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Top 10 Reasons To Travel More!

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Trying to persuade yourself or your partner that you need a holiday? I’ve got 10 great reasons to travel more.

I recall my first holiday abroad when I was 18, and the excitement I felt when I booked it. Fast forward 30 years and that still happens to me today. I start to read up on the top things to do, search where to dine, and start browsing the shops for new clothes. I’ve listed 10 great reasons to travel below, but the pleasure we get from having a holiday to look forward to is also a great reason to travel.

trying new experiences are one of the many reasons to travel

We are all craving new experiences, and travel has never been so accessible, so it’s no surprise that we are travelling more. I am delighted to team up with Irish owned and operated, Travel Department, who have been providing guided group holidays to Irish people for over 25 years.

If you are looking to travel overseas but want to take the hassle out of planning your trip, let the experts do it for you. Travel Department staff have travelled extensively and have curated superb itineraries in Europe and throughout the world for you to enjoy.

Travel Department guided group tours from Ireland

You can now get even more savings with Travel Department with their Gold, Silver & Bronze discounts on selected tours.

    • Save €100pp* on Gold discount holidays using the code TTE100
    • Save €60pp* on Silver discount holidays using the code TTE60
    • Save €30pp* on Bronze discount holidays using the code TTE30

Check prices here
Some tours have daily activities planned, while others include free days to explore at your leisure, so you are bound to find one to suit you on their website. If you prefer to discuss your requirements with one of their expert sales team, please call Travel Department on 01 6371650.

Hopefully these 10 reasons to travel will inspire you to book a holiday overseas soon.



1. Travel is good for your mental health

Top 10 reasons to travel more

We all know how important it is to look after our mental health, and holidays are a great way to do just that. We need to escape the stresses of every day life from time to time, whether that is work related issues or school runs.

Holidays allow us to switch off, whether that means relaxing by the pool, climbing a mountain, or dancing the night away – we leave our worries behind, let off steam and enjoy ourselves. There are no time pressures in the morning, no traffic, and some days the hardest decision to make will be where to dine in the evening!

A healthy glow, a good nights sleep, fresh air, laughter and relaxation are all great reasons to travel, and visiting a new destination will provide a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Hopefully you will return home feeling refreshed with a new lease of life.



2. Travel allows you to spend quality time with your partner or family

top reasons to travel abroad

I hear it regularly from friends and family how busy their lives are, and I’m sure you do too. Whether you are working long hours or dropping children to activities, for most of us our idea of relaxation is sitting down in front of the TV after a long day, where there is limited conversation involved.

Finding ‘quality’ time to reconnect with our partners or family is a lot easier on holidays and is a great reason to travel. You dine together with no distractions, chat about your experiences that day, and there is no where to rush off to, and no office calls to get in the way.



3. Travel has never been so accessible  

new holiday destinations from Ireland in 2023

Did you know that there are over 26 new holiday destinations from Ireland this year? As well as new services to Egypt, Israel and Norway, there are also many new destinations in holiday favourites such as Italy, Spain and Croatia.

Have you always wanted to visit Vietnam, or see the sunrise over the Taj Mahal? Places like India and Vietnam have never been so accessible – with countless daily flights available with just one short stopover. View all Travel Department destinations here:

View ALL here



4. There are holidays and travel experiences to suit all tastes and budgets

escorted tours to Lake Garda from Ireland

As well as better accessibility, there is a wider choice of holiday styles available now. Choose a fully escorted tour, or combine a beach holiday with excursions, book walking, yoga or photography holidays, or a simple city break – there are holiday options to suit all tastes and budgets now. 

Read: Top 10 Escorted tours from Ireland including flights, accommodation and excursions

Read: 10 Adventure holidays for active travellers



5. Trying new experiences is one of our favourite reasons to travel


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Travel trends show that we are craving new experiences and want something more than just lying on a beach. Go on safari in South Africa, try wine tasting in Puglia, chase the Northern Lights in Iceland or marvel at the Treasury in Petra – the possibilities are endless.

Escorted tours make these bucket list experiences so accessible, and regardless of how well travelled you may be, there are some destinations that are best discovered on an escorted tour. 

Travel Department bucket list tours

Read: Top 20 lifetime travel experiences

See more here



6. Travel broadens your mind

holidays to Jordan

There is no doubt that learning about different cultures broadens our minds. Most cultures and wonders are best experienced first hand, rather than read in books. No image or book prepares you for that feeling when you stand in the centre of the Colosseum or climb down into the Pyramids of Giza.

Smelling lavender from the fields in Provence, enjoying Greek salads with home made olive oil, or enjoying street food in Vietnam are simple pleasures that feel extraordinary when experienced in their native country.

Travel Department cultural tours

Travel can inspire creativity too and allow us to explore new interests. You may try something new abroad and want to continue it at home, or discover a new product or business idea to bring back home with you. Travel can also enhance our way of life and help with self discovery.

See Travel Department’s cultural holidays here:

See more here



7. Meeting new people is one of the best reasons to travel

meeting new friends is one of the best reasons to travel
Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

What was once a travel trend for the young, free and single, solo travel is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry. 

Travel Department’s solo group tours are a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. Whether you are travelling with a friend but prefer the comfort and security that a group tour brings, or want to travel with fellow solo travellers – Travel Department have a wide selection of tours to suit you. 

solo travel with Travel Department

You don’t have to cycle through the rice fields of the Mekong Delta, they provide authentic experiences in some of Europe’s most popular destinations too. I love how their solo prices are easily visible online on all tours. 

All of their tours include flights, transfers, accommodation, and activities with a local guide or expert. Travel Department do all the hard work, so you can simply go and enjoy it!

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8. Travel is good for the body


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Research shows that we exercise more on holidays than during a regular working week at home. Walking, cycling and hiking holidays are becoming more and more popular, but exploring a new city will certainly increase your daily steps too! Even a regular swim in the pool or a stroll around a holiday resort is more exercise than walking from the car to the office each day.

Vitamin D from the sun is beneficial to most of us, but let’s face it, it is not in abundance in Ireland. So that occasional week in the sun (once you are careful with sunscreen!) can also be very good for you.



9. Travel helps local communities


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We only have to look to our own country to see how much tourism impacts local businesses. As well as creating jobs, it gives a sense of purpose to individuals and helps preserve traditions and local cultures. Those handcraft souvenirs that you bring home can make a massive impact on a small business. 

Travel Department always use local expert guides who bring you to family run restaurants and local businesses to enrich local communities, and where possible, they use local independent hotels rather than massive world-wide chains.

Travel Department also believe in Responsible Travel and have gained a Sustainable Travel Certification for their efforts. They ensure that the places you visit will not negatively impact the local wildlife.

See more here



10. Travel creates lasting memories


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Travel is all about trying new experiences and making lasting memories. With over 30 years in the travel industry I have been very fortunate to travel to many destinations around the world. Climbing Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, going on safari in South Africa and seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland were all bucket list travel experiences, but I also have lasting memories from places closer to home.

Travel Department European tours

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb once said

“Repetition doesn’t create memories, new experiences do”

But I think Jack Kerouac said it best: 

“Because in the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in an office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain”

Travel Department offer fully guided holidays to 100’s of destinations in Europe and around the world. Return flights, hotel accommodation, guided transfers and expert local guides for all excursions are included in all of their holidays.

Visit Travel Department


Hopefully these 10 reasons to travel will inspire you to book a holiday overseas soon. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, prices and itineraries are subject to change. Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made. This post was sponsored by Travel Department, but all views, as always, are by own.

Ts & Cs

*Offer valid for all new bookings made between 22nd May and the 30th June 2023. Offer is €100pp off gold discount holidays using the code TTE100, €60pp off silver discount holidays using the code TTE60 and €30pp off bronze discount holidays using the code TTE30. Offers are non-transferable, subject to availability, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and has no cash value. All deposits are non-refundable.


Discover Asia and South America with Wendy Wu Tours

machu picchu shutterstock (1)

Take a river cruise from Vietnam to Cambodia or a panoramic train to Machu Picchu, go in search of Bengal tigers in India or climb Sri Lanka’s most famous rock fortress – Sigiriya. These are just some of the wonderful experiences you can expect when you visit Asia and South America with Wendy Wu Tours.

I have been a big fan of Wendy Wu Tours since they first started operating in Ireland a few years ago. I love the authentic experiences they offer and that almost everything is included in the price of their tours – even meals and visas. You don’t have to take my word for it though, Wendy Wu Tours have won the Best Long Haul Specialist Tour Operator award in the UK for eight years running, and recently won the same award at the Irish Travel Industry Awards in Dublin. They have a 5-star Tripadvisor rating and a whopping 98% of their customers recommend travelling with them. I was delighted to see that as well as their spectacular tours to Asia, you can now experience South America with Wendy Wu Tours.

Wendy Wu Tours


Wendy Wu Tours have tours to suit everyone.  

Whether you want to cruise along the Mekong in a luxury river cruise ship, hike up Huayna Picchu in Peru, or mingle with nomads in yurt camps in Kyrgyzstan, Wendy Wu Tours will have a tour to suit you. Their Classic Tours showcase all the highlights as well as offering authentic experiences, while their Flexible Tours are ideal for people who want some free time to explore on their own. They also offer Active and Go Beyond tours, which allow you get off the beaten track, as well as luxury, private, or tailor-made tours in their Exclusive Collection. You can read more about Wendy Wu Tours’ different tour styles in this post.

tigers in india with wendy wu tours


Something else I love about Wendy Wu Tours is their special offers! From time to time they offer discounted business class upgrades, no single supplements and VIP door to door chauffeur transfers, so keep an eye on the special offers section of their website. I have handpicked five of my favourite tours below to give you a flavour of what you can expect if you travel to Asia or South America with Wendy Tu Tours. 

solo travel with wendy wu tours


Vietnam & Cambodia:

A Mekong Experience, 14 Days Including Flights, 4-Night Cruise, 4-Star Accommodation, All Meals & Tours, from €4,090

I would love to visit Vietnam and Cambodia, and I can’t think of a better way to see it than this! This amazing tour allows you to discover Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, before boarding the brand new luxury river cruise ship, Victoria Mekong, for a four-day cruise to Cambodia. This is the only ship to cruise this part of the Mekong Delta. A 4-star ship, you can expect spacious staterooms with private balconies, an infinity pool, spa, gym and even mini-golf. However, with just 35 cabins, the experience onboard is quite intimate, and all excursions, entertainment and meals with drinks are included. 

When you arrive in Phnom Penh you can enjoy a tour of the city by cyclo and visit the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields, before flying to Siem Reap to explore the magnificent Temples of Angkor. You will also visit floating markets, ride an ox cart to the home of a local Khmer family, and take a tuk tuk to a traditional Cambodian house for a cookery lesson. 

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews Wendy Wu tours to China and Southeast Asia direct from Ireland


See more here


Inspiring India:

14 days Including Flights, Accommodation, All Meals & Tours, from €2,990

I like to think I’m an adventurous traveller, but India is one country that I wouldn’t visit independently. While I am sure you could visit the Taj Mahal relatively easily, I’m not so sure I would want to explore Old and New Delhi without the direction of an experienced guide. On this two-week tour you will take a rickshaw to Asia’s largest spice market in Delhi, go in search of Bengal tigers in Ranthambore National Park, visit the Pink City of Jaipur, and cruise on Lake Pichola, where you will admire the palaces of Udaipur from the water. You will also get the opportunity to overnight in Agra, so you can witness the Taj Mahal at sunrise. 


See more here


Panoramic Peru:

15 Days Including Flights, Accommodation, Most Meals, Cruise, Train Ride & Flexible Tour Options, from €4,690

That fact that you get to visit Machu Picchu is enough to make me want to book this trip, but that is only one of the many magical sights you will witness on this incredible adventure. This is one of Wendy Wu Tours’ Flexible Tours, where you will board the panoramic train to Machu Picchu, but you also have the choice of hiking up Huayna Picchu for a different viewpoint. This tour also includes stays in Lima, The Sacred Valley, Colca, Arequipa, Puno and Cusco. Spot the condors on Colca Canyon, cruise across Lake Titicaca, enjoy cookery lessons with local families, and try Pisco tasting. This tour really shows the highlights of Peru, and then some…

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on escorted tours


See more here


Highlights of Sri Lanka:

15 Days Including Flights, Accommodation, All Meals & Tours, from €3,990

I visited Sri Lanka a few years ago and loved it. The people are so friendly, the scenery is stunning and the food is delicious. There is so much to do in Sri Lanka, it is impossible to see everything independently. This is a superb tour where you will see all the highlights of Sri Lanka on one trip. You will be staying in the cultural centre of Kandy, where you can visit Sri Lanka’s spectacular temples, you will enjoy safaris in Yala National Park, visit a Tea Plantation in Eliya, take the coastal drive to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle, explore Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and tour a specialist turtle hatchery.


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One of my personal favourite experiences in Sri Lanka was climbing Sigiriya, which is also included in this tour. It is mind-blowing to think there was a palace at the top of this giant Rock Fortress in the 5th century. The views from the top are pretty impressive too! 


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Japan Uncovered:

17 Days Including Flights, Accommodation, All Meals, Bullet Train, Cruise & Tours, from €7,490

This is one of the most extensive tours of Japan that I have seen. As well as exploring the vibrant cities of Tokyo and Osaka, you will have time to reflect in Hiroshima, experience a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, spend time on a wasabi farm in Nagano, and even see the famous Japanese snow monkeys. 

No tour to Japan would be complete without a trip to Mount Fuji. The Japan Uncovered tour allows you to visit the 5th Station (about half way up Mount Fuji), which offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Another highlight will be riding the Bullet Train to Kyoto. You will also cruise on Lake Ashi, discover the hot springs of Mount Hakone and explore Kanazawa and Takayama.


These are just a sample of the tours offered in Asia and South America with Wendy Wu Tours and are all available flying from Dublin, Cork, or Shannon. Remember: flights, transfers, tours and meals are included in the cost of Wendy Wu Tours, so you won’t find any hidden extras on top of the prices listed.

All tours are bookable through your local travel agent or by calling Wendy Wu Tours on 01 485 4159. 

See All Tours Here


This post on Discovering Asia and South America with Wendy Wu Tours was sponsored by Wendy Wu Tours, but all views, as always, are my own.



The Travel Expert


Insight Vacations’ USA and Canada Collection Offers Incredible Escorted Journeys for 2019

Famous sunrise at Mesa Arch

Insight Vacation’s USA and Canada collection offers 15 outstanding escorted journeys with authentic experiences that bring you to the very heart of this amazing continent, all while ‘staying in style’ in their hand-picked luxury hotels.


Explore Monument Valley in an open-top vehicle with a Navajo guide, watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon as you stay INSIDE the National Park and enjoy a fisherman’s lobster feast on his boat in Shediac Bay – Insight Vacations’ slogan, “we show you the insights, not just the sights” is a true reflection of what you can expect on an Insight Vacations escorted journey.

Why Insight Vacations?

It is widely accepted that Insight Vacations are the global leader in premium escorted journeys and there are many reasons for this. One of my favourites is how they have mastered the art of travelling in style, yet offer immersive Insight Experiences, so you feel like you are genuinely experiencing the local culture. There are so many incredible Insight Experiences in the Insight Vacations USA and Canada collection, 35 to be precise, so that no matter which itinerary you choose, you are guaranteed to experience them.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada
Monument Valley, Utah

Where you stay is a vital part of the Insight Vacations experience. From contemporary five-star hotels to Swiss-style lodges, Insight Vacations hand-picked hotels include Washington State’s grandest hotel, the Historic Davenport, as well as the National Park Lodges in the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park Lodge.

Insight Vacations also manage to offer the perfect selection of dining options, from farm-to-table meals to fine dining. In fact they even offer a dine-at-home experience in some of their tours, where you can eat with local foodies in their own homes.

Like all Insight Vacations tours you will be treated to a ‘business class’ coach with extended leg room, free wifi and your expert tour director, who caters for your every whim. Excursions, most meals, hotel and restaurant tips, taxes and porterage are included in the cost of your tour. This is a huge bonus in America, where tips average 20%. For more information on the amazing service that Insight Vacations provide, click here.

There are so many incredible journeys in the Insight Vacations USA and Canada collection. I have chosen a few of my favourites to give you a flavour of what is available, but you can see all of Insight Vacations American and Canada collection here. You can also add on extra nights at the start or end of each tour, just speak to one of the expert staff or your local travel agent and they will arrange it for you.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada


Enchanting Canyonlands: 7 Days from €1976

This tour takes you from Scottsdale to Sedona and on to the Grand Canyon, where, in true Insight Vacations style, you spend the night inside the Grand Canyon National Park. Watch the sunset without the Las Vegas day trippers, enjoy a private dinner as you take in the views of the South Rim –  a breathtaking Insight Experience for sure. This tour also includes visits to Monument Valley, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, where once again you will be staying inside the National Park. Enjoy a cruise through the spectacular Antelope Canyon, all before you arrive in the city of lights – Las Vegas. What I love about this tour is that most of the spectacular sights are quite close together which makes for short journeys each day, leaving you plenty of time to explore.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada
Grand Canyon

See more here


New England’s Fall Foliage: 8 Days from €2318

Explore the Freedom Trail and Boston’s highlights when you stay in the heart of the city. Follow that with an overnight stay in Williamstown before you journey through the stunning fall foliage of Vermont. Visit the charming village of Woodstock before arriving in Stowe, where you will overnight in the real Von Trapp’s family Austrian-style lodge and enjoy a three-course Highlight Dinner.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada

Insight Vacations don’t leave all the best meals for dinner time! This tour brings you to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory where you can treat yourself to a ‘Boston Cream Pie’. You can also sample a ‘Sugar on Snow’ at the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks  – sure it would be rude not to! Enjoy a Gondola SkyRide at Loon Mountain Resort which offers superb views of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York and Canada and witness the famous crimson and orange hues of Kancamagus Scenic Byway, before travelling through the White Mountains to catch the views of Mount Washington. Your next stop is Maine where you will travel along the coast stopping in Portland for your last night, before returning to Boston for your flight home.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada

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Great West American Adventure: 15 Days from €4333

From San Francisco to Las Vegas, this epic adventure will show you California’s spectacular coastline as well as its iconic cities. You will visit Sonoma where you can enjoy private wine-tasting and explore the original hippie district, Haight-Ashbury, before moving on to Yosemite National Park, where you will stay close to Yosemite Falls, inside the National Park.

From there you will drive to the Pacific Coast Highway and see the coastal towns of Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Barbara as well as visiting the magnificent Hearst Castle. Experience the glitz and glamour of LA with a local expert as you explore Hollywood and the beach town of Santa Monica.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada

You will then leave California to experience the incredible Mojave Desert as you drive to Scotsdale. Venture north to Sedona and onwards to the Grand Canyon, where once again, you will spend the night inside the National Park. Enjoy a ‘Highlight Dinner’ overlooking the South Rim, without the usual crowds. Drive through Monument Valley and explore the Navajo Tribal Park with your Navajo guide before arriving at Lake Powell for an over-night stay. You will discover more of America’s Canyonlands as you take a cruise through Antelope Canyon and explore Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park before driving to Las Vegas for your last night.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada
Bryce Canyon

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Canadian Rockies & Pacific Coast: 14 days from €4433

With Aer Lingus now flying direct to Seattle from Dublin, there has never been a better time to explore the Canadian Rockies. This magical itinerary will bring you through magnificent Banff and Jasper National Parks as well as allowing plenty of time to explore the cities of Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria. Take a river safari in Jasper National Park and try to spot some grizzly bears, cruise across Maligne Lake and drive along the majestic Icefields Parkway – one of the world’s most beautiful mountain drives. You can take the Ice Explorer on to the Athabasca Glacier before returning to the Rimrock Resort Hotel for two nights, a hotel inside Banff National Park, that offers spectacular views. You also have the option of taking a helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies or ride the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada

This amazing trip just gets better and better. You will then cross the border into Montana where you will stay inside the Glacier National Park. Travel through Logan Pass before arriving in Lake McDonald Lodge, a Swiss-style chalet with more incredible views. Travel to Lake Coeur d’Alene and visit an award-winning boutique winery in Washington State, before arriving in Seattle for your last two nights.

Insight Vacations USA and Canada
Lake McDonald

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Insight Vacations’ USA and Canada collection offers 15 outstanding escorted journeys that brings you to into the very heart of America and Canada’s National Parks and it’s iconic cities. The small group sizes on spacious coaches, with high quality accommodation, authentic dining and experiences that are not available to the independent traveller, are just some of the reasons that Insight Vacations are the global leaders in premium escorted journeys. Now for the hard part – which tour to choose?

You can save 10% off selected Insight Vacations tours with their popular Early Payment Discount. This is available if you book and pay in full by 28 February 2019.  For more details contact an Insight Expert on 1800 98 98 98 or visit your local Travel Agent.


Want to see  more? Check out Insight Vacations European Collection here


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



The Travel Expert



Insight Vacations’ Europe Collection Includes 96 Incredible Journeys With Experiences That Money Can’t Buy

Insight Vacations dining 2

Sip a glass of wine in a 17th century wine estate overlooking Lake Geneva, enjoy VIP access to the Sistine Chapel or make a meal with Lorenzo in his restaurant kitchen in Orvieto. There are so many incredible experiences in the new Insight Vacations Europe and Britain collection – which one will you choose?


I am just back from a trip to Puglia in Italy, a place that I fell completely in love with. So when I was asked by Insight Vacations to review their 2019 brochure, the first thing I noticed was their Country Roads of Southern Italy tour. A quick glance at the itinerary and I couldn’t help but see that they included a Dine-At-Home dinner in the fairytale town of Alberobello – a town that I stayed in.


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Dine-At-Home dinners are regularly included on Insight Vacations tours. In this case you are welcomed into a local family home in Alberobello, where an Italian Nonna (grandmother in Italian) makes the regions traditional dish of orecchiette pasta. I was intrigued but also amazed that in all my searching for ‘things to do in Puglia’, I hadn’t seen that as an option anywhere. The reason is that Insight Vacations offer unique Insight experiences like this, that money can’t buy. I wish I had known about this before I booked…

insight vacations

Insight Experiences

There are many reasons to choose Insight Vacations for your next escorted tour, but these unique experiences are one of my favourite. There are over 70 Insight Experiences throughout 96 journeys in their new 2019 Europe and Britain collection. Enjoy VIP fast-track entry to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum, go sailing with an oyster farmer and taste the freshest seafood in Croatia or experience Arctic Norway with a dog-sled champion. And the best part is that all of these experiences are included in the cost of your holiday.

Top class Hotels

Insight choose first class hotels in premium locations too. In their Northern Lights of Scandinavia tour you will enjoy drinks in a real Ice bar and watch the aurora borealis through your hotel’s glass ceiling – how amazing is that? When you visit Venice you will stay beside the canals and in the Douro Valley you will enjoy a night in the 18th-century Pinhao’s Vintage House. Their 12 day Greek Island Hopper tour not only explores the best of Athens but it also includes stays in luxury hotels in Santorini and Mykonos.

Insight Vacations

Relaxed Itineraries

Another personal favourite of mine is that Insight Vacations tours are not rushed. Their ‘Easy Pace’ itineraries have a minimum of three nights in the one place. Whatever trip you choose you will see a number of ‘relaxed starts’, which means tours don’t start till after 9 am.

Get off the beaten track

If you want to venture off the beaten track and skip the well known tourist trail, select one of their ‘ Country Roads‘ tours. Expect lots of adventure, home cooked meals with locals and many interesting Insight experiences.  However if there is a particular festival you want to visit, Oktoberfest, Bastille Day or perhaps the Christmas Markets – Insight will have tours scheduled around these special events too.

Insight vacations

Authentic Dining

Authentic dining is a big part of an Insight Vacations tour and I love the variety they offer. From farm-to-table meals with locals or a pintxos foodie tour in San Sebastian, to an elegant evening at the 5* Ashford Castle – each tour offers an authentic dining experience to match your destination. There is also a welcome dinner with drinks on arrival as well as a celebration dinner at the end of your trip. You can also choose ‘freestyle’ dining if you want to dine alone some evenings.

Variety of tours available

Whether you want a 26 day tour of Europe or a 4 day tour of Malta, Insight Vacations have you covered with their Europe & Britain collection. Their Easy Pace Russia is one of my favourites as you get to spend three nights in Moscow and four nights in St Petersburg, travelling by Sapsan train between the two. With new direct flights from Dublin airport – there has never been a better time to go.

Insight Vacations

Northern Spain is also another favourite of mine, possibly because it includes wine tasting in Rueda 🍷.  You also get the opportunity to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal in Gijón. You will meet Flor, a local of the area, who will source and prepare a typical meal for you. If that’s not enough you also visit the big cities of San Sebastian, Barcelona and Madrid.

Madrid, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

With the exception of a quick over-night stay in Geneva, Switzerland is a country I haven’t properly visited yet. The snow-capped Alpine peaks look very inviting and it is certainly on my wish-list! On Insight’s Glorious Switzerland tour you ride the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway to the upmarket town of Zermatt and travel the route of the Glacier Express. You also meet a Swiss ranger on your way to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn where you learn all about the local wildlife.

Insight Vacations

As the award-winning global leader in premium escorted journeys, no matter which tour you choose, with Insight Vacations you can rest assured it will be top class. Their guests rated them 4.5 out of 5 based on 11402 independent user reviews received during the past year – that is a remarkable achievement. The small group sizes on spacious coaches with high quality accommodation and authentic dining, means you are getting the best that money can buy, and then some. In fact as I have previously mentioned, many of these Insight Experiences are not for sale.


You can save 10% off any Insight Vacations tour with their popular Early Payment Discount. This is available if you book and pay in full by 28 February 2019.  For more details contact an Insight Expert on 1800 98 98 98 or visit your local Travel Agent.


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



The Travel Expert


Highlights Of Cuba Guided Tour Including 3 Night Extension in Toronto


Enjoy the best of both worlds with Travel Department’s new long haul extension holidays. See the highlights of Cuba and enjoy a three night stay in Toronto.


Cuba and Toronto – not your typical two centre holiday! But thanks to Travel Department’s new ‘long haul extensions’ you can combine one of their award winning guided tours with an independent extension. This is the latest offering from Irish owned, Travel Department, the market leaders in guided group holidays – and I love it! You can enjoy all the benefits of a group tour with free time to explore independently at the end of your holiday. This particular tour to Cuba includes an extension to Toronto, but if you want to see a different city or stay a bit longer in Cuba, Travel Department can tailor make a trip to suit you.

highlights of Cuba

Cuba has been on my bucket list for years and I can’t wait to go! My husband went on a charity cycling trip to Cuba about 10 years ago and came back raving about it. Cuba is one of those countries that is not easy to travel alone. My husband travelled with a group and when I talk to other people who visited Cuba, they all say the same thing – book a guided tour! Group holidays are a great choice for people who don’t want to travel to far flung destinations alone. No language barriers and no difficulties navigating strange cities – visiting Havana might be a lot easier than you think! It is great to have all the planning and organising done for you and excursions to top attractions included in the price. Trust me I know – sometimes I could spend days organising holidays for people when I was a travel agent!

highlights of Cuba

Yes you can easily book a package deal to an all-inclusive resort in Varadero beach, but that’s not the REAL Cuba. You need to experience the classic beauty of the vintage cars of Havana close up, take a walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and travel the tobacco route to the western part of the island, taking in the panoramic views of the Viñales Valley. That’s why a guided tour makes all the difference. A guided tour gives you a chance to see the REAL CUBA, discovering hidden secrets like the underground river through the ‘Cueva del Indio’ cave, filled with hanging vines and a prehistoric wall depicting the history of evolution.

highlights of Cuba

Expert local guides will bring you on a real adventure and share their in-depth knowledge of Cuba, giving you insight that you couldn’t possibly learn if you were travelling alone. Enjoy all the highlights Cuba has to offer along the way, such as authentic Cuban food in local restaurants, like the famous Café del Oriente in Old Havana for dinner. Of course Cuba is not only about culture and history – you are in the Caribbean after all! No trip to Cuba would be complete without enjoying some beach time! Varadero is the resort to do just that. Snorkel, scuba dive, take a boat trip or just chill out on its magnificent beaches.

highlights of Cuba

Would you believe all of the above is included in Travel Department’s 14 night Highlights of Cuba tour with Toronto extension! On this particular trip, you will enjoy a three night stay in Toronto at the end of the Highlights of Cuba tour. On arrival in Toronto, you will be met by a guide who will give you a short tour of Toronto’s famous landmarks and leave you with leisure time to sightsee and enjoy all that Toronto has to offer. Visit the Flat Iron Building, the CN Tower or take a day trip to Niagara Falls – the choice is yours!

highlights of Cuba

A price of €3599 includes all flights, hotels, transfers, excursions and guides in Cuba for ten nights as well as a three night stay with breakfast in Toronto. In Cuba many lunches and dinners are included and the five night stay in Varadero is on an all-inclusive basis. This tour is available on selected dates in 2019.

Click here for the full itinerary:


highlights of Cuba

Why Choose Travel Department?

For more than twenty years Travel Department have been organising tours to over 100 different destinations and offer 200 different itineraries from Dublin, Belfast and the UK. They are the experts! Nothing is left to chance as all details are arranged by their specialist team before departure, ensuring you receive an authentic guided experience from local experts. Whilst Italy is Travel Department’s most popular destination, long haul destinations like China, India and Cuba are becoming more and more popular. They also offer a wide selection of specialist holidays, such as garden holidays, opera holidays, cruise holidays and solo travel – without single supplements! Some worldwide tours already have extensions included, you can see them here. However if there is a specific destination that you would like to add at the beginning or end of your tour, just talk to the sales team at Travel Department and they will arrange it for you.


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



The Travel Expert




Visiting Flanders And The Somme


I had the pleasure of visiting Flanders and the Somme on a GTI Battlefields Tour. Although harrowing at times, it was a trip that I found fascinating.

Stepping out into the cold November air at 4am is probably not many people’s idea of fun but I was really looking forward to this trip. The purpose of the visit was to tour and learn about the battlefields of World War One around Flanders and the Somme between 1914 and 1918, and the devastating loss of life. I have always been interested in World War 1 history so when I was asked to visit Flanders and the Somme with GTI, the group travel specialists, I was delighted to accept.

flanders and the somme


After a short flight to Brussels, we were met by our tour guide, Iain McHenry. Formerly a military policeman in the British Army, Iain now runs his own business, organising and leading bespoke tours of the former Western Front World War One battlefields, and also the battlefields of the Palestine campaign of 1917/18. Iain is a larger than life character and for a guy in his late thirties, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of what happened on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918.

flanders and the somme

We made our way to our luxury coach and met our driver Karl to begin our ninety minute drive to our first stop, Tyne Cot Cemetery. Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world and the sheer number of graves it contains makes it difficult to process.

flanders and the somme

There are 11,965 registered graves in the cemetery. Of that number 8,369 are unknown (unidentified) soldiers killed in action whose headstone simply reads ‘A Soldier Of The Great War’ and ‘Known Unto God’. On the wall to the rear of the cemetery are the names of 34,927 soldiers who have no known grave and is a continuation of the names inscribed on the Menin Gate. Inside the cemetery, two mourning angels kneel on top of pavilions at either end of the memorial wall, highlighting the harrowing nature of the conflict in the surrounding area of Passchendaele. As our first stop, the visual that Tynecot gives, combined with the facts, figures and personal stories of the huge numbers of soldiers that died in the area, the reality began to hit home.

flanders and the somme

After lunch at ‘De oude kaasmakerij’ or the Old Cheese Factory,(shout out to VisitFlanders!), we were on the move once again. This time towards the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 near Zonnebeke. The museum is solely devoted to the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, when in 1917, in only 100 days, almost 500,000 men were killed, for only eight kilometers gain of ground. The museum has a reconstruction of trenches that allow you experience what life was like in the trenches of WW1, as well as numerous exhibits, including many photographs and A/V shows. The place contains many personal artefacts that were found over the years.  

flanders and the somme

We visited the grave of Waterford born John Condon in Poelcapelle British Cemetery. Condon is reputed to be the youngest soldier to have been killed in action in World War 1, at the young age of only 14. He served with the Royal Irish Regiment and, whilst there has been some debate about his age, he stands as an example of the many boy soldiers who served. This served as a fitting end to the first day of our tour, highlighting the madness of 1914  to 1918.

flanders and the somme

We checked into the Novotel Ieper Centrum hotel in Leper that evening. The rooms were more than adequate considering the little time we would be spending in them. It had been an early start a full fifteen hours earlier and we had taken in so much in the short time we had been on the ground in Belgium, but there was still one more thing to do before dinner. Attend the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate….

flanders and the somme

 He is not missing; he is here.

The Menin Gate Memorial is one of the most visited memorials on the Western front and stands in commemoration to the 54,896 missing soldiers who lost their lives during battles in the area. Every evening at 8pm the noise of traffic stops and a stillness descends over the memorial as the emotive “Last Post” is sounded in honour of these lost soldiers. This traditional salute to the fallen warrior was started in 1928 by the Belgian people in gratitude to those who had died for its freedom. It is a tradition which has continued unbroken to this day apart from German Occupation during WW2. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen out of respect for the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. I found the tradition both moving and sad and I think its brilliant that the town has continued this nightly tradition for so many years. 

flanders and the somme


A hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast and copious amounts of coffee kicked started me for the visit into France and the Somme. After a couple of stops, we arrived at Guillemont, where the 16th Irish Division engaged in some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire battle of the Somme. Guillemont and nearby Ginchy were liberated by the 16th, but at a very high price losing up to 6,500 men, half their total strength in the battles. Between Guillemont and Ginchy is a distance of less than one mile. Within that one mile, 1,100 of the 16th lay dead. The Division had been decimated, but Guillemont and Ginchy had been taken. The people of Guillemont have erected a memorial to the 16th Irish Division and have even named a street after the Division too.

flanders and the somme

Following on from from a few other stops, we visited what I anticipated to be a real highlight for me and I’m not even sure why – Theipval Memorial. Standing in an isolated windswept position on the Somme, Thiepval is the largest and one of the most emotive Memorials to the Missing from any war. The names of over 72,000 soldiers are carved into the stone of the massive memorial and visiting here is a moving and sobering experience. Losses at Thiepval were catastrophic and almost every regiment and corps of the British army is represented here. Of all I had seen, this impressed me the most, its location, its size and what it represents. This was the last stop of our second day touring. The transfer from the Somme back to our hotel in Belgium was close to two hours. This gave many of us on the coach time to contemplate and process the couple of days and what had happened in this area only 100 years earlier.

flanders and the somme

When we got back to the hotel, it was time for a couple of ‘cleansing ales’ to clear the dust from our throats before dinner. This also gave us an opportunity to watch some of the Autumn Internationals rugby in a local bar. Having gone out on both Friday and Saturday night, both seemed like a Monday with very few people out and about. Why? Well, I have absolutely no idea and none of us in the group could figure it out. Suffice to say, Ypres is not a place for stag parties!


The final day of our tour was upon us, with just a few planned visits before boarding our Aer Lingus flight home later that afternoon. The first of these was the Island of Ireland Peace Park which is home to a one hundred foot round tower, similar in style to the tower of Glendalough. Built in stone shipped all the way from Mullingar in Ireland, the tower stands as a very poignant memorial to the soldiers of Ireland who fought in World War 1. Located near the battle for the Messines Ridge, the memorial is of particular significance as it was the first time Irish Catholic and Protestant soldiers united together to fight side by side against a common enemy. This occurred when the 16th Irish and 36th Ulster Divisions found themselves united within IX Corps. A remarkable aspect of the design is that the interior of the Tower is only illuminated by the sun on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. This is also Remembrance Day. A really beautiful tribute.

Later in the day, we ate lunch in the Flanders Field Museum, courtesy of VisitFlanders again and also had an opportunity to wander around. The museum is quite modern and using technology and interactive exhibits, it brings to life the battles and gives you the opportunity to experience life at the Front. It is located inside The Cloth Hall on Market Square in the centre of Ypres. If I’m honest, I found the museum a little disturbing and I would suggest not for the faint-hearted!  It really brings the whole experience home filled with death and destruction – and it is interactive if you can imagine that…flanders and the somme

Our final stop was to the grave of Willie Redmond, who died of his wounds in an Ulster Division field hospital, the evening after the advance on Messines Ridge by the 16th Irish Division and the 36th Ulster Division. Willie Redmond was the brother of John Redmond, leader of the Irish parliamentary party. He was 56 at the time of his death, considerably older than those serving with him. He held a position of relative safety on the 16th Division’s staff. Yet Redmond insisted on going forward with his old battalion, the 6th Royal Irish Regiment. Willie Redmond was buried at Locre, the 16th Division’s headquarters, where he still lies today. This was our last stop before returning to Brussels airport.

flanders and the somme

There were other stops over the course of the three days, including Langemarck Cemetery, Lochnagar Crater, Newfoundland Park Memorial and the grave of the Irish poet and soldier, Francis Ledwidge. You can read the full GTI Flanders and the Somme itinerary here.  During the two hour drive from Locre to Brussels, I looked at the offerings from GTI. Having seen how the tours are run and been seriously impressed with the depth of knowledge of our guide and most importantly, having enjoyed the company of new found friends with similar interests – I’m sold!

Some might consider these tours somewhat macabre but I found it fascinating. I have a modicum of interest in WW1 history and yet still found the tour impressive. The way the tour guide was able to relay so many personal stories of those that died, really brought home to me the horrific conditions these men lived and died in. I find it difficult to say I ‘enjoyed’ the trip, even though I did, but ‘enjoy’ is just the wrong word. So many deaths, so many young lives lost for nothing and so few lessons learned by following generations.

flanders and the somme

Next on my list?  World War 2: D-Day Landing Beaches, then World War 2: Secrets of The Third Reich and I have a couple of mates who want to visit Berlin so we’ll probably do this one too: World War 2: Berlin & The Cold War.

GTI are the specialists in Ireland in the organisation of group travel of all kinds. The organise escorted holidays such as cultural holidays in Europe and Worldwide, historical and battlefield tours, sports, activity and school tours. They tailor make tours designed around your group’s interests and budget, with their specialist knowledge at your disposal to ensure you make the most of your travel plans. You can find out more on the GTI website.  


The Travel Experts Husband 😉


AsiaLong HaulTravel News and Reviews

Discover Authentic Asia With Wendy Wu Tours

Wendy Wu Tours

Face the Terracotta Army, kayak on Halong Bay, explore Angkor by rickshaw and uncover the mysteries of Tibet. These are just some of the amazing experiences you can expect with Wendy Wu Tours.


I have been a big fan of Wendy Wu Tours since they first started operating in Ireland a few years ago. I love the authentic experiences they offer and that everything is included in the price of their tours. Their fully inclusive tours include flights, transfers, hotels, sightseeing and entrance fees, all or most meals and all visas! Organising visas is a pet hate of mine, to have this done for you is a massive bonus!

With over 20 years experience, Wendy Wu Tours are one of the leading Asia specialists and are the largest operator to Japan. They have won numerous awards and a staggering 98% of people rated their tours good or excellent. All of their staff have travelled extensively throughout Asia and their slogan “no one knows Asia like we do” is extremely apt.

Wendy Wu tours

Wendy Wu Tours Offer Tours to Suit All Tastes

Their Classic Tours cover all the highlights in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India & Sri Lanka. Although called ‘classic’ tours, don’t expect to see only the well known highlights. Wendy Wu Tours pride themselves on the authentic experiences they offer, even in their Classic Tours so they will bring you off the beaten track to discover the ‘REAL’ Asia. Cruise along the Yangtze river and see giant pandas up close in China, travel by bullet train in Japan or by ox cart in Burma, enjoy an elephant safari in Sri Lanka or take a cookery lesson in Thailand. All of these are included in their Classic Tours.

Their Best of Borneo Classic Tour where you can see orangutans in their natural habitat, head out to the wilderness in a Iban longboat and witness a performance of a traditional war dance.

wendy wu tours

If you are looking to discover an even more active and cultural experience, try their Discovery or Immerse Yourself Tours. Travel through remote parts of Asia as well as seeing the classic sights in small groups of 18 or less (24 in Japan). Conquer Jinji Rope Bridge in China, tour Saigon by vespa, discover Tibetan temples and gaze on Mount Everest, these are all experiences you can expect on a Wendy Wu Immerse Yourself tour.

If you want to experience adventure but still want five star luxury, Wendy Wu Tours have that box ticked too. Their Exclusive Collection allows you to sip Champagne as the sun sets over Angkor Wat and meet the discoverer of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian. All of this with luxury cruises, five star hotels and fine dining included.

Wendy Wu Tours Asia brochure for 2017 / 2018 on sale now

All Wendy Wu Tours are categorised into Comfortable, Moderate, Active, Flexible and Altitude. If you want to immerse yourself into the real Asia but don’t want a tour that is too active, you can easily find a tour that will suit you. They offer some super add on packages to cities such as Dubai or Hong Kong, historical sites like Hiroshima or remote islands in Malaysia or Thailand. So if you fancy finishing off your trip by chilling out on a paradise island, you can do that too.

Wendy Wu Tours

China, Tibet, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo, Thailand, India & Sri Lanka  are now all available flying From Dublin, Cork and Shannon. Wendy Wu Tours love solo travellers too, so if you are willing to share, you will pay no single supplement. Remember all Wendy Wu Tours include flights, meals, tours, entrance fees and even visas!

Their dedicated sales team are available on 0818 776380, to help you with group, private or bespoke tours. Alternatively visit today, or see your local travel agent.


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



The Travel Expert


NO Single Supplements on selected China and Vietnam Tours

Solo traveller

Is the Great Wall of China on your bucketlist? Have you always wanted to visit Vietnam but thought travelling alone might be too daunting? Well now is your chance! Wendy Wu Tours have NO single supplements on selected China and Vietnam tours!


I believe travelling solo is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. Face your fears, step outside your comfort zone and be adventurous! What may seem daunting will in fact be exhilarating and it will probably be one of the most rewarding holidays you will ever have. The cost of travelling alone however, can often be expensive. Single Supplements are high in hotels and car and transfer costs can cost a lot more, when you have no one to split the bill. The other complaint I often hear is that when you are lucky enough to see a wonder of the world like the Great Wall of China, you want someone to share it with. You want to sit down that evening and relay your excitement over dinner about how amazing your day really was.  That’s where Wendy Wu Tours come in…

no single supplements

Wendy Wu Tours are the UK’s leading Asia specialists, with a 97-98% positive tour experience rating. Their tours are fully inclusive, with flights, transfers, accommodation, visas, meals and entrance fees included in the price. And if all of that isn’t enough they are no offering NO Single Supplements on selected China and Vietnam tours.

book Vietnam and get Cambodia free


In Pursuit of Pandas, 9 day fully inclusive tour, €2890.

Imagine strolling along the Great Wall of China, exploring the Forbidden City or visiting the remarkable Terracotta Warriors. You will see all of these amazing sights on their 9 day ‘In Pursuit of Pandas’ tour. You will also visit the world famous Panda Conservation Centre in Chengdu, see the Great Buddha of Leshan and sample some street food in Jinli. Save the €340 single supplement on selected dates in July, August and September, making the total cost including flights, accommodation, tours, meals, visas etc from €2,890.

no single supplements

Click here for more details:


Vietnam at a Glance, 12 day fully inclusive tour €2690

On their 12 day ‘Vietnam at a Glance’ tour you will have the chance to explore the incredible Cu Chi Tunnels. You will visit the ever changing city of Saigon as well as the fast paced capital Hanoi, the rural village of Tra Que and the dignified city of Hue. You final day is spent aboard a traditional junk cruise in Halong Bay ❤️. Save the €360 single supplement on selected dates in July, August and September, making the total cost including flights, accommodation, tours, meals, visas etc from €2,690.

no single supplements

Click here for more details


Go discover some of Asia’s wonders, enjoy the peace of mind of a group tour, meet like minded travellers and make new friends! Call your local travel agent, visit or call the team on 0818 776 380


This post was sponsored by Wendy Wu Tours but all views, as always are my own 😎



 travel deals



Book Vietnam and get Cambodia Free!


Book Vietnam and get Cambodia free! Book any China, Burma & Japan tour & get Hong Kong free! Both offers include a two night trip with flights, hotels, transfers & sightseeing tours!


Vietnam is intoxicating. You will find extraordinary experiences at every turn. Explore the amazing city of Saigon and marvel at the contrasts between the old and new. Take ten minutes to cross a road in the manic capital, Hanoi and then spend some quiet time in the rural Tra Que village.  Soak up the atmosphere in the stunning Halong Bay and wonder at the amazing Cu chi tunnels.

Book Vietnam and get Cambodia for Free, a great deal from The Travel Expert

An organised tour is the best way to ensure you see all these magnificent sights. If you choose the Vietnam at a Glance tour you will see all of the above over twelve days. For a limited time (book by 30th of April) if you book this tour or almost any other Vietnam Wendy Wu Tour, you will receive a two night stay in a five star hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This includes return flights, transfers, and a full days sightseeing in Angkor with lunch! They even include your Cambodian visa! Catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat which was recently listed as number 1 on Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s 500 top places to visit .

Book Vietnam and get Cambodia free
Angkor Wat

This special offer is not limited to Vietnam. If you book a tour to China, Japan or Burma, you can get a free two night stay in Hong Kong. This also includes a sightseeing tour, breakfast each day and transfers! Wendy Wu Tours are one of the best tour operators to China, Japan and Southeast Asia and they offer a wide selection of tours directly from Ireland. With prices starting at €2190 for their Golden Triangle Tour or €2390 for flights and a 10 night fully inclusive tour of China, they are exceptional value. When I say inclusive, I mean it. Not only are entrance fees to the top attractions included, but meals and even visa fees are included in the price! For more information on these fantastic tours, read my blog here.

book Vietnam and get Cambodia free

These amazing offers are valid on most Wendy Wu tours, flying with Cathay Pacific, if you book by the 30th of April. There are exclusions from the 20th of July – 23rd of August and from the 7th – 28th of December but otherwise this offer is valid on all departures up to the 31st of March 2018!

 The Ts&Cs!

  • €120 supplement applies for travel departing UK in September and October 2017
  • Flights must be booked with Cathay Pacific – valid from Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester.
  • Connecting Flights from Dublin, Cork & Shannon are with British Airways or Aer Lingus.
  • Single supplements will apply
  • Excludes 2018 departures for Japan.

Check with your local travel agent for more details on how to book Vietnam and get Cambodia free or book China, Burma or Japan and get Hong Kong free – but make sure you book by the end of the month!


This post was sponsored by Wendy Wu Tours but all views, as always are my own 😎



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Travel News and Reviews

Wendy Wu Tours Asia Brochure for 2017 / 2018 – On Sale Now!


Bike the Mekong Delta, tour Saigon by vespa, gaze on Mount Everest, explore India by bullock cart or chant with Buddhist monks in Japan…. These are just some of the amazing experiences you can have on a Wendy Wu Tour.


It seems I wasn’t the only one that got excited when Wendy Wu Tours published a brochure from Ireland last year.  Their business grew by a staggering 204% in one year! There is no doubt Irish people have fallen in love with Wendy Wu Tours ❤ For those of you who don’t already know, Wendy Wu Tours are the UK’s leading Asia specialists, have won numerous awards, and have an incredible 97-98% positive customer service and tour experience rating.  All of their staff have travelled extensively throughout Asia and with their dedicated Irish website and phone number 0818 776380, you can now easily find out which tours will best suit your tastes.

Wendy Wu Tours Asia brochure for 2017 / 2018 on sale now

Their classic tours cover all the highlights in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India & Sri Lanka. Although called ‘classic’ tours, don’t expect to see only The Great Wall, Angkor Wat, The Taj Mahal and Halong Bay – mind you that sounds pretty impressive to me! Wendy Wu Tours pride themselves on the authentic experiences they offer, even in their Classic Tours. Imagine watching Panda’s playing in China, uncovering the mysteries of Tibet, experiencing Zen in Koya-San or enjoying a Bollywood show in India. All of these are included in their Classic Tours. If you are looking to discover an even more active and cultural experience, try their adventurous discovery tours.

Wendy Wu Tours Asia brochure for 2017 / 2018 on sale now

If you want experience the adventure but still want five star luxury, Wendy Wu Tours have that box ticked too.  Their exclusive collection allows you to sip Champagne as the sun sets over Angkor Wat, meet the discoverer of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian and learn how to make sushi in Japan. All of this with luxury cruises, five star hotels and fine dining included.

Wendy Wu Tours Asia brochure for 2017 / 2018 on sale now

For those who have already experienced the first class Wendy Wu service in Asia you will be delighted to hear that they are now offering tours around the world. There are eight new tours available to New Zealand, Australia, Namibia, Russia, the Galapagos, Machu Pichu, Patagonia and Costa Rica. Just typing these is giving me severe wanderlust…❤

Wendy Wu Tours

Prices start from €2,190 for a nine day Golden Triangle Tour or €2,290 for a 10 day China Experience tour. I think these are amazing value when you think that all Wendy Wu Tours include flights, meals, tours, entrance fees and even visas! They also have a special early booking offer running until 14th of November. You can save a further €150 for ANY 2017 / 2018 tour!

So if you want to scratch a few off the bucket list in one great holiday – visit today or visit your local travel agent.


Like long haul holidays? Click here to see my latest long haul destination reviews and best travel deals.


Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by WendyWu Tours but all views, as always, are my own 🙂



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery




Enchanting Canyonlands of the USA, Luxury Escorted Tour, Incl Flights, €2350!

Famous sunrise at Mesa Arch

Marvel at the Grand Canyon, be inspired in Bryce Canyon and Instagram to your hearts content in Monument Valley! The enchanting canyonlands of the USA must be one of the most captivating parts of America.


I fell in love with this escorted tour from Insight Vacations. There are deserts, mountains, canyons and monuments at every turn. Many places are still considered sacred, adding a touch of magic when exploring the landscape. Surprisingly the most spectacular sights are quite close together which makes for short journeys each day, leaving you plenty of time to explore. This tour takes you from Scottsdale (Arizona) through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona and on to the Grand Canyon. This is when you will be delighted that you chose this escorted tour – as it allows you to spend the night inside the Grand Canyon National Park! Watch the sunset without the day trippers from Vegas, enjoy a private dinner, as you take in the views of the South Rim. 💛

USA Canyonlands Escorted Tour by The Travel Expert
Grand Canyon

From there visit the Navajo Indian Reservation, the Glen Canyon Dam, before taking a cruise on Lake Powell, where you will stay for the night. Once again you will be spoilt, as all rooms have lake views. Next stop is the famous Monument Valley, featured in many movies and one of the best places to test your photography skills! You can then choose to take a boat trip down the Colorado River before stopping in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Enjoy an overnight stay in a traditional lodge inside the National Park, with a celebration dinner included.

 USA Canyonlands Escorted Tour by The Travel Expert
Monument Valley, Utah

Enjoy the last of the amazing scenery in Zion National Park before arriving at the city of lights, Las Vegas. What a nice way to toast the end of an amazing trip – with a cocktail at the 5* Cosmopolitan hotel. To see the full itinerary click here. Of course you can also choose to extend your trip with extra nights in Vegas or an additional tour of California.

 USA Canyonlands Escorted Tour by The Travel Expert
Las Vegas Strip

With the Enchanting Canyonlands tour you will not only experience spectacular scenery, but you will also stay in top class hotels, and lodges located inside the National Parks. You will be treated to a ‘business class’ coach with extended leg room, on board restroom and free wifi. The expert tour director is like a ‘travelling concierge’ who caters for your every whim. If you want to spend time away from the group, the personal radio headset allows you to wander alone while listening to commentaries, so you wont miss anything! Hotel and restaurant tips, taxes and porterage are included. Let’s face it, this is a huge bonus in America! For more information on the amazing service that Insight Vacations provide, click here.

USA Canyonlands Escorted Tour by The Travel Expert
Bryce Canyon National Park Lodge

2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in America so this is the perfect time to visit! Fly from Dublin on the 18th of June and experience this trip of a lifetime for only €2350 including luxury hotels, taxes and transfers.

Insight Vacations have many premium tours on offer from Ireland.  Click here for more details.


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



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Escorted Tours – The Myths and the Magic!


We have all been there, arrive at a destination, take out the obligatory map and spend two hours trying to figure out where to go first. Navigating a strange city can be tricky and you can waste a lot of precious time wandering streets looking for the ‘must see’ Cathedral!

Imagine if all of that planning could be done for you? The best thing about escorted tours is convenience. Forget all the hassles and headaches. All the planning, hotels, meals and sightseeing are already done. Someone else is doing the driving so you can sit back, relax, enjoy the view and the commentary of a knowledgeable tour director.

Tour directors are like personal concierges, they pick you up at the airport, check you in at the hotels, organise your luggage and suggest local restaurants to experience authentic cuisine – they do it all!  

There is also no need to worry about the language barrier. Although most European countries may be easy to navigate but what if you wanted to go to China or Russia, would you feel comfortable renting a car and trying to read the road signs?

I love this quote, it really sums it up – ”Escorted tours can take you to see the maximum number of sights in the minimum amount of time with the least amount of hassle”.

Escorted tours the myths and the magic


The main myth debunked!

Most people think an escorted tour is going to be non stop without any time to relax. To be honest, that is what it used to be. However, escorted touring has evolved because traveller’s tastes have changed.

Tour companies understand that guests seek more in-depth experiences and want more time to explore on their own. Many tours include overnight stays in main cities and freestyle dining. This gives you the choice to eat on your own and not always with the group. Check with your travel agent or website for easy paced tours if that’s what you want.

Escorted tours the myths and the magic

So which tour company should I choose?

There are many companies to choose from, including Irish owned Travel Department. If you are looking for an upmarket choice with top quality hotels in stunning locations, then look no further than luxury escorted tour specialist Insight Vacations. They really put the WOW factor into Escorted Tours. All of their hotels are first class and in premium locations, in Venice they are beside the canals and they are the only escorted tour company to offer hotels in the American National Parks.

Escorted tours the myths and the magic

All of the top excursions are included in the price, including gondola rides in Venice, private tours of palaces, which would normally be sold as ‘extras’.  They offer a variety of meals, from a welcome dinner with drinks on arrival to a celebration dinner at the end plus a chance to sample the local cuisine.

You can choose from a selection of authentic restaurants for ‘freestyle’ dining rather than eating with the group each night. In Morocco you can have a meal at Ricks Café (from Casablanca) and in India you can enjoy an authentic dinner in a forest while on elephant safari.

Escorted tours the myths and the magic

They have smaller group sizes than most of the other escorted tour companies, from 32 – 40 and offer a more personalised service. Coaches are generally the same size but because Insight’s groups are smaller they can offer up to 100% more legroom than some of their competitors.

Personally I love that their tours are not rushed. Over 95% of their overnight stays comprise of 2 or more nights and you can also choose ‘easy pace’ itineraries which have a minimum of three nights in every destination.

As I write this I somehow feel that the world is my oyster again. Places that I thought I would never get to, I’m now thinking why not?  Maybe Ill get to take part in a local ritual in Peru or take a private cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking, while touring the Deep South.

So if you always wanted to see the Great Wall of China or marvel at Machu Picchu, explore the world of escorted tours – getting there may be easier than you think…



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


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