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Family Holidays – As Seen on TV3’s Sunday AM – 1st May 2016

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For those of you who are still looking for family holidays this summer, check out my top picks below, along with some top travel tips to help you on your way.

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Algarve, 4* Estrela do Vau, 13th August, 2ad & 2ch , 1 week €1870

This is fantastic value for a four star property in the Algarve during school holidays. The complex is located close to one of the best beaches on the Algarve and it is family orientated with two swimming pools. You are close to the quiet village of Alvor and the larger resorts of Praia da Rocha and Portimao so it offers the best of both worlds. The Algarve also offers theme parks and water parks and plenty of options for family fun days out.

Click here for more details:

A Family deal to the Algarve by The Travel Expert

 

Rhodes, Pefki Islands Resort, 10th August, 2ad & 2ch, 1 week €1969

This is an excellent family property that is highly rated on tripadvisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence. It is situated beside the beach, has two swimming pools with swim up bars, as well as some organised evening entertainment. It is very close to the resort centre and within easy access of Lindos and Rhodes town. I also love that the price includes a large 2 bedroomed apartment, transfers and checked baggage!

Click here for more details:

Pefki Islands Resort, Rhodes as discussed for family holidays on TV3

 

Harry Potter Experience, London. 11th August, 2ad & 2ch , Two nights, €956

If you are looking for a short break away then why not consider London? Visit Warner Bros studios and enjoy the Harry Potter Experience. You will visit the sets where the movies were made and see the famous Hogwarts Express. This trip also includes entrance to the West Midlands Safari Park which has over 165 exotic animals and an adventure theme park. Price of €956 includes a two night stay at the Holiday Inn Express on a bed & breakfast basis, entrance to Warner Bros studio and the West Midlands Safari park, return ferry and coach transfer, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

Click here for more details:

Harry Potter Experience London as discussed for family holidays on TV3

 

4* Oranmore Lodge, Galway. Two night stay BB, 2ad & 2ch €170.

For any of you who thought you might not get away this Summer, this is a great deal that won’t break the bank!. Spend two nights in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel on a bed & breakfast basis from only €170 based on 2 adults & 2 children, throughout the summer months. This family run hotel has a leisure centre, gym and free wifi and is only 7km from Galway city.

 Click here for more details:

 

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Travel Tips for travelling with kids.

 

 1. Make sure the holiday you are booking offers facilities that suit you.

Different age groups have different priorities. You will find with younger kids a pool or mini disco might be the most important thing, with teenagers it could be free wifi. Remember also to check the season and weather for the destination you are going to, there is a reason why prices to the Algarve are very reasonable in November, you may not get any sun!

Top tips for travelling with kids as discussed for family holidays on TV3

2. Choose your flights wisely

Short flights are handy when kids are crawling or too young to watch tv or play with tablets. Otherwise, I would say don’t let a longer flying time put you off. Kids can watch movies and easily amuse themselves for longer journeys now. Also bear in mind airport transfer times. Northern Majorca or Western Algarve can have two hour airport transfer, Lanzarote for instance might be a longer flight, but the airport transfer time to the main resort, Puerto del Carmen, is only 15 minutes.

If travelling long haul, especially to the USA – pay the extra cost and go direct. Clearing immigration in Ireland will mean when you arrive (tired ) you don’t have to queue to go through customs. You also wont have the stress of missing connections and your bags not arriving, which happened to me twice recently via London. I should have remembered that #smartfliesaerlingus! If there are no direct flights available, give yourself loads of connecting time.

Top tips for travelling with kids as discussed for family holidays on TV3

3. Buy a mediashare – Approx €30.

This was a life saver on our recent family holiday. The Verbatim MEDIA SHARE creates an ad-hoc wifi network of its own so the kids can watch movies at any time on their tablets or phones. Simply put movies on a USB stick or and SD card and plug them in. Install the MediaShare app from the Google Play or Apple App store. Open it, find the Media share device and click on the movie you wish to watch. The device can support up to five devices watching different movies at the one time. You no longer need to bring a portable DVD player and lots of discs. I have used the device in lots of hotel rooms and restaurants when the kids get bored. I will have a full review on this device in my new ‘News & Reviews’ section which will focus on great devices for the twenty first century traveller. Here is a video from the company showing how it all works

 

 

 

4. Bring supplies

Check before you go and if the beach is stoney, bring surf shoes. If you are likely to have mosquitoes, bring bug bands or deet sprays. If the weather is particularly hot, surf tops are ideal to save you worrying about kids getting burnt. If driving, going on a boat or a theme park with rollercoasters, bring seabands. My kids used them for our recent road trip and I found them great.

 

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

 

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Sarah

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Europe’s Top 10 Food Destinations

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Check out my top 10 food destinations in Europe and get planning your next holiday.

From Pintxos bars in San Sebastian to Michelin star dining in Copenhagen, my selection of the Europe’s top 10 food destinations is bound to give you an appetite to travel.

1. San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, one of Europe's top food destinations by The Travel Expert

The small city of San Sebastian is a food lovers paradise and is probably the food capital of Europe. There are 13 Michelin-starred restaurants here, the most in the world per head of population. It is not just about the Michelin star restaurants though, make sure you try the local pubs offerings ‘pinxtos.’ These are tasty bite size tapas. These showcase all of the regions top quality food, without the hefty price tag.

Read: My short break in San Sebastian

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2. Barcelona, Spain

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The best place to take a walking food tour has to be Barcelona. Wander through the historic centre and sample some tasty tapas. Make sure you visit one of Europe’s best food markets, the famous La Boqueria, and don’t miss the Paella at Ciudad Condal.

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3. Bologna, Italy

Parma ham in Parma, one of Europe's top food destinations, by The Travel Expert

Locals will tell you Bologna is Italy’s food capital but not many outsiders have figured it out yet! Home of spaghetti bolognese, it is the best place to taste it. The neighbouring town of Parma is home of Parmigiano Reggiano and of course parma ham. Sit on the town’s piazza and enjoy some local prosciutto or better still visit the Museo del Prosciutto in Langhirano and watch it being made.

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4. Florence, Italy

Florence is one of Europes top food destinations

The spectacular city of Florence is not only a food lovers paradise but it is the top choice for romance too. Marvel at the Duomo, pick up a souvenir on the Ponte Vecchio, before enjoying some nice Italian cuisine on the Piazza del Signoria – bellisimo!

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5. Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Not only is the walled city a stunning place to explore but it is teaming with pavement cafe’s and tasty eateries. If you like dining al fresco with the buzz of  happy holidaymakers then Dubrovnik is for you. Lets not forget that Croatia is renowned for it’s truffles and Dubrovnik is truffle heaven!

Read: My top tips for discovering Dubrovnik

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6. Copenhagen, Denmark

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Copenhagen is renowned as one of Europe’s best food destinations, there are 15 Michelin Star restaurants here and one of the top things to do in the city is a ‘foodie tour’.Voted the best restaurant in the world, three years in a row, Noma, is here. But it’s not all about the fancy restaurants, the newly opened Street Food Market offers everything from Cuban street food to pizza. Situated right on the harbour, it is the perfect spot for a tasty lunch.

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7. Bordeaux, France

Saint-Emilion close to Bordeaux in France

Bordeaux is full of bistros and brasseries offering fantastic lunch and dinner menus. And of course there is no where better to pair fine wines with the local french cuisine. Explore the small village of Saint Emillion and take a tour of some of the surrounding Chateaux. Bordeaux is the perfect destination to sample local French produce.

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8. Paris, France

Paris, one of Europe's top 10 food destinations by The Travel Expert

Paris offers French cuisine at its finest, and is without doubt one of the world’s best food destinations. Specialities from all of the french regions are served in Paris. There are bustling brasseries and trendy bistros mixed with Michelin starred restaurants with celebrity chefs. For a major European capital, Paris will still surprise you with how many local shops are still prevalent on every street corner. The bakeries, pastry shops and cheese shops are still there because they are so good – make sure you try them! 

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9. Porto, Portugal

 

 
 
 
 
 
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One of the oldest cities in Europe, Porto is emerging as one of Europe’s top food destinations. Originally known for it’s Port, Porto offers much more. Unlike many of the other destinations Porto’s restaurants are not fashionable per sé, there are no celebrity chefs or swanky restaurants. The beauty is lies in the traditional restaurants, serving traditional Portuguese cuisine.

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

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10. London, England

 

 
 
 
 
 
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London is home to some of the world’s best restaurants. Celebrity chefs are falling over each other to win the best restaurant and best chef awards. From Michel Roux Jnr to Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, they are all in London. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is one of the best dining experiences in the World. London is another city that is full of great markets, Covent Garden being the most popular.

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Sarah

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