Marian Finucane

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Long Haul Holidays On a Budget

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Looking for an tropical holiday without breaking the bank? From Miami to the Maldives, check out my travel tips and best travel deals to find the perfect long haul holidays on a budget.

 

The trend for Irish holiday-makers seeking more authentic experiences and adventure holidays is definitely on the rise! There are now over 40 direct flights each week to the Emirates and Asia from Dublin airport, which is resulting in very competitive airfares. Long haul destinations grew by 19% in 2017 from Dublin airport alone! New direct flights to Hong Kong and Beijing have opened up Asia even further and Qatar Airways direct links to Chang Mai in Thailand and Penang in Malaysia means you only need one stop to get to these tropical destinations. But is it possible to find long haul holidays on a budget?

The biggest mistake people make when booking long haul holidays is not comparing package deals with holidays that are booked independently. Sometimes specialist tour operators will be able to offer cheaper packages than if you bought a flight and hotel separately. They may book a larger number of rooms in a particular hotel or get discounted rates from an airline which will offer you a better rate than if you booked direct.

 

Similarly with airlines, low cost carriers, like Norwegian charge high amounts for baggage, allocated seating, even meals on long haul flights. Compare these with airlines such as Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines who include a generous baggage allowance, all meals and even drinks on board. My advice is always compare like with like when booking any holiday. Here are some long haul holidays on a budget that I have found with travel agents and tour operators in Ireland. With most of these holidays you can add on extra nights, either with the travel agent before travel, or decide to book independent options and tours locally.

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka, Flights, Transfers & 4* All Inclusive Hotel, 7 Nights, €1169

 

I climbed #sigiriya today, all 1202 steps 😱 It’s often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world and once you climb it you will see why. It was a fantastic experience and I’m delighted I made it to the top! How the monks carried up stones to build their city in the 5th century is mindblowing! The climb wasn’t that difficult but it was quite scary in parts. The fact that it is a holy day here didn’t help, it was packed! Check out my stories for more 👆 . . . . #srilanka #sigiriyarock #sigiriyasrilanka #wonderoftheworld #wonder #climb #climbing #hiking #proud #travelblogger #irishtravelblogger #asianwonders #wearetravelgirls #picoftheday #dreamdestinations #passionpassport @srilanka @srilanka.travel @destination_srilanka @turkishairlines @travelcounsellorsireland #widenyourworld #lovemyjob #monks #monastery

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This is a great deal to experience one of South East Asia’s real treasures. The price includes flights and a seven-night stay with all meals and drinks included. I went to Sri Lanka last year and loved it. There is so much to see and do, you really need to look beyond the beaches. I suggest booking this beach week but adding on at least 4 / 5 days in the cultural centre. This can be done with Tropical Sky at the time of booking or directly with a tour company locally. There are eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka (FYI Ireland has three), thousands of elephants, hundreds of leopards, tea plantations, amazing food and it is so cheap on the ground. The island practically screams adventure. I climbed the 660 foot tall Sigiriya rock fortress  (1202 steps ) and felt a great sense of achievement, you can read my highlights of Sri Lanka here.

View offer here

 

 

 

Thailand: Flights, Transfers & 4* Khao Lak, Hotel, 7 Nights, €1049

long haul holidays on a budget

Luxury long haul specialists Hayes & Jarvis, have some great deals to top class hotels in Thailand for next year. My personal favourite is the highly rated Apsara Beachfront Resort and Villas in Khao Lak. This is the perfect spot for couples who are looking for a relaxing holiday on a superb beach. Price includes airport transfers, an upgrade to a superior room and a local free Thai cookery class. Flights are via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific so if you wish to add on a few nights in Hong Kong or in any other part of Thailand just talk to the staff in Hayes & Jarvis. Check out the reviews on tripadvisor if you still need convincing.

View offer here
 

 

Mauritius : Flights, Transfers & 4* All Inclusive Hotel, 7 Nights, €1339

luxurious but affordable resorts in the indian ocean

Mauritius, one of the Indian Ocean’s most idyllic islands offers year round sunshine, white sandy beaches, but surprisingly so much more! Explore the hidden waterfalls at the heart of the jungle and go in search of some of its extraordinary wildlife. Veranda Pointe aux Biches is a hotel that epitomises laidback luxury –  guests are encouraged to go barefoot during their stay. Feel relaxed in the wellness lounge, enjoy some spa treatments or try the host of watersports available. If you fancy a change of scene, you can pop into the nearby village of Grand Baie, which has a wide selection of restaurants, shops and bars. Highly rated on tripadvisor, with all meals and drinks included in the price, this is excellent value for such a great hotel.

View offer here
 

 

Maldives: 4* Cinnamon Dhonveli, All Inclusive, Flights & Speedboat Transfers, €1949

luxurious but affordable resorts in the indian ocean

If a trip to the Maldives is on your bucket list but your bank balance is telling you not to go – then this is the place for you! The Cinnamon Dhonveli is one of the best value ALL INCLUSIVE resorts in the Maldives. With all meals and drinks included in the price of your stay, you will need very little spending money. Located just 25 minutes by speedboat from Male airport and surrounded by stunning views of the Indian Ocean, this tropical island is highly rated on tripadvisor and is extraordinary value for a week in the Maldives!

View offer here
 

 

Check out this post for more all inclusive resorts in the Indian Ocean

 

 

 

 

Flights & 2 Night Stays in New York & Miami & 10 night Caribbean Cruise €1999

long haul holidays on a budget

New York and Miami, two of our favourite American cities are included in this fourteen night trip of a lifetime. Enjoy a two night stay in Times Square New York followed by a two night stay in South Beach Miami, before boarding MSC Divina for a ten-night Caribbean cruise. Visit Antigua, Martinique, St Maarten and lots more. With numerous dining options including Eataly, a Broadway-size theatre and an infinity pool that offers superb Caribbean seaviews, you will be spoilt for choice for things to do.

View offer here

 

Hopefully one of my long haul holidays on a budget will suit you but if you still need inspiration, check out all my long haul destination guides here. All prices are correct at the date of issue, 15th November, but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

travel deals

 

 

In The Media

Last Minute Holiday Deals From The Marian Finucane Show

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Looking for last minute holiday deals? Check out my top choices that I discussed with Marian Finucane.

This summer is quite surprising in terms of last minute holidays as there is still lots of availability. Usually in July we see accommodation shortages in Spain and Portugal but that is not the case this year. That combined with extra capacity with Ryanair and Aer Lingus means that for anyone hoping to secure a last minute deal – you are in luck!

Spain, Portugal, Sicily.

Sunway Holidays in particular have lots of availability in July and August and because they are a package holiday company, they have paid for accommodation in advance and are able to offer package deals at low prices. Next weekend, the 15th of July you can go to the Canary Islands and Sicily for €399 for 1 week, including checked baggage and transfers. When you think that a checked bag to the Canary Islands is normally €110, it is exceptional value to have everything included in the price.  Click here for more details. They have some great family prices too. A  week in the Algarve is €1576 on the 15th of July in the popular Estrella do Vau apartments and you can go to the family island of Menorca from €1676 on the 23rd of July. Both  prices are based on 2 adults and 2 children and include transfers and baggage. Click here for more details.

last minute holiday deals

Click&Go are also promoting last minute deals and are offering families the chance to pay 50% now and the remainder 2-4 weeks before departure. Usually with last minute holidays, you have to pay the full amount at the time of booking so this will help families looking to go in August who can pay half now and half when they get paid at the end of July.  They are offering deals to Salou in July and August, one of this years top family destinations. Prices for 2 adults and 2 children is €2338 in the popular four star Regina Gran hotel including breakfast and evening meal. This departs the 21st of July and includes flights and transfers. Click here for more details. They also have an all-inclusive deal in the Villamarina Club from €2554 on the 4th of August, based on 2 adults and 2 children. Click here for more details

last minute holiday deals

Some of the UK travel giants have joined the Irish market this year. In particular Teletext holidays, who have been selling holidays for over 25 years. Their prices are very competitive and they have a wide selection of accommodation available so their website is definitely worth checking out.  I found a great deal to the Algarve departing the 20th of July. Price for 2 adults and 2 children is €1516 including flights and accommodation in the Eirasol apartments, Albufeira. You can add on transfers and checked baggage if required. Click here for more details.

last minute holiday deals

Greece, Croatia

Donabate travel is offering a week in one of the most sought after family apartments in Corfu, the Loulas Village. Price for flights, transfers and a seven night stay on the 4th of August is only €1695, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Click here for more details
For families looking for something a little different, I found a 2 bedroom apartment near Dubrovnik, Croatia, departing the 19th of July. I stayed near here with my kids and we loved it. Price for 2 adults and 2 children for seven nights is €2520. Click here for more details.
last minute holiday deals

Cancun

Fancy going further afield? The five star Moon Palace all-inclusive resort is only €1519 per person on the 28th August. Price includes  flights, transfers, baggage and a massive $1500 resort credit! You can dine in any of their fifteen restaurants, have cocktails in any of their twelve bars or if you want a night a nightcap on your balcony – you can have a drink from your well-stocked minibar. All of these are included in the price of your stay.  All rooms come with a private balcony with a hammock and a double Jacuzzi in the bathroom! Click here for more details

last minute holiday deals

City Breaks

For anyone looking for a quick getaway, Click&Go have some great 5* city break available. Choose Prague on the 15th of August for €333 or Lisbon for €370 on the 29th of August. Both prices include flights and a five star hotel on a B&B basis for three nights. Click here for more details on Lisbon or here for more details on Prague.

 

Sarah

travel deals
In The Media

Staycations and Short Breaks on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show

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As the summer draws to a close why not grab a last minute getaway. I have city breaks in Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, and Irish breaks in Kilkee, Belfast, Enniscorthy, Enniskerry and Westport. Here are my recommendations for staycations and short breaks as discussed on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show this morning.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery on RTE's Marian Finucane ShowFollow me on facebook

August break to Madrid

Late August is always a good time to get a deal and this year is no exception. Kids are ready to go back to school and those looking for a September break tend to overlook late August, when in fact, prices are much lower. ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks. I like this deal to Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! You can take a tour of the Royal Palace and shop till you drop on the Gran Via – one of Europe’s finest shopping streets. Madrid is also home to Europe’s largest Penneys so there is shopping here for everyone! There is over 3,000 restaurants, so its safe to say it’s a foodie destination and there is enough bars and clubs to satisfy any night-owls. Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in the four star Via Castellana hotel for only €240 on the 28th of August. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Lisbon break with river cruise in September

Although the Algarve is one of our most popular holiday choices, the capital, Lisbon is often overlooked. You can choose to go for a holiday (which I did) and stay in one of the beach resorts, or take a city break and stay in Lisbon itself. Temperatures rarely get higher than 25 degrees in Summer and lower than 14 degrees in Winter so it is a great choice for city break. The old style trams are the best way to get around the city and there are numerous sights to see, including The Belem Tower (defence tower), the Castelo de Sáo Jorge  and the Cristo Rei, which is a large statue of Christ that you can climb and see great views of the city. There are some great restaurants, cafes and music clubs, all very reasonably priced. I went with my kids and there was lots for them to do too. The Aquarium is Europe’s largest and well worth a visit. If you have time take the train to the ancient city of Sintra and some of the nice beach resorts along the coast. Theholidayshop.ie are offering a three night break in a central four star hotel from €339 on the 25th of September. They are also including a free river cruise too. Click here for more details.
short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Cheese & Wine Tasting Weekend in Rome in November

Rome is a great city break destination at any time of year, but personally I think it’s better to go in the winter time, as it’s less crowded. There is so much to see in Rome it doesn’t matter how many times you go, you will always find something new to discover. I found a great deal on travalue.ie where they offer a FREE cheese and wine tasting evening, when you book a two night stay. The price for flights and a two night stay in the popular three star Galileo hotel in November is only €199 per person. They also have offers in September and October from €326 per person. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Christmas Market Breaks in December

Christmas markets are very much back in vogue. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have added extra capacity to many cities throughout the winter with lots of low priced airfares available. I like Berlin as it has over 50 markets to choose from and something to appeal to everyone. Sip some mulled wine while enjoying Christmas carols at the traditional markets of Charlottenburg Castle or enjoy one of the Christmas Rock concerts at the Spandau Old Town market. Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run and ice rink are at the lively Potsdamer Platz market, so there is plenty of choice for everyone. For more info on Europe’s top Christmas markets read my blog here. The price for flights with Aer Lingus and a three night stay in the 4* Park Inn by Radisson Alexanderplatz is only €249 on the 7th of December. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane


City Breaks

For those who wish to stay closer to home, there are plenty of options here in Ireland.

 

August family break: Feather Down, Loop Head, Co Clare.

Recently I had the pleasure of glamping in Ireland’s first Feather Down tents. They have sites all over Europe and have only come to Ireland this year. They are in the grounds of a popular glamping site, Purecamping in Loophead. It is the perfect escape from a big city, you really switch off and it’s a great family experience. The ‘tents’ if you can call them that have 3 bedrooms, a private toilet, shower, stove and also a BBQ if you are lucky to get the weather. They still have availability in August, the price for a three night stay is €599 on the 12th or 19th of August. If you want a cheaper option the Purecamping furnished bell tents are pretty cool too and are priced at €75 per night. You can also choose an unfurnished tent from €35. No matter which option you choose you can avail of the excellent facilities on site, including yoga classes, sauna and a wood fired pizza oven. For more details, read my blog here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Spa breaks

The difference between Monart and other luxury hotels is that Monart is Ireland’s only destination Spa property. It offers a unique adults-only environment and is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. Monart was recently awarded ‘runner up best spa retreat worldwide’, by Conde Nast Traveller. It was also named as Ireland’s best destination spa for four years in a row. If you are looking for a spa break, there is no doubt – Monart is the best!  They have a three night midweek break from €329 per person, on the 29th of August, other dates are also available at a slightly higher price. This special offer includes breakfast each day plus dinner in their renowned restaurant on one evening. You will have unrestricted access to the thermal suite and they are also including a 30 minute spa treatment. Monart is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. For more details click here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

If three nights seems too long, the Rainforest Spa in Enniskerry ( Wicklow) have an excellent offer for a one night stay at the Summerhill House Hotel You will receive a glass of bubbly and petit fours on arrival, an hours use of the spa facilities, a treatment of your choice ( see website for exact choices), breakfast and evening meal – and all for €129 mid week or €149 at the weekend, available in August. Click here for more details.

Operation Transformation at Hotel Westport

If you have over indulged during the summer months and want to get in shape for Christmas, then the Hotel Westport’s Operation Transformation package might be just what you need! You can choose a three day break from €199 or a five day break from €309 from the 9th of October. This four star family run hotel have been running this program, twice a year for four years and they have proved very popular. You will receive breakfast and dinner each day ( where light options are available) and you can join in the many aerobics and wellness classes that are provided free of charge. There is entertainment nightly and no single supplement – so it’s a great way to meet new people. There is no pressure to participate in all the activities, it is very much a laid back approach, in fact if you do not wish to be assessed, that’s fine too. If you fancy a night out in Westport, he hotel is located only five minutes from the centre. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Belfast overnight with Game of Thrones Tour

For any Game of Thrones fans, this is a must! The 4* boutique hotel, Tara Lodge is offering an over night stay with breakfast, and an action packed day visiting filming locations across Northern Ireland. Start your journey along the Causeway Coastal route visiting famous sites from the show. Stop for lunch before visiting the Giants Causeway. The price is only £72 per person and it is still available in August. Weekends are busy but check out their website for more details. The Tara Lodge is rated number 1 of 45 Belfast hotels on tripadvisor and receives excellent reviews. It is a family run guesthouse / hotel and offers friendly service and excellent value. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. For my reviews and city break deals click here. To listen back to my chat with Marian, click HERE.

Sarah

travel deals

 

 

In The Media

Talking with Marian Finucane

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I was on the Marian Finucane show recently talking about holidays of a lifetime. The holiday I enjoyed most amidst all my travels was a safari in Tanzania.

 

I was chatting with the the travel journalist Karen Creed and the Irish Times reporter The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery is on air with Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One.Peter Murtagh.

If you missed it you can listen back by clicking the button or read my post on here.

I spoke about my time in Africa, visiting the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro crater and Amboseli National Park. If you get a chance to listen, I hope you enjoy it….

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

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