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25 Bucket List Holidays To Inspire Your Next Trip

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From the Maldives to Machu Picchu, the Amalfi Coast to Antartica, check out my top bucket list holidays to inspire your next big trip.

 

In most cases bucket list holidays are down to personal taste – as the saying goes, one man’s pleasure is another man’s pain. They can also depend on the type of holiday you are looking for at the time. Right now I would love to be lying on a beach in Bora Bora, but if I was planning a bucket list family holiday for next year, I would probably choose a road trip across Western Canada, or a tour of Vietnam.
 

 

 
One of my life long dreams is to see the gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda. Hopefully I will get to see them one day, I will never give up hope anyway! This is my own personal list of bucket list holidays, so hopefully one of these will inspire you to plan a trip of a lifetime. 
 

 

 

1. Bora Bora 

Bora Bora one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

Bora Bora has been on my bucket list for years. Many celebrities have holidayed here and if you can afford it, it really is one of the world’s top bucket list holidays. As well as incredible beaches and secluded lagoons, you can swim with turtles and even climb its two mountain peaks.
 

 

 
It is also one of the few destinations, other than the Maldives, that have over water bungalows – check out the Four Seasons Resort for the ultimate bucket list experience! Located in French Polynesia, most combine Bora Bora with a trip to either Australasia or California. 

 

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2. Maldives

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I finally published my post on the #maldives 🙌 If you want to know all about one of the best places I have ever been – grab a coffee cos it’s a long one ☕️- Link in bio / profile . . . . . . . . maldivesresorts #maldivesislands #paradiseisland #paradisecove #irishtravelblogger #travelbloggerlife #lovemyjob #wearetravelgirls #travelpics #travelgram #beautifuldestinations #beachgirl #centaragrandmaldives @holidayshopdub @centaragrandmaldives #iphonepic #igersmaldives #beachlife🌴 #Seaview #views #maldivesisland #maldivesview #seacolours #viewsofinstagram #luxurylifestyle #luxurylife #luxurytravel #luxuryhotel #beachesofinstagram #beaches

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Our trip to the Maldives was one of my favourite holidays – no pictures or words can actually do it justice. Each resort is on its own island, so you have to arrive at your hotel by seaplane or speed boat. The laid back atmosphere means that even in deluxe hotels, the dress code is casual.
 

 

 
We stayed in the all-inclusive Centara Grand Maldives. As well having romantic over water bungalows and deluxe beach villas, there was a large amount of families and couples who were there to enjoy the activities. We loved chatting to fellow islanders about what fish they had seen that day, or activities they had tried. The Maldives is not only for honeymooners…

Read about my magical stay in the Maldives

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3. Galapagos Islands

bucket list holidays to the galapagos islands

Search flights here See Celebrity Cruises here

See G Adventures here
 

 

 

4. Hawaii

Hawaii one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

This multicultural paradise is vastly different from the paradise islands of the Indian Ccean or South Pacific. You will see college students on gap years, mingling with honeymoon couples in five-star resorts. There are six main islands, each offering something different. 
 

 

 
Touring the Battleships of World War II in Pearl Harbour is a popular attraction, while the rugged landscapes, superb beaches, and relaxed vibe, ensures a holiday in Hawaii will leave you wanting to come back for more. 

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5. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Whitsunday Islands one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

My trips around Australia led me to some pretty spectacular places, but the one place that stands out in my mind is Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. It is still probably the best beach I have ever seen. The sand is amongst the purest in the world, it is so fine, it is used to polish jewellery! Sailing boats leave from Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, and you can fly there directly from most Australian cities. 

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6. Sri Lanka

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We met this friendly #elephant on the way to Yala National Park, we got so close I could have touched him! Love the pic of me taking his photo – thanks to @cathyburketcireland for taking it. Swipe right to see more and check out my stories 👆 . . . . . . #srilanka #safari #safaripark #elephant #elephants #elephantsofinstagram #elephantphotography #animalcrossing #upcloseandpersonal #travelblogger #travelphotography #travelgram #instatravel #insatagood #instadaily #picoftheday #photooftheday #trafficjam #wearetravelgirls #travelbloggerlife #tcexperience #widenyourworld @turkishairlines @travelcounsellorsireland @instasrilanka @srilankadaily @destination_srilanka @srilanka

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Sri Lanka was one big surprise! I was seduced by Sri Lanka when I visited a few years ago, and have vowed to go back with my family to show them why. Although located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka offers so much more than white sandy beaches and year round sunshine.
 

 

 
There are a staggering eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. I climbed the 660-feet tall rock fortress of Sigiriya and it was incredible. Sri Lanka has great wildlife too. It is home to the highest concentration of leopards in the world and it is one of the best places to see elephants – there are almost 6,000 of them in Sri Lanka.

I also stayed in the Ceylon Tea Trails Hotel – that is one of the world’s top bucket list holidays in its own right! Sri Lanka is the perfect destination if you want to mix adventure, culture and precious beach time.

Read: My top 10 things to do in Sri Lanka

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7. Amalfi Coast / Capri

amalfi coast bucket list holidays

When we think of bucket list holidays, we usually think of far flung destinations. However, sometimes what we are looking for is right on our doorstep. The Amalfi Coast is one of Europe’s most stunning coastlines. Each resort is nicer than the next and the views across the Bay of Naples are breathtaking.
 

 

 
Sorrento is the liveliest of the resorts and also less expensive than some of its neighbours. However for the ultimate bucket list holiday choose Positano or Ravello. And if budget is not a concern, stay in the Caruso Hotel, Ravello or the Il San Pietro de Positano. Alternatively combine it with a few days on the Isle of Capri. 

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8. New Orleans & The Deep South

american holidays with direct flights from Ireland

Watching the sunrise over Machu Picchu is on every travel bucket list I see, and it is also on mine. I would love to trek the Inca Trail, visit the Sacred Valley and see Lake Titicaca. However, you don’t have to take the strenuous trek, there is a train that brings you right to the magical city.
 

 

 
An escorted tour is probably the best way to ensure you see all the highlights. Wendy Wu tours, Insight Vacations and G Adventures organise tours to Peru. Personally I think a stay in an eco lodge in the Amazon jungle would be the perfect ending to this trip…

Read: Top 5 South America Tours 

Read: Discover South America and Asia With Wendy Wu Tours

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10. The Garden Route, South Africa

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our ‘tent’ – if you can call it that, at @amakhala ❤️ There are a few different lodges within the reserve, this one is Bush Lodge and as you can see it’s pretty spectacular! Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, outdoor showers and a free standing bath! Not exactly a tent as we are used to in Ireland! . . . . . #instatravel #travelblogger #travelpic #beautifuldestinations #travelgram #southafrica @ilovesouthafrica @meetsouthafrica @southafrica #tia #irishtravelblogger #thetravelexpert @amakhalasafari #safari #luxurysafari #luxuryhotels #familyhotel #smalluxuryhotelsoftheworld #gamereserve #gamereservesouthafrica #bath #luxurysafari #luxurytents #glamping #tents #tentselfie #luxury #luxurytravel #familytravel #familysafari #memories #lifetimememories @gohop_ie #drone #dronestagram #dronephotography

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South Africa is one of my favourite holiday destinations. I love the city of Cape Town, the Garden Route drive, and the numerous safari options that are available. I went on my honeymoon (a long time ago) and returned last year on a family holiday. I can honestly say that a holiday in South Africa is ideal for either situation.
 

 

 
There are plenty of romantic hideaways and wine estates for couples, but also plenty to keep the kids amused too. I have lots of posts on South Africa put this one connects them all together.

Read: How to plan the perfect South African road trip.

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11. Alaska Cruise

alaska a bucket list holiday destination

An Alaska cruise seemed like a pipe dream for most of us a few years ago, but recently it has become much more affordable. With the introduction of direct flights from Dublin to Seattle, and the increase of cruise companies now cruising Alaska, this dream can now become a reality.
 

 

 
You will witness some of the world’s most dramatic scenery as well as some stunning wildlife, massive glaciers and National Parks. The race to see Alaska is on, it is melting at an extraordinary rate. Add it to your list of bucket list holidays and go see it before its too late. 

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12. Kenya, Tanzania Safari & Zanzibar Multi-Centre

bucket list adventures

Combining safaris in Tanzania and Kenya with a stay in Zanzibar is the perfect multi-centre holiday. Myself and Cormac went on a similar holiday about 18 years ago and we still talk about it. We stayed in three different National Parks over a one week period, Amboseli, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. Why not add on a few nights in Giraffe Manor too, and experience the ultimate bucket list breakfast?
 

 

 
The game viewing was incredible and each reserve gave us a unique experience. The highlight was our stay in Ngorongoro Crater Lodge – an experience I will never forget. We rounded off a fabulous time in Tanzania with a short flight over to Zanzibar for a relaxing week on the beach. 

Read about my safari in Tanzania here

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13. Santorini

Santorini

The picture postcard image of Santorini is a great advertisement for Greece – how could you not want to go there? Every time I see it, I picture myself sipping a cocktail in a small Greek taverna, watching one of the most amazing sunsets. Is Santorini one of the world’s top bucket list holidays? Absolutely.  However, try to avoid peak summer months – as the crowds might ruin the romance…

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14. West Canada road trip with the Rocky Mountaineer

a canada road trip is one of my bucket list holidays

This is another trip that is high on list of bucket list holidays. A few years ago we drove from San Francisco to San Diego on a family road trip, and ever since I have wanted to go back and drive in the opposite direction.
 

 

 
With direct flights from Dublin to Seattle, I would choose to fly to Seattle and drive to Alaska, taking in the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park, Lake Louse and Vancouver. Depending on your budget, a two-day trip on the Rocky Mountaineer would finish off this bucket list holiday nicely!

Read: 5 ways to visit Canada

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15. Las Vegas with a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon 

grand canyon bucket list holidays

I was supposed to be visiting Las Vegas for the first time in April, but unfortunately it had to be cancelled 😔 Hopefully I will get to see the City of Lights and one of the seven natural wonders of the world another time. Everyone I speak to who has seen the Grand Canyon say the same thing – the photos or social media images don’t prepare you for its beauty, or its immense size. Formed by millions of years of erosion, it is 227 miles long and averages over ten miles wide.
 

 

 
A helicopter ride offers you the best chance of seeing as much as possible, however  I am told the South Rim offers the most dramatic views. The Sky Walk is located on the West Rim though, so maybe Ill have to visit both! I also love that the Grand Canyon looks completely different at various times during the day – to see it at sunrise or sunset is probably the ultimate bucket list experience. 

Read: The Absolute Guide to Las Vegas

Read: 5 ways to visit Las Vegas

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16. Antartica

antartica bucket list holidays

While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly is mine. Wouldn’t it be nice to follow in Tom Crean’s footsteps and see glaciers, icebergs and incredible wildlife in one of the world’s most unspoilt destinations? National Geographic have expedition ships that leave from Ushuaia in Argentina, another country that is worthy of a place on this list of bucket list holidays.

See more here
 

 

 

17. Milford Sound, New Zealand

new zealand bucket list holiday destination

Often described as the 8th wonder of the world, Milford Sound in New Zealand’s South Island is home to stunning mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and magnificent fjords. Carved by glaciers, it is breathtaking at any time of year. Combine it with a visit to Christchurch and the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown, for the ultimate bucket list experience.    

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18. The Orient Express

orient express bucket list holidays

The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is the most famous train journey in the world. Step back in time to the 1920’s and enjoy top quality dining and superb service in a unique setting. London to Venice is the most iconic journey, but there are also plenty of one-night journeys available if you just want to live the dream for a day! 

See more here
 

 

 

19. Turks & Caicos

turks and caicos bucket list

I must confess, I knew little about Turks and Caicos until recently. I posed a question on my Facebook page asking followers to name their favourite bucket list destinations, and I was surprised at the number of people who named Turks and Caicos, a British Overseas Territory located close to the Bahamas.
 

 

 
It turns out that it is a huge celebrity hang out. Many celebrities have homes here, and Oprah, Brad Pitt, Bill Gates and The Kardashians visit regularly. It is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, with some of the world’s best beaches, I think I might have to go and check it out for myself….

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20. Chase the Northern Lights in Iceland


There are many ways to see the Northern Lights, they have even been seen in the west of Ireland. However, Norway, Finland and Iceland probably offer some of the best opportunities to see them.
 

 

 
We were fortunate to see them in Iceland a few years ago. There is so much to see and do in Iceland, but a tour around The Golden Circle and a swim in the Blue Lagoon are are must. Iceland deserves its place on this list of bucket list holidays, even if you are not lucky enough to see the aurora borealis.

Another resort that promises the ultimate bucket list experience is Kakslauttanen in Finland, where you can see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo!

Read: How to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo

Read: New Year in Iceland, Flights & 4-Star Hotel from €457!

Read: Top things to do in Iceland

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21. California Road Trip

bucket list holidays to california

California offers so much for every type of traveller and is full of bucket list opportunities. You can drive the Pacific Coast highway in a convertible, bike the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, sip wine in Napa Valley, or bring the kids to Universal Studios and DisneyWorld. It really is one of those rare holiday destinations that appeals to everyone – so add it to your list of bucket list holidays if you haven’t already visited.

Read the best places to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway.

 

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22. Round the World Cruise

luxury round the world cruise

While I don’t think this would be my personal choice at this stage of my life, it is something that I might like to do when I retire. To travel the world in a luxury cruise ship, stopping off in some of the world’s greatest cities, with delicious food and world class entertainment every night, sounds pretty good to me! 
 

 

 
Many mainstream cruise lines including MSC and Princess Cruises offer round the world cruises but you if you are looking for the ultra luxury experience, check out Regent Seven Seas, or Silversea for a more intimate cruise. Make sure you speak to a cruise specialist before booking, as they will advise you on the best ship to suit your needs.
 

 

 

23. Vietnam and Cambodia Twin Centre

halong bay bucket list destination

Both of these countries deserve a place on this list of bucket list holidays on their own, however, when combined I think they are a great two-centre holiday. I have planned this itinerary in my head many times, although I think it is probably best to ask a specialist tour operator or travel agent to book this for you.
 

 

 
I would fly to Vietnam first, spend a few nights in Hanoi and cruise Halong Bay. I would then fly to Da Nang and visit the riverside town of Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, before flying direct to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. Considered the world’s top attraction by Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor, it simply has to be included on this list of bucket list holidays.

Read: 3 ways to visit Vietnam
 

 

 

 24. Moscow &  St. Petersburg, Russia

st petersburg
 
Visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg is the ultimate city break. Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, The Kremlin and the Winter Palace are all bucket list experiences, but I believe simply setting foot on Russian soil must be quite fascinating. I have never been to Russia, but can only imagine that seeing its communist society, retro cafes and iconic buildings would certainly be a holiday to remember.

Search flights here Search Moscow here

St. Petersburg here
 

 

 

25. See the Gorillas in Uganda

to see the gorillas in uganda is my ultimate bucket list experience

I’m saving the best for last! This has been my dream trip ever since I went on my first safari in South Africa over twenty years ago. I loved the experience of being close to wildlife in their natural habitat. I told myself I would see the gorillas in Uganda for my 30th birthday. This then turned into my dream for my 40th, but never materialised. I am hoping that I might just make it for my 50th!
 

 

 
There are only 900 mountain gorillas in existence, so to see them up close has to be one of the ultimate bucket list holidays. Uganda and Rwanda provide the best viewing experiences but I think I would like to add on a side trip to Victoria Falls to round off my trip of a lifetime. 

See more here

 

I hope you liked my post on bucket list holidays and it has inspired you to get planning your next big trip! Let me know if there are any destinations that you think I should include, by commenting below.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 
Travel Tips

How To Collect Avios at Home – Top Tips To Boost Your Avios Balance

online shopping

Shopping online these days? Fancy some new loungewear or toys for the kids? Collect Avios at home now, and pay for flights with Avios later in the year.

 

I love online shopping, no hassle with parking, no crowds and no queues! However, with more and more retail stores closing, shopping online is no longer a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity. So why not take the opportunity to collect Avios at home when you shop online?

We all want something to look forward to, and having a nice pot of Avios to spend when we are back travelling again sounds good to me! Avios don’t expire as long as you collect or spend at least one Avios point every 36 months. I recently paid for flights to Spain in July and it was so easy!

See how to pay for flights with Avios here.

 

pay for aer lingus flights with avios
 

 

 
For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, it is the travel reward currency of Aer Lingus’ AerClub and other international airlines. As an AerClub member, you can collect Avios in a wide range of retail, travel and leisure partners. You can then use these Avios to pay for Aer Lingus flights and other travel related services.

Read my beginners guide to AerClub and find out why you should join.

If you still haven’t joined AerClub, now is the time to do it. There are so many ways to collect Avios, but in this post I am going to show you my top three ways to collect Avios at home.  

beginners guide to aerclub
 

 

 

1. Collect Avios at home in over 100 online stores via the AerClub estore:

 

I have been collecting Avios via the AerClub eStore for many years now. I find it is the easiest way to boost my Avios balance. You can collect up to 12 Avios for every €1 spent, and there are over 100 online stores to choose from. However, if you haven’t used the AerClub eStore yet, there has never been a better time to start… AerClub members who haven’t shopped online via the eStore before will get 20% Bonus Avios on their first transaction! 

 

High Street Fashion & Sports Stores

Fancy some new loungewear or sports gear? Get the latest looks from the biggest online fashion stores such as River Island, ASOS, Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo.com and Nike – and collect Avios at the same time.

collect avios at home when you shop loungewear

Shop here

 

TV & Tech:

Spare time on your hands? Now is the time to gather all those photos off your phone and turn them into a photo album. Photo companies, Snapfish and Optimal Print are also AerClub partners.

Fancy a new phone or tablet? Want to connect with your loved ones via Zoom? Perhaps now is time to invest in technology for your parents. You can collect Avios with Currys PC World, Apple and iTunes via the AerClub eStore. TV has never been so popular – you can also collect Avios with SKY and NOW TV.

collect avios from home when you purchase electronics

Shop here

 

Toy & Book Stores: 

The latest blockbusters, toys, games, or stationary, are all available at Eason. The Lego store, which has the largest collection of Lego online, is also an AerClub partner –  just what you need to keep the kids entertained over the next few months.

collect avios at home via the aerclub estore

Shop here

 

Department Stores: 

With Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Debenhams retails stores now closed, you have no option but to shop online. So why not collect Avios at the same time? Marks and Spencer is also available via the AerClub eStore. With a wide range of clothes for adults and children, as well as some great sleepwear and home comforts, there is always something to buy in M&S.

collect avios at home at marks and spencer

Shop here
 

 

 

2. Collect Avios at home when you shop online at SuperValu

Did you know that you can collect Avios by shopping in SuperValu, both online or in store? Many of you may know that SuperValu have their own reward currency called Real Rewards, but did you know that one Real Rewards point equals one Avios? 

In fact right now they are worth even more – Avios have just launched a bonus offer with SuperValu! If you convert your Money Back Vouchers or Real Rewards into Avios before the 4th of May, you will receive an extra 50% bonus, so if you convert 1000 Real Rewards points, you will receive 1500 Avios.

how to convert supervalu real rewards to avios

It is so easy to convert SuperValu Real Rewards points to Avios. You can convert them on the SuperValu Real Rewards app or on the SuperValu website in minutes.  

Read: How to convert SuperValu Real Rewards and Money Back Vouchers to Avios

See more here
 

 

 

3. Get up to 18,000 Avios by subscribing to The Economist for 1 year

Want to keep up to date with current affairs around the world? The Economist weekly newspaper focuses on world news, international business, and politics. Right now you can get up to 18,000 Avios for a one year subscription. AerClub members can choose from a print or digital subscription and earn 15,000 Avios, or subscribe to both print and digital and collect 18,000 Avios. Offer ends 31 May 2020.

collect avios at home

See more here

 

 

 

This post on how to collect Avios at home, was sponsored by Avios, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Like this post? You might like:

10 Ways To Collect Avios

5 Ways To Spend Avios 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert 
 

 

 

 
Travel

Ten Autumn / Winter Breaks To Use With Aer Lingus Vouchers

autumn winter breaks

Looking to change Aer Lingus flights to later in the year? Perhaps you have an Aer Lingus voucher that you want to use? We all like to have something to look forward to, so hopefully one of these autumn winter breaks will suit you.

 

 

I, like many of you find myself with Aer Lingus vouchers that I have to use. I was never great with vouchers, they burn a hole in my pocket, and I feel compelled to use them straight away. I immediately started looking up autumn winter breaks, and thought how there must be so many people in a similar situation. I decided to compile a list of the best travel deals that I found which I hope you will find useful.

Instagram

I understand that we are still in uncertain times, so I have priced all hotels and apartments with refundable rates. You may see cheaper non-refundable rates when you click on the hotel links, but prices quoted all allow flexible changes or refunds.

All accommodation is highly rated on Tripadvisor with great reviews from previous guests. If the dates I have chosen don’t suit you, please click on the links below and edit the search to suit your requirements. I have sun holidays, city breaks and American Holidays, the only problem is which one of these autumn winter breaks will you choose?
 

 

 

1. A week in  Lanzarote, 16th September, El Dorado Apartments, €398

Lanzarote is a great choice for a week away. The year round sunshine and long sandy beaches have been attracting Irish visitors for many years. It’s not all about sun and sand though, there is plenty of good sightseeing, as well as some excellent duty free shopping. 

autumn winter breaks

The old town of Puerto del Carmen has some fantastic restaurants. Having a drink at one of the waterfront cafes as the sun sets over the harbour is a lovely way to end your day.

Read: Why Lanzarote is my favourite Canary Island 
 

 

 

I found a great Lanzarote deal staying in the El Dorado apartments in Puerto del Carmen. Highly rated on Tripadvisor and centrally located, they are an ideal choice to explore all that Lanzarote has to offer.

Fly from Dublin on the 10th of September and enjoy a seven night stay for only €398 per person. You can secure the accommodation for just €10 and there are free amendments before the 10th of September 2020.

View flights here €209pp  

View hotel here €189pp
 

 

 

2. New Year Skiing in Austria, 27th December, 2 adults & 2 children, €3189

I have always loved skiing and was delighted to bring my kids skiing to Söll in Austria over New Year. It was their first time to ski and they loved it. It is not a cheap holiday by any means, but if you are cooped up in your house for the next few weeks, can you think of anything better than a week in Alps to look forward to? 


 

 

 
Söll is a small resort, but it is bursting with energy. There are some excellent restaurants, lively bars and a great ski-school for kids. I found a great deal staying in the AlpenSchlössl. It is highly rated on Tripadvisor and is great value for what is arguably the busiest week of the year.

It is located outside the town, but the ski bus brings you to the lifts and the village centre. We used the ski bus every day and found it great – just make sure you use the lockers beside the gondola station, so you don’t have to carry your skis and boots every day. 

Read: Skiing in Soll, all you need to know and why you should go.

Read: Top tips for family skiing
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin on the 27th of December and enjoy a seven night stay with breakfast in the AlpenSchlössl for €3189. Ski school, lift passes and equipment hire are extra. I booked directly with the ski school, you can see more information here. A deposit of €166 is required to secure a reservation at the hotel, but you can cancel this accommodation for free before the 21st of November.

View flights here €162pp

View hotel here €2541
 

 

 

3. A week in the Algarve, 1st September from €365

With a stunning coastline boasting some of Europe’s best beaches, its not surprising that the Algarve is one of our most popular holiday destinations. There are many resorts to choose from, from the lively resort of Albufeira to the picturesque town of Carvoeiro, and I found great deals in both.
 

 

 
The Água Marinha is a small family-run hotel located in the pretty resort of Olhos de Agua. It is ideal for couples looking for a good value break, within easy access to the nightlife of Albufeira.

The Agua Marinha hotel gets great reviews on Tripadvisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence. You can secure a room here for €10, with free amendments allowed before the 26th of August.

autumn winter breaks in the algarve
 

 

 
If you are looking for something more luxurious, the 5-star Vale d’Oliveiras Quinta Resort & Spa is an excellent choice. Rated number 1 on Tripadvisor and the reviews are excellent.

Located just five minutes from Carvoeiro, you can choose to enjoy its fine restaurants, or dine on site in the hotel’s Olive Tree Restaurant, which offers panoramic views over the gardens and pool. A deposit of €10 secures a booking with the hotel, with free amendments before 26th August.

View flights here €144 Aer Lingus

Agua Marinha here €231pp

Vale D'Oliveiras here €364pp
 

 

 

4. Christmas Shopping in New York, 4th December, 3 nights, €699!

I love visiting New York, regardless of the time of year, but there is something magical about visiting at Christmas time. Parting with your hard-earned cash on Christmas presents is also a lot easier when you are doing it in New York – and who knows, you might pick up some bargains for yourself too. I have posts on shopping in New York and things to do in New York so if you need any more inspiration be sure to check them out. 

christmas shopping in new york
 

 

 
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Centre is usually illuminated at the beginning of December, the proposed date for 2020 is December 2nd (yet to be confirmed).

With this in mind I have chosen flights with Aer Lingus to depart on the 4th of December and a three-night stay in the centrally located Yotel Hotel for just €699, based on 2 sharing a Premium Queen Double Room. Prices are even less if three or four share. Hotel can be secured with €10 and free amendments are allowed before 29th November.

View flights here €330pp  

View hotel here 2 sharing €369pp ( flexible rate )

Read: 5 More Christmas Shopping breaks to New York
 

 

 

5. October Bank Holiday Weekend in Lisbon, 3 Nights from €370pp

The October bank holiday weekend is always a good time to get away, and Lisbon’s balmy temperatures make it the perfect city break destination. There is so much to see and do in Lisbon, but you can also choose to take the train to the nearby resort of Cascais or visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Sintra.

autumn winter breaks in lisbon
 

 

 
I found a great deal staying in the centrally located São Bento Hotel, with breakfast included. Its modern décor and super service ensure excellent reviews from guests on Tripadvisor.

Aer Lingus flights are about €40 more expensive than other airlines at that time, but if you have a voucher or credit that you need to use, it is still good value for such a popular date.

View flights here €206pp
 

View hotel here €164pp (refundable rate)

Read: Where to stay in Lisbon, my top picks of 3, 4 and 5-star hotels
 

 

 

6. Disneyland Paris with Park Tickets, 27th October, 3 Nights, 2 adults & 2 children, €1898

Halloween is a great time to visit Disneyland Paris. The parks are transformed for their annual Halloween festival. Scary attractions like Phantom Manor and Tower of Terror have some spooky surprises in store, while Main Street U.S.A is full of pumpkins, flickering lights and creepy sounds. The impressive Illuminations Show at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle takes on a Halloween theme, and will surely leave you feeling bewitched.  Read my dedicated blog post on this offer with more information.

halloween festival at disneyland paris

View offer here
 

 

 

7.  5-Star Weekend in Croatia, 9th October, 3 Nights, €390pp

If you are looking for a luxury weekend away in beautiful surroundings, look no further than this. The 5-star Hotel Croatia is located in the pretty resort of Cavtat, just a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. I stayed here a few years ago and loved it. Cavtat is located close to the airport too, so it is a great option for a weekend break.  

autumn winter breaks in croatia
 

 

 
Dubrovnik is very busy during the day time, but you can catch the ferry from Cavtat early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the crowds have dissipated.

Cavtat is also located close to the border of Montenegro. We visited the medieval town of Kotor during our stay. Normally I would highly recommend you do the same, but the Hotel Croatia is a beautiful hotel and offers stunning sea views from the terrace, so you may find it difficult to leave….

Read: Visiting Croatia and Montenegro
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin on the 19th of October and enjoy a three-night stay with breakfast for  just €390 per person. A deposit of €30 secures the hotel booking with flexible amendments available until 27th of September.

View flights here €168 Aer Lingus 

View hotel here €222pp
 

 

 

8. 4-Star Weekend in Prague, 10th September, 3 Nights, €295

It is hard not to fall in love with Prague. Not only is it visually stunning, but Prague has extraordinary cultural sights and great night life too. This super deal includes Aer Lingus flights and a three-night stay in the superbly located 4-star Linder Prague Castle Hotel.  Read my dedicated blog post on this offer with more information.

weekend break to prague

View offer here
 

 

 

9.  Winter week in Gran Canaria, 21st January, Gloria Palace Amadores, €644

Perched on a cliff with stunning views of the sea, and only 300 meters from the beach, it is not surprising why the Gloria Palace Amadores Hotel and Thalasso is very popular with Irish holidaymakers.

Situated between Puerto Rico and Mogan, this hotel offers the best of both worlds – a relaxing holiday with the option to travel to nearby resorts if you fancy a livelier scene. Renowned for it’s high quality cuisine, attentive staff and for having one of Europe’s top thalassotherapy centres, can you think of a better way to beat the January blues?

autumn winter breaks in the canary islands

View flights here €143pp

View hotel here €501pp
 

 

 

10. Long weekend in Washington, 4 Nights, 24th September, €570

Washington is one of my favourite American cities. You don’t have to be a lover of politics to be impressed with Washington’s monuments and memorials, and I dare you not to be a little star struck when you see The White House for the first time. Washington has some great shopping options too, as well as vibrant nightlife and a lively atmosphere.

autumn winter city breaks

 

 

 
I found a great deal staying in the university neighbourhood of Georgetown. The Georgetown Suites are great value and highly rated on Tripadvisor. Price of €244 per person includes breakfast and allows you to cancel with just a €46 fee before the 16th of September. 

View flights here €326pp

View hotel here €244pp
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of these autumn winter breaks include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

 

travel deals

 
Travel

October Bank Holiday Weekend in Lisbon, 3 Nights from €298

Lisbon Portugal

A beautiful coastal city renowned for terrific sightseeing and a great food scene, why not spend the October Bank Holiday weekend in Lisbon? 

 

Lisbon is finally getting the praise it deserves and it is slowly becoming one of Europe’s top city break destinations.  The city is very easy to navigate and if you don’t fancy walking it there are fantastic old trams that will bring you around all the highlights. There is plenty to see in Lisbon itself, but if you want to travel, you can take the train to the coastal towns of Cascais or Estoril or explore the UNESCO world heritage city of Sintra. For more information on Lisbon and it’s coast read my blog.

easter weekend in Lisbon
 

 

 
There are many flight options available so you can choose to fly out with TAP Air Portugal,  Ryanair or Aer Lingus, depending on your preference of flight times. Perhaps you had a flight booked for April or May that you need to change? I have priced this deal flying out with Ryanair and home with Aer Lingus, at the time of issue this price was €162. However, you will see many more options when you click on the link below.
 

 

 
I found a great deal staying in the centrally located São Bento Hotel, with breakfast included. Its modern décor and super service ensure excellent reviews from guests on Tripadvisor. This hotel is an ideal choice to spend the October bank holiday weekend in Lisbon. 
 

 

 
Fly direct from Dublin on Friday 23rd October and return Monday 26th October and secure this great deal for just €298 per person, including breakfast! You an also choose to pay an additional €36 to secure a room that you can cancel before the 19th of October without penalty. This deal won’t be at this price for long, so secure the October bank holiday in Lisbon before the price increases.
 

 

 
View flights here €148pp

View hotel here €150pp

 

Want a different hotel?

Check out: Where to stay in Lisbon – my top 10 Lisbon hotels

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

DESTINATIONS

My Top Ten Travel Movies

With holiday plans on hold for the moment I got thinking about my favourite travel movies…

 

While I wish I had lots of trips organised for the coming months, the reality is I will be probably be sitting in watching TV instead. Regardless of the current situation, I want to think about where I will travel to next, and I have already got some ideas for places I would like to see. For inspiration I turn to books, travel blogs and sometimes TV. I thought I might share, some of my favourite travel movies to inspire us to plan our next holiday. 
 

 

 

 

The Talented Mr Ripley

In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures and things start to go wrong, but eventually come right for Ripley. It really is a great movie and one, that if you haven’t seen already, is well worth a watch.
 

 

 
It is a great psychological thriller. With my love of Italy, this movie had to make the list. Whilst it starts in Tribeca, New York, the movie soon moves to Italy. There is a fictional resort known as Mongibello where Dickie (Jude Law) idles away the time with Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) and for this place, two locations were used: the beautiful island of Ischia and its tiny island neighbour Procida. Both located in the Bay of Naples, they can be accessed by the local ferries from Sorrento and other resorts on the Amalfi Coast. Other locations include Rome, Anzio -about 30 miles south of Rome, Naples and Venice. Palermo also features briefly.  

 

The top 10 movies to showcase Italy
 

 

 

The Beach

In 2000, Danny Boyle brought us to ‘The Beach’, which despite its dark storyline, probably highlighted Thailand as the tropical paradise ‘must visit’ for many backpackers around the world. With Leonardo DiCaprio playing Richard, who comes into possession of a mysterious map, leading to a solitary beach paradise. With two friends, he sets out to find the beach and island. It’s not long before things start to take a dark turn under the bright sunshine.

The movie was shot mostly on Hat Maya, the main beach of Phi Phi Leh Island, near Phuket, Thailand, amid allegations of ecological vandalism, when imported palms were planted to make the ‘perfect’ beach even more perfect. Naïve traveller Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) sets out to find the fabled beach from the bustling backpack melee of Khao San Road, downtown Bangkok.
 

 

 
The famous waterfall scene was shot in Haeo Suwat Falls in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand’s second-largest park. You’ll find the waterfall at the end of Thanarat Road in the center of the park. The park itself is about a three-hour drive from Bangkok, or there’s a bus service from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) for Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima about every half-hour.

Unfortunately the beach had to close because the reefs in the bay suffered heavy damage from years of ‘overtourism’ with tourists trampling on coral reefs. 

Read: Where to stay in Thailand
 

 

 

 

Shirley Valentine

Almost thirty years old, Shirley Valentine is still one of the great British comedy dramas as well as being one of the world’s best travel movies. Shirley Valentine tells the story of a woman feeling trapped in a world of domesticity. She is a housewife from Liverpool, who needs a change in her life, before she has another conversation with the walls. When her friend Jane invites Shirley on a trip to a Greek island, Shirley jumps at the chance. When they land however, Jane soon ditches Shirley for a fling, which means Shirley is left to her own devices. Shirley wanders the island, meets a taverna owner, Costas and begins to find the joy in life again.
 

 

 
While the film starts in Liverpool, we are soon transported to the beautiful island of Mykonos in Greece.  With 300 days of sunshine, great nightlife and designer shops, Mykonos attracts a trendy crowd, looking for that perfect Instagam photo with its trademark white-washed hours and thatched windmills.


 

 

 

Only You

Being a true romantic at heart, this is one of my favourite travel movies. Only You, starring Marissa Tomei and Robert Downey Junior is set in Italy again, where else? A genuine romantic comedy telling the story of a young woman, Faith Kovács, whose search for the man she believes to be her soulmate leads her to Italy where she meets her destiny.
 

 

 
Aside from the actors, the Italian location is the star of the movie. Featuring Positano, Rome, Monterigigoni and Venice, this movie highlights the romance and picturesque towns of the Amalfi coast, Tuscany and the capital city of Rome. Girls night in? This is the movie for you. 

The top 10 movies to showcase Italy.
 

 

 

The Motorcycle Diaries

Ok, I know what your thinking and I thought the same! My husband, who rides a motorcycle, came up with this one and made me watch it I was glad I did. The Motorcycle Diaries is a beautiful movie highlighting South America. It tells the true story of the 1952 expedition, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado. As well as being a road movie, the film is a coming-of-age film and is a biopic taken from the written memoir of 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara. Recognise the name?

You’d be right. Ernesto Guevara would later become the iconic Marxist guerrilla commander and revolutionary Che Guevara who was a major figure in the Cuban Revolution.
 

 

 
Whilst the movie is subtitled and a bit ‘arty’, it shows off the beauty that South America offers from Argentina through Chile, Peru, and Colombia to Venezuela, as the two friends travel 14,000 kilometres on their epic journey. If you haven’t been to Machu Picchu yet, the scenes at Machu Picchu are worth watching several times over. Whilst not everyones cup of tea, it is most definitely deserves a place on this list of travel movies.


 

 

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This is one to sit down and watch with your Mum! Another British comedy drama with a fantastic cast including Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench. It tells the story of a group of British retirees who travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. On arrival they learn that the hotel is not quite what it purports to be, and is a little less luxurious than advertised. The Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
 

 

 
With great performances and plenty of laughs this is a movie that you and your Mum will thoroughly enjoy. It might even give both of you some food for thoughtm and have you reaching for the credit card and laptop to book the two of you away to some exotic place, for that trip that you both have promised to go on but never have. 

.
 

 

Out of Africa

One of my favourite places in the world is Africa and while I have seen lots of movies set there, I still come back to this one. It might one of the oldest travel movies on this list, but it is one of my favourites. Meryl Streep is fantastic as always, and then there is Robert Redford too… Need I say more?
 

 

 
Based loosely on the memoirs of the Danish author Karen Blixen written in 1937, the story tells of the seventeen years that she spent in Kenya and her life on her coffee plantation. More of a love story than an adaptation, the movie tells of her troubled marriage and her affair with Finch Hatton (Robert Redford).
 

 

 
Set with the backdrop of Kenya, this one will have you looking for that safari you have always promised yourself. If you haven’t seen it, treat yourself. Although over thirty years old, it won seven academy awards including Best picture and Best Director at the time. And did I mention Robert Redford is in it………! 

Read: How to plan the perfect South African road trip

Read: Our luxury safari at Amakala Game Reserve

Read: A safari in Tanzania
 

 

 

Eat, Pray, Love

‘Pretty Woman’ was one of my teenage favourites and ever since, I tend to gravitate towards anything with Julia Roberts in it. Based on the memoirs of the American writer Elizabeth Gilbert, the movie tells the true story of one woman’s travels through Italy, India and Bali. It is one of my favourite travel movies and is the reason I want to visit Bali.
 

 

 
At 31 years old, Elizabeth Gilbert was educated, had a home, a husband, and a successful career as a writer. She was, however, unhappy in her marriage and decided to initiate divorce proceedings. She then had a rebound relationship that did not work out, leaving her devastated and alone.
 

 

 
After finalising her difficult divorce, she spent the next year traveling the world. She spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life – thats the EAT bit. She then spent three months in India, finding her spirituality – thats the PRAY bit.  Finally she ended with a year in Bali, Indonesia, looking for “balance” of the two. Needless to say that was the LOVE bit. Take a look, I think you’ll enjoy it. If you fancy reading the book, its terrific too and spent 187 weeks in The New York Times Best Seller List, so it must be good.

Read: Top three Bali holidays from Ireland
 

 

 

The Bucket List

Maybe a strange one on my best travel movies list, but it is a great movie. The Bucket List tells the story of Blue-collar mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) and billionaire hospital magnate Edward Cole (Nicholson) who meet for the first time in hospital, after both have been diagnosed with cancer. They become friends as they undergo their respective treatments. 
 

 

 
Carter begins writing a “bucket list,” or things to do before he “kicks the bucket.” After hearing he has less than a year, Carter crumples it up and tosses it on the floor. Edward finds it the next morning. He urges Carter to do everything on the list (suggesting he add things like skydiving), and offers to finance the trip. Carter agrees, despite the protests of his wife.

The pair begin an around-the-world vacation, embarking on race car driving, skydiving, climbing the Pyramids, and going on a lion safari in Africa. They also confide in each other about faith and family. I won’t ruin the movie for you, but it is another a popcorn treat to watch with all the family.


 

 

 

Under The Tuscan Sun

I’ve left one of the best until last, and also because perhaps it is another movie set in Italy! A similar storyline to Eat, Pray, Love, this movie is based once again on the memoirs of a recently divorced writer Frances Maye. It tells her story of being a divorced writer ( Diane Lane ) who buys a villa in Tuscany on a whim, hoping it will lead to a change in her life.
 

 

 
Featuring Positano in parts, but mostly the idyllic Italian village of Cortona, the movie tells a wonderful story of self discovery and new romance. Another one for a cosy night in and if you feel like booking the very same villa, its available to rent on a weekly basis. HERE is the link to Villa Laura.

The top 10 movies to showcase Italy
 

 

 

Bonus Movie: Into the West

Another ‘oldie but goodie’ featuring a young and very handsome Gabriel Byrne, ‘Into The West’ is set in Ireland. I had to include at least one though, right? Touching on Irish folklore and told in almost a fairytale fashion, Into The West tells the story of two traveller boys running away with a horse given to them by their grandfather. Tayto (Rúaidhrí Conroy) and Ossie (Ciarán Fitzgerald), whose father “Papa” Reilly (Gabriel Byrne) was “King of Irish Travellers” until his wife, Mary, died during the birth of their second son, Ossie. The boys’ grandfather (David Kelly) is an old story-telling Traveller, who tells the children Irish folk-tales and legends.
 

 

 
When he is followed by a beautiful white horse called Tír na nÓg (meaning “Land of Eternal Youth” in Irish), from the sea to Dublin, where the boys and their father have now settled in a rather grim tower block, the boys are overwhelmed with the dream of becoming cowboys. The horse is taken from them and they begin their adventure to get their mystical horse back. They escape the poverty of a north Dublin council estate, and ride “Into the West” where they find that Tír na nÓg is not just a horse. The movie takes us on an adventure all across Ireland from the streets of Dublin to the most westerly coast of Clare. A travel movie to watch with the kids perhaps…

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.
 

 

 
Well thats it! My favourite travel movies shot in some of my favourite places. I’m off to make the popcorn now but if you get a minute, tell me your favourite travel movie in the comments below. I’d love to hear them…..

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Irelands leading source on travel
 

 

 

Travel

10 Family Breaks in Ireland, With Prices from €139!

waterford family

Looking for family breaks in Ireland this summer? I’ve got ten great deals to tempt you. All of my top picks are family hotels and houses, and most have swimming pools onsite!

 

I have teamed up with Groupon who offer a wide variety of family breaks in Ireland and abroad, with up to 50% off the recommended retail price. I have chosen a wide variety of family friendly hotels, some with kids clubs and swimming pools, others are self catering holiday homes.

groupon family breaks in ireland

There are lots of dates to choose from and in most cases you can check availability directly on the Groupon website – under the Fine Print & Details Tab. I have priced all deals for two nights, but most deals have shorter and longer durations available, just click on the links below for full details of each offer. I’ve got city hotels, holiday resorts and even forest lodges, from various counties in Ireland –  hopefully one of these family breaks in Ireland will suit you 😊

4-Bedroom Mount Wolseley Resort Houses, Co. Carlow: From €310 – Sleeps up to 7 

Famous for its championship golf course and award-winning spa, Mount Wolseley is also ideal for family breaks in Ireland. With 4-bedroom self catering lodges on the grounds of the resort, families have full access to all the hotel facilities including 20 metre swimming pool, kiddies pool, zip lining, soft play area, and a teen zone which is open until 11pm daily. There is also a kids club for children aged 4-12 during summer holidays, mid term breaks and Easter and Christmas holidays. This super deal also includes €10 credit for a round of golf,  and it is valid until December 2020!

family breaks in ireland - mount wolseley self catering lodges

 

Price of €310 includes a two-night stay for up to 7 people in a four-bedroom self catering lodge, with €20 per person spa credit on treatments over €90, €10 per person credit for a round of golf once during your stay, and 20% discount on Afternoon Tea. Price for three nights is €399. Valid Sunday – Thursday until 17th December.

View offer here

 

3-Bedroom Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges, Co Limerick: From €299, 7 Nights from €399 – Sleep up to 6.

For families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, the Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges are the perfect choice. Set amongst the forest in the Ballyhoura Mountains, midway between Limerick and Cork, are five luxury eco-friendly holiday homes. These 3-bedroom lodges are furnished to a high standard, receive excellent reviews and have been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. They are suitable for adults, children, elderly and also allow pets! The immediate area is ideal for hiking and kids will love exploring the forest. There is also a local pub just 5-minutes away in the village of Ballyorgan. 

ballyhoura forest lodges

 

Price of €299 includes a two-night stay for up to six people in a luxury forest home with welcome pack, including a bottle of wine, towel rental, and starter wood pack for the stove. Price is €319 for three nights, €329 for four nights and €399 for seven nights. Valid until 20th October. 

View offer here

 

Malone Lodge, Belfast: From €229 With Breakfast & Dinner for 2 adults & 2 children

This Victorian town-house hotel, situated in the Queens University Quarter of Belfast, is a wonderful choice for a family break in Northern Ireland. Visit the Titanic Museum, explore the nearby Causeway Coast and Game of Thrones locations. I enjoyed a family break here a few years ago. The kids loved walking across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and listening to the legend of giant Finn McCool at the Giant’s Causeway.

Read: A magical few days along the Causeway Coast

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price of €229 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children with breakfast, glass of Prosecco for each adult and milk and cookies for each child on arrival, two-course family dinner on the first night, children activity pack in the room, and late check-out.  Want to stay for three nights? The price is just €319. Valid until December 2020. 

View offer here

 

Shearwater Hotel & Spa, Co. Galway: From €179 for 2 adults & 2 children 

Recently refurbished, the popular Galway hotel boasts an elegant interior, with a luxurious lobby and an inviting Library. There is a 20-meter swimming pool, an awarding-winning spa and there is live entertainment every Friday – Sunday. The onsite kids club caters from tots to teens with games, activities and movie nights. 

hotel deals in ireland with swimming pools
 
Price of €239 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children (under 12) in a family suite, with full Irish breakfast, a glass of prosecco, €10 per adult spa credit, full use of leisure facilities and a late check-out of 1pm. Want to stay for three nights? The price is €249. Valid until 30th September, additional charge for Friday, Saturday and bank holiday Sunday. 

View offer here

 

3-Bedroom Lakeside Holiday Homes, Co. Clare: From €139 – Sleeps up to 6

Located on the shores of Lough Derg, close to Mountshannon village, this is a great choice for families looking for plenty of outdoor activities. Fishing, cycling, horse riding, and golf are all close by, and these holiday homes come with a private jetty if you want to hire your own boat.  Pets are also allowed for a supplement of €25.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price of €139 includes a two-night stay up to six people in a three-bedroom holiday home. Price for 3 nights is €179, 5 nights is €299 and 7 nights is €349. Valid until 30th June.

View offer here

 

Sligo Park Hotel & Leisure Club: From €218 for 2 adults & 2 children

This family hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, but also on the edge of Sligo Town, you can enjoy the scenic countryside, as well as Sligo’s lively town centre. Recently refurbished, with contemporary furnishings and a super Leisure Club, this is a great choice for family breaks in Ireland. Family activities during mid-term and school holidays include movie nights, fun float obstacle course in the swimming pool, as well as an outdoor fairy trail and treasure hunt.
 

Price of €158 includes a two-night stay for two people. Two children (under 12) can stay in the room, for a supplement of €15 per child per night including breakfast. Children under 2 are free of charge.  Valid until 31st March 2021, €50 supplement for Saturday night stay.

View offer here
 

Quality Hotel Youghal Apartments, Co. Cork: From €149, 3 Nights from €219 – Sleep up to 6.

The beachfront apartments and houses in the Quality Hotel Youghal have been a firm favourite with families for many years. Enjoy all the facilities of a hotel, while staying in spacious self catering accommodation. With a gym, spa and swimming pool on site, you will be spoilt for choice. Special events, a Kids Camp and movie shows are also available throughout school holidays. The resort has a range of dining options, including bar food, pizzas available for take-away, and fine dining in the Capel Island Restaurant. Musical entertainment is also available in the Coast Bar.

quality hotel youghal

Price of €149 includes a two-night stay in an apartment for up to four people. Choose a luxury house (sleep up to 6) from €159 for two nights. Price for three nights is €219 and €249 respectively. A €10 spa voucher per person is also included towards a treatment costing €40 or above. Valid until the 30th of June.
 

 

Lough Allen Hotel & Spa, Co. Leitrim: From €199 for 2 adults & 2 children 

The Lough Allen Hotel & Spa is located on the shores of Lough Allen and within walking distance of the pretty town of Drumshanbo. With a swimming pool, spa and fully-equipped gym on site, you can enjoy a wide range of fitness and yoga classes while the kids play happily in the kids club. The are plenty of outdoor activities available too, including family walking trails, cycling, horse riding, kayaking and golf. 

lough allen family breaks in ireland

Price of €199 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children ( under 12 ) in a standard family room with breakfast, complimentary kids club (primary school), €20 spa voucher per adult (redeemable against treatment of €60 or over). Price for three-night stay is €249. Valid midweek and weekends from 1st May – 30th September, excludes July and August.

View offer here
 

Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork: 3 Bedroom Lodges from €299

We are big fans of Fota Island Resort – we stayed in their contemporary lodges twice, during summer and winter and loved the experience. The lodges are beautifully furnished and the hotel has great facilities for all the family including a swimming pool, good-sized playground, fairy trail, spa and golf course. There are so many family activities nearby too. A trip to Fota Wildlife Park is a must, this deal also includes €10 credit towards the admission price. You can also visit the nearby Titanic Experience in Cobh.  
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price of €299 includes two-night stay in a three-bed lodge for up to five people with two VIP spa passes, 2 x €20 spa credit for full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for 2 people, €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf. These lodges that sleep 5 are onsite with full use of the resort facilities. Valid until 30th May.  
 
 
 

Hotel Killarney, Co. Kerry: From €179 for 2 adults & 1 child, €249 for 2 adults & 3 children.

The Hotel Killarney is well known for its family-friendly facilities. There is a swimming pool, sports hall and gym onsite, as well as a Friendly Fellows Kids Club with regular live shows, Crazy Cube Play Centre and indoor soccer. Family suites are available for families with three children. There is a choice of dining options with nutritious kids menus. As well as the superb family facilities on site, a boat trip on Killarney Lakes is sure to be a big hit with all the family. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price of €149 includes a two-night stay for two adults. One child 3-18 years may stay in a standard room for a supplement of €15 per night breakfast included. Two or three children aged 3-18 may stay in a Family Suite for an upgrade supplement of €40 (with two children) or €50 (with three children). Breakfast is included. Children under 3 years old may stay free of charge, cot will be provided. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here
 

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue and 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. This post on great family breaks in Ireland was sponsored by Groupon, but all views, as always, are my own. 

  

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
 
Travel Tips

Coronavirus: What Travel Insurance Covers – Your Questions Answered

shutterstock_269392691-compressor

I have all your travel insurance questions answered below, as well as some top tips to make sure you are adequately covered for future travel plans.

 

 

Before you think of booking or cancelling a holiday due to coronavirus, you should check the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs website. They ultimately decide against non-essential travel to a particular region (FCO website in Northern Ireland and UK ). 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. If the DFA advise against travel to a specific country or region, flights should be cancelled. 

Instagram

I also recommend downloading the Travelwise app. You can set alerts for the destination you are travelling to, and you will receive notifications if there are any status updates.

 

Read: Latest travel updates due to coronavirus 

 

 
I have received numerous emails and messages from travellers asking what travel insurance covers in relation to coronavirus. I decided to ask Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director of Blue Insurance and Multitrip.com to answer your questions. Of course, all insurance policies are different and these answers will not apply to every individual case, but hopefully most of your questions are answered below.
 

 

 
Note: This post is published on 11th of March 2020. Answers are correct as of today, but cover can change at any time and it is important to check your own individual policy to confirm cover.

what does travel insurance cover with coronavirus
 

 

 

If the Department of Foreign Affairs announces advises against non-essential travel to a particular country or destination, will my travel insurance cover me for cancellation?

If you have Government Travel Advice on your policy – standard with Blue Insurance policy booked via a travel agency and blueinsurance.ie, yes you will be covered for cancellation. Note this cover only comes into effect 14 days prior to departure. Premier Cover has a limit of €500 per person and Premier Plus has €750 per person. Note: new bookings will NOT be covered against Covid-19 to a country deemed as unsafe to travel to.
 

 

 
If you have Travel Disruption added to your policy this will increase to €1000 per person. Insured persons who have premier plus cover with Travel Agents selling Blue Insurance, will have Travel Disruption included automatically. Travel Disruption is also available at Multitrip.com

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

 

 
What happens if my holiday cost €2000 per person – will I get all my money back?

No. The level of cancellation cover varies from €500 – €1000 per person, depending on the type of policy you have.
 

 

 

If I am due to travel to Spain in a few months time, can I cancel now and get a refund?

No. You must wait until 14 days before departure to see if the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisory is still in place. However, many airlines and cruise lines are waiving change fees, so it may be possible to postpone your trip to a later time. Some hotels have small cancellation fees, so you may find all is not lost, should you decide to cancel.
 

 

 

If I have booked to go to a sporting event or concert that has been cancelled, will I be reimbursed for my concert tickets?

If you have tickets booked to a sporting event which is cancelled, but there is no advisory against non-essential travel in place, then you would not be covered for cancellation of your holiday. Example: The Ireland-France rugby match is cancelled, but flights are still operating to Paris, so no refund of flights, hotels etc, would be given. 

travel insurance coronavirus
 

 

 

If I have booked flights and a non-refundable hotel, and the airline changes or cancels my flights, will my travel insurance cover me for the hotel cost? 

This will only be covered if you have Travel Disruption cover added to your policy and the Department of Foreign Affairs advise against ‘all but essential travel’ to your destination.
 

 

 

Is it too late to take out travel insurance now?

No. Travel insurance can be taken out at any time, however a 7 day moratorium will be in place. If you are due to travel on holidays during the summer months and you book insurance now, it will come into effect in seven days time. 

Book Insurance Here
 

 

 

If I contract Covid-19 while I am away, am I covered for medical expenses and repatriation?

Yes. However, if you are travelling to a country where there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel, you would not be covered. 

coronavirus and travel insurance
 

 

 

If I make a claim, how long will it take me to get my money back?

At the moment claims are averaging a three to four week turnaround. It is important to note that you need to apply for refunds from your travel agent, airline or hotel before submitting a travel insurance claim. Claims will only be dealt with once all other avenues have been tried.
 

Book Insurance Here
 

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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.

 

Like travel tips? See more here.
 

Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

 
Best Travel Deals

The Travel Expert’s Best Travel Deals – 10th March 2020

Best Travel Deals

This week’s best travel deals include April holiday deals from €249, a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux, summer in Portugal and Mauritius, a Mother’s Day break in Westport, Christmas in Disneyland Paris and an early booking offer to Las Vegas.

 

Best last minute:

Jet off to sunny Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria on the 2nd of April, for just €285! Price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage and a seven-nights stay in the Tamanaco apartments.

View offer here

 

Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? See it here:
 

 

 

Best April / May deal:

Sunway have super deals to Turkey during the month of April, a country where no cases of coronavirus have been reported. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the 4-star Golden Day Wings Hotel is €299 during Easter holidays, and only €249 on the 25th of April. Prices include flights, hotel with breakfast, airport transfers and checked baggage.

See more here
 

 

 

Best family deal:

Visit Disneyland Paris for Disney’s Enchanted Christmas Festival. We visited at Christmas time a few years ago and it was magical. Price for flights, transfers, park tickets and a three night stay in the Disney Sequioa Lodge Hotel with breakfast and evening meal included, is just €515 per person, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. They will also give you a FREE Gift Card worth €100 to spend in the parks.

See more here

 

Read: My top tips Disneyland Paris at Christmas time.
 

 

 

Best staycation:

Treat your Mum to an overnight escape with breakfast included in the 4-star Westport Hotel, for just €30 per person! Choose to relax in the brand new Spa Veda, complete with swimming pool, jacuzzi and thermal suite or enjoy the vibrant city of Westport. This deal is available arriving on Mother’s Day, March 22nd. 

View offer here
 

 

Read: 10 Mother’s Day breaks that won’t break the bank
 

 

 

Best summer sun:

Finish off the summer with a week in the upmarket resort of Vilamoura on the Algarve. Price for flights and a seven-night stay in the highly rated Vilamour Golf Aparthotel is only €374 on the 26th of August.

View offer here
 

 

 

Best city break:

Can you think of anything better than a wine tasting weekend in Bordeaux 🍷? Flights are so cheap at the moment so why not escape the stresses of home for a few days in May. Price for flights and a three-night stay in the highly rated 4-star Best Western Plus Gare Saint Jean is just €219 per person. Note: when you click on the hotel link below the lowest rate is bookable via the hotel website – €107 per room per night.

View flights here€59pp

View hotel here €160pp
 

 

 

Best long haul offer:

Another country that has recorded no cases of coronavirus is Mauritius. Enjoy a seven-night all-inclusive stay in the highly rated Veranda Pointe Aux Biches Hotel for just €1469! Price includes flights, transfers and all-inclusive accommodation, based on travel in June. You can save up to €800 per person when travelling between 1st June and 31st August.

View offer here

 

Read: Where to stay in Mauritius
 

 

 

Best early booking offer:

Choose Las Vegas for your Christmas shopping break this year. Price for flights and a five-night stay in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is only €560 on the 24th of November. Price includes flights, 23kg checked baggage and hotel for five nights. Deposit of €50 secures booking. Many more hotels and dates available.

See more here
 

 

 
Missed last weeks Best Travel Deals post? 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

Travel News and Reviews

14 Day Travel Giveaway – A New Prize Everyday!

FINAL! combo prize

From holiday vouchers to cook books, bath robes to monopoly games, I’ve got 14 great prizes in my travel giveaway.

 

With everyone cooped up at home, and holiday plans in disarray, I decided we all needed a little cheering up! I contacted some of my clients and friends in the travel industry and they kindly donated prizes for a #14DaysOfIsolation travel giveaway.

From Sunday 29th March for two weeks I will be giving away a different prize everyday on Facebook and Instagram. Every day I will post an image on my Facebook and Instagram pages. All you have to do is be following me on Facebook or Instagram and tag a person who you think might like this prize. I will pick a random winner everyday – you can of course enter on both platforms if you wish! You can see a list of all prizes below 😎
 

 

 
Hopefully we will all be back travelling again soon but in the meantime this competition will hopefully bring you some well-needed travel inspiration.

 

Instagram

 

Day 1:  AttractionTickets.Com Bundle

travel giveaway

From Dubai to Disneyland Paris, London to Las Vegas, AttractionTickets.com offer the best value tickets to the world’s top attractions and theme parks. They kindly gave me a bundle of theme park goodies for my #14DaysOfIsolation Giveaway. You will find SeaWorld branded plush toys, notebooks, baggage tags, sunglasses, a usb cable with a 3 in 1 adapter, as well as 2 Disney DVDS – Up and Star Wars The Last Jedi.

Read: The best time to visit Disneyland Paris, Halloween or Christmas? 

 

 

Day 2: €100 Caribtours Holiday Voucher

travel giveaway

Can you think of anything better than lying on a Caribbean beach when this is all over? Caribtours, the market leader in holidays to the Caribbean, have recently expanded into Ireland. As well as offering luxury holidays to the Caribbean, Caribtours also offer bespoke holidays to many worldwide destinations.

They kindly offered me a €100 holiday voucher towards any holiday you choose to book with Caribtours. Visit their website here for lots of travel inspo.
 

 

 

Day 3: Two ski lessons from the Ski Club of Ireland with two Austrian neck warmers.

dry slope skiing

I am a big fan of the dry slope in Kilternan. I was a member of the Ski Club of Ireland many years ago and I skied regularly there throughout the winter. My children recently took lessons there before we went on our first ski holiday, and it made a huge difference to their progress in Austria. I have two ski lessons to give away as well as two red Austrian neck warmers – the perfect accompaniment for any outdoor activities. 

Read: My top tips for family ski holidays
 

 

 

Day 4: MSC Cruises Monopoly Game & 2 x Disney DVDs

travel giveaway

With the kids off school there has never been a better time to enjoy a family game of Monopoly! This special edition was given to me at the launch of MSC Bellissima. The game and rules are the same as the original, but you will swap the streets of Crumlin and Kimmage for the ports of Dubrovnik and Santorini – a nice way to keep that travel inspiration going! I also have two Disney DVDs, courtesy of AttractionTickets.com, to make this the perfect staying at home prize!

Read: My review of MSC Bellissima
 

 

 

Day 5. €100 Sunway Holiday Voucher

sunway holiday voucher travel giveaway

Sunway is Ireland’s largest and only Irish owned tour operator, who have been serving Irish holidaymakers for 53 years. They have kindly given me a €100 holiday voucher that can be used when we are back travelling again. This can be used against package holidays, cruise holidays, adventure tours, honeymoons, or their magical Lapland holidays.

I was fortunate to go to Lapland with my kids a few years ago and it is an experience I will never forget! If your summer holiday plans have been changed, why not plan a winter break instead?

Read: Our trip to see Santa in Lapland
 

 

 

Day 6: Kotanical Diffuser & Immune Booster Oils

kotanical diffuser travel giveaway

Kotanical is the first company in Ireland to distill oil from natural native sources. While others import oils and re-bottle, Kotanical saw the potential in the abundance of flora available closer to home. I was given a present of one of these diffusers at Christmas time and I love it. The scent from the oils permeate all over the house, and give me a sense of being in a spa every time I turn it on. I also love supporting Irish businesses.
 

 

 
Kotanical have kindly given me a diffuser and immune booster oils of peppermint, wild orange and lemongrass, which are packed with antiviral and antibacterial properties – a timely prize for our current circumstances!
 

 

 

Day 7: Two Goatsbridge Farm Cookery Books 

travel giveaway

Goatsbridge Farm is one of Ireland’s best known trout farms. Goatsbridge Trout is available in all major supermarkets in Ireland as well as specialist shops, or directly from their farm gate. Husband and wife team Mag and Ger Kirwan are at the centre of the Goatsbridge story. They live on the farm with their family and work together to carry on the proud tradition of purity and sustainability. You can sample and buy products in the Visitor Centre, where you will learn all about Goatsbridge Trout Farm, it’s heritage and business history.
 

 

 
This beautiful cookbook, highlighting the benefits of eating Irish Rainbow Trout, has been written with the help of 78 Irish ‘Fishwives’. All the profits from the sale of the book will be going to an amazing charity called Hospice Africa Uganda.  Goatsbridge Farm kindly gave me two cook books to give away so I will be choosing two winners on Day 7.
 

 

 

Day 8: Royal Caribbean Cruises Bath Robe

travel giveaway

This fabulous bath robe and beach bag from Royal Caribbean is just what you need to start thinking of holidays again! I am a big fan of Royal Caribbean Cruises and have been lucky to cruise on three of their cruise ships. The beach bag from Perfect Day at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s new private island in the Caribbean, is a place I can’t wait to explore in the future.

Read: 10 reasons to choose Royal Caribbean for family cruises

My review of Independence of the Seas

My review of Harmony of the Seas
 

 

 

Day 9: Travel Essentials Bundle

travel essentials giveaway
 
A New York make up palette from Clinique, P20 Sunscreen, The Importance of being Aisling and a Multitrip travel insurance policy  – I love this travel essentials bundle!

P20 suncreen has the built-in multi-angle spray, vital for those hard to reach areas on your back, and I think we all now know that we should never leave the country without adequate travel insurance. Multitrip.com, Ireland’s leading travel insurance provider have kindly donated an annual European travel insurance policy.
 

 

 

Day 10: 2 Uplift Mountain Biking Passes at Glencullen Adventure Park, with two Austrian neck warmers.

travel giveaway

Glencullen Adventure Park or The Gap, is a new bike park situated in the Dublin mountains. As well as free scenic walking trails, there are 14 downhill bike trails ranging in technical difficulty from intermediate to expert, including a pro-line and a tech track, the Dual Slalom race track and one ‘pedal up’ track. Their uplift service means you will get a speedy lift to the top of the mountain.

This prize includes two of these uplift passes, as well as two Austrian neck warmers to keep you nice and warm on the way down.
 

 

 

Day 11: 10,000 Avios points.

avios event at kildare village

Many of you might know that I have been collecting Avios for many years, so I was delighted when they offered me 10,000 Avios as a prize! I, like many of you, have been shopping online at home recently, and have found out that this is the perfect time to boost your Avios balance – or start collecting them, whatever happens to be the case! 

When you feel like travelling again, you can use them to pay for flights, hotels or travel experiences. Don’t worry if you are not an AerClub member, you can join easily here.

Read: How to collect Avios at home – my top tips to boost your Avios balance.

Read: My beginners guide to AerClub and why you should join.
 

 

 

Day 12: Attraction Tickets.com Bundle 

travel prize giveaway

From Dubai to Disneyland Paris, London to Las Vegas, AttractionTickets.com offer the best value tickets to the world’s top attractions and theme parks. They kindly gave me a bundle of theme park goodies for my #14DaysOfIsolation Giveaway. You will find SeaWorld branded plush toys, notebooks, baggage tags, sunglasses, a usb cable with 3 in 1 adapter as well as 2 Disney DVDS – Up and Star Wars The Last Jedi.

Read: 10 things to know about Universal Orlando before you go
 

 

 

Day 13: €100 Sunway Holiday Voucher

sunway holiday voucher travel giveaway

Sunway is Ireland’s largest and only Irish owned tour operator, who have been serving Irish holidaymakers for 53 years. They have kindly given me a €100 holiday voucher that can be used when we are back travelling again. This can be used against package holidays, cruise holidays, adventure tours, honeymoons, or their magical Lapland holidays.
 

 

 
Sunway are also the main sales agents for ClubMed in Ireland. I was fortunate to go skiing in Club Med Val d’Isère a few years ago and I loved it. This voucher can also be used for Club Med ski holidays! 

Read: My love affair with Club Med Val d’Isere
 

 

 

Day 14: Select Hotels of Ireland Gift Voucher

select hotels of ireland

Select Hotels of Ireland is a group of 29 independent hotels across many cities and counties in Ireland. They have family hotels, intimate country clubs, and friendly four-star hotels. Select Hotels of Ireland is renowned for having hotels that offer great service, quality food and a warm Irish welcome.
 

 

 
Select Hotels of Ireland have very kindly offered me an overnight stay for two with breakfast, in any hotel of your choice from their portfolio. This can be used later in the year when we are back travelling again.

Read: Ten hotels in Ireland that guarantee a warm welcome
 

 

Enter on Instagram here Enter on Facebook here  
 

Terms & conditions:

  1. To enter this daily competition you must follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and tag one or more individuals who might like the prize.
  2. Winners will be chosen at random from comments on Facebook and Instagram daily posts.
  3. The winner of 10,000 Avios will need to have an AerClub account. Avios will be awarded within 40 days of receiving confirmed account details (member name & membership number).
  4. Ski lessons and Uplift mountain biking passes will be available for use when clubs re-open.
  5. Individual Terms and Conditions apply to all holiday vouchers.
  6. No cash alternatives will be offered.
  7. Delivery of certain prizes may be delayed, depending on postal services.
  8. Judges decision is final.

 

 

 
Best of luck to everyone and stay safe.

 

Sarah 

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

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