepted in the hold due to health concerns. See more here.

pets on planes

KLM

Pets can be brought on most flights. An animal being transported in the hold should be stored in a container that weighs up to 75kg. Snub-nosed dog breeds may not be allowed in the cargo hold and should be brought in the cabin instead. Pets carried in the cabin should not exceed 8kg in weight (including their container). Travel documents and health certificates are required for all traveling pets. See more here.
 

 

 

British Airways

All other animals aside from service dogs must travel in the cargo hold on British Airways flights. The number of dogs on each flight is limited, so the booking needs to be made in advance. Emotional support animals will also need to be kept in the cargo bay. See more here.

pets on planes

Lufthansa

Dogs, cats, hares, and rabbits are allowed on-board. The entire weight of the transport container plus the pet must weigh no more than 8kg to qualify as carry-on. Larger animals can be safely flown to their destination in the cargo hold. Each passenger is only allowed to bring a maximum of two pets with them on a flight. Special assistance dogs are welcome on all flights as long as requirements are submitted. Booking should be done within 48 hours. See more here.
 

 

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Travel Tips

Five Reasons Why You Must Have Ski Travel Insurance

ski

Having adequate ski travel Insurance is vital if you are going on a skiing holiday, as I learned on my recent ski trip to Austria.

 

I am just back from Austria, where my luggage didn’t arrive for four days. Yes believe me when I tell you, it was a nightmare! Before I left home I invested in new salopettes, snow boots with retractable spikes, and a ski-jacket with Recco detector on it (technology designed to find you in case of an avalanche!) To say I was well equipped is a massive understatement!

 

Nevertheless having all this lovely ski-gear was fruitless as my bag only arrived on my last day. Luckily I had taken out ski travel insurance. I have a premier plus Multitrip.com travel insurance policy, which automatically includes ski-cover. It was great to be able to purchase some clothes and personal items without worrying about the additional cost. I am able to claim up to €300 expenses, (€75 per day for four days) and with a premier plus policy, there is no excess charges. Fortunately I should receive a nice cheque for €300 in the next few days.

I am a big advocate for travel insurance. It is a fraction of any holiday cost and it literally could save your life. With prices from €17.99 for an annual multi-trip policy and €26.99 for an annual multi-trip policy including ski cover, there really is no excuse for anyone to travel without travel insurance. You can also opt for a single trip travel insurance policy with winter sport cover included, from just €5.38! Of course delayed baggage is only one of the many reasons why you need ski travel insurance – here are four more…


 

 

 

 

Injury Cover:

Accidents can happen at any time but let’s face it, they are more likely to happen skiing, than sunbathing by the pool! With ski travel insurance you will have the peace of mind that if you sustain an injury, you will be covered. You may need to be airlifted to a medical facility or need immediate private health care if any bones are broken. Remember the European Health Insurance Card (formerly E111) only covers you in a public hospital, not private, and in European countries only. Once you add ski cover to your policy, you don’t need to worry about any additional costs. If you are injured and are unable to ski, Multitrip.com’s ski travel insurance will also cover you for the unused portion of a ski pack, lift pass etc.

ski travel insurance

 

 

 

Weather Issues:

Storms and avalanches are not uncommon in ski resorts. In some cases slopes are closed, but Multitrip.com’s ski travel insurance will reimburse you with costs (up to a specified limit) associated with transport to an alternative ski resort. In the event of no-snow, where the slopes are closed, you will also be covered for organised transportation by the tour operator to an alternative skiing area.

ski travel insurance

 

 

Loss of Ski Equipment / Lift Passes:

For anyone who hasn’t skied before, you may be surprised at how small the lift passes are and consequently how easy they are to loose! Lift passes are a costly thing to loose but luckily if you have ski travel insurance, you will be covered should you need to replace them. Likewise if you happen to loose ski equipment, skis, poles etc this could prove very costly. When you stop for lunch or a drink on the mountain, it is very easy for someone to pick up the wrong skis – especially if they happen to get carried away with the aprés-ski!

ski travel insurance

 

 

Cancellation:

Ski holidays are not cheap! Between flights, accommodation and ski packs, an average ski trip will probably cost you close to €1000. If for some unfortunate reason you, or an immediate family member, is sick and you can’t travel, having ski travel insurance can be a Godsend. Although missing out on your holiday holiday might be traumatic, receiving the refund cheque will certainly soften the blow!

ski travel insurance

 

 

Things to watch out for:

  • While most winter-sports are covered with ski-travel insurance there are exclusions such as heli-skiing. Check your individual policy before embarking on a high risk sport.
  • With the numerous airlines strikes and the possibility of flight cancellations due to bad weather, it is advisable to add Travel Disruption cover to your policy.  You will be covered for additional expenses if your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 12 hours. You can also claim back expenses due to bad weather or if you are advised against travel to a specific country due to unrest.  See more on why you need to add travel disruption cover to you insurance policy here.
 
  • Keep a note of your travel insurance policy number or details with you when skiing, just in case of an emergency.
  • Check if there is a limit to winter sports duration with your policy. Different limits apply depending on the level of cover you purchase.
  •  Check that the cancellation cover is adequate on your policy. Some policies have a limit of €1000 per person, you may find that for an additional €5 you can be covered for €5000 per person. Make sure you take out cover at the time you book your holiday to ensure you are fully covered for cancellation.

 

 

For prices, bookings and more details on Ski Travel Insurance, visit Multitrip.com 

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

AmericaTravel

Save On Discovery Cove Tickets And Get Free Unlimited Access to SeaWorld, Aquatica & Busch Gardens for 14 days!

Dolphin Lagoon_DC_7

Planning a visit to Orlando? You can’t afford to miss this amazing deal on Discovery Cove tickets from Attraction Tickets Direct.

 

You only have to look at the reviews on TripAdvisor to see that Discovery Cove is one of the top attractions in Orlando. Many people said it was the “best day of their trip”; and when you think its rated 2 out of 394 things to do in Orlando, you simply must consider buying Discovery Cove tickets when visiting Orlando.

I have teamed up with Attraction Tickets Direct, the theme park experts, who offer the best value tickets to all major theme parks. With selected Discovery Cove tickets Attraction Tickets Direct offer free unlimited access to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for 14 days – they even throw in free parking! Don’t worry, if you are still catching up after an expensive Christmas, you can pay a deposit of €25 per person to secure a booking 😎.

View offer here

 

And that’s not all…. with Attraction Tickets Direct you will get discounted tickets to SeaVenture if you book selected Discovery Cove tickets. SeaVenture is an innovative experience that allows you to interact with schools of tropical fish while wearing a dive helmet. With prices from only €27 you can’t afford to miss it!

discovery cove tickets

View offer here

 

So whats so special about Discovery Cove and why is rated so highly with visitors? There are many reasons but check out my top six below:

 

It doesn’t feel like a theme park

I enjoyed a quick visit of Discovery Cove a few years ago and the first thing that stuck me was that it felt more like a tropical island than a theme park. They only allow 1300 guests per day so it never feels crowded. To put that in perspective, Disney’s Magic Kingdom has over 50,000 visitors each day! Because of the limited number of tickets available, it is important that you book well in advance if you want to secure a reservation.

discovery cove tickets

It’s All-Inclusive 🍹

Your entrance ticket not only includes unlimited access to all the attractions, but all meals, snacks and drinks are included throughout your stay! So if you fancy lazing in Serenity Bay with a cocktail in hand, while your family snorkels away in the Grand Reef, that is easily done! Incidentally all snorkelling equipment is included too. You don’t even need to worry about suncream, towels or wet suits – they are all provided – they even ensure the sun cream is animal friendly 🐬.

discovery cove tickets

You can swim with dolphins

This will certainly be the highlight of your child’s (and maybe the adults too) trip to Orlando, and an experience they will never forget. Once you pre purchase the dolphin swim package (the offer mentioned above includes this), you will enjoy a 30 minute dolphin swim and interaction in the Dolphin Lagoon. Beforehand you will meet Discovery Cove’s expert dolphin trainers where they will brief you on safety and encourage you to ask questions about the experience. Note children ages 6-12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who also is participating in the dolphin swim experience.

You can spend the day there

Contrary to what you might think, many people spend the whole day at Discovery Cove. It opens from 8am – 5.30pm and is a the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando. With the all-inclusive arrangement you could actually have breakfast, lunch and dinner if you wanted to!

Ride the soothing currents at Wind-Away-River – an immersive ride that brings you past sandy beaches, a rain forest, waterfalls, and through an underwater cave. Swim and snorkel with thousands of tropical fish at the Grand Reef and interact with otters and marmosets in the Freshwater Oasis. If you want a break away from the water, the Explorers Aviary has hundreds of tropical birds, many of which will swoop down and take fruit from your hand. All of these experiences are included in the cost of your ticket. And when you have tried all the activities available, simply relax with a cocktail in Serenity Bay – you can even book a day bed or private cabana.

discovery cove tickets

You can take an underwater walking tour:

If you are planning on spending the day at Discovery Cove, why not add on SeaVenture, an innovative experience that allows you to interact with schools of tropical fish while wearing a dive helmet. You can save over 40% on the ticket price if you book with Attraction Tickets Direct before the end of February. This amazing experience is now only €19 in low season and €28 in high season. There are many other add-on experiences available, such as the Animal Trek, become a trainer for the day, sting-ray feeding and swimming with sharks.

If you buy the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package you receive 14 days unlimited access to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.

Attraction Tickets Direct are now selling Discovery Cove Ultimate tickets from €178! This is incredible value when you consider that a reserved 30-minute dolphin swim is included in the cost and you have unlimited access to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens for 14 days. And they even throw in free parking! Check out my top 10 reasons to visit SeaWorld Orlando here.

discovery cove tickets

 

This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets Direct but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 5th February 2019

best travel deals

In my best travel deals this week I have last minute holidays from €131, winter breaks in Puerto Rico and Prague; summer in Algarve, Turkey, St. Nevis, and a cruise deal you won’t want to miss!

 

Best last minute:

Gohop.ie’s have last minute deals to the Algarve from €131, Malta from €190 and Fuerteventura from €284. Prices include flights and accommodation for seven nights.

See more here

 

 

Best spring / summer:

Puerto Rico boasts one of the best places for winter sun in the Canary Islands. Escape the cold with this super deal to the popular Puerto Plata apartments. Price for flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-night stay on the 4th of April, is only €307 per person. This is actually less than half-price!

View offer here

 

Best summer sun:

Turkey is most definitely back in vogue, there are so many new flights operating this year. Marmaris is one of my favourite resorts and I found this great deal staying the popular Sinem Hotel & Apartments. Price for flights, hotel on a bed & breakfast basis, transfers and checked baggage is only €397, departing the 26th of August.

View offer here

 

 

Best longhaul 

Tired of seeing the same old places advertised? Looking to try somewhere new? This five-star resort on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, is just what you are looking for! Enjoy a seven-night stay with flights and transfers included for only €1399! You will be staying in the luxurious Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, the island’s only historic plantation Inn, which receives excellent reviews on tripadvisor and has a prime beach location.

See more here

 

 

Best cruise:

Enjoy the bright lights of Vegas for three nights before cruising the Caribbean on MSC Seaside for seven nights.. I was on her sister ship last year and loved it. You will visit Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas.  This amazing deal from Travelnet is only €1599 on the 27th of August and includes all flights, a three night stay in Las Vegas, one night stay in Miami and a seven night cruise in a balcony stateroom, with drinks included!

View offer here

 

 

Best family deal:

Click&Go.com is offering a week in the 4* Estrella do Vau in the Algarve from €1298 based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Price includes flights, transfers and a FREE upgrade to half board if you book by the 15th of February.

View offer here

 

 

Best city break:

Spend St Patricks Weekend in Prague! Fly from Dublin on the 14th of March and enjoy a four-night stay in the Ibis Wenceslas Square for only €399. You also get a FREE 60 Minute sightseeing cruise along the Vltava River River.

View offer here

 

 

Best staycation:

We are just back from this very deal with Groupon and we had a great time. Enjoy an overnight stay in the 5* Druids Glen Resort with breakfast, €15 dinner credit, spa credit and golf credit per person and a late check out – all for €165! You can even bring 2 kids ( under 12) along free of charge and if you use code EXPLORE you will save a further 20%! You can read my full review by clicking below.

See more here

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

travel deals

Travel Tips

5 Tips & Tricks to Boost Your AerClub Tier Credits

Aer Lingus A330 Render View44B HR Sml

I have decided that 2019 is the year I am going to try to move up to AerClub’s Silver tier! So I did some investigating and found out some interesting tips and tricks to boost your AerClub Tier Credits.

 

I have been collecting Avios for two years now and I thought I knew every trick to boost my Avios balance! However, one thing I couldn’t seem to manage was how to move from the Green Tier (basic entry level) to the Silver Tier with AerClub. Despite having 69,000 Avios, I am still on AerClub’s Green Tier and not looking likely to move off it anytime soon! I would love to be on the Silver Tier, primarily to be able to use the Aer Lingus AerClub priority check-in and fast track facility in Dublin airport, but also to have Aer Lingus lounge access.

There are huge benefits of being an AerClub member if you are a frequent flyer. If you advance to the Platinum Tier, you can get a complimentary upgrade, while the Concierge Tier will guarantee you an economy seat on a full flight. However you don’t have to be a business class traveller to get some of these benefits. You will see below that a few economy class trips to the USA in one year, or one return business class trip, may see you relaxing in the Aer Lingus lounge in no time!

boost your aerclub tier credits

Here are my top 5 tips and tricks to boost your AerClub Tier Credits.

 

1. Know the difference between Avios and Tier Credits:

Avios is the reward currency of Aer Lingus, many of its partner airlines and a host of online and high street retailers. There are many ways to collect Avios, including shopping at SuperValu, booking hotels and car hire or dining in the Merrion Hotel. You can then use Avios to buy flights or pay for travel experiences – see five ways to spend Avios here. Avios don’t expire, as long as you collect, spend or purchase at least one Avios every 36 months.

Tier Credits can ONLY be earned by flying with Aer Lingus. Unlike Avios which are awarded based on the amount you spend, Tier Credits are awarded based on the type of fare and destinations you book.

2. Watch out for sale and saver fares:

I love a seat sale as much as anyone, in fact as soon as I receive one of the Aer Lingus 20% off emails, I am online immediately researching flights. What I didn’t realise was you get different amount of Tier Credits depending on fare type you choose, so it is always best to check when you are booking. For instance ‘saver’ and ‘sale’ fare types within Europe offer lower Tier Credits than the ‘plus’ fares.

To put this into context, if you book a return sale or promotional fare to Malaga with Aer Lingus you will earn only 15 Tier Credits. If you are not checking in a bag and don’t want to pre book seats, then you are probably still better to go for this option. If however, you are checking in a bag and pre booking seats, you should opt for the ‘plus’ fare. This will give you 50 Tier Credits per return flight. You can check to see what your fare type is by clicking on “About your fare” and you can read more about that here.

boost your aerclub tier credits

3. Know whats required to upgrade to the next tier:

This may seem obvious but until now I didn’t realise how many flights I needed, to change to AerClub’s Silver Tier. Once you know what you need, you can book flights accordingly. You need to earn 301 Tier Credits in one year to move from the Green to the Silver Tier. This equates to 13 one-way ‘plus fare’ flights to Europe, or seven return ‘plus fare’ flights. However if flying to the USA, you only need 7 one-way ‘smart’ flights to upgrade from the Green to Silver tier. Note all of these are quoted as one-way flights, if you book a return ticket you will get double the amount of Tier Credits.

If you can fly business class this will reduce the number of flights required considerably. You will earn 250 Tier Credits with one return business class flight to the USA and remember you only need 301 to move from the Green to the Silver Tier. If you are a frequent flyer with Aer Lingus 601 tier credits will see you advance from Silver to Platinum, while 1051 Tier Credits will see you advance to the Concierge Tier. See more details here.

boost your aerclub tier credits

4. Fly Aer Lingus to the USA

I flew to San Francisco via London two years ago and vowed I would never to do it again. Flying direct from Dublin and clearing emigration before you leave, saves you so much time and stress, with the added bonus that your luggage will more likely arrive on time too! Sometimes you may find prices a little more expensive by flying direct, but believe me when I tell you it is worth it.

For most of us, flying transatlantic will mean you need to check in a bag. If this is the case, opt for a ‘smart’ fare and you will receive 100 Tier Credits per return journey. Just to confuse things, Aer Lingus do have promotional fares in the ‘smart’ category, where you will only earn 50% of the regular smart economy fare, so be careful to watch out for these. Click on the ‘About your fare’ section when booking if you are unsure. If you fancy treating yourself, you can earn 250 Tier Credits with a return business class transatlantic fare.

how to boost your aerclub tier credits

5. Know your AerClub anniversary date:

This is extremely important because every year your AerClub Tier Credits will reset on your anniversary (the date you joined AerClub). You can easily check your anniversary date and your up-to-date Tier Credits by logging into your AerClub account. If you move a tier within your current membership year (e.g. move from Green up to Silver), then you’ll remain in the Silver Tier for the following membership year. Check out this short video for more details.

 

For more on AerClub’s tiers and benefits, click here.

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Holidays in Ireland

My Review of Groupon’s Getaway Deal to 5* Druids Glen Hotel in Wicklow

Druids Glen Lake

We booked an overnight stay in Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort with Groupon and we able to bring the kids along free of charge. 

 

After a somewhat quiet Christmas, cabin fever started to set in. We decided to book an overnight stay in Druids Glen Hotel just before the kids went back to school. We had stayed there many years ago, but this was our first visit with kids-in-tow. Located in Wicklow, Druids Glen Hotel is actually only a 35 drive from our house. It might seem strange to book a mini-break so close to home, but believe me when I tell you it felt like worlds apart. Nestled in 360 acres of countryside, with a spa and swimming pool on-site, it was just what was needed, as the Christmas school holidays suddenly felt very long….

review of druids glen hotel

The kids couldn’t believe their luck when they realised it was so close, they are used to long road-trips! We decided to take advantage of the short distance and stop in Glendalough on the way. Check-in time isn’t until 3pm so the plan was to go for a nice walk before arriving in the hotel for a guilt-free lunch.

 

It was a staycation after all and it was good excuse to bring the kids to see the monastic sites and lakes of Glendalough. We chose the 3km walk that circles the lower lake. It usually takes about an hour, but we spent about two hours there. The kids loved exploring the monastic sites and spotting wildlife, as well as climbing some of the unusually shaped trees.

review of druids glen hotel

Our plan worked and we arrived in Druids Glen Resort just in time for lunch in the Garden Rooms. This is a lovely bar with a great atmosphere and floor to ceiling windows, that show off the beautiful grounds of Druids Glen. There is also an outdoor terrace which I can only imagine is a beautiful addition in the summer time. The menu is extensive and has everything from chicken wings to seafood chowder, beef burgers to shepherds pie. I opted for the Slow Braised BBQ Beef Brisket and it was delicious, the only problem was everyone wanted what I was having! The kids menu is extensive too and the pasta bolognese went down a treat.

review of druids glen hotel

 

There were lots of families there so the kids made friends in no time, giving us the opportunity to enjoy a few afternoon drinks. The kids were given activity packs with colouring and puzzles inside and once they had finished playing with these they went off to the kids play room and enjoyed air-hockey and table football.

review of druids glen hotel

We could have sat there for hours but felt we should check-in at some point! When we eventually made it to our room we were greeted with two ice buckets, one with a bottle of Prosecco and another with a milk and cookies for the kids. We booked our deal through Groupon which included a bottle of Prosecco, amongst other things, but the second ice bucket for the kids was so thoughtful and such a lovely surprise.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We had a lovely stay in @druidsglenresort – they cater so well for families. The @groupon.ie deal we were on included a bottle of Prosecco 🥂 in the room but they also brought up an ice bucket with milk and cookies for the kids – too cute 🤗 They have a huge swimming pool, a great choice on the kids menu and a play room where all the games are free of charge 🙌 See more on my stories 👆 . . . . . . #familytravel #champagne #luxuryhotel #luxurylifestyle #familyhotel #family #irelandsancienteast @irelandsancienteast #staycation #travelblogger #irishtravelblogger @visitwicklow #familytravelblogger #familytravelblog #staycation #collab

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Druids Glen caters extremely well for families. The standard rooms have two double beds and come with small bathrobes and slippers for children. There is no extra charge to add children (under 12) to your booking  if you book the €165 Groupon package deal. Simply call the hotel and they will add up to two children (under 12) to your booking free of charge. Incidentally this deal also includes breakfast, €15 spa credit towards treatments of 50 minutes or more, €15 golf voucher for Druids Heath Course (per person credits), €20 dinner credit per couple and late check-out by 1pm.

review of druids glen

They have interconnecting rooms available if you want more privacy or have older children, they also have an extensive DVD library, a 24-hour baby pantry and an outdoor playground.  There are extra activities available during school holidays including puppet shows, face painting and sports fun. The Kids High Tea Club runs from 6pm-9.30pm and includes dinner and supervised children’s activities for kids over 4 years old. Note – you need to prebook this, the cost is €20 per child. There are also lots of attractions close by for families, such as Glenroe Farm, Sealife Aquarium Bray, Clara Lara as well as countless walking trails and fantastic beaches.

Marlfield House

 

We enjoyed our bottle of Prosecco and a lazy couple of hours in our rooms before heading downstairs to dinner. Clearly ‘dry January’ hadn’t kicked in for us yet! It was so relaxing. No taxis, no coats, we just popped downstairs to dinner at our leisure. We had the €20 dining credit for Hugo’s restaurant, Druids Glen’s fine dining restaurant, so we had to use it!. Officially kids are supposed to eat by 7.30pm but once we explained our children were older (8 and 11) it was no problem dining later.

Hugo’s is bright and airy and although large, it still feels like a restaurant, rather than a hotel dining room. I was really impressed with the food. The Goats Cheese Mousse with Beetroot, Macaroon and Ginger Bread was light and tasty and the Roast Haunch of Venison was perfectly cooked and full of flavour. Cormac loved the Panfried Fillet of Halibut too.

 

The kids pizza wasn’t the best but as soon as our waiter spotted that Luke wasn’t enjoying it, he was quick to ask if Luke wanted something else instead. He then ordered the steak and chips (also on the kids menu), which he loved, and it was great to see that there was no charge for it. The kids menu also has starters and desserts so we were able to have a three course meal together.

review of druids glen hotel

We just about shared the Aerated Chocolate with Chocolate Grenache and Poached Pear – purely for research purposes 😉. The bill came to €161 which included our €20 dining credit discount and also a nice bottle of Baron de Ley. I thought this was good value for four of us. The best thing though was being able to saunter up to our room afterwards – bliss!

 

We awoke fresh from a great nights sleep and went down for breakfast, which is included in the cost. We were immediately shown what was available at all the different stations and asked if we had any dietary requirements. There was a wide variety of cold and hot food including home made granola, breads and smoothies. They also had cooking stations with chefs on hand to make omelettes, pancakes etc. The selection and quality of the breakfast was superb.

review of druids glen hotel

Cormac and the kids decided to go for a swim after breakfast. The 18 metre heated swimming pool was a great hit with the kids who are allowed swim from 8am – 11am and 2pm – 6pm. There are adult only swim times too if you don’t fancy kids splashing about while you relax. The health club also features a jacuzzi, plunge pool, sauna and steam room and gym. There is also a host of fitness classes available if you are feeling energetic, or otherwise you can do what I did – opt for the spa!

review of druids glen hotel

I decided to use my €15 spa credit and booked a facial. It had been quite a while since I had enjoyed a facial (I know I need to do this more often!). I was really impressed with my therapist Daria, who immediately spotted that I hadn’t been using an eye cream! She was also able to point out that I was using the wrong exfoliating cream and this was the reason my skin was ‘flaky’. It was bizarre as this was the reason I booked the facial in the first place, but before I got a chance to mention it, she had analysed my skin. I opted for the Biotec facial which I thought was pricey at €125 for 65 minutes, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it worked out at €110 with my spa credit. For me it wasn’t just about the facial, it was the therapists knowledge of my skin and what I needed to do to improve it. I loved the fact that she didn’t try to sell me the products there either – just told me what I should use and sent me on my way.

review of druids glen hotel

 

It was great to be able to check out at 1pm, this is another perk when you avail of the Groupon package deal. We were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, swim and spa treatment without rushing to check out. We decided to take a stroll around the grounds of Druids Glen before we left. I am not a golfer but Druids Glen is home to two championship golf courses, Druids Glen and Druids Heath. The walking trail of 6km brings you close to the greens as well as forests and woodlands. If you fancy stopping half way for a coffee at the golf club, the staff will drive you back to the hotel. We took advantage of this as the rain began to fall.

review of druids glen hotel

It was time to leave Druids Glen Resort and venture home but once again we were delighted that we didn’t have too far to travel.  Our overnight stay at Druids Glen Resort was like a sanctuary, we escaped from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for 24 hours and we all felt the benefits of it. It was the 6th of January, the kids were back to school the following day and I was feeling refreshed and ready to start my new years resolutions! One of them for sure, will be to go for more quick breaks away like this.

View Groupon Deal Here

 

 

 

Note: Groupon gave us a complimentary hotel stay, the same package deal that is available on their website. All meals, drinks and spa treatments were paid separately by us. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made but an no extra charge to you.

* 2 kids under 12 stay free when staying with two adults in the same room.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

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