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Menorca, The Perfect Family Holiday Destination, 30th July, 2ad & 2ch, from €1876!

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Sheltered cove beaches, captivating harbours and family friendly resorts. Is Menorca the perfect family holiday destination?

 

Still relatively unspoilt, Menorca retains all the charm and character you would expect from a Spanish island but thankfully, without the high rise blocks. The laid back atmosphere is perfect for a family holiday with cafes, bars and restaurants being the main sources of evening entertainment, rather than discos and clubs. Most of the family coves have great beach bars serving refreshing drinks and delicious snacks and with an average summer temperature of only 25 degrees, you could quite easily spend the full day on one of Menorca’s stunning beaches. The main holiday resorts also have a great choice of eateries which cater exceptionally well for families and many offer stunning sea views.

menorca the perfect family holiday destination

Considering its neighbours are Majorca and Ibiza, it is hard to believe that Menorca has still managed to maintain a much slower pace of development. Recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve because of the diversity of its landscape, it is the perfect mix of a cultural interior with cosmopolitan coastline. Stunning harbours combine with architectural ruins and clear blue seas, it really is a true find. There is wide selection of historic towns to explore including the capital, Mahon, the fishing village of Fornells and the old walled town of Ciudadella. The flat terrain lends well to cycling and walking trails so although the island overall has a relaxed vibe, it is also suitable for families looking for an active holiday. Water-sports are plentiful at the beaches too.

menorca the perfect family holiday destination

Sunway Holidays have a wide selection of accommodation options available. Prices for a seven night family package on the 30th of July start from €1876, based on 2 adults and 2 children in the Los Lentiscos apartments or €2276 for 2 adults and 2 children in the Roc Lago Park apartments. Highly rated on tripadvisor, the Roc Lago Park are a great family property that allows you free access into the water park next door for the duration of your stay. Located beside the pretty marina in Cala’n Bosch, their central location ensures you are close to the beach and the resort centre.

menorca the perfect family holiday destination

The flight times are perfect too with no awkward 6 am starts! The direct flight leaves Dublin every Sunday at 14:50 and lands back in Dublin at 21.35pm. All Sunway package holidays include flights, accommodation, transfers, 20kg checked baggage per person and NO hidden extras! What more could you ask for?

 

Click here for more details:

 

If those dates don’t suit, click on this link for prices throughout the summer season. This post was sponsored by Sunway Holidays and the Menorca Tourist Board, but all views, as always, are my own 😎

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah

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In The Media

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

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

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

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Italy Deals:

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

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

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

Family Holiday:

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

Mid to late August:

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

Last minute holidays as seen on TV3's Sunday AM

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

Tapas Madid, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

5 Tips to find a last minute deal:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Sarah

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Menorca – The perfect family holiday, 31st July, 2ad & 2ch €1876

Menorca

When it comes to family holidays, it doesn’t get much better than Menorca. Crystal cove beaches, captivating harbours, family friendly resorts, is Menorca the perfect family holiday?

Still relatively unspoilt ,Menorca retains all the charm and character you would expect from a Spanish island, but without all the noisy bars and discos. For such a popular holiday island it is hard to believe it still managed to keep its individuality. Recognised by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve because of the diversity of its landscape, it is a perfect mix of rural countryside with cosmopolitan beach resorts. There are stunning harbours mixed with architectural ruins, it really is a true find. The laid back atmosphere is perfect for a family holiday and the lack of any club scene keeps the night-owls away. The holiday resorts of Cala’n Bosch and Cala’n Forcat have a great choice of bars and restaurants all catering exceptionally well for families and most with stunning sea views.

If this wasn’t enough to tempt you, how about a family complex that not only offers on site entertainment but a mini splash park for the kids too! Try the Hi Binimar apartments in Cala’n Forcat, one of Menorca’s top resorts. With a resort centre and a sandy cove only 300 meters away, what more could you ask for. They receive great reviews on trip advisor and are sure to keep you and the kids very happy throughout your holiday.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about Menorca

The flight times are perfect with no awkward 6 am starts! The direct flight leaves Dublin every Saturday at 14:50 and lands back in Dublin at 21.35pm, just another bonus to sweeten the deal! Package prices for 2 adults and 2 children on the 31st of July or 7th of August for seven nights is €1876 which includes flights, accommodation, transfers, 20kg checked baggage per person and thankfully NO hidden extras! If those dates don’t suit, click on the link below for prices throughout the summer season.

 

Click here for more details:

 

Sarah

 

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New Routes from Irish Airports in 2016

Airport

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

 

Dublin Airport

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

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

Cork Airport

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

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

Knock Airport ( Ireland West)

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

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

Shannon airport

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

 

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

 

Sarah

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In The Media

As Seen On TV3 – 10th January 2016

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

 

Best Reasons To Book Early:

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

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

Lanzarote Family holiday by The Travel Expert

 

Tips To Find The Best Deals:

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

 

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

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising

 

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

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Top Holiday destinations In 2016.

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

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

The Travel Expert on TV3 10th January 2016

 

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

Fuerteventura by The Travel Expert

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sarah

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Top Ten Holiday Destinations in 2016

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With the recession well and truly over and Dublin airport celebrating their best ever year in 2015, travel agents and airlines are predicting that 2016 will be even better. So where are the hot spots?

 

It looks like old favourites such as Spain and Portugal will be the most attractive short haul holiday destinations in 2016. Although France will be busy for Euro 2016, many families who enjoyed their Summer holiday camping in France, may decide to switch to campsites near Salou in Spain or Lake Garda in Italy. Cuba, Mexico and Thailand will prove popular for long haul travel as the poor exchange rate with the US dollar is unlikely to change. Here are my top ten holiday destinations in 2016!

Majorca & Menorca

To put it simply, Irish people love Spain! Almost 1.5 million Irish holiday makers visited Spain this year and this is sure to grow again in 2016. The Balearic island of Majorca is constantly one of the favourites. The mixture of family resorts, lively nightlife and stunning scenery is a great combination and ensures Majorca offers something for everyone.

Direct flights to  Menorca were reintroduced last year from Ireland and proved to be a great success. So much so, that an extra flight from Cork has been added for 2016. This smaller and less commercialised island oozes character and is the perfect choice for families looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday in safe surroundings.

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

 

Lake Garda

Although always popular from Ireland, I believe many families will switch from France to Lake Garda this year making the popular Italian resort busier than ever. There are direct flights to Verona and the nearby resort of Peschiera offers plenty of campsite and hotel options. The fact that the award winning themepark,  Gardaland is on it’s doorstep, will add to it’s popularity.

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

Thailand

Thailand still offers fantastic value for money for a longhaul destination. There are numerous flights via the UK, Dubai and mainland Europe to Bangkok and Phuket. A one week package is circa €800 including flights and hotel, proving to be a great option for those looking for a touch of exotic, without the expensive price tag.

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

Athens & the Greek Islands

Always great value for money and appealing to everyone, the Greek islands will continue to be popular in 2016. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos and extra flights to Athens with Ryanair and Aegean air. This should open up Athens as a top city break destination and allow the bucket list destinations of Santorini and Mykonos to be serviced for the first time.

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

Algarve

Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost twenty flights per week in the peak Summer months. The low priced airfares mixed with numerous resort options, will ensure that the Algarve will attract many Irish visitors in 2016.

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

Mexico

June 2016 will bring the first direct flights to Mexico for many years. The Thomson dreamliner aircraft will fly every fortnight to Cancun from Dublin and is bound to attract couples and honeymooners looking for the luxury all inclusive holiday resort.

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

Iceland

WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved a great success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2016 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

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

Cuba

Diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba are at an all time high and it is likely that more and more Americans will travel to Cuba over the coming years. Many people feel they such see it before it receives the Disney effect! For this reason and the fact that there is more disposable income around, Cuba looks like it could attract many Irish holidaymakers looking to travel long haul in 2016.

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

Croatia

For those looking for somewhere a little different but still close to home, Croatia will be a top choice. The stunning city of Dubrovnik and the introduction of flights to Zadar and Pula will ensure that there are plenty of options for Irish holidymakers in 2016. The proximity to Lonely Planet’s top destination to visit in 2016 (Kotor in Montenegro) will also add to the appeal.

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

Dubai

With four direct flights every day, it is almost impossible to avoid seeing this world class holiday destination on travel agency windows and media outlets, all offering amazing deals to Dubai. With the loss of direct flights to Egypt and Tunisia, Dubai is also an excellent alternative for anyone looking for some Winter / Spring sunshine.

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

 

So where will you be travelling to in 2016? If I left out your favourite, please comment below 🙂

 

Sarah

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