Aer Lingus

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My Top 5 Winter Family Holiday Destinations With Aer Lingus

children swimming pool

Missed out on a summer holiday abroad this year? Can’t wait to get back travelling? Check out my top picks to help you plan a well deserved winter family holiday.

I am delighted to team up with Aer Lingus to showcase the wide range of family holiday destinations available this winter. I can’t wait to enjoy a family holiday abroad again, and for those who feel the same – this post might help! Whether you are looking for some winter sun, a trip to Disneyland Paris, or want to bring the kids skiing for the first time, I have lots of winter family holiday ideas for you. 

 

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


 

 

 

1. Sun and Fun in Lanzarote

 

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

Lanzarote is a great choice for a winter family holiday. The year round sunshine, long sandy beaches, and low rise buildings have been attracting Irish visitors for many years. There are many resorts to choose from, I have stayed in Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca and loved both.
 

 

 
Puerto del Carmen is located less than 10 minutes from the airport – this is a Godsend if travelling with small children. Rancho Texas Park is also located here, and there is an open air cinema and inflatable water park at the beach. 

winter family holiday in Lanzarote
Rancho Texas Park

Read: Top things to do in Puerto del Carmen with kids

I love watching the sunset in one of the many great restaurants in the old town. Depending on the age of your kids, there is a fabulous playground here so you can enjoy a pre or post dinner drink, while they play happily away in front of you.

 

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

Playa Blanca is often described as the sophisticated choice, as there are many luxury hotels here, as well as a stylish marina. You can also catch the ferry to Fuerteventura from Playa Blanca. 

Book here
 

 

 

2. Hit the Slopes in Austria 

 

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


I have always loved skiing and was delighted to bring my kids skiing for the first time in 2019 – in fact it was the last trip we took overseas!

We travelled to Söll in Austria and got great value flying into Munich with Aer Lingus. I booked ski-school for the kids and they learned so much in just three days. We were able to use the chair lifts and ski down the mountain together on the last day – it was a great experience.

 

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

Read: Top tips for family skiing

Aer Lingus has great value airfares to Munich. We booked a private transfer to Söll and the journey time was just 90 minutes. This is an economical way to enjoy a family ski holiday this winter.

Book here
 

 

 

 

3. Visit Disneyland Paris at Christmas time

Disneyland Paris is a superb family holiday at any time of year, but there is something even more magical visiting during the festive season. We visited at Christmas time a few years ago and would highly recommend it. Christmas songs were playing throughout the parks, there were gorgeous Christmas decorations everywhere, Disney characters were decked out in their festive costumes, and the firework displays were spectacular.

 

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

This year Disneyland Paris’ Enchanted Christmas runs from 13th November to 9th January 2022. The Parks will be transformed into a winter wonderland throughout this time, so you don’t travel over Christmas to experience the magic.

Read: Top tips for visiting Disneyland Paris

Book here
 

 

 

4. Enjoy a city break in Lisbon

Best lisbon hotels for city break

When it comes to city breaks with kids, Lisbon is up there with the best of them. In fact our first family trip overseas since 2019 will be to Lisbon and the Algarve in October.  

I suggest exploring this gorgeous city using the hop-on hop-off trams, and make sure to stop at Castelo de Sao Jorge. Castles are usually a big hit with kids and Castelo de Sao Jorge is no exception. As well as stunning views over the city, children will enjoy exploring its walls and cannons.
 

 

 
I also recommend a visit to Sintra. It has numerous designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but Luke and Alex loved the lesser known Quinta de Regaleira. There are underground tunnels, waterfalls and a magical castle here – it was a feast for their imaginations.

things to do on the lisbon coast

If the weather is good you can take a trip to the beach, but don’t panic if you have a rainy day –  Oceanário, one of the world’s largest Aquariums is in Lisbon.

Lisbon also offers some superb dining options for families – don’t miss Time Out Market, and you should find the cost of living very reasonable priced compared to prices at home.

Book here
 

 

 

5. Luxury and relaxation in Gran Canaria

winter family holiday in Mogan

Gran Canaria is renowned for its year round sunshine, but it can be quite windy depending on which part of the island you are in. Did you know that the south-west coast of the island is the most sheltered?

The pretty town of Mogan is not only one of my favourite resorts in the Canary Islands, but it is also renowned for having the warmest temperatures in the winter time, due to its sheltered location.

If you are looking for a luxury family winter holiday, where you can relax and enjoy the sun, then this is the location for you. The 5-star Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Mogan is one of those rare finds  – a luxury hotel that caters well for families.

The hotel has three restaurants, two swimming pools, as well as a kids splash pool with water jets. There is also a luxury spa onsite, so you should come home well and truly relaxed.

Book here
 

 

 
I hope this post on some of my favourite winter family holidays will inspire you to book a trip away soon.
 
This post on winter family holidays was sponsored by Aer Lingus, but all views, as always, are my own. Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. 

EuropeTravel News and Reviews

Aer Lingus Allow Free Changes Across All Fare Types for Summer 2022

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Great news! Aer Lingus allow free changes across all fare types for summer 2022.

Have you missed foreign travel over the last two years? Can’t wait to book a holiday for next summer? Well now you can! Aer Lingus have announced that they have extended their flexible booking policy until 30 September 2022. Aer Lingus allow free changes on all flights, regardless of fare type, as often as you like, until seven days before departure. 
 

 

 
It gives us peace of mind knowing that if we book flights now, and need to change dates or cancel, our money won’t be lost. Here is the full low down on their latest announcement, there are, of course, a few T&Cs to watch out for, and I’ve even added in a top tip too!

 

Instagram

 

The free changes are unlimited…

Kudos to Aer Lingus to allow free changes across all fare types, and these are unlimited – you can change flights as often as you like. Free changes are available on ANY flight, to ANY route on ANY fare type (Saver, Plus, Smart, Advantage and Flex) departing before 30th September 2022. You must change the outside seven days of departure, and a fare difference may apply.
 

 

 

Vouchers are available on selected fare types

aer lingus allow free changes on flights for summer 2021

If you decide not to travel, you can apply for a voucher if you have booked a Plus, Smart, Advantage, Flex or Business class fares. See differences in fare types here.

If you have booked a Saver fare you can NOT apply for a voucher. If you wish to cancel and have booked a Saver fare, you can change dates free of charge (fare difference may apply), as per above.  
 

 

 

Top Tip: Book a Plus fare if purchasing checked baggage and seat selection.

If you are booking an Aer Lingus flight, it is worth comparing prices to your chosen route between a Saver fare and a Plus fare. The Plus fare includes 20kg checked baggage, seat selection and priority boarding, as well as the option of going standby for an earlier flight if required.

If you know you need to check-in a bag and wish to pre book seats, it might be a better option to opt for a Plus fare, as this also gives you the option of applying for a voucher (which are valid for five years), if you wish to cancel your booking.
 

 

 

Refund is only available on Advantage fares

If you book an Advantage fare you can apply for a refund if you simply decide not to travel. Refunds are not permitted on all other fare types, if you no longer wish to travel. If, however, Aer Lingus cancel your flight due to a disruption, you are entitled to refund on all fare types as per EU regulation 261.

Read: How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

Remember always check the latest travel restrictions. 

It is important to note that many countries have restrictions in place, and may require vaccination certs or negative covid-19 tests on entry. Passenger locator forms are also required to be filled out prior to departure for most countries. See Aer Lingus country by country travel information here.
 

 

 

Like this post? You might like:

How to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage

Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

 

 

 
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 
 

 

 

 
FavouritesTravel Tips

How To Save Money On Aer Lingus Checked Baggage

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I love a good travel-hack but this one has to be one of my favourites! Read on to see how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage.

 

When I travel to Europe I like to fly with Aer Lingus, but one thing that I don’t like, is the price of Aer Lingus checked baggage. When travelling alone I usually travel light and bring cabin baggage, but when travelling with kids, I like to check in cases and let them bring their own luggage too.

aer lingus checked baggage
 

 

 
We, like many families usually opt for two 20kg checked bags between us. If travelling mid-haul to places like Spain, Portugal etc the cost is €80 return for a 20kg checked bag, so the total is €160 for two bags. If travelling to the Canary Islands the cost is even higher, at €110 return per checked bag, therefore €220 for two bags.
 

aer lingus checked baggage to lanzarote
 

 

 
Now prepare to be amazed….
 

This is how you how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage!

 
Instead of selecting one 20kg bag per person, select 40kg checked baggage under one name. The cost changes from €160 to €140 on mid-haul routes and €220 to €170 on longer flights. That’s a saving of €50 if you are travelling to the Canary Islands, simply by using this travel-hack!

aer lingus checked baggage

You will see that it clearly shows that the 40kg you have selected is to be made up of two 20kg bags. This is exactly the same as if you selected them separately, only they are both allocated to one passenger instead of two! It is such a great travel hack but I’m bet you are wondering how you never spotted it before?
 
Book Aer Lingus flight here
 

 

5 More tips to save money on checked baggage fees:

 

Invest in a lightweight cabin-sized bag.

Try to bring hand-luggage only. Invest in the lightest case on the market! As soon as the kids are old enough, ditch the trunkies and buy them one too. I have a samsonite light-shock cabin case and I love it. It is super light but the frame is expandable so I can fit much more into this case, than cases of similar size.
 

 

 
I find if I am travelling to hot climates where jackets and boots are not needed, I manage easily to travel with only this case. I have a portable luggage scales and I bring it with me to avoid any worries that my case might be over-weight on the return. You can buy them for less than €10.

travel gadgets
 

 

 

Purchase sun-creams and toiletries in the airport once you pass through security.

One of the main reasons people purchase checked baggage is because you cannot bring liquids more than 100ml in size in your hand luggage. However with Aer Lingus new cabin bag policy, you can check in your cabin bag for free, which means you can bring liquids with you, once you check in your bag.
 

 

 
If you need to bring you bag on board with you, you will pay up to €8.99 for the privilege. If you are going on a sun holiday you can pick up sun creams in Boots once you pass through security. Simply slot them into your hand luggage before boarding and avoid the hassle at security.
 

 

 

Select different cabin-baggage on your outbound and inbound flights.

If travelling to places where you are likely to be doing a lot of shopping, select a 15kg checked bag on your outward journey and a 25kg checked bag on your return journey. Similarly if you are planning a Christmas shopping break to the USA you can select add an extra suitcase to your booking for the return journey only.

aer lingus checked baggage
 

 

 

Always book checked baggage online.

Most airlines charge much higher rates if you book baggage at the airport, so always make sure you have your baggage booked before you go. Some airlines charge more if you add on bags at a later stage, so if possible try to book baggage at the time of booking.
 

 

 

Check airlines baggage policies when booking flights.

More and more airlines are not including checked baggage in their cheapest airfares, but some still do. Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and many others have generous baggage allowances, while some low-cost carriers even charge for hand luggage.

It is important to check with the airline before you book, in some cases it might be better value to flying with a premium airline.

my review of turkish airlines
 

 

 
I hope this guide, how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage, and I hope it will see you saving lots of money on upcoming trips! Let me know in the comments below if you do.

 

Like this post? You might like my top 10 travel hacks here.

 

See more travel tips here.

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 

Travel Tips

The Beginners Guide to AerClub – And Why You Should Join

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Would you shop in Boots without an Advantage card or Tesco without a Clubcard? So why fly with Aer Lingus without joining AerClub? Check out my beginners guide to AerClub below and find out why you should join! 

 

If you have booked an Aer Lingus flight within the last two years, you have probably been asked to join their frequent flyer programme, AerClub. Perhaps some of you didn’t join yet, because you thought you had to fly regularly with Aer Lingus to get the benefits. Believe me, you don’t! Even if you have no plans to fly with Aer Lingus this year, you can still join AerClub, the benefits are superb. Don’t worry if you have left it late to join, with this beginners guide to AerClub, you will be saving money off your next Aer Lingus flight in no time!

beginners guide to aerclub

The benefits of joining AerClub:

AerClub has over one million members. Avios is the travel reward currency of AerClub, which is also used by other international airlines such as British Airways & Iberia. As an AerClub member, you collect Avios points when you fly with Aer Lingus and their partner airlines, as well as with a range of other retail, travel and leisure partners. Then you can get money off your flights with Aer Lingus! Let’s use one of AerClub’s partners, Marks and Spencer, as an example.

If you spend €100 online with Marks and Spencer via the AerClub eStore, you will receive 400 Avios. The AerClub eStore is an online shopping portal, where you shop in the same way as you would normally shop online, but instead of searching directly on the Marks and Spencer website, you access it via the AerClub website. There is no extra cost to you for shopping in this way. I should also point out that the 400 Avios that you will receive for spending €100 with Marks and Spencer online, is actually the M&S standard reward rate with Avios. During promotions this rate will be much higher.

You can then use these 400 Avios to save money off your next Aer Lingus flight. There is no filling out forms, no application necessary, simply select ‘Pay With Avios’ when booking an AerLingus flight on AerLingus.com or via the Aer Lingus app. Now can you see the benefits of joining AerClub? See more in this guide to AerClub and Avios in this short video.

See how to pay for flights with Avios here.

 

 

How to collect Avios

As well as collecting Avios when you fly with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and other airlines, you can also collect Avios when shopping in SuperValu through their Real Rewards programme, Kildare Village and online, via the AerClub eStore. I’m not talking about obscure boutiques, I mean your favourite retailers like M&S, Asos, River Island, Apple as well as travel websites like Expedia, Hotels.com etc.

You can get Avios when you travel too, for example when you book car hire with Avis or Budget and also with a range of hotel partners. Fancy afternoon tea in the Merrion Hotel, want to treat yourself in Appleby Jewellers or feel like ordering a take-away from Just Eat for a cosy night in?  Yes you guessed it, these are all AerClub partners too! I have accumulated almost 70,000 Avios now, mostly from shopping with AerClub partners.

See more ways to collect Avios here

See tips to boost your Avios balance here

beginners guide to aerclub

 

How to spend Avios

Once you accumulate Avios, you can use these to pay for reward flights, hotels, car hire and travel experiences. You can also use them to part-pay for Aer Lingus flights. So even if you have only accumulated 400 Avios, you can use these to get a discount off your next Aer Lingus flight.

See more ways to spend Avios here.

beginners guide to aerclub

 

How to Join AerClub

If by any chance you have not joined AerClub yet – now is your chance!  It is so easy to join, simply click here. By joining AerClub you will enjoy the benefits of being part of a global network of partners and you can pay for flights with Avios. You can also use Avios to pay for hotels, car hire and travel experiences.

 

 

Where can I see my membership number and Avios balancee.

Once you have joined AerClub, log in on AerLingus.com with your username and password, where you will see your membership number, Tier Credits and Avios balance. You can also log in on the app to view your membership number and account details. Note it can take up to four weeks for Avios to be shown on your balance, depending on where you have collected them. For hotels and car hire, your Avios will be added to your account after you have completed your booking.

 

What are AerClub Tier Credits?

As well as rewarding you with Avios, AerClub reward their frequent flyers with Tier Credits. Tier Credits are only given when you fly with Aer Lingus. If you can manage to collect 301 Tier Credits in one year, you will move from a Green Tier (the basic introductory level) to a Silver Tier and can avail of huge benefits, like business class check-in and even flight upgrades. 

See more tips and tricks to boost your AerClub Tier Credits here.

 

beginners guide to aer club

I hope that you enjoyed my beginners guide to AerClub and that it will help you to accumulate lots of Avios. This post was sponsored by Avios, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
Travel Tips

How To Collect Avios At Kildare Village

Kildare Village

Did you know you can collect Avios at Kildare Village? Shopping is a great way to boost your Avios balance and get closer to that next trip away!   

 

Have you a special occasion coming up or fancy some nice beachwear for your holidays? Kildare Village is the perfect place to pick up something special at discounted prices. Popular stores including Michael Kors, Karen Millen, Kurt Geiger, Superdry and Mint Velvet are all here and offer discounts of up to 60% off retail prices. You can also accumulate points in sports stores, homewear and even restaurants.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Kildare Village (@kildarevillage) on

 

To put this into context, if you spend €100 at Kildare Village, you will receive 125 Avios. However AerClub run promotions throughout the year with bonus Avios and exclusive discounts, so watch out for my newsletter to ensure you are kept up to date about these. You only need 8000 Avios for a return flight to Paris and 26,000 for a return flight to New York (you just need to pay taxes, fees and charges). You can also use Avios to pay for hotels, car hire and travel experiences. See five ways to spend Avios here.

how to collect avios at kildare village

Why I love shopping at Kildare Village

Not only can I save up to 60% on retail prices and collect Avios at the same time, but I also love the outdoor village atmosphere. It is a much nicer shopping experience than being in a large shopping centre. There some great dining options too, including Saba and my personal favourite, Dunne and Crescenzi. There are over 100 brands in Kildare Village now and each time I visit it seems a new boutique has opened. I have my favourites, Ted Baker, UnderAmour and Kurt Geiger, but I am also enjoying accumulating a full set of Samsonite luggage. It is also the best place to buy a designer hand bag, the savings are amazing compared to high street stores. I rarely leave without something for the kids too, the sports shops are superb and Ralph Lauren always has great bargains for special occasions.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“You had me at Coach” The moment you know, they know you. 💕

A post shared by Kildare Village (@kildarevillage) on

My Avios journey

I have been steadily growing my Avios balance over the last two years and I now have 68,000 Avios. I just need another 5,000 Avios for two business class upgrades with Aer Lingus to New York, for myself and my husband –  I just need someone to mind my kids! Most of my Avios points were accumulated by shopping, for more details on how to get flights and upgrades by shopping click here. In case you didn’t know, Avios are a reward currency that are used by many airlines including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, as well as various hotel websites and high street stores. See the many ways to collect Avios here.

collect avios at kildare village

How do I collect Avios at Kildare Village?

Once you have joined AerClub, simply present your shopping receipts and AerClub card or number, to the Welcome Lounge in Kildare Village and the staff will register your purchases. Avios will be credited to your account within 40 days. 

collect avios at kildare village

Collect Avios at 11 other villages around the world

Kildare Village is a member of the The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, which has 11 villages around the world, including London, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Shanghai and Paris. You can collect Avios in all of these locations too, so if you are planning a city break anytime soon, or a trip to Disneyland Paris, make sure you pay them a visit. For a full list of locations click here.

collect avios at kildare village

Still not joined AerClub?

If by any chance you have not joined AerClub yet – now is your chance!  It is so easy to join, simply click here. By joining AerClub you will enjoy the benefits of being part of a global network of partners where you can collect Avios and turn them into reward flights, car hire and travel experiences. See the many ways to collect Avios here.
 

I hope this post helps you to collect Avios at Kildare Village,  you never know I might see you there! This post was sponsored by Avios but all views, as always, are my own.

Sarah

 
Travel

Collect 500 Bonus Avios When You Shop Via The New AerClub eStore Before October 21st!

Avios-Sarah

Looking to boost your Autumn wardrobe or doing some early Christmas shopping? Why not shop via the AerClub eStore before the 21st of October and collect 500 bonus Avios!

 

AerClub, the frequent flyer club of Aer Lingus, have launched a new-look AerClub eStore. You can shop over 100 brands online and collect Avios from the comfort of your own home! Shopping via the AerClub eStore couldn’t be easier, simply log in using your AerClub log in details, and see all your favourite brands in one place! You won’t pay any more for shopping this way. Prices are exactly the same, but you will accumulate Avios while you shop. And now if you shop via the eStore before the 21st of October you will also collect 500 bonus Avios, so you have the perfect excuse to try it out!

Note this bonus will be issued on the first qualifying transaction only, i.e you don’t get 500 extra Avios every time your make a purchase. For those of you who are used to shopping via the Avios eStore note the promotion will not apply here – you need to shop via the AerClub eStore to collect the 500 bonus Avios.

Bonus Offers from Marks & Spencer & Eason

Some retailers are giving additional Avios during the promotion period so it’s a win-win! Marks & Spencer are offering 7 Avios for every €1 spent instead of the usual 4 Avios, and Eason are offering 8 Avios for every €1 spent instead of the usual 5 Avios. To put that into perspective if you spend €100 in Marks & Spencer you will collect 700 Avios plus a bonus of 500 Avios! So maybe it is time to stock up on some cosy knits from M&S or some light reading from Eason – just what you need for winter nights in.

aerclub estore

How to spend Avios

You only need 8000 Avios for a return flight to Paris and 26,000 for a return flight to New York (you need to pay taxes, fees and charges). You can also use Avios to pay for hotels, car hire and travel experiences. See five ways to spend Avios here. I am a big fan of Avios and I have already collected over 60,000 Avios, most of which were accumulated by shopping. For more details on how to get flights and upgrades by shopping click here. In case you didn’t know, Avios are a reward currency that are used by many airlines including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, as well as various hotel websites and high street stores.

bonus avios

I have picked some of my favourite retailers that I use to shop via the AerClub eStore, but click here to shop all stores.

 

Lookfantastic: 7 Avios  

Stock up on your winter essentials from beauty store Lookfantastic. Whether it’s the latest skincare products, haircare remedies or maybe a new GHD in time for Christmas. Why not collect Avios while you shop? Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

shop via the aerclub estore

Marks & Spencer: 7 Avios for every €1 spent

 From underwear to winter woolies, cute kidswear to men’s polo shirts – there is always something to be bought in M&S.  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

shop via the aerclub estore

 

Eason: 8 Avios for every €1 spent

Easons have 25% off Autumn blockbusters so not only will you save money but you can collect a whopping 8 Avios for every €1 spent! If you purchase Jamie Oliver’s new cook book, you will collect 168 Avios plus 500 bonus Avios!  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

shop via the aerclub estore

River Island 3 Avios for every £1; Asos & Boohoo 3 Avios for every €1; Pretty Little Thing 5 Avios for every €1 spent

Looking to get a new winter coat or something for this year’s Christmas party season? Get the latest winter looks from the UK’s biggest online fashion stores and collect Avios at the same time.  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

double avios points

 

Adidas: 10 Avios for every €1 spent

Superstars, the latest Stella Mc Cartney gym gear, or kids football boots, there is something in the Adidas store to suit everyone. With a whopping 10 Avios for every €1 you spend, you can collect 1000 Avios buy purchasing a new pair of Superstars and also receive 500 bonus Avios!  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

shop via the aerclub estore

 

Groupon: 7 Avios for every €1 spent

Groupon has every type of gift imaginable. From restaurant vouchers to teeth whitening deals, short breaks to mobile phones, Groupon is your one stop daily deals website. Collect 700 Avios for every €100 spent on top of their already discounted prices.  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore   

shop via the aerclub estore

 

Apple: 2 Avios for every €1 spent

Fancy a new phone, iMac or apple watch? Perhaps you are thinking of treating the kids to new iPads for Christmas? Collect 2 Avios for every €1 spent.  Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

shop via the aerclub estore

How do I join AerClub?

For those of you who haven’t yet joined AerClub, this is the perfect time to do it. Simply click here to join AerClub, it couldn’t be easier!

shop via the NEW AerClub eStore

T&Cs

500 Bonus Avios are given when you shop via AerClub eStore between 4th – 21st October inclusive. Bonus will be issued on first qualifying transaction only. One Bonus per customer. Certain retailer exclusions apply, see individual retailer pages within the AerClub eStore for details. All hotel, travel bookings and subscription purchases are excluded from
this Bonus Avios offer; see full list of excluded retailers at AerClub eStore terms. Avios will not be awarded on items that are returned or cancelled. We accept no responsibility for fulfilment of transactions and delivery of goods; therefore please
check delivery timescales with individual retailers. Standard AerClub eStore terms and conditions apply. Bonus Avios will be credited to your account in a separate transaction to the standard Avios collected, by Friday 14 December 2018. Avios are issued and redeemed in accordance with Avios terms and conditions. Click here for further details.

Click here to shop the AerClub eStore

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Travel

Get 50% Extra Avios With SuperValu When You Convert Your Money Back Vouchers or Real Rewards points

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Collect 50% extra Avios with SuperValu when you convert your money back vouchers or Real Rewards points to Avios, before the 13th of September!

 

SuperValu have just sent out their money back vouchers so the timing couldn’t be better for their latest Avios promotion! I am delighted to tell you that you can collect 50% extra Avios with SuperValu when you convert your money back vouchers or Real Rewards points to Avios, before the 13th of September. Instead of collecting the usual 100 Avios for every 100 Real Rewards points converted with SuperValu, you can now collect 150 Avios. This means that if you have accumulated 1000 Real Rewards points or have received €10 in money back vouchers, you can get a whopping 1500 Avios!  You need to convert your money back vouchers online and you can use the SuperValu app to convert any new Real Rewards points accumulated before the 13th of September. You will collect 50% extra Avios either way! See here for more details or check out this short video.

How to spend Avios?

There are many ways to spend Avios. You can spend them on flights with Aer Lingus and partner airlines, and there are thousands of destinations to choose from. When you have accumulated 8,000 Avios you can book a return flight to Paris, while 26,000 will give you a return flight to New York. Note these exclude taxes, fees and charges and are based on off-peak travel. If you don’t have quite enough Avios for a flight, you can pay the rest in cash. For a full list of destinations and how to spend your points, click here.

extra avios with supervalu

You can also use Avios to upgrade economy tickets to business class or book hotels, car hire or travel experiences. Read this post for five ways to spend Avios. For those of you who have been following me on my journey, I am delighted to say that I have accumulated 55,000 Avios now and I plan on spending some of them on car-hire later in the year. Most of my Avios were collected by shopping cleverly and taking advantage of the many promotions that Avios run during the year – such as this one! For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, read my first post about how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points and start your journey now.

extra avios with supervalu

Looking to sign up?

If you are already an AerClub member, your existing log in and password will suffice. For those who have not yet joined, join Aer Lingus’ frequent flyer club – AerClub. Why not download the free Avios app too, it will allow you book flights on the go, check your Avios balance and find out where to collect.

 

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

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Travel Tips

How to get Flights and Upgrades with Avios Points

plane and beach

Combining my two favourite pastimes, travel and shopping – to say I am excited is an understatement! I have teamed up with Avios to tell you how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points!

 

For years I have been hearing from friends and family in the US and the UK about how they have so many air-miles, yet they only take one holiday a year! I always wondered why Ireland was so behind the curve – well not anymore! Collecting Avios points is now something we can all do, even those who don’t travel often. Avios are a reward currency that are used by many airlines including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, as well as various hotel websites and high street stores.

When you collect Avios points you can use them to get flights and upgrades, with any of their partner airlines. Some of you may have already joined Aer Club, the Aer Lingus frequent flyer program, and may have collected Avios points already, but did you know you could collect them in other outlets too? It only costs 37,000 Avios to upgrade to business class to New York with Aer Lingus! For most of us flying business class to the USA was a pipe dream, but with Avios it is now attainable.

how to get flights and upgrades with avios points

Supervalu, Kildare Village and Appleby are just some of the Irish suppliers that have all joined the Avios reward programme. This means that every time you shop in Supervalu you can collect Avios points! Fancy a trip to Kildare Village? Now is your excuse to go, you can collect Avios points with every purchase! Have you a special occasion coming up? Make sure you pay a visit to Appleby Jewellers. It really is that simple. Supervalu will give you 1 Avios point for every €1 spent, Kildare Village will give you 5 Avios for every €4 spent and Appleby will give 5 Avios for every €1 spent!

Read my post on the ways to collect Avios for more partner details.

how to get flights and upgrades with avios points

It doesn’t end there…  AerClub have an eStore!

When I say this is going to change the way we shop, I really mean it! You can also get rewards for on-line purchases in hundreds of high street stores, hotel websites and even iTunes!  Right now Marks and Spencer are giving 4 Avios points for every €1 spent, Debenhams are giving 4 Avios per €1, ASOS 7 Avios and travel website Expedia are giving a whopping 10 Avios per €1. Once you are an AerClub member you can access the AerClub eStore with the same log in and password. Simply click on your favourite stores and shop online in the usual way. It won’t cost you any more to shop this way but your purchases will be tracked, and your Avios account will be topped up with points!

how to get flights and upgrades with avios points

So how many points do I need for a flight, I hear you say….

There are so many variations, depending on when and where you travel, but 8,000 Avios points will get you a return flight to Paris. For 17,000 Avios you can have a return flight to the Canary Islands and if you can save 26,000 you can have a return flight to New York. Note these are based on off peak travel and exclude taxes and charges. For full list of date bands click here.

This may sound a lot but I have accumulated 40,ooo points already in just one year! With the exception of three flights to Spain, all of my points were accumulated by shopping in Supervalu, Kildare Village and via the eStore. Avios regularly have promotions on to make it even easier to collect points. Suddenly a business class upgrade on my flight to New York is possible…

how to get flights and upgrades with avios points

How to sign up.

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

 

If you have any questions please comment below and I will get back to you. It really is that easy to get flights and upgrades with Avios points! To coin a phrase from the movie Pretty Woman – I have to go shopping now………

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here.

 

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

 

Sarah

 

In The Media

Tips & Deals for Booking Summer Holidays As Discussed on Newstalk

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With tons of special offers available and a desire to have something to look forward to, January is the best time to book a holiday. Check out my top tips and deals for booking Summer holidays that I discussed with Ivan Yates on Newstalk.

 

Compare like with like.

I say this time and time again as this is the biggest mistake people make when booking holidays online. When comparing package holidays with holidays you design yourself, make sure you include baggage charges, airport transfers and local taxes. Tour Operators like Sunway , Topflight and TUI Holidays will offer packages with no hidden extras, so make sure the ‘deal’ you think you have found online is really as good as it seems. A 20kg checked bag costs €110 to Lanzarote in the Summer with Aer Lingus and airport transfer costs to some resorts in the Algarve and Majorca can also be extremely high, so make sure you add these to the cost of the basic flight and accommodation before you compare with a package holiday.

The same applies to long haul holidays. Sometimes specialists like Tropical Sky will be able to offer cheaper packages than if you bought a flight and hotel separately. Some of the low cost carriers, like Norwegian and WOW air charge high amounts for baggage, allocated seating, even meals, on long haul flights. Compare these with airlines such as Turkish Airlines who include a generous baggage allowance, all meals and even drinks on board.

tips and deals for booking summer holidays

Check the total flight duration.

You may find a special offer on a particular website to Los Angeles or Thailand but when you book it you will find that it takes you 24 hours to get there! Sometimes the lowest airfares have many stopovers and can take double the time of a direct flight – make sure you read the times!

Check one way and return airfares.

When booking a flight make sure you check both one way and return airfares. With Aer Lingus and Ryanair for instance, you may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another. This can also be useful for good flight times, one airline may have better times on the outward journey and another on the return. Skycanner will combine all airlines so you can automatically find the best airfares and quite often the lowest priced journey will be with two different carriers. Skyscanner will also show you carriers that you may not have thought of, i.e Vueling who fly direct to Barcelona from Dublin or Iberian Express who fly to Madrid.

tips and deals for booking summer holidays

 

Like these tips? See more here.

 

Some of the best sales / deals available.

tips and deals for booking summer holidays

Aer Lingus annual seat sale is on until the 16th of January offering up to 50% off selected European airfares and flights to the USA from €209 one way, if sold as part of a return ticket. Apparently they have reductions on 3 million seats!

TUI Holidays ( formerly Falcon Holidays ) is offering 1000’s of free child places with a low booking deposit of €75.

Attraction Tickets Direct have a Win Win promotion. If you pay a €25 deposit on theme park tickets to Florida and the price reduces when you are due to pay your balance, you will be charged the lower price. If the price increases ( due to currency fluctuations or general price increases ) they wont charge you any more. Hence the term win win – you can’t loose!

Topflight has a ski and summer sale with discounts across all seasons and destinations including ski holidays and a wide range of holidays to Italy.

Click&GO.com is offering €1 deposits on holidays booked with Aer Lingus, departing 10 or more weeks from the booking date. A further €150 deposit is due 4 weeks after booking and the balance is payable 10 weeks before departure.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is offering buy one get one half price, plus free deluxe drinks packages on selected sailings. They are also offering 25% discount on the 3rd and 4th passengers, which is ideal for families.

 

My Top 3 Top Long Haul Picks:

top tips and deals for bookings summer holidays

Sunway is offering a seven night all-inclusive stay in the Dominican Republic from €875 in May. Price includes flights and hotel for 1 week, with all meals and drinks included. Upgrade to the 5* Dreams Punta Cana for €1189. Click here for more details:

Tropical Sky is offering a seven night all-inclusive stay in the Maldives from €1499 including flights and speed boat transfers. Click here for more details:

Travalue has a 12 night holiday to South Africa with accommodation in Cape Town, the wine lands and the Garden Route, with 9 days car hire, and a safari for 2 nights on a full board basis, from €1695 in May or June. Click here for more details:

 

Like these deals? See more here.

 

Sarah

 

Featured

Top Holiday Destinations in 2017

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Dublin airport has just celebrated it’s best ever year in 2016 and there are lots of new routes announced from Dublin, Cork and Shannon. It seems Irish airports are set for another bumper year.  So where are the top holiday destinations in 2017?

It looks like firm favourites, Spain and Portugal will remain the most popular short haul holiday destinations. Every other month we are hearing about new routes to the USA so American holidays will probably be the next biggest crowd pleaser. Short break enthusiasts will welcome the 9 weekly flights to Iceland and if you haven’t visited Athens or Amsterdam yet, 2017 might well be the year to do it. Cruise holidays are gearing up for another year of growth and the 14 weekly flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as the new daily Qatar airways service from Dublin to Doha, ensures long haul holidays will be easily accessible. Here are my picks for holiday hot spots in 2017!

Spain

Ireland’s favourite holiday destination never disappoints. Culture vultures or party animals enjoy the numerous choices for city breaks and beach holidays. Why not combine both though? The Costa Dorada looks like it could be the big winner this year. There are flights from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock serving Reus, Girona or Barcelona and Sunway and Falcon Holidays both offer package deals to Salou and Cambrils. The combination of the iconic city of Barcelona and the opening of Ferrari World at the already popular Port Aventura theme park, make it an ideal choice for all the family.

Top holiday destinations in 2017

Portugal

Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost fifty flights per week from Irish airports, in the peak Summer months. Aer Lingus have added a new service to Porto, and Lisbon is already a popular city break destination. It looks like lots Irish holiday makers will be flocking to Portugal in their droves in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Algarve

Italy

Lakes, mountains, cities and beaches, Italy has something to offer all holiday makers. Lake Garda is becoming more and more popular with families as there are numerous self catering and camping options. The Amalfi Coast is always a popular honeymoon destination and the islands will attract couples looking for an upmarket holiday. Sunway have introduced a direct flight to Sardinia for 2017 which should keep the beach enthusiasts happy, and the growing trend for authentic experiences will ensure that Irish numbers to the region of Puglia should continue to grow.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Sardinia

Greece

Always great value for money and appealing to the masses, the Greek islands should have many Irish visitors in 2017. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos with Falcon Holidays and flights to Athens with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aegean airlines. This should ensure Athens will be a popular city break destination but also allow easier access to the sought after islands of Santorini and Mykonos.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Santorini

USA

Flights to the States have grown to unprecedented levels. New routes to from Aer Lingus to Hartford and Miami and extra flights to Los Angeles, Orlando and New York, should translate into a bumper year for Irish tourists to the USA. The addition of low cost flights with Norwegian Air from Cork to Boston and New York, as well as WOW air flights via Iceland, should ensure lots of good deals for Irish holidaymakers. San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic ‘summer of love’ with a year of events and festivals in 2017. And would you believe Elvis is dead 40 years this year… sure makes me feel old! Why not pay tribute to the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ by visiting Memphis during ‘Elvis Week’, between 11th and 19th August. See American Sky for details.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Universal Studios

Mexico

Mexico is one of our most popular long haul destinations. Falcon Holidays are offering direct flights from Dublin for those looking for a two week holiday in the summer months. Many choose to fly via America and combine with a city break in New York or Vegas. I think Mexico will continue to be as popular with Irish holidaymakers in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Mexico

Iceland

WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved to be a resounding success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. So much so that WOW have decided to increase flights from Dublin and add on a service from Cork. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2017 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Chase the Northern Lights in Iceland

Cruises

One of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry is set for another bumper year. The competition has never been greater. Most major cruise lines have dedicated Irish websites now and many travel agents and tour operators have dedicated cruise departments. Free all inclusive drinks packages, half price kids offers and even free flights, will I am sure, entice Irish holidaymakers to cruise in 2017. New destinations like Cuba will make it easier for visitors to visit Havana without paying the increasing accommodation costs. River cruises are also proving popular for discerning clients. For those who don’t want to fly there are even cruises operating directly from Ireland in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
American cruise lines are now docking in Cuba.

Croatia

For those looking for somewhere a little different but still close to home, Croatia will be a top choice. The stunning city of Dubrovnik has always been a favourite but now there are flights to Split and Pula with Aer Lingus, as well as Zadar with RyanairFalcon Holidays have also announced package holidays to Croatia and specialists Croatia Tours continue to offer a wide choice of package holidays to the region.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Dubrovnik

Middle East and beyond

With two direct daily flights to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi and now a new daily service to Doha with Qatar airlines, getting to Asia, Africa and Australia has never been easier. No lengthy lay overs in Heathrow and prices should reduce too!

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Dubai

South Africa

Ethiopian airlines‘ Dreamliner aircraft made many news reports when they offered cheap direct flights from Dublin to Los Angeles this year. They have now added extra connections from their hub in Addis Ababa to South Africa. This means that flights from Dublin to Cape Town should be easily accessible and hopefully well priced too.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
South African safari

They are my thoughts on the top holiday destinations in 2017 but please comment below if you have any more to add 🙂

 

Sarah

travel deals

In The Media

Last Minute Holidays As Seen On TV3’s SundayAM, 24th July 2016

The-Travel-Expert-As-Seen-on-TV3

Looking for a break in July or August? Check out my top picks for last minute holidays as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

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Availability to the popular destinations (Spain & Portugal mainly) in July and August is always scarce, and this year is no exception. However, there is increased capacity with Aer Lingus and Ryanair so airfares are quite low. In fact Aer Lingus have a seat sale with up to 25% off European flights during August & September, if booked by midnight on Monday, 25th July. If you are prepared to go off the beaten track and stay somewhere further from the resort centre, you can pick up good deals on last minute holidays. I found that Italy is better value than Spain and Portugal at the moment, here are my top picks.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Italy Deals:

Crystal Holidays are offering a  2* Hotel in Lake Garda, the Miravalli, from €340 per person on the 6th of August. This is a basic hotel but located in the heart of Garda, so it’s perfect for anyone who just wants to use the hotel as a base. If you want to upgrade your hotel, Topflight have a Summer sale until the 29th of July with savings of €420 per person. They have Sicily, Lido di Jesolo and Sorrento on sale in August as well as Lanzarote, the Algarve and Madeira.

I like the 3* Astoria Hotel, Sorrento, it’s €789 on the 7th and 14th of August. It is situated right in the heart of Sorrento, it is great value for such a fantastic location. All of Topflight’s prices include flights, transfers and checked baggage. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Family Holiday:

Menorca is surprisingly good value for the next few weeks. With short day time flights and very family friendly, it is an ideal choice for a family holiday. Sunway are offering package deals where transfers and checked baggage are included, staying in the popular Binimar apartments. They are a nice low rise complex, close to the town centre and the beach and have a small splash park on site. The price for 2 adults & 2 children on the 31st of July and 7th of August is €1876. Click here for more details. Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Mid to late August:

With some kids back in school as early as the 24th of August, the last week of August is best time to pick up a bargain holiday. The Aer Lingus sale has some great airfares so you should be able to pick up a package deal to Spain or Portugal for less than €400. If you fancy Greece, Falcon Holidays are offering a week package deal to Zakynthos from €399 on the 30th of August, staying in the popular Katerina Palace Hotel. Click here for more details.

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks too. I like this one in Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in a four star hotel for only €247 on the 15th of August. Click here for more details.

Tapas Madid, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

5 Tips to find a last minute deal:

1. ClickandGo.com have a ‘dealfinder’ on their website where you can select sun holidays or city breaks within 30 days, 60 days etc and it will list all holidays that they have available.

2. Use Ryanair’s fare finder’ and Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ searches for any destination under a specific price range. Use hotel aggregators such as Trivago & Tripadvisor to search many accommodation websites for the same hotel.

3. The Irish Travel Agents association’s website combines top travel agents offers so you don’t need to search lots of different websites. And I offer my best last minute deals in my best travel deals post which is published every Tuesday on thetravelexpert.ie 🙂

4. Compare like with like. Remember a package holiday with a Tour Operator such as Falcon Holidays or Sunway includes airport transfers and checked baggage. A 20kg checked bag to the Canary Islands with Ryanair is €100 during July and August, so that ‘cheap deal’ you thought you found, might not be so cheap after all.

5. And finally always check with your local travel agent – they are searching late offers day in, day out and will probably know immediately what is the best value at any given time.

 

All prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

travel deals

 

Uncategorized

New Routes from Irish Airports in 2016

Airport

Tired of the same old holiday destinations? Check out the new routes from Irish airports in 2016 and try something new this year!

 

Dublin Airport

We are finally seeing some new longhaul routes from Ireland, something that will be widely welcomed by Irish holidaymakers. Falcon / Thomson holidays will operate a dreamliner aircraft direct to Cancun (Mexico) and Montego Bay (Jamaica) while Air Canada Rouge will offer direct flights to Vancouver for the first time.  Aer Lingus have also introduced direct flights to more US destinations,  Newark, Los Angeles and the surprise choice, Hartford. Ethiopian Airlines are also flying direct to Los Angeles so there should be plenty of choice for people looking to get to the Sunshine State this year. Blue Air will be flying to Cluj (Romania), Ryanair will operate to the Spanish coastal city, Vigo and Aer Lingus will fly to Montpellier in France. There are also extra flights to Athens with Aegean Airlines and Ryanair, perhaps Athens will be on many peoples city break list this year? Aegean Airlines will also be offering online connections to the bucket list destinations of Santorini and Mykonos. And finally, Aer Lingus have added capacity to the popular holiday destinations of Pisa and Murcia, until now these were served by Ryanair only.

Mexico, one of the new routes from Ireland in 2016, by The Travel Expert
Mexico

Cork Airport

Cork airport has announced 400, 000 additional seats available for 2016 and the airport was recently named as one of Europe’s best airports. New routes for 2016 include Cardiff, London City, Leeds Bradford in the UK and Dusseldorf, Germany. Families will welcome direct flights to Nantes and La Rochelle in France and Menorca in Spain, which is operated by Stein Travel. Direct flights to Madrid with Iberia Express should suit people looking for a short city break and Norwegian Air is hoping to fly from Cork to Boston, however this is still subject to US approval. There is also talk of a Cork – New York service in the near future – so watch this space!

Menorca, one of the new routes from Irish Airports in 2016 by The Travel Expert
Menorca

Knock Airport ( Ireland West)

Falcon / Thomson Holidays are flying direct to Salou for 2016, something that has delighted families living in the West of Ireland. The flight will operate weekly from the end of June until the 16th of August. Knock airport will also offer new direct services to the popular cities of Edinburgh and Birmingham this year.

Salou, one of the new routes from Irish Airports in 2016 by The Travel Expert
Salou

Shannon airport

While there are no new routes from Shannon in 2016, extra capacity has been announced to many holiday destinations such as Malaga (Costa del Sol) and Faro (Portugal) as well as popular routes such as Heathrow and New York. 2015 was the third successive year of passenger growth at Shannon airport and this trend will surely continue in 2016.

 

So there you have it, no excuses for resting on your laurels this year – go somewhere new in 2016!

 

Sarah

New Logo REVISED FINAL

In The Media

As Seen On TV3 – 10th January 2016

The-Travel-Expert-As-Seen-on-TV3

Planning a holiday in 2016? As seen on TV3 SundayAM , check out my best reasons to book early, top tips to get the best deals and where I think the hot spots will be this year.

 

Best Reasons To Book Early:

Generally speaking it pays to book early, particularly if you are looking for something specific or if travelling during school holidays. If you have a large family and need a two or three bedroom apartment or have to take particular holidays in work you should book now.  Most airlines including Aer Lingus and Ryanair have Summer sales and prices normally increase closer to departure. Many hotel websites are offering early booking savings of up to 20% if booked before the 31st of January. Tour Operators Falcon Holidays and Sunway are offering great early booking deals, including free child places and low booking deposits.

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Booking early makes budgeting a little easier too. Most travel agents will let you pay a deposit now and pay your holiday in instalments. It also gives you something nice to look forward to as you look out through your office window at the rain! If you over indulged over Christmas, ClickandGo.com are offering €1 deposits on all European holidays booked ten weeks in advance.

Lanzarote Family holiday by The Travel Expert

 

Tips To Find The Best Deals:

Rather than spending hours searching hundreds of different websites, there are a few sites that are worth checking out. The Irish Travel Agents Association and Worldchoice combine special offers from Ireland’s leading travel agents on their websites.  I also combine a list of the best travel deals from around the web every Tuesday and publish it here.

 

ITAA3

 

When comparing package holidays with holidays you design yourself make sure you include baggage charges, airport transfers and local taxes. Most tour operator’s packages will have no hidden extras so make sure the ‘deal’ you think you have is really as good as it seems. Comparison websites such as Trivago or Tripadvisor  will search numerous websites for the same property and you may find significant savings. Check the distance from the airport too. Particularly in places like Barcelona, which according to Ryanair, has three airports! But Girona and Reus are miles from Barcelona. You may think you are getting a great deal and find out you have to pay hundreds of euro for an airport transfer.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising

 

When booking a flight make sure you check both one way and return airfares. With Aer Lingus and Ryanair for instance, you may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another. This can also be useful for good flight times, one airline may have better times on the outward journey and another on the return. The lowcostholidays website will combine all airlines so you can automatically find the best airfares and quite often the lowest priced journey will be with two different carriers. If travelling with kids, Ryanair allow you to select half price bags even if adults are only taking hand luggage. With Aer Lingus you need to book an adult bag in order to get a child’s case for half price.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

Top Holiday destinations In 2016.

Easter will be big this year. Children have almost three weeks off school with Easter and Patricks day falling together, so get in early before prices rocket! I checked various options and prices are already quite high. The best family option I found is a week in Salou for €925 based on 2 adults and 2 children in the 4* Sanguli Resort. For more details read by blog here.

sanguli_046300_opt

 

I think campsites in Salou and Lake Garda will be particularly popular this year. Many will change from France because of the European championships and the Paris attacks. The ISIS effect also means that people will tend to stick to Spain, Portugal & Italy rather than North African destinations. This will be a European trend so the likelihood is that accommodation in these countries will be priced higher and more scarce than in previous years. This will be particularly problematic if looking for a last minute deal.

The Travel Expert on TV3 10th January 2016

 

There are direct flights to Mexico and Jamaica from June so they should be particularly popular with couples. With prices starting at €1589 for a 4* hotel on an all inclusive basis, including flights, transfers and baggage for two weeks, they are good value for long haul holidays direct from Dublin. You can pay a small booking deposit too, which is always appreciated! Check out Falconholidays.ie for more details.

Fuerteventura by The Travel Expert

 

Ryanair and Aegean airlines have introduced flights to Athens so this could be the big city break destination for 2016 . There are also onward connections with Aegean airlines to Santorini and Mykonos, which are bucket list destinations for many people.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a travel deal to Santorini in 2016

 

For families looking for a relaxing family holiday Menorca could be the destination of choice this year. This is an ideal family destination. There are direct flights and package deals from Dublin with Sunway and new for 2016 is a direct flight from Cork with Stein Travel.

Menorca, one of the top ten holiday destinations for 2016 by The Travel Expert

 

Cruising is getting more and more popular and prices seem to be getting better each year. MSC Cruises are offering Mediterranean cruise package deals from €1095 in the summer months, including flights and free drinks pacakges. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises are offering buy one get one half price plus free drinks packages. The all inclusive package holiday concept seems to have transferred to cruises now!

 

Wherever you decide to go in 2016 – book now, sit back, relax and just wait for the sunshine ☀

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

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