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8 months ago

AmericaFamily Holidays

3 Parks For the Price of 2, And New Attractions at SeaWorld, Aquatica And Busch Gardens

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Ride the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world, race your family and friends on Florida’s first-ever duelling water slide, or catch a concert in one of the festivals in SeaWorld Parks. There are so many new attractions in Florida that you won’t want to miss!

  

With all the new attractions in Florida, deciding which theme parks to visit is not easy. For some, a visit to Orlando would not be complete without riding Mako, Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster. Others might want to experience up-close animal encounters, but if you are travelling during the hot summer months, a day at Aquatica, Orlando’s No. 1 waterpark, might be a top priority.

It just so happens that you can experience all of the above with SeaWorld Parks 3 for 2 Ticket, which allows 14 consecutive days unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens from just €134!  I have teamed up with AttractionTickets.com who are offering this exclusive offer for a limited time. This ticket also gives you FREE unlimited parking at all parks and FREE coach transportations from Orlando to Busch Gardens. And that’s not all – this offer is available throughout 2020 and 2021. 

 

View offer here

 

New Attractions in Florida at SeaWorld:

SeaWorld is already home to some of Orlando’s best rollercoasters. Mako, Manta, Kraken, Infinity Falls and Journey to Atlantis are all in SeaWorld Orlando, but this year sees the launch of another new coaster ‘Ice Breaker’. This a multi-directional coaster that culminates in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida. Its 48-inch rider height makes it suitable for families too – assuming you like thrill rides! 

Ice Breaker at SeaWorld – 2020 Teaser from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

As well as new attractions, you will also find lots of special events running in SeaWorld this year. The Seven Seas Food Festival features live concerts every weekend until the beginning of May. As well as top class performances, guests can enjoy local craft beers and food market stalls throughout the park. This festival culminates with concerts from Billy Ray Cyrus on the 2nd of May and Sean Paul on the 3rd of May. Concerts are included in the price of admission.   

See 10 reasons to visit SeaWorld Orlando here.

new attractions in florida

 

New Attractions in Florida at Busch Gardens:

The 206-feet tall Iron Gwazi coaster opens in Busch Gardens this spring. It will be North America’s tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Riders will experience three inversions, a 91-degree drop and speeds of 76 miles per hour! The height requirement is 48″ so thrill-seeking families can also enjoy this ride together. Are you brave enough to try it?  

Iron Gwazi from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

As well thrilling roller coasters like Tigris, SheiKra and Cheetah Hunt, Busch Gardens is also home to some of the world’s most endangered animals. This African-themed park is home to over 200 species, including Bengal tigers and organgutans. You can also take a safari ride through the park, where you may meet some of graceful giraffes – like this one!

new attractions in florida

Busch Gardens is also running special events throughout the year including the Food & Wine Festival, which is running until the 26th of April. This festival will include weekend concerts from artists such as The Commodores and KC & The Sunshine Band. Concerts are included in the price of admission.  

 

New Attractions in Florida at Aquatica:

Not one to be left out, Aquatica has also got a new ride, Riptide Race. This is Florida’s first-ever duelling water slide. With a 68-foot tower, riders will race side-by-side on a raft, through 650 feet of indoor and outdoor sections. Now this is my kind of ride! 
 

Riptide Race at Aquatica from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

 
As well as Riptide Race, one of the this year’s new attractions in Florida, make sure find time to see why Aquatica has been voted Orlando’s No. 1 waterpark. Experience the feeling of weightlessness in recently opened KareKare Curl, or brave Ihu’s Breakaway Falls – at nearly 80-feet tall, this is Orlando’s steepest multi-drop tower of its kind. There are also lots of family rides in Aquatica, including Ray Rush, which has twists and turns inside a colossal water sphere.

new attractions in orlando - riptide race

So whether you like thrilling coasters, animal encounters or family water rides, the SeaWorld Parks 3 for 2 Ticket caters for all your needs – and then some! Secure entrance to all three parks with free parking for 14 consecutive days from just €134.

AttractionTickets.com’s Dublin office is open from 9am-9pm seven days a week. You can reach them on 1800 927 467 or book via their website here.

new attractions in florida

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
Travel

What To Do If You Have Booked A Holiday And Are Worried About Coronavirus

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Holidays booked and worried about the Coronavirus? This guide might help.  

 

Coronavirus, COVID-19, is now a global pandemic Many people still believe we should keep travelling to non-affected areas, as we can catch it at home as well as abroad. In fact some countries have not recorded any cases yet. This website is a handy source to have, it shows you the number of cases in each country. I have also compiled a list of the latest travel updates from Ireland, with travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs as well as updates from various travel restrictions that are in place.

Read: Latest travel updates due to coronavirus

what to do if I want to cancel my flight because of coronavirus
 

 

 
However, for many people, especially the elderly or those with ill-health, travelling at this time can still be a bit daunting. I have received numerous emails and messages from people who have holidays or flights booked asking should they travel, and are there any additional precautions they should take. I should point out that while I like to think I am a Travel Expert, I am not a medical expert, nor have I any idea how likely or unlikely that Coronavirus will spread to more countries.

Instagram
 

 

 
I have answered your questions below to the best of my knowledge, but bear in mind that my answers may not be correct in all cases. It is imperative that you consult your airline, travel agent and insurance company to find out the impact of your own individual case. Many cruise lines have changed their cancellation and change fee policies, however most airlines have only waived change fees for new bookings only.  

Read: Latest travel updates due to coronavirus

 

 
I will update this post as soon as I receive any further information, but in the meantime, I have compiled this guide on what to do if you have booked a holiday and are worried about the Coronavirus.
 

 

 

Make The Department of Foreign Affairs Your Go-To Website. 

Regardless of where or how you booked your flights or holiday, all airlines, travel agencies and travel insurance companies use the advice of the DFA before making any decisions about whether to cancel or alter flights or allow refunds to be authorised. They also have an app which you can download called Travelwise. If the DFA advise against travel to a specific country or region, flights may be cancelled. Usually these are only announced up to 14 days in advance.

 

 

 

For instance, if you are due to travel in August, flights will still be scheduled, and normal cancellations or change fees will apply if you decide that you don’t want to go. As at 11th March 2020, DFA is advising against non-essential travel to China, South Korea and Spain. The DFA has DO NOT TRAVEL advice in place for Italy.

 

 

 

If you happen to be booked to travel to Italy within the next 14 days, where there a Do Not Travel advice is in place, airlines will cancel flights and you should be entitled to a refund. However, if you are due to travel to Spain where the advice is against Non Essential Travel – you may not automatically get a refund from the airline if your flight is still operating,
 
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However, if you do not get a refund from your travel agent or airline, you should be able to claim from your travel insurance company, depending on the level of cover you have. However if you are due to travel to Italy or Spain in August, normal cancellation policies apply.
 
Visit DFA Website
 

 

 

Make sure you have Travel Insurance and Travel Disruption Cover.

In many cases, if you have travel insurance it should cover you if you are travelling to an affected area and need to cancel – within 14 days of your travel date. If you have not taken out travel insurance yet, do so now. It is possible that Covid-19 will not be covered on travel insurance policies in the future, so my advice is book a yearly or even two-yearly policy now. However, a moratorium will apply and the insurance will only be valid once this moratorium is over – usually 7 days. Note: new bookings will not be covered against Covid-19 if there is a travel advisory in place advising ‘all but non essential travel’ – i.e Spain or Italy.

Book Insurance Here  
 

 

 
There is an additional insurance cover that you can take called Travel Disruption Cover. I recommend you add this to your existing insurance policy immediately.  If you happen to be travelling to an area with no known Coronavirus cases yet, you can add this to your existing policy and the additional cover will be in place after seven days.

travel insurance coronavirus

 

Read: Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy

Read: Coronavirus and what travel insurance covers

 

 

What to do if you have booked with a travel agency:

If you have booked a holiday via a travel agency, you are in a more fortunate position. Your travel agent should be up to date with the latest travel advice and should be able to help you if you wish to change or cancel your booking. Bear in mind that your travel agent will only be able to cancel or change your booking in accordance with the advice from the DFA and what the airlines / tour operators are allowing them to do.  

lake garda coronavirus
 

 

 

What to do if you have booked flights and hotels independently?

If you booked flights directly with the airline and a hotel via a hotel booking site, you will have to deal separately with the airline and hotel. This may not be straightforward, as there will be instances where you could be flying into an airport where there are no cases of Coronavirus recorded, but staying in a hotel where there is, or vice versa.
 

 

 
You need to understand that the airline and hotel may not be empathetic to your predicament. If you have not already taken out travel insurance, I would do so immediately, (moratorium will apply) and also add Travel Disruption Cover as mentioned above.

aer lingus coronavirus

 
 

 

 

What happens if Coronavirus is not in the country I am travelling to, but I want to cancel anyway?

Unfortunately if you don’t want to travel because of coronavirus, the tour operator, airline or travel agent is not obliged to give you a refund. It is also unlikely that your travel insurance provider will cover you because you don’t want to travel. 
 

 

 
TOP TIP: However all may not be lost! Check the cancellation fees on your booking. You may have paid more than the required deposit and maybe entitled to some refund. You may also be able to defer your booking to a later date or change the destination and pay a small amendment fee.

paris 

 

 

What precautions can I take to prevent me from getting Coronavirus?

 

The HSE and World Heath Organisation have both released statements on precautions that you can take.  It is worth noting that elderly people and those with ill-health are most at risk. 

  • Travellers should practice cough etiquette -maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • Avoid close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals

coronavirus precautions
 

 

 

What happens if you contract Coronavirus when abroad?

While I can not say what may happen to any individual, I can assure you that providing you are not travelling to a country where the DFA have advised against all but essential travel, your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses if you contract Coronavirus while abroad.
 

 

 

Other useful websites:

 

Multitrip.com – Travel Insurance

European Air Passenger rights:

RefundMe.ie

AirHelp.com

FlightRights.ie
 

 

Note the above information are guidelines only. Please refer to your airline, travel agent and travel insurance provider for individual cases.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 25th February 2020

best travel deals

This week’s best travel deals include short breaks in Prague and Dubai, a family staycation in Cork, a Camino walk, a Caribbean cruise, a wellness break in the Algarve and an Aer Lingus seat sale.

 

Best last minute:

Enjoy the St Patricks Day festivities in Dubai this year. Price for direct flights with Emirates, airport transfers, and a three-night stay on a half-board basis in the 5-star Anantara The Palm Dubai, is only €899 per person.

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it here
 

 

 

Best summer break

Walk the Camino with Roz Purcell this summer. Roz is taking part in the last stage of the French Way on the 2nd of July for seven nights. Price of €550 includes hotels on a bed & breakfast basis, daily baggage transfers, airport transfers and walking notes. Single room available from €145.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Enjoy a family break in the highly rated Quality Hotel Youghal in Cork this summer. Choose one of their luxury self catering apartments (sleep up to 4), from €149 or a luxury house (sleep up to 6), from €159 for two nights. Price for three nights is €219 and €249 respectively – this is 40% off! Located right on the beach you can choose the open sea or the indoor swimming pool with leisure facilities. They also give you a €10 spa voucher per person towards a treatment costing €40 or above. Valid until the 30th of June.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Think a holiday in Zanzibar is out of your price range? Think again! I found an amazing deal departing on the 5th of September with flights and a 4-star hotel included for just €892!

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best cruise:

Enjoy a three-night stay in Miami before cruising the Caribbean on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas! Price for flights, hotel accommodation in Miami and a seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin is only €1699!

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Fancy a quick getaway? Book a weekend break to Prague. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated Lindner Hotel Prague Castle is just €196 on the 25th of April.

See more here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Treat yourself to a wellness break in the Algarve this winter. Spend four nights in the five-star Real Marina Hotel & Spa, with breakfast included, for only €225, departing the 1st of November.

See more here
 

 

 

Best seat sale:

Aer Lingus have launched a new seat-sale today, with up to 25% off flights to Europe and UK. Travel until 30th April and book by 2nd March. 

See more here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals? See it 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
 

 

 

 
AmericaAsiaCruisesDESTINATIONSEuropeRest of the World

My Top Ten Solo Holidays

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Whether you want to see Machu Picchu at sunrise, book a wellness retreat in Bali, or just escape ordinary life for a few days, check out my top ten solo holidays and get planning your next break away.

 

See yourself as a bit of Shirley Valentine? Or maybe you are more a Motorcycle Diaries kind of guy? Regardless of your motives or desires for travel, solo holidays help you to leap beyond your comfort zone and discover things about yourself and your surroundings, that you may never have discovered if travelling with a partner. I have been fortunate to holiday in many far flung destinations with my family, but there is something liberating about travelling alone…

solo holidays

The thrills start at the airport for me. To be able to wander around Duty Free without kids in tow, is bliss! I also love plane journeys when travelling alone. I watch all the girly movies I never get to see at home, while enjoying a few glasses of wine.
 

 

 
Once you get to your destination, you don’t have to have the Spanish inquisition about where you want to go for dinner – you can dine where ever you want. Want to spend two hours shopping in your favourite department store? Go for it! Maybe there is a long hike you want to try, or a spa day is badly needed  – you don’t need to consult with anyone, you can just go on your own. You will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself, and how more independent you will become when you travel solo.

cruise holidays are ideal for solo travel

There are many different ways to enjoy solo travel – hopefully my list of top ten solo holidays will inspire you to plan your next trip away.

 

 

 

 

 

1. City breaks: Toulouse

City breaks are a good choice if you fancy a short break. If it is your first solo holiday and you are a little anxious, go to a city that you have been to before. You will feel comfortable and safe wandering around on your own. Alternatively choose somewhere that is compact and easy to navigate, like Porto, or Toulouse. Once you get used to solo holidays you will be surprised how much easier it becomes. You will then happily hop on a plane to a new city for your next solo holiday. 

solo holidays - city breaks
 

 

 
Despite being France’s fourth largest city, Toulouse feels like a small town. It is just a short distance from the airport and very easy to navigate on foot. I loved wandering around its colourful streets and ancient centre. The Victor Hugo market is a food lovers paradise and I really enjoyed seeing Concorde at the Aeroscopia Aeronautical Museum.  You can also take a tour of the Airbus factory, although you need to pre-book the tour. Toulouse is a university town and is vibrant and uplifting – it is a great choice for a solo holiday.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I really enjoyed strolling around #Toulouse on my own, I think I’m ready for some #solotravel 🤔 I even managed to take this pic with a selfie stick 🙌 Toulouse is a great city if you do want to try it solo. It’s only 2 hours flight with @aerlingus and a 15 minute taxi ride to the centre of town. The city is really easy to navigate and feels really safe walking alone. Anyone else like to travel solo? . . . . . . . . #visiteztoulouse @atout_france @travelmedia.ie #lavillerose #igerstoulouse #presstrip @VisitToulouse #toulousemaville #visitfrance #oldtown #beautifuldestinations #citiesofeurope #beautifulcities #travelblogger #travelgram #wearetravelgirls #irishtravelblogger #viewsofinstagram #cityscape #sheisnotlost #dametraveller #citybreak #travelbloggerlife #riverwalk #garonne #selfiestick #travellingsolo

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

Read: Toulouse travel blog – why you should visit and what to do when you get there.

Read: Why you need to choose Porto for your next city break

Search flights here

 

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2. Wellness holidays: The Body Holiday, St. Lucia

Wellness holidays are becoming more and more popular for solo holidays. Julia Roberts in the movie Eat Pray Love, had us all wishing to go to on a retreat in Bali, while fitness boot-camps and spa breaks are now the norm.  There are many ways to book a wellness break. You can opt for a familiar beach resort and book a flight and hotel with a spa, or opt for on retreat. Wellness breaks are ideal for solo travellers, so it can be a good place to meet like minded travellers.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by BodyHoliday Saint Lucia (@thebodyholiday) on

 

The Body Holiday is the ultimate wellness all-inclusive resort and it dedicates the month of September to solo travellers. Caribtours, the Caribbean specialists, have secured a massive saving for their September Solo’s campaign – you can enjoy this luxury 5-star resort with no single supplement! You will enjoy a personalised schedule of spa treatments, fitness classes and water sports with celebrity fitness trainers and dancers, as well as meals and premium drinks – all included in the cost of your holiday.
 

 

 
The Body Holiday can be whatever you want it to be. You can abseil down a river gorge in the morning, enjoy a spa treatment in the afternoon, and sip champagne at sunset. Where else would you find all this included in the cost of your stay?

the body holiday st lucia for solo holidays

See more here  Quote The Travel Expert for an additional discount. 
 

 

 

3. Cruises: 

Cruises are surprisingly good for solo travellers. There are so many dining options and meals are included in the cost of your cruise. In many cases food is available 24/7, so it is not unusual to see people popping down to the buffet alone for something to eat. There are theatre shows on every evening as well as live music in the bars, so there are plenty of options to keep you entertained. The fact that you stop off in many different ports also allows for lots of different experiences – it is virtually impossible to get bored on a cruise! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I have arrived in Germany for the launch of the #cruise ship #NorwegianEncore – she is a beauty! I can’t believe I was the first person to use the race track – the largest race track af sea! I actually got in the first car on the first run out – I just wish I had a photo to prove it 😉 -this one will have to do though! A massive thanks to @sunway_holidays for inviting me – they are Ireland’s top selling cruise specialists for @cruise_norwegian so I guess they got plenty of invites 😉 See all the highlights on my stories. . . . . . . #cruise #cruiselife #cruiseship #norwegiancruise #cruiselaunch #travelbloggerlife #travelblogger #irishtravelblogger #cruiseblogger #racetrack #formula1 #cruisetravel #cruisenorwegian #instacruise

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

 
 

 

 
Many cruise lines have dedicated areas for solo travellers but I was really impressed with the studio cabins on Norwegian Encore. They are all located in one designated area on the ship and have a private bar and lounge area. This is an ideal place to meet people and plan activities.  I would quite happily spend a week or two travelling solo on a cruise.

single studio on norwegian encore

Read: My review of Norwegian Encore
 

 

 

4. Escorted Group Tours: Panoramic Peru: 15 Day Escorted Tour

Many like to travel as part of a group tour for their first solo trip. This is particularly handy if there is a bucket list trip you want to take, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable travelling alone. South America, India and China are ideal destinations for solo group tours, but there are also plenty of group tours in European destinations too. 

Read: Discover Asia & South America with Wendy Wu Tours
 

 

 
Peru is best explored on a group tour, in fact you will undoubtedly meet many solo travellers along your journey. The fact that you get to visit Machu Picchu is enough to make me want to book this trip, but that is only one of the many magical sights you will witness on this incredible adventure.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on escorted tours

See more here
 

 

 

5.  Spa Breaks: Algarve

Sometimes a few days away is all you need to re-charge the batteries. A short flight and a nice hotel is just the ticket! The Algarve is the ideal choice for solo holidays. It is full of long sandy beaches, superb restaurants and plenty of old towns to explore. Whether you are looking for a three-star apartment or a five-star luxury hotel, both are relatively easy to find. Luxury hotels are extremely good value outside school holidays and most have indoor pools, which is handy if travelling during the winter time.
 

 

 
I found a great spa break staying in the 5-star Real Marina Hotel & Spa. Price for flights and a four-night stay with breakfast is just €334, travelling on the 1st of November.

a wellness break in the algarve is ideal for solo travel

See more here
 

 

 

6.  The ultimate retreat – Ubud, Bali.

Yoga, pilates and meditation gave Ubud its global status as one of the world’s best wellness locations, so if you are looking for the ultimate retreat, Ubud is the place to go. You will certainly be wowed by its beauty, you may possibly be taken in by its spirituality, and who knows you might even meet the love of your life, like Julia Roberts did in Eat Pray Love. There are numerous ways to experience Ubud. Many choose to combine it with some beach time in Bali or the Gili Islands, but for the ultimate in relaxation, book a spa hotel or retreat. 

solo holidays in bali

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7. A touch of luxury in Greece 

There is something about Greece that conjures up images of solo travel. I recall Shirley Valentine going to Mykonos in 1989 (seriously feeling old now), and how I couldn’t wait to visit. The constant images on Instagram of Santorini’s white-washed towns and Zakynthos’ famous Shipwreck Beach are persuading everyone to pack their bags and travel to Greece.

santorini
 

 

 
However, I chose the road less travelled last year and stayed in a luxury resort on the island of Crete. Anemos Luxury Grand Resort is located near Chania and Rethymno – two beautiful towns with Venetian ports. They are full of narrow side streets, waterfront cafés and colourful buildings. I explored Chania on my own and loved it. There is a super bus service that goes to both towns every hour, and the bus stop is right outside the hotel. You can also enjoy a 30 minute stroll along the beach into the town of Georgioupolos – home to this delightful church. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

The hotel has great restaurants on site, an indoor pool and spa and has yoga classes every morning on the beach. If you are looking for a luxury beach hotel with plenty to do in the surrounding area, this is perfect!

Read: My review of Anemos Luxury Grand Resort

Read: Top Things to do near Chania

 

Search flights here Chania airport

Search hotel here
 

 

 

8. Independent long haul trips: Thailand

Thailand is a great choice for solo holidays. It is affordable, friendly and offers a great mix of beach, wildlife and culture. You are bound to meet lots of solo travellers on your journey, and you you may end up changing your plans and travelling with them instead.
 

 

 
Hostels are the ideal choice if you are on a budget and want to meet solo travellers. Most hostels are like hotels now, with private rooms en-suite and all mod cons – you don’t have to stay in a dormitory. The main benefit of staying in hostels is they generally organise group events. There are often city tours and pub crawls set up so you don’t have to go out alone. These are a great option if you happen to be travelling solo for a long duration. I suggest booking your first few nights in one of the main beach resorts and then see where the wind takes you…

thailand is one of the best countries for solo holidays

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9. Road Trip: It has to be Route 66 

Maybe you turned 50 and bought yourself a motor bike, or maybe you just like road trips….

If you want to take off on your own, it doesn’t get much better than driving two thousand miles, across eight US states. Driving Route 66 is arguably the most iconic road trip in the world, and one that is sure to be full of soul searching, joy and adrenaline. Drive through Grand Canyon National Park, stand on a corner in Winslow Arizona, and finish off your trip on Santa Monica pier – this is an adventure like no other, and a solo trip you will never forget. 

route 66

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10. Nature Lovers: Iceland

Iceland is one the world’s safest countries, so if you are worried about travelling solo, this is a great place to start. There is so much to do in Iceland especially if you like nature and the elements. You can travel during the summer time and experience the midnight sun, or wait until winter time and chase the Northern Lights. Regardless of when you travel, take a trip around the Golden Circle and book a swim in the Blue Lagoon. Iceland is not cheap though, so make sure you bring plenty of cash with you! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Read: Top things to do in Iceland

 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

I hope this post on solo holidays will inspire you to travel solo this year. Let me know if you have any favourite solo holidays, but commenting below.

Sarah

 

The Travel Expert

 
Travel News and Reviews

Amazing Stena Line Sale – Sail To The UK for €7 And France for €14!

Stena-Estrid-sea-trial-#1-compressor

Visit the UK from just €7 one-way or France from €14 one-way with this amazing Stena Line sale for foot passengers.

 

To think it is cheaper to cross the Irish Sea than it is to get a taxi into town! You can also go to France for the price of a decent bottle of wine – this Stena Line sale is one of the best I’ve seen. 

 

 
Stena Line has launched their Super-Saver sale to celebrate the arrival of their new ships Stena Estrid and Stena Edda. Stena Estrid is already sailing from Dublin to Holyhead and Stena Edda which will be sailing on the Belfast to Liverpool route in early March. You can sail as a foot passenger on either ship from Dublin to Holyhead, Rosslare to Fishguard and Belfast to Cairnryan, for just €7 one way, on selected dates until December 18th.

 

 

Always wanted to go to a Premier League match? Fancy exploring the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands? Perhaps you might bring your children to Legoland? I also like the idea of taking the kids across the Irish Sea for the day. It is a novel thing to do during school holidays, and is cheaper than bringing them to the Zoo!

stena line sale to uk
 

 

 
The brand new Stena Estrid boasts Scandinavian inspired interiors, and according to Stena Line, it is the largest, most spacious and most comfortable ship to sail between Dublin and Holyhead.
 

 

 
You will find great facilities on board, making the 3-hour and 15 minute crossing sail by… There are two Happy World children’s play areas, two movie lounges, a large shopping area, Taste restaurant and this amazing Sky bar – pictured below. I am due to sail on this ship later in the year and can’t wait to see it for myself. 

stena line sale
 

 

 

But it doesn’t stop there! If you prefer a little ‘Oh la la’ in France, the Stena Line sale will bring you from Rosslare to Cherbourg for just €14 one-way per adult and €9.50 one way per child. Stena Line has three crossings to France each week.

 

 

 

So enjoy a romantic break in Paris, bring the kids to Brittany or explore the French wine regions, the choice is yours!  Travel dates in this Stena Line sale to France are from 1st April – 31st May and 10th September – 18th December. 

stena line sale to france

All of these Super-Saver offers in the Stena Line sale are available to book until the 9th of March. Places are limited so make sure you book now to avoid disappointment.   

 

 

 

Stena Line Sale Terms & Conditions:

  • *€7 foot fare applies to travel on Cairnryan/Liverpool to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare routes. On the Rosslare to Cherbourg route fare is €14 one way by foot for an adult and €9.50 per child.
  • **Valid for travel on Irish Sea routes Cairnryan/Liverpool to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare until 18 December 2020, and valid for travel on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route from 1 April – 31 May and 10 September – 18 December 2020.
  • Offer is limited to a promotional allocation, date exclusions may apply and is subject to availability.
  • Must be booked 48 hours in advance of travel and by 9 March at 23.00hrs.
  • No amendments to the booking are permitted.
  • No refunds are permitted.
  • This offer is not available in conjunction with any other offers or promotions including Tesco Clubcard Boost tokens.
  • Extra points may be earned but not redeemed.
  • Available to book online only.
  • The fare quoted is inclusive of all fees and dues.
  • Stena Line reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

 

 

 
Book Offer here

 

Search car hire here

 

Search hotels here

 

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

 

 
Sarah
 

travel deals
Travel

Amazing Holiday in Zanzibar, Flights & 4-Star Hotel, 5th September, 1 week, €892!

zanzibar

Think a holiday in Zanzibar is out of your price range? Think again! This amazing deal includes flights and a 4-star hotel for seven nights.

 

I was lucky enough to enjoy a holiday in Zanzibar many years ago, and trust me, the word ‘paradise’ is an understatement! Zanzibar is the Indian Ocean, so you can expect idyllic white sandy beaches and warm waters, but it also offers so much more. Although Zanzibar is full of luxury hotels, most of them are built to blend into the environment, so it still feels unspoilt.
 

 

 
Watching the locals fishing in their dhows, while you chill out on a hammock is typical of the lazy days you can expect there. Zanzibar has an underwater paradise too, it is the perfect place to try snorkelling or scuba diving. In fact my husband got his PADI dive licence there in five days.

The Travel Expert finds a great offer to holiday in Zanzibar
 

 

 
Of course if you want action, you can have that too. The capital Stone Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is well worth a visit. The Old Fort, bustling bazaars and Marrakech style medina feel exotic, and strolling through it’s narrow streets you can’t help with fall in love with its ornate houses. In fact, Stone Town gets its name from these very houses that are built with local stone.

amazing holiday in zanzibar
 

 

 
I found a great deal staying in the popular Pongwe Bay Resort. Located on the beach and surrounded by lush gardens you will be treated to a junior suite with a sea view. There is a pool, sauna and solarium on site as well as a host of water sports available on the beach. This hotel receives excellent reviews on Tripadvisor and was also awarded a Certificate of Excellence.  

amazing offer to holiday in zanzibar
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Zanzibar on the 5th of September and enjoy a seven night stay at the Pongwe Bay Resort for only €892 per person. This amazing holiday in Zanzibar includes flights with Ethiopian Airlines and accommodation with breakfast for seven nights. I flew with Ethiopian Airlines to Cape Town and enjoyed their service. You also get 2 x 23kg checked bags included in the price of the air fare! 

Read: My review of Ethiopian Airlines service.
 

 

 

So go on grab this superb deal while you can. September is a good time to visit Zanzibar, as average temperatures are a balmy 25 degrees and there is little rainfall. Tempted? Simply click on the links below.

 

View flights here €551pp

 

View hotel here €341pp
 

 

 
Note: A Yellow Fever Certificate may be required for travel to Zanzibar if you are arriving or transiting (for more than 12 hours) from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission. It is always important to check all visa and vaccination requirements before booking flights to any country.

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you. 

 

Sarah
The Travel Expert
 

 

 

 
In The Media

Staycations As Discussed On Newstalk

Skelligs_opt

Plan an overnight escape or a weekend away with these four and five-star staycations that I discussed with Ivan Yates on Newstalk.

 

 

1. Delphi Resort Connemara, Galway: €65pp With Breakfast, Dinner & More

Delphi Resort is surrounded by 200 acres of forest, and is the perfect choice for anyone looking for staycations with lots of outdoor activities. Thrill seekers will love zip-lining, kayaking and rock climbing, but the thermal suite and yoga classes provide excellent opportunities for those who just want to relax. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way and only a short drive to Westport, the opportunities for day trips here are endless. This super deal also includes a two-course evening meal at the popular 814 restaurant.

cheap spa breaks in ireland

Price of €65pp includes an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite with breakfast, one-hour thermal suite access, 10% off treatments and activities, and a two-course dinner at the 814 Restaurant. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €95pp. Valid until 25th June.

View offer here
 

 

 

2. Mother’s Day Special: 4-Star Brehon Hotel & Spa, Killarney, from €55pp With Breakfast

Who doesn’t love Killarney? The National Park, Killarney Lakes, Torc Waterfall, Muckross Abbey – there is so much to see and do here. I brought my Mum to Killarney a few years and she loved it. The luxurious Brehon Hotel overlooks Killarney National Park and is renowned for its great cuisine and the Angsana spa.

mother and daughter irish spa hotel breaks

See more here
 

 

 

3. St Patricks Weekend, 2 Nights for Price of 1: Malone Lodge, Belfast, from €84pp With Breakfast

This Victorian town-house hotel is located in the Queens University Quarter of Belfast. Its spacious rooms and intimate atmosphere combine to offer a delightful stay in the heart of Belfast. With a 2 night for the price of 1 offer you will have ample time to visit the Titanic Museum or explore the nearby Causeway Coast and Game of Thrones locations.  This deal is available on the 15th of March for two nights.

Read: A magical few days on the Causeway Coast

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

See more here

 

 

 

4.  5-Star The g Hotel & Spa, Galway: 2 Nights B&B from €150pp

Galway City’s only 5-star hotel & spa, The g Hotel is the best place to stay if are looking for luxury and easy access to Galway’s vibrant city centre. Designed by Philip Treacy, you will love the modern decor in its three signature lounges: the Grand Salon, Pink Salon and the Blue Lounge. Choose to dine in its award-winning restaurant, or enjoy a leisurely 20-minute stroll to Eyre Square to sample Galway’s lively bars and restaurants. Whatever you do, don’t miss the luxury spa – Espa at The g. Situated over two floors, you will find a large thermal suite, as well as 12 treatment rooms and a fitness studio. 

luxury hotel deals in ireland

Price of €150 per person is for a two-night stay with breakfast. Valid until the end of March.

See more here
 

 

 

5. Knightsbrook Hotel, Meath: €75pp With Breakfast, Dinner, Spa credit & Round of Golf!

This multi-award-winning resort hotel has just won Hotel of the Year and Best Hotel Spa Ireland, at the 2019 Hotel Awards Ireland. It is situated in the scenic Boyne Valley yet only 35 minutes from Dublin. However, with an 18-hole championship golf Course, a leisure club and spa and a choice of dining options, you may find it difficult to leave. This amazing deal also includes dinner and a round of golf.

Price of €75pp includes an overnight stay for two in a deluxe double room with breakfast, two-course dinner on one night, €20 spa credit per person, a round of golf per person (all must be pre-booked), and full access to leisure facilities! Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €120pp. Valid Sunday-Thursday until 30th June.

View offer here
 

 

 

6. Fitzwilton Hotel, Waterford: €50pp With Breakfast, Main Course Dinner and Late Check-Out

If you are looking for a hotel that is right in the heart of the city, look no further than The Fitzwilton. Located in Ireland’s oldest city, this is ideal for couples who don’t wish to drive – it is just 300 meters from the train station and five minutes from the Waterford Greenway. The Fitzwilton is a boutique hotel, that boasts newly refurbished rooms and a choice of two dining options. Priced at just €50 per person including breakfast and dinner – this is a great value city break.

staycations in ireland where you dont need a car
Price of €50pp includes an overnight stay for two in a double or twin room with breakfast, main course dinner in the Met bar and late check out. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €75pp. Valid until 31st May.

View offer here
 

 

 

7.  5-Star Fota Island Resort & Spa, Cork: €75pp With Breakfast, VIP Spa Passes, Dining and Golf Credit & Voucher for Titanic Experience

I am a big lover of Fota Island Resort, I have visited many times. I usually go with my kids so I am always envious of those on a romantic break. I have also witnessed the afternoon tea and it looks divine. There are lovely walks around the grounds as well as choice of golf courses to choose from. The pretty town of Cobh, with the wonderful Titanic Experience attraction, is just a short drive away.

 
Read all about my stay in Fota Island Resort here

fota island resort

Price of €75pp includes an overnight stay for two in a classic plus room with full Irish breakfast, VIP spa passes, €20pp spa credit towards a full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for two people, €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf courses. This super deal also gives you €25 credit to spend on entry to local attractions such as Fota Wildlife Park, the Titanic Experience or the Jameson Experience. Want to stay for two nights? The cost is just €143pp. Valid until 31st May.

 
View offer here
 

 

 

8. The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Mayo: €120pp with Breakfast, Dinner, Round of Golf and Late Check-Out

Ashford Castle needs no introduction – it is arguably Ireland’s best hotel. To get a deal in the 19th-century Lodge at Ashford Castle is a feat in itself, but to include dinner and a round of golf is exceptional. You will have the advantage of staying in a spacious duplex suite in The Lodge, but also enjoying all the facilities of Ashford Castle, including golf, tennis, cycling, kayaking, fishing and horse riding. This has to be one of our best staycations.

Ashford castle - one of Irelands best staycations

Price of €140pp includes an overnight stay for two with full Irish breakfast, glass of Prosecco on arrival, two-course meal for two in the Quay bar and brasserie, complimentary round of golf and late check-out. Want to stay for two nights? The cost is just €140pp. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here
 

 

 

9. Royal Valentia Hotel, Kerry: Two-Night Stay From €60pp With Breakfast

This offer includes a two-night stay, which is just what you need to explore one of Ireland’s most scenic coastlines. Located in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking Valentia Harbour – a stay at the Royal Valentia Hotel is the perfect choice for a couple looking to explore the Ring of Kerry and The Skellig Islands. In fact the Valentia Island Car Ferry runs right beside the hotel. Recently refurbished, you can now expect modern decor inside this 200 year old hotel. The hotel’s Royal Bar and Restaurant is a popular haunt for locals as well as guests. Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor if you still need convincing.

Select Hotels of Ireland - Dingle Skellig Hotel

Price includes a two-night stay in a double / twin room with full Irish breakfast and a complimentary glass of wine when purchasing a main course. Want to stay for three nights? The price is just €85pp. Valid until 31st May.

View offer here
 

 

 

10. Belleek Castle, Mayo: €58pp With Breakfast, Sweet Treat and Late Check-Out

If you are looking for the perfect romantic staycation – look no further than Belleek Castle. Don’t let the name intimidate you, Belleek is renowned for its friendly, home from home atmosphere. You can expect open log fires, elegant interiors and mouthwatering food too. Belleek Castle just recently won Fine Dining Hotel of the Year and Restaurant Manager of the Year at the Irish Hotel Awards 2019, so it is a great choice for foodies. Their signature dish, the “Drunken Bullock”, a filet steak flambéed at the table and served flaming from a sword, is a must-have! Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor if you still need convincing.

staycations in Belleek Castle

Price of €58pp includes an overnight stay in a Manor double room with breakfast, a sweet treat in the Jack Fenn Cafe, and a late check out*. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €113pp. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here

 

 

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

 
Best Travel DealsCity Breaks

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 18th February 2020

Best Travel Deals (2) (1)

In this week’s Best Travel Deals I have a spring break in the Amalfi Coast, all-inclusive deals to Crete and the Dominican Republic, a family holiday to Greece, a weekend break in Toulouse for €167, luxury escorted tours and a cruise and stay in New Orleans.
 

 

Best last minute:

Escape to the Amalfi Coast next month and enjoy a week in the highly rated 4-Star Grand Hotel Aminta in Sorrento, for just €390 per person. This hotel receives an Excellent rating on Tripadvisor and is superbly located in the resort centre. Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights with breakfast, departing the 22nd of March.

View flights here €80pp

View hotel here €310pp

 
Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Swap the Canaries for the Caribbean this summer and enjoy an all-inclusive week in 5-star Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for just €993! Price includes flights and hotel for seven nights, with meals and drinks included.

See more here

 

 

 

 

Best long haul offer

There are some great savings available on luxury tours in Asia and South America. You can upgrade to business class for €199 on tours to India, save €600 on South America tours, and get free VIP door-to-door chauffeur transfers on all tours. If you want to travel solo, avail of the no single supplements offer – saving a whopping €1140 on the Panoramic Peru tour. If you are looking for authentic escorted tours in Asia or South America, don’t miss this post.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Looking for an all-inclusive family complex with a water park on site? I found a great deal to the Sun Palace in Rhodes this summer. Price for flights, transfers, checked baggage and accommodation with all meals and drinks included, is only €2476 on the 24th of June, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Use code SUN100 to save €100 off the listed price of this holiday or any holiday to Greece or Turkey over €1000 in value. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Enjoy a weekend break in the charming city of Toulouse. I visited Toulouse last year and loved it. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the 4-star Privilège Hôtel Mermoz Hotel is only €167 per person, departing Friday the 15th of May.

View flights here €49pp

View hotel here €118pp
 

Read: My Toulouse Travel Blog 
 

 

 

Best cruise:

Combine three nights in the vibrant city of New Orleans with a seven-night cruise around the Bahamas. You will even get the opportunity to visit Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at Cococay. Price for flights, three nights in the 4-star Hilton Hotel in New Orleans,  and seven nights cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, is only €1329 on the 26th of August. 

View offer here
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Spend St Patricks Weekend in Belfast. The highly rated Malone Lodge Hotel is offering two nights for the price of one. Price is only €84 per person for a two-night stay with breakfast included, arriving the 15th of March.

Search offer here
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Round off the summer with an all-inclusive week in Crete. Stay at the highly rated 4-star Hotel Dore, with all meals and drinks included for just €470, departing the 11th of October. This hotel receives an Excllent rating on Tripadvisor.

View offer here

 

Read: Top things to do near Chania, Crete
 

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.

 

Missed last week’s Best Travel Deals post? See it here.

 
Sarah
 
travel deals
 

 

 

 
Travel

5-Star All Inclusive Deal to the Dominican Republic, 1 week, 1st February 2020, €1427!

all inclusive resorts

800 miles of Caribbean coastline, year round sunshine, picture postcard beaches, and tropical rainforests. Why not swap the Canary Islands for the Caribbean next winter, and grab this all inclusive deal to the Dominican Republic.

 

Filled with luxury resorts and white sandy beaches, Punta Cana is the most popular resort in the Dominican Republic. Water sports are plentiful – try diving, snorkelling or enjoy a sunset cruise. The island’s interior is filled with tropical rainforests and lush mountains and is definitely worth exploring.
 

 

 
However, most of the hotels are all-inclusive, so many people tend to stay put and enjoy the onsite facilities. If you take a stroll along the beaches in Punta Cana you will discover the cutest beach houses selling local handcrafts and gifts.

all inclusive deal to the Dominican Republic

There are countless accommodation offerings, but I couldn’t resist the value at the Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana. For less than €1000, you can enjoy a week’s stay with flights, all meals and drinks included! Located less than 30 minutes from the airport, you can hop in a taxi or book a return private transfer in advance for just €16 per person.
 

 

 
Located on the superb Bávaro Beach, the hardest decision you will have to make is whether to spend the day at the beach, or in one of its two lake-style pools. Other facilities include a gym, spa, multi-sports courts and a water activity centre offering a wide selection of water sports. Paddle surf, kayaks, tennis, catamarans and snorkeling are all included in the all-inclusive arrangement for one hour per day, subject to availability.  

all inclusive deal to dominican republic
 

 

 
There are six different restaurants and four bars to choose from, as well as a disco on site. The all-inclusive arrangement includes drinks in the nightclub too! The hotel is also great for families, with kids clubs, a children’s water park, baby station and teen clubs available.
 

 

 
The Bahia Principe Grand Punta Cana has two sister hotels close by, the Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro and Grand Bahia Principe Turquesa, and you are welcome to use all the facilities in all three hotels, except the buffet restaurants.
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Punta Cana on the 1st of February and enjoy a seven night stay in the Bahia Principe Grand Hotel for just €1427. I have chosen flights via Paris with Air France as the layover time is only circa two hours. There are many hotel options when you click on the link below. At the time of issue the best all-inclusive rate is €238 per room per night.

all inclusive deal to the dominican republic

 

 
With the all-inclusive arrangement, you don’t need any spending money, so go on book this all inclusive deal to the Dominican Republic and start 2021 off in style….

View flights here €594pp

View hotel here €833pp

Book transfers here
 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 
 

 

 
Like Long haul? See more destination reviews and travel deals here.

 

Sarah
The Travel Expert
 

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