Travel News and Reviews

My Review of Turkish Airlines Economy Service

Turkish Airlines

I travelled to Sri Lanka recently with Turkish Airlines so I was fortunate to experience their service on a short haul and long haul flight. Check out my review of Turkish Airlines economy service below.


We have all seen their award-winning ads, Lionel Messi with Kobe Bryant competing for a little boys affection, Messi outshining Drogba to find the best food around the world, and the latest ad from Morgan Freeman, reminding us to ‘Widen Your World’. They make it look cool to fly with Turkish Airlines, yet despite flying from Dublin Airport 14 times each week, I only flew with Turkish Airlines for the first time last month.  


Turkish Airlines have been voted the best airline in Europe for six consecutive years by Skytrax World Airline Awards and even the Irish travel trade voted them best airline in Europe this year. So what makes them so special, I hear you say? Hopefully my review of Turkish Airlines service will tell.

my review of turkish airlines



No hidden extras!

When you book a flight with Turkish Airlines, everything is included in the price and I mean EVERYTHING! Checked baggage, seat selection, meals and even alcoholic drinks are included. Not only are all of these included in the price of your ticket but the allowances are very generous too. You have a whopping 30kg checked baggage allowance in economy class as well as an 8 kg cabin baggage allowance.


You also don’t have to worry about seat selection, you can pre book seats free of charge, or pay a small supplement if you want to secure seats with extra legroom, see full details here. Meals are also included on board as well as complimentary drinks. Now I am all for drinking alcohol in moderation, but if you fancied it, you can have as many drinks as you like!

my review of turkish airlines
So much room at the exit seats.




Good food

The food on board is quite good, well as good as airplane food can be! In fact Turkish airlines have won numerous awards for their inflight catering and even have their own flying chef. Although the flying chefs don’t actually cook the food on board, they do help prepare it before it is served. It certainly gives the impression that even in economy class, Turkish airlines care how their food is presented. I had meatballs on the way out and a chicken pasta dish on the return, both were nicely cooked with plenty of flavour. They were accompanied by a salad, delicious chocolate mousse and a nice glass of Bordeaux.

Breakfast was good too, a nice portion of scrambled eggs with bread, cheese and yogurt, although it wasn’t served at breakfast time, which was a little strange!  There were plenty of small snacks throughout the flight too, so I never felt hungry.

my review of turkish airlines
The Flying Chef





I was lucky enough to have an exit seat from Dublin to Istanbul which was great. Unfortunately they were unavailable on the Istanbul Sri Lanka flight but the standard economy seat was very comfortable. Turkish Airlines have wide spaces between seats and a comfortable 32 inch seat pitch with a foot rest, making them more comfortable than an average economy class seat. The seats reclined 7 and a half inches and the movable head rest was so handy. I slotted my travel pillow between the bars which meant I wasn’t leaning forward when I fell asleep.

my review of turkish airlines


There are also usb ports so I was able charge my phone and powerbank when I needed to. The individual inflight entertainment screens have wide selection of movies to choose from, so as soon as I was fed and watered, I reclined my seat and enjoyed two new releases, Gifted and Our Brand is Crisis.

my review of turkish airlines



Extra touches

As well as the nice blanket and travel pillow, I was pleasantly surprised with the Chopard amenity kit. I expected the tooth brush, paste and some socks, but the slippers, earplugs, eye mask and lip balm, inside a silver wash bag was certainly above average.

my review of turkish airlines



Free tour of Istanbul

On this occasion I only had a short layover in Istanbul, but if you happen to have a layover of more than 6 hours, you can avail of a FREE tour of Istanbul. You don’t need to make a reservation, just go to the TourIstanbul desk in the arrivals hall in Istanbul. This is not only a fab thing to do, but it is great if you are struggling to get connecting flights at a good price. I regularly find that the lower priced airfares tend to have longer layovers so if you are on a budget – this is an excellent option. You can visit Tour Istanbul website for more details.

my review of turkish airlines



Turkish Airlines fly from Dublin to Istanbul 14 times a week with onward connections to more than 300 destinations in the  Middle East, Far East, Asia, Africa, Europe and America. Be sure to check their website before booking your next trip away.

Liked my review of Turkish Airlines service? Check out my other airline reviews:

My review of Qatar Airways service.

My review of Ethiopian Airlines service



The Travel Expert






Product ReviewsTravel News and Reviews

Product Review: The FlexSafe by Aqua Vault


We all have that time when we are at the beach and want to go swimming. But what usually happens? Someone, usually the ‘worrier’, stays behind to keep an eye on the valuables. After all, who leaves wallets and phones in a bag unattended on a beach? Well, now you can with the FlexSafe from Aquavault.

The Aquavault from FlexSafe. Stores and secures your valuables at the beach or pool.

This handy little gadget allows you to lock small but expensive items like car keys, phones, wallets, Amazon Kindle and even jewellery inside and then securely lock it to a fixed object. The nice people in Aqua Vault sent me one to use on holidays, but when you look at the website it has plenty more uses. My husband took a shine to it too and now uses it when cycling to hold his keys, wallet and phone! When I think back to the days when my kids were in buggies – it would have been ideal. The flexsafe is pretty tough and its made of some kind of ‘slash’ proof material so when you have it locked down, opportunistic thieves would have a hard time cutting it loose. They would also look pretty conspicuous running down the beach with my sun lounger….

The flexsafe fits beach loungers and pool chairs, boat rails when fishing, golf carts when on the course and the handles of strollers and buggies. The guys who invented it are Rob, Jonathan, and Avin appeared on Shark Tank in September 2016. Shark Tank is the US equivalent to our Dragons Den, where businesses pitch for investment to wealthy entrepreneurs. The one of the sharks (or dragons!) was so impressed with the product he invested in Aquavault and the company has gone from strength to strength.

OK now for the ‘science‘ bit!

Its got…

  • Reinforced binding for added durability
  • It’s water resistant
  • Its got a zipper-reinforced cargo pouch
  • 3-digit combination lock that you can set in seconds
  • Mesh pockets for bottled water or sun creams

Anyway, I think the flexsafe is pretty cool and I love mine. If you want to get one, you can order them online from the Aquavault website for $39.95 and they ship to Ireland too!



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

DestinationsLong Haul

A Review Of Ethiopian Airlines Direct Dublin – Los Angeles Service


Lonely Planet listed LA as one of the top cities to visit in 2017 and lucky for us, it is now more accessible than ever. Ethiopian Airlines fly direct from Dublin, three times a week on a state of the art Dreamliner aircraft.


While LA is the city that’s on trend at the moment, you can of course fly onwards to many US cities. Any flight to the US that avoids a connection in Heathrow is a massive bonus for me, but on top of that Ethiopian Airlines offer some of the best airfares on the market to America’s West Coast. At the time of publication, there are return flights available from Dublin to Los Angeles from €449 return, including taxes! Business class upgrades are exceptionally good value. If you have purchased an economy ticket and there is space available, you can upgrade to business class at the airport for €593 from Dublin to LA or  $645 from LA to Dublin. Ok so business class may not be for everyone but prices are a lot lower than other airlines.


Dreamliner highlights include 8.9 inch tv screens in economy class with 80 different channels, higher humidity for a better cabin pressure, adaptable lighting and the biggest windows in the sky. Another bonus when you fly Ethiopian airlines is 2 x 23kg checked bags are included in the price of your airfare.  Although I have been on a Dreamliner before and loved it, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of flying with Ethiopian Airlines. However, fellow travel blogger, The Fabulous Traveller recently had the pleasure and very kindly wrote a review for me. Interestingly he was flying to Las Vegas and found flying direct to LA with an onward connection to Vegas a better option than flying via the UK. Find out what he thought below…

Ethiopian Airlines – Reviewed by The Fabulous Traveller.

It was my first time to fly with an African airline and I will be honest and say I was a little bit hesitant about what the service would be like, the quality of the food and the comfort. We checked into Ethiopian airlines for our flight to Los Angeles which was super early at 4am. It is one of the first flights out of Ireland or the UK to cross the Atlantic, with a departure time of 5.55am. The good news is you arrive at 8.30am into LA!

I was super excited to be on the Dreamliner Boeing 787 for the first time. When I visited the Boeing factory in 2014 with the Entrepreneur programme the staff in Boeing were super excited about this new aircraft. Obviously the Fabulous Traveller only turns left and the business class configuration of 24 seats leaves plenty of space and comfort. We were offered the usual pre-departure champagne with a menu to select our breakfast and lunch for later in the flight. Breakfast on the flight consisted of grilled beef sausage and homemade baked beans or lemon pancake with maple syrup and blueberries. Lunch offered a choice of two starters and North African Lamb Stew, stuffed chicken with seasoned vegetables and couscous or a choice of Ethiopian National dishes. I selected a nice Spanish Rioja to go with my lunch. Dessert was a choice of carrot cake, fruit basket or cheese board.

Ethiopian airlines

The entertainment on the flight was more limited than normal with one or two new releases and a selection of other movies. Ethiopian Airlines could certainly improve the selection of new releases for the flights. Our seats in business class allowed us to get some sleep and the lighting is more ambient and the air quality is much better. You definitely don’t come off the flight congested as you do on other airlines after a long haul flight.

So how would I rate Ethiopian airlines?

I have to say for the price you are paying, which starts as low as €449 including taxes for a return flight in economy and €1450 in business then you definitely get value for money.

Again the friendly service on the flight was exceptional and it was nice to see staff dressed in both western and local African dress. The food will differ a little from European airlines and don’t expect the normal European snacks on the flight just yet, I hear they will be coming soon. Business class passengers need to note that the beds are not 100% lie flat but that may differ according to aircraft. Finally unlike some airlines departing from Dublin, immigration with Ethiopian airlines is in LAX airport. Expect to queue for up to an hour when you arrive. I would suggest a minimum connection time of 2 hours after your arrival time if you are connecting on elsewhere which we did.

Overall the fabulous traveller would give Ethiopian Airlines 4 stars out of 5. A Fabulous rating. The friendly amazing staff, modern aircraft and direct service made Ethiopian Airlines a pleasure to fly with.

For more details on flights and prices with Ethiopian Airlines, click here.


The Fabulous Traveller.


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


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:




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DestinationsFeaturedLong HaulRest of the World

A Safari in Tanzania


I’m often asked what was my favourite holiday and the answer always surprises people – a safari in Tanzania.

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I have travelled to many far flung places but there was something magical about Tanzania that makes it stand out in my mind. It was a life experience as well as a holiday. There was no wifi, no email, in fact hardly any phone coverage, I really felt like I embraced nature at its best. I think the longing to go there came from a trip to South Africa the previous year, where I went on a safari in Kruger National Park – I was hooked! I am somewhat of an animal lover anyway and safaris for me are one of life’s amazing experiences. I decided to try a real authentic safari, and we set off for Tanzania.

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

Whilst a South African safari is great, there is a difference when you step out on to the Serengeti plains or the Ngorongoro Crater. The area is so vast and the density of animals is staggering. There are no fences and the animals travel from Kenya to Tanzania and back again. In fact on any given day you really have no idea what you will see or what to expect. I flew into Nairobi and stayed two nights at the luxury Tortillis camp in Amboseli National Park. Morning coffee is delivered to your tent so you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the elephants at Mount Kilimanjaro, before setting off on a game drive. The guides are so knowledgeable, you feel very much at ease. I never felt anxious, even when a lion decided to have a nap behind our back wheel! On one of our drives we witnessed a pride of lions killing a wildebeest beside our jeep. It was both distressing and exhilarating, to watch nature at its purest, with the hyenas and vultures waiting idly by for the left overs.

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

I then moved on to the Ngorongoro crater, one of the worlds most breathtaking natural wonders. It’s hard to describe the feeling as you stand on the rim of the crater looking at the various wildlife in their natural habitat. It really is a feast for the senses. The stunning views, the animal sounds, the aromas, are almost tangible. I was once told by a friend of mine to take a ‘mental’ picture when you are somewhere special, and that I did. I think that memory will stay with me forever. I was fortunate to stay at the Ngorongoro crater lodge, a stunning 5* hotel, probably one of the best in Tanzania, if not Africa. The hefty $1000 per person per night price tag gets you a personal butler who will have a hot bath and your drink of choice ready for you after your game drives! (Easily know I went pre – recession! ) It really is a once in a lifetime experience and definitely one that should  be on everyone’s bucket list!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

After trying a luxury tent and a luxury hotel I decided to ‘rough’ it a bit and stay in a small lodge in Tanzania’s most famous National Park, Serengeti. The vast open plains are an amazing sight, they seem endless, and were a complete contrast to Amboseli and Ngorongoro. Famed for the annual migration it actually offers so much more. It has one of the best game viewing in the world as there is so little vegetation. I have one regret – not taking the hot air balloon ride over the plains – I guess I’ll just have to go back!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

My trip might seem like a lot of travelling but believe me, it is worth it. If you want to experience Tanzania at its best, take the time to try different parks. Prebook a private guide to drive you where possible, and take the internal flights for the longer journeys. As you drive through the countryside you will witness every day life in Tanzania. Masai will stroll past with a weeks supply of groceries balanced on their heads while kids play football in their bare feet. Don’t be put off by the internal flights, they are like buses, with dirt tracks for runways. There is no check in times, or passport control, its hassle free. And when you are exhausted after all that travelling and the adrenaline rush, what better way to end your holiday, than chilling out in the exotic island of Zanzibar!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

It really doesn’t get much better than that! This holiday won’t be cheap, in fact it’s probably one of the most expensive trips you will take, but believe me when I tell you, it will be an experience that will have memories that will last a lifetime.

Tempted? Click here for sample prices or email for personal quotations.



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AmericaCity BreaksDestinationsFeatured

30 Top Things To Do In New York


New York is one of my favourite cities! I used to make a point of visiting every year. Looking at my list of things to do in New York below, I think its about time I took another trip …

New York is one of the few places that I have re-visited many times, but the wow factor never goes away. I always feel like I am part of a movie set, and even the most simple thing like hailing a yellow cab, gives me joy. Wandering around New York’s iconic streets and soaking up the atmosphere is all part of the experience, but there are so many top things to do in New York that you simply shouldn’t miss. I hope this list helps you make the most out of this great city. 



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I have linked these top things to do in New York individually, but it is worth pointing out that good value can be found by booking multiple attractions together. New York’s Sightseeing Pass is designed to save you money even when visiting just two Attractions. Created by local New Yorkers for visitors and locals alike, it features four Observation Decks (including the newly opened Edge), six Bus Tours, and a $75 discount on New York Helicopter Tour.

Read: Where to stay in New York – my ultimate guide to hotels and apartments



1. Spend a few hours in Central Park


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I love Central Park, and it doesn’t matter when you visit – it has something different to offer at every time of year. Try to have brunch in the Boathouse – I can highly recommend it. The John Lennon memorial is also a lovely spot to visit. 

There are many activities available too, from cycling to Segways, you can try ice skating in the winter, or even visit the zoo! Central Park is massive, so a few hours will only scratch the surface, but its a great spot if you fancy a change from the bustling city.




2. Visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty, one of the top 20 things to visit in New York by The Travel Expert

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip to the iconic Statue of Liberty. It is one of the top things to do in New York, so if you want to climb into the crown, make sure you book in advance.

While you are there it would be a shame not to visit neighbouring Ellis Island. This moving museum gives incredible insight into American immigration. You can even search for your relatives in their database of over 51 million records.




3. Have lunch at Eataly

A mixture of an Italian food court and a gourmet market, the world famous Eataly is the perfect choice for a quick bite. There is something here to suit all tastes.




4. See the Skyline from one of New Yorks’ 5 Observatory Decks

Seeing the sights from one of New York's 5 observation decks

Years ago the Empire State Building was the best place to take in the views of New York’s skyline. Nowadays its a little more complicated – there are five observatory decks in Manhattan, each offering something a little different. While I don’t expect you to visit all five, I have listed them all here as they each deserve a place on this list of top things to do in New York. Let me explain what each offers below:




5. Visit The Top of the Rock


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The Top of the Rock is superbly located at the Rockefeller Centre and allows you to see most of New York’s famous landmarks, including the Empire State Building and Central Park – something that can’t be seen from some of the other observation decks. An interactive lift takes you to a modern and spacious indoor and outdoor observation deck, and there are other exhibits on display here too.



5 . Go Interactive at The One World Observatory

The One World Observatory is home to New York’s tallest observatory deck. The interactive lift is probably worth the visit alone. It takes you to the 102nd floor in under 60 seconds, where you will experience a virtual time-lapse that recreates New York’s skyline from the 1500’s to present day.

Note the observation deck here is indoor only, which can be handy during winter time, and it does offer great views of the Statue of Liberty. Its location Downtown means it doesn’t provide the same Midtown views as the some of the other observation decks.




6. Check out the Sky Deck on The Edge 

One of New York’s newest attractions, The Edge opened to rave reviews, and it wasn’t long before it was considered one of the top things to do in New York. As well as amazing views of the city (many think the best of all five observatory decks ), there is glass floor underneath the sky deck, so you can see New York’s streets 1000 feet below. You don’t have to walk over this if feeling nervous, you can simply visit the outdoor sky deck instead.


You can see the Empire State Building, Central Park, One World Trade Center, and Statue of Liberty from The Edge – I can’t wait to experience this for myself.



7. Take a glass lift to the Summit One Vanderbilt


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Officially home New York’s newest observation deck, the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt offers so much more. Ascending 1200 feet in a glass lift is an experience in itself, but the real fun happens when you step onto transparent skyboxes 1000 feet above Madison Avenue.


Although perhaps not for the faint hearted, this unique experience is top of my list for my next visit to New York. TOP TIP: Sunglasses are recommended due to the reflections of light, and sharp pointed shoes or high heels are not allowed in case they scratch the glass.



8. Stay Traditional at the Empire State Building

view of Empire State building at night time

Despite the influx of more modern observation decks, many people still choose to visit the the Empire State Building simply because it is one of New York’s most iconic buildings.

There are two viewing platforms, the one the 102nd floor is more expensive, but has an indoor area which can be handy during winter time. There are also some exhibits here too, although not as high-tech as what is available at the other observation decks.



9. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum 

The 9/11 Memorial, one of the top 20 things to visit in New York by The Travel Expert

For most of us we will remember the event personally, so a visit to the memorial museum is a truly emotional experience, and a must visit in New York. The whole area has been rejuvenated – the reflecting pools are a tribute to those who lost their lives in the terror attacks, and the Oculus building is an architectural masterpiece.




10. Shop till you drop!

shopping in Woodbury Common near New York
Woodbury Common Designer Outlets

Whether you choose Macys or Bloomingdales, discount stores, or boutique shopping in Soho, New York is one of the world’s best cities for shopping! If all that isn’t enough for you, take a trip to the outlets at Woodbury Common for designer shopping at a fraction of the cost at home – get tickets here.




11.  Take time out at the High Line

Locals think this is one of the coolest places in New York, personally I prefer Central Park, but if you want to live like the locals, then this is the thing to do! This elevated park was once an old railroad track, and is situated 30 feet above the city.

Stretch out on one of the large loungers, eat a pretzel from a street vendor, or have a cocktail at the luxury Standard Hotel – its all part of the New York experience.




12. Take in a Broadway show

Broadway, one of the top 20 things to do in New York, by The Travel Expert

Chicago, Phantom, Wicked – you name it, if it’s on, it’s on in Broadway. With over 40 theatres it is THE place to catch the best shows.


13.  Eat a pastrami sandwich from a real New York deli

If you try nothing else in New York, you have to try a Pastrami sandwich on rye from a New York deli! It’s like coming to Dublin on your holidays and not trying Guinness! Piled high with what always looks like about 10 slices of pastrami, it tastes so good, I bet you will manage to finish it. 




14.  Take a hop on hop off bus tour.

This is the perfect way to get your bearings, especially if it’s your first time to visit. Try to get a seat up top and get the best views of New York’s iconic landmarks as you pass by. Big Bus Tours are one the most popular – book tickets here.

Travelling with kids? Read 12 Things to do in New York with kids



15. Walk through Times Square


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Times Square is loud, brash, tacky, but you gotta love it! You have to stroll around it to soak up the atmosphere. You can’t help but be blown away by the dazzling billboards and high rise blocks – and it is one of the top things to do in New York. Complete the cliche by getting a selfie with the naked cowboy, and having breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner – they have to be done! 



16. Take a stroll through the West Village

While Times Square may be New York’s biggest tourist trap, the West Village is polar opposite. It’s got charm, character and chic nightlife – you almost feel like a NewYorker when you stroll through its back streets.

Its brownstone buildings, quirky boutiques and the local cafes gives off a completely different vibe to mid town Manhattan. It’s the kind of place I could live in very easily!




17. Have late night supper in Balthazar

From midnight on Friday or Saturday and 11pm on Sundays, Balthazar bistro on Spring Street serves up just what you need after a night on the town.




18. Visit the Intrepid Air & Space Museum

The Intrepid Air & Space Museum, one of the top 20 things to visit in New York by The Travel Expert

The Intrepid Air and Space Museum is a superb outdoor museum located on the Hudson River. Visit the legendary Intrepid air craft carrier, step inside a submarine and see the latest space exhibition.




19. Haggle for bargains in Chinatown

If Bloomingdales prices are getting you down, check out the stalls in Chinatown. This the place to get copies of designer clothes, bags and jewellery, but don’t forget to haggle.




20. Take a Movie & TV tour

Sex and the City tour in New York

From Sopranos, to Sex and the City, take a movie or TV tour to see your favourite locations, while taking a tour of the city at the same time. See lots of options here.




21. Spend an hour in the Apple Store

Check out the Genius bar, take in a workshop, or simply browse the latest technology from the market leader.

The apple store, one of the top 20 things to visit in New York by The Travel Expert




22. Take the Subway!


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Ok so this may not seem like one of the top things to do in New York, but it is one of my top tips for visiting New York. If you are staying uptown near Central Park and you want to go to Soho at night time, cabs can be expensive. Live like a New Yorker and take the subway! Not only will it save you a ton of money, but you wont spend hours battling the city traffic. 




23. Visit an art museum

Guggenheim museum, one of the top 25 things to do in New York

The Guggenheim’s cutting edge design has made it one of New York’s most iconic landmarks, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the world – with over 2 million works of art, you will need plenty of time for this one!




24. Take a trip down Wall Street

Although you may think Wall Street is just another street of high rise blocks, it does have a certain  je ne sais quoi… Admire the well dressed New Yorkers, check out the New York Stock Exchange, and get the obligatory picture with the ‘charging bull’.




25. Have lunch al fresco

With stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Seaport is a great choice for outdoor dining in New York. Check out the Abercrombie & Fitch store there too, it has the same offerings as the 5th Avenue store, but without the queues!

Brookfield Place is another great location for al fresco dining on the Hudson river. Located across from the World Trade Centre, it is a great choice for lunch after a morning at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. You can also see the statue of Liberty in the distance.




26. Take in a cruise

Whether you cruise around the Statue of Liberty or enjoy a Harbour Lights evening cruise, there are lots of sightseeing cruises available in New York. These can be a lovely idea during the summer months, when the water may be preferable to city traffic. You can also enjoy a cruise on The Beast – New York’s wild speedboat cruise. See lots of cruise options here.



27. Sip a cocktail at the Plaza

Plaza Hotel, one of the top 25 things to do in New York by The Travel Expert

Opposite Central Park, this historic landmark is one of New York’s best hotels. A timeless classic, I have no doubt having a cocktail here will still be one of the top things to do in New York in twenty years time.




28. Take a helicopter ride over New York’s skyline

If you are having difficulty in deciding between New York’s five observation decks, go one better and see the skyline from a helicopter instead! You can book helicopter tours via Viator, who have the world’s largest selection of experiences and attractions. You can find helicopter discounts included in New York’s Sightseeing Pass.




29. Soak up the atmosphere in Soho

Soho’s mix of cutting edge designer shops and trendy foodie spots make it a must visit when in New York.




30.  Have a night cap in Bar 230

best rooftop bars in New York

Have a cocktail in one of Manhattan’s best roof top bars and enjoy great views of the Manhattan skyline.


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top 25 things to do in new york


I hope you liked this post on my top things to do in New York. Have I left out any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below.


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Magical Madrid, 14th February, Flights & Hotel, 3 Nights €199!

Terrazas de la Plaza Mayor de Madrid

The Spanish capital of Madrid is often overlooked for a city break but actually it probably has more to offer than most of it’s European counterparts.


Take a guided tour of the Royal Palace, probably one of the largest and most beautiful palaces you are likely to see. Enjoy a coffee on the Plaza Mayor, Madrid’s main square, it is a great place to people watch and plan your day. Follow that with a night out in the city, when Madrid comes alive with gastro bars, al fresco eateries and vibrant nightlife. With over three thousand restaurants, it is not surprising that Madrid is now considered one of Europe’s top cities for gastronomy.

There is plenty in  Madrid to keep everyone happy, some may like to shop while the others take in a football match or a stadium visit. A trip to the Real Madrid’s Bernabeu would satisfy even an avid football fan. A stroll along the Gran Via, Madrid’s grandest street is a shoppers paradise, where high street and designer shops combine to tempt you with prices cheaper than at home. A new apple store opened in 2014 with a 360 degrees genius bar, where experts from ‘Apple’ give advice and solve any technical issues, its known as a ‘little apple museum’, worth a look in the area of Puerta del Sol!

Bernabeu, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

So with all of this and a lot more, isn’t it time you visited the city of Madrid? I have found a great deal departing on the 14th of February. Fly with Aer Lingus and stay three nights in the popular HRC hotel for only €199. This modern hotel is situated in the heart of Madrid, close to all the main attractions and it’s excellent nightlife. The HRC also receives excellent reviews on tripadvisor as well as a certificate of excellence.  So what are you waiting for?


Click here for more details:


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



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Sharm el Sheikh, 3rd September, All Inclusive, Flights & Hotel, €499

sharm beach

With year round sunshine, buzzing nightlife, ‘designer’ shopping and some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world – Sharm el Sheikh ticks all boxes.


Direct flights from Dublin will have you there in just over five hours, and the short airport transfer means the total journey time is the same as many of the Canary Island resorts. It is hard to beat the value to for money too, with most resorts being all inclusive, you will need very little spending money. In general the standards are very high, even some of the three star resorts receive great reviews on tripadvisor.

Most of the hotels have endless facilities to keep you entertained and with the various cosmopolitan resorts of SOHO Square, Na’ama Bay and Nabq Bay, you will be spoilt for choice if you do decide to dine out. You can choose the popular Hard Rock Cafe or wander around the cobbled streets of Old Sharm and sample some local dishes. Soak up the atmosphere and bargain in the markets or if you are feeling romantic take an excursion into the desert for a some star gazing! If you are looking for the latest designer accessory – without the expensive price tag, there is no place better. The quality is really good and you can have the latest Stella Mc Cartney bag or a Michael Kors watch for about €30! For more info on Sharm el Sheikh read my blog by clicking here.

Xperience St George Homestay

Fly from Dublin on the 3rd of September and spend seven nights at the popular  Xperience St George Homestay on an all inclusive basis for only €499 per person. This hotel receives fantastic reviews on tripadvisor and was awarded the travellers choice award for 2015. TOP TIP: When you have searched on the Falcon website and the results come back, change the sort by button to  ‘price low to high’ and you will see this offer pop up straight away.  This includes flights, transfers and 20kg checked baggage, fantastic value when you think all drinks and meals are included! So what are you waiting for?


Click here to book:


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The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery



DestinationsRest of the World

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Sharm el Sheikh has something to offer every type of traveller. It has year round sunshine, top class excursions, buzzing nightlife, excellent shopping and it has an underwater paradise!

Temperatures rarely get below 20 degrees, even in the winter and it almost never rains, so it is one of the few places that you really can get ‘guaranteed’ sunshine! I travelled in May and although temperatures were higher than normal for this time of year there was a nice cool breeze and virtually no humidity, it never felt too hot at around 36˚C.

The other perception by some is that it is quite a long flight from Ireland, in fact flying time is only 5 hours 15 minutes. When you combine this with the short transfer from the airport to your hotel (approx 15 – 20 minutes) you will find that the overall the journey time is not much longer than many of the Canary Island resorts.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, goes camel riding in Sharm el Sheikh

I found Sharm el Sheikh had more to offer than many sun holiday resorts elsewhere. Although renowned for its world class snorkelling and diving, there are plenty of other fantastic excursions available if you are looking to try something a little bit different.

Sharm is built around the Sinai desert so it would really be a shame not to explore it. I booked a Bedouin night trip with Red Sea Holidays where we took a camel ride through the desert, followed by a BBQ and star gazing around a camp fire. It was a great experience and I would highly recommend it.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery, enjoys a Bedouin night in Sharm el Sheikh

My kids loved the camel ride and finding out how to tell the differences between planets and stars. This was the story that they were dying to tell their teachers about when they got home!  We also opted for a full day VIP cruise with Red Sea Holidays where we visited different snorkelling sites.

Our guide Samir was excellent and he held my little boy’s hand in the water until he was happy to swim on his own. We saw stingrays, pufferfish and plenty of amazing tropical fish – overall it was a fantastic experience. There are three snorkelling stops so if you have a young child that is not comfortable with being in the water, parents can choose to stay on board on alternative stops.

Everyone can have a chance to enjoy the amazing underwater scenery at least once! There are plenty of other excursions available too, the day trip to Cairo is an amazing experience which I did on my previous visit to Sharm el Sheikh. You can also visit Luxor, go on jeep safaris and you can even swim with dolphins!

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, goes snorkelling in Sharm el Sheikh

Unlike other holiday resorts most of the hotels here are on an all inclusive basis. This is very handy for snacks, alcoholic drinks and lunch and means you will not need much spending money. If you plan to eat in your hotel every night make sure you choose a good hotel with a large choice of restaurants.

 I don’t usually think buffets for dinner are ideal with young kids because it is difficult for everyone to eat together and they are not exactly conducive to a nice leisurely evening meal, Some hotels have a selection of a la carte restaurants though so makes sure you check that the hotel you are booking has plenty of dining options.

One thing to point out when choosing a hotel is that  the Red Sea Holidays Hotels allow you keep your room until you are ready to be collected for the airport. Not only that, but you can avail of the all inclusive facilities in the hotel too. It was great being able to have a full day at the pool knowing we could pop back to our room to get changed.

Our flight didn’t depart until 2145 so we even managed to get dinner before we left the hotel that evening, and avoided having to eat on the plane. Red Sea Holidays call it a late check out but actually it felt like we had an extra day’s holiday!

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert visits Sharm el Sheikh

There are plenty of great restaurant choices in the resorts outside the hotels. It makes for a nice change to venture out a couple of times a week for evening meals and soak up the local atmosphere. Na’ama Bay is one of the older resorts in Sharm el Sheikh and is probably the most authentic.

Although it does have an Egyptian feel you will find chill out bars with shisha pipes mixed with the Hard Rock Cafe and lots of other american eateries. There is a huge selection of bars and nightclubs with Pacha and all the top Ibiza style clubs all located in Na’ama Bay and open until sunrise! Shopping is great here and the Egyptians love to haggle. My advice is whatever price they tell you it is, offer half and start from there!

The Egyptians are very friendly though, I never felt intimidated or hassled in any way, it was friendly haggling and good banter at all times in Na’ama Bay.

Nevertheless, we always booked the hotel taxis to drop and collect us at a given time. From what I understand, the regular taxi men will tell you that their mothers, brothers, cousin lives beside you and will offer you a great deal, then before you know whats happening you will end up paying double what you expected to pay!

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert visita Na'ama Bay, Sharm el Sheikh

If you like dining out and shopping The Ghazala Gardens is a good choice to stay, right beside Na’ama Bay. You can literally walk to the centre in five minutes and the hotel is very reasonably priced. This saves on taxi fares and with a great beach across the road in it’s sister property, it offers the best of both worlds.

They have junior suite rooms with direct pool access for a small supplement. What a nice way to wake up, relax on your sun lounger and have a quick dip before breakfast!

sharm el sheikh

The other great choice for an evening out is the dynamic SOHO Square. Built only 6 years ago, this is completely different to any of the other areas in Sharm el Sheikh. Owned by the Savoy Hotel it is more like Vegas than Egypt! Although very compact it offers a vast array of modern shops, bars and restaurants all situated around a large square.

In the centre you will find a massive fountain which has a display to music every hour that adults and kids will love. There is a child area at the end with small fairground rides and there is an ice skating rink and a bowling alley if you are looking for some family fun. For adults, there are contemporary bars sunken into artificial lakes and some great dining options.

We tried the L’entrecote steak house where the menus are displayed on iPads! We had a table on the balcony with a great view over SOHO Square while listening to a pianist playing in the background.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert visits SOHO Square, Sharm el Sheikh

There is an ice bar which you have to pay in to (approx €20) and you get one free drink. Its expensive but worth it for the obligatory picture and the kids ( free in) found it quite a novelty too! Although the whole experience in SOHO Square is quite sophisticated the ‘designer’ shops stock all fake goods!

The shops look really impressive and the quality of the fakes are generally good so I picked up a nice Stella Mc Cartney bag for €30 and a Bvlgari necklace for €15! Hassling in the shops is against the tenant law in SOHO Square so although a little more expensive than Na’ama Bay it is a very pleasant shopping experience and you don’t necessarily have to haggle.

Sarah Slattery visits the Ice Bar in SOHO Square, Sharm el Sheikh

Overall we had a fantastic time and it is a place I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a sun holiday. Don’t stay in your hotel for a week though and miss out on all that Egypt has to offer. Book some excursions, experience the contrast at night time of SOHO Square and Na’ama Bay and make the most of Sharm el Sheikh – you won’t be disappointed!



The Travel Expert


5* Bohemia Suites, Playa del Ingles, LGBT friendly, Flights & Hotel, 10th Sep €799!

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The Bohemia Suites & Spa is a luxury 5* boutique style hotel on the beach in Playa del Ingles.

This adult only hotel is ultra modern and SO on trend at the moment. Facilities include a health club and spa, free wifi, and rooms are equipped with iMacs and iPod docking stations. You have to check out the exceptional reviews on tripadvisor, voted number 2 out of 137 hotels in the resort, I particularly like the comment, “Can i give it 6 stars?'”

The location has to beSarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel, Gran Canaria one of the best in Playa del Ingles, beside the beach and close to the Yumbo centre, this is perfect for anyone looking for a top class hotel in a lively resort. This is a party town, you can choose disco bars, nightclubs or drag shows, what ever floats your boat, you can be sure it is here in Playa del Ingles. This adults only hotel is actively LGBT friendly and has a great mix of clientele from across the globe, which gives a cosmopolitan and refreshing vibe.

They even have a dedicated Irish website, which is bonded and licensed for your protection.

Fly from Dublin on the 10th of September and spend seven nights in this luxury hotel for only €799 per person. They even have a dedicated Irish website, which is bonded and licensed for your protection so if these dates don’t suit you, choose your own flights and click on the link below to book the hotel.


Click here to book flights: €219pp

Click here to book hotel: €580pp


Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, reviews the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel, Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria





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The Travel Expert

Travel Tips

Top 10 things to pack when travelling abroad.


Most of us forget at least one thing when we travel! Read my top 10 things to pack when travelling abroad, bookmark this list, add your own ‘must haves’ and refer back to it before you travel – simple!


1. Travel documents.

These are THE most important thing, without them and of course money, you will be going nowwhere! Check you passport is in date, photocopy all documents and make sure you have all tickets, vouchers, insurance and visas if necessary.

2. Carry on bag.

Regardless of whether you need a carry on bag or not, bring one. You may feel it is handy to check in all of your luggage but having a carry on bag is handy to carry the much needed items required for the plane journey itself.  This will also double up as bag to bring with you when sightseeing or going on a day trip. You dont want to bring a large handbag on a boat trip or a local excursion, a small backpack or tote bag will go much better with your shorts and teeshirt!

3. Moisturiser, lip balm etc.

The lack of air on the plane dries your skin and lip balm and hand cream can be a lifesaver especially if on a long journey. Make sure you have it in your hand luggage but ensure it is less than the allowed carry on allowance of 100ml.

4. Books, magazines.

Holidays are meant for relaxation, bring that book you haven’t got around to reading or the magazines that you don’t normally buy. Try not to rely on Ipads or phones that you use daily at home.

5. Chargers , travel adaptors.

Notwithstanding the above if you are bringing  iPads and smartphones makes sure you bring the correct chargers! Travel adaptors are also vital, they are inexpensive and last forever so buy a few, not just one! You dont want to be arguing over whose phone to charge at night time. If you are travelling with children, bear in mind you will want to charge their DVD players or consoles too.

6. Medicines

Although easily purchased abroad, having your own with you can be easier than looking for pharmacies and hoping they will speak English. Bring anything that you may think you will need as well as plasters, ear plugs, eye masks and any other sleeping aids you may need for the plane journey!

7. Suncream

So this may sound obvious but make sure you bring it with you rather than buying it abroad. When you arrive and the sun is shining, the first thing you want to do is head to the pool – there is nothing worse than having to go searching for suncream before you can do this!

8. Sunglasses.

These are something that SO many people forget, especially if travelling during the winter time. They are often left behind in the car so make sure you remember to pack them.

9. Research material.

Bring guide books, maps and any other printed pages with to things to do in the particular destination you are going to. Tripadvisor is great for this, you can also print out the top restaurants in the area, this saves looking them up on line while you are abroad. For the tech savvy traveller download the latest app from Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor and save the rainforest!

10. The right frame of mind.

Holidays are fun times and special times. Try to switch off relax and enjoy them. Try to adapt to their culture, don’t let small things bother you, like waiting an hour for a meal. Realise that this is the norm, accept and embrace it. Remember you are the tourist…


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Lanzarote, 26th August, 1 week, flights & apartment, €399!


Lanzarote is a great choice for a week away. The year round sunshine and long sandy beaches have been attracting Irish visitors for many years.

It’s not all about sun and sand though, there is plenty of good sightseeing as well as some excellent duty free shops.  Their building regulations ensure that there are no high rise buildings so the island feel less commercialised than some of it’s Spanish counterparts.

With many resorts to choose from I think it is fair to say there is a place in Lanzarote for everyone to enjoy. I like Puerto del Carmen, although the largest on the island, it still has a nice feel to it. The old town has some fantastic restaurants and having a drink at one of the waterfront cafes as the sun sets over the harbour, is a lovely way to end your day. Read my blog on Lanzarote for more information.

A winter deal to Lanzarote from The Travel Expert

I found a great Lanzarote deal staying in the Aloe apartments in Puerto del Camen. Highly rated on tripadvisor and centrally located, they are an ideal choice to explore all that Lanzarote has to offer. Fly from Dublin on the 26th of August and enjoy a seven night stay for only €399 per person.

Click here for more details:


All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability. This post was sponsored by Alpharooms but all views as always are my own.



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Berlin City Break, Valentine’s weekend, 3 Nights, €259!


Surprise your loved one with a weekend in Berlin for Valentine’s Day!


The city is steeped in history, there is so much to see and do, and it has some of the best nightlife you are likely to find in any European city. Wander around the historic centre, marvel at the Brandenburg Gate, see the city from Europe’s highest accessible building or chill out on one of its many squares with great German beer! If museums are your thing, there are 175 of them so I think you will find plenty here to satisfy you! Walk along the Berlin wall and meet with the US soldiers at checkpoint charlie, Berlin will astonish you at every corner.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery, Berlin Wall

With a city as big as Berlin it is important to stay central, although it has a fantastic public transport system, you don’t want to spend all your time on it. I found a great hotel, well located in trendy East Berlin, the Best Western Hotel City Ost. This gets great reviews on tripadvisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence.  The total price including flights and three nights accommodation on the 12th of February is only €259 per person.

Berlin is superb, I can’t say enough good things about it, go see it!


Click here to book: (Price shown is total cost for two people)


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The Travel Expert

City BreaksDestinationsEuropeTravel Guides

My City Guide to Berlin


Berlin, I finally got around to visiting a city that has been on my wish list for many years and boy was it worth the wait!


The atmosphere in Berlin is almost palpable. Walking around the city you cant help but be taken by the enormity of what happened here. The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, all the various memorials and of course the numerous museums are all fascinating, even to someone who is not that up on her history! It is also renowned for amazing nightlife and must rival New York for the title of ‘the city that never sleeps‘. There are basement nightclubs, cocktail bars, craft beer houses and even beer cabins. You name it, Berlin probably has it.

What to see:

So where do I begin, there really is so much to see, I had four full days and really could have done with another four. Before you do anything, buy the Berlin Welcome Card. This allows you free transport on all buses, trains and the underground. It also gives you 25-50% off many top attractions and even some restaurants. If you are smart you can even use it to get to and from the airport to save on taxi fares. The train system is great and you will use it, as the city is too large to navigate on foot.

I would start at the Brandenburg Gate, it is the only remaining city gate which used to represent the separation of the city between east and west. It is extremely well kept and was one of the highlights for me. From there walk to the Reichstag building (German parliament) which has a spectacular glass dome with incredible views over the city. TOP TRAVEL TIP: You need to register to do this online to gain access otherwise you will have to stand in line for over two hours.

From here you can walk to the Jewish Holocaust Memorial complete with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. Then on to the west side of the Berlin wall. Depending on energy levels you may be able to continue on to Checkpoint Charlie where you just have to get the obligatory photo with the American ‘GI’s”! Incidentally Check Point Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery, Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

Would you believe there are 175 museums in Berlin so I think it is safe to say you won’t get to see them all! The visit berlin website is worth checking out as it is best to try to plan what museums you want to see before you go. Museum Island has five world renowned museums and is considered part of UNESCO world heritage and that is probably the most popular choice. However if you are looking for something a little different try the museums of technology, science, the spy museum or the interactive DDR museum.

One of the things most people do when they tour a city is find a high point to get an aerial view. In Berlin there are several of these. The TV tower is the most popular. It is now an icon for Berlin and is the highest publicly accessible building in Europe. Try to book online for the best choice of tickets. Failing this you can see a similar view from “Panoramapunkt” at Potsdamer Platz – it’s outside so might be windier than the TV tower, but still very nice. It’s also only  €6.50 to enter, so also cheaper than the tower which starts at €13.00. The view from the dome of the Reichstag is very impressive too so try to plan in advance which one you want to see and it may save you some time and money.

The Reichstag Building, Berlin, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert
The Reichstag Building

The east gallery of the Berlin wall for me was another of the highlights. It is a 1.3 km-long painted stretch of the former Berlin Wall and is the largest open-air gallery in the world, with over one hundred original mural paintings. The murals represent freedom and reconciliation and it is well worth a visit. I really enjoyed the experience and the combination of the bright coloured murals and the riverside setting makes for superb photographs.

The Berlin Wall, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, Berlin
The East Berlin Wall

Berlin is full of wonderful squares too or ‘Platz’ as the locals call them. Alexanderplatz has plenty of market stalls and a typical beer house with outside tables and sometimes, live music. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy a German beer and take in the atmosphere. On the quieter side is Gendarmenmarkt, a square with stunning buildings and remarkable architecture. There are plenty of good restaurants here and lots of places to enjoy an alfresco coffee. Last but not least if you get nice weather, a boat trip along the Spree river is a nice way to see the city from the water.

Where to stay:

One thing that I did underestimate was the size of Berlin and how much there was to see. Yes, the underground system is remarkable and the S and U Bahn trains take you all over the city. For me though, I like to walk around a city and discover places that are not always in the guide books, I found it difficult to do this in Berlin. The tourist area close to the Brandenburg Gate is walkable and I would recommend staying near here if sightseeing is your main objective. Likewise if you are visiting for nightlife stay in east Berlin, Mitte, Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg are the most popular choices. I stayed in West Berlin near the famous Kurfurstendamm shopping district but I felt it was too far out of town, if I was to return, I would choose to stay in a more central location. The Adina Apartments at Checkpoint Charlie are a good choice, they are spacious and come with a kitchenette and have an indoor pool too.

Search Berlin Hotels

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin by The Travel Expert
Brandenburg Gate

What to do with the kids:

This was the first ‘proper’ city break that I have brought my kids on and although I would definitely do it again I would probably resign myself to the fact that you wont get to see everything you want to see. My kids are 7 and 4 so I couldn’t exactly drag them into the holocaust museum and there is only so much sightseeing kids can take!

On the other hand if you are looking to bring kids to a city, Berlin is a great choice as there is plenty for them to do too. Choose a hotel with a swimming pool, it is a great start to the day or else a great way to finish off a days sightseeing. The Lego discovery centre was a big hit with my two, mind you they are lego fanatics! You could not compare it to Legoland though, it is really only somewhere to spend one and a half to two hours at a maximum. Don’t bother with sealife and the aquadom, the one in Bray is just as good!

The aquadom is one of those things that sounds great in theory but is really just a lift that lasts five minutes so trust me, don’t waste your money! The DDR museum is a good choice as it is an interactive museum so unlike most museums, kids are encouraged to touch things and interact! The National History Museum has three huge dinosaur skeletons,  including the largest skeleton in the world, and let’s face it, kids love dinosaurs! The Zoo is one of the most popular in Europe and there are numerous technology and science museums that are very child friendly. My kids loved the Holocaust Memorial, obviously not for what it represents but because it is maze-like and they navigated their way through it.

Lego Discovery Centre, Berlin by The Travel Expert
Lego Discovery Centre

Where to eat:

There are numerous eateries all over the city but as I had my kids with me, we probably played it a little safe. Vapiano is a place you have to try, there are lots of them in Berlin, it is fast food but with an edge. There is a strong emphasis on fresh food with pasta, pizzas, antipasti and salads all ordered directly from the chefs in front of you, and prepared as you watch. Ask for your favourite dish and they will try to provide it. The modern interiors make you feel like you are somewhere special but the prices certainly don’t. A great choice for a quick stop or a leisurely lunch.

Another good find was Amici on Gendarmenmarkt square, excellent value for such a prime location and the food and design was very good. If you are short on time and trying to fit in some extra sightseeing you could try a currywurst (like a hotdog but with tomato /curry sauce), they are on every street corner and are the staple street food in Berlin! The 12 Apostles, close to museum island is a nice family restaurant if you have kids with you, good pizza, pastas etc. Just be aware that the 12 Apostles and other restaurants we found only accept cash and no credit cards! If you are planning to visit the Reichstag building the roof top restaurant here is excellent and is a good way to gain access to the dome, you will need to book in advance.

Vapiano, Berlin Restaurant by The Travel Expert
Vapiano Restaurant

Berlin has so much to offer that I can safely say I would recommend it for everyone. Over the last one hundred years, this is a city that has seen the rise and fall of the Nazis, was destroyed, rebuilt, and then divided into two very different ‘cities’. You get the distinct impression that the residents of Berlin both past and present can handle anything that is thrown at them, they just live for the moment and enjoy life. That is something that will resonate with me for a long time to come.



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DestinationsEuropeFamily Holidays



As a travel agent I always loved selling Corfu. I regularly got calls from customers who came back thanking me for sending them there. In fact usually people rebooked the same place the following year, they loved it so much!

I love holidaying in Greece in general, I love the people, the food and the laid back atmosphere – Corfu is no exception. Unlike many other European destinations most hotels and apartment complexes are family owned so you feel like you are staying in a home away from home.  You will probably get to know the owners and by the end of your stay you will probably be their friends on facebook!


There are many resorts to choose from, it really depends what you are looking for. If its nightlife you seek try Kavos or Ipsos, or if you want peace and tranquility try Kommeno Bay. For the rest of us there is actually a large choice. I loved Sidari, it is visually stunning with lots of small cove beaches, plenty of bars and restaurants and just enough night life without being over bearing. The canal d’amour ( canal of love) is a famous natural phenomenon where the cliffs form a canal in the sea. If you are staying elsewhere it is worth a trip to see this alone.  If I was to find fault I would say Sidari is a little too far from Corfu town and the airport for me.

Corfu Sunrise, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

Messonghi and Moraitika, two resorts that run into each other are probably the most popular with Irish holidaymakers. They an ideal choice if you want to relax, have great food and some nightlife too. The main road linking the two has a strip full of bars and shops but I thought was a little run down. The beach life on the other hand is fantastic. I stayed in the Delphina Hotel right on the beach and loved it. Rooms are basic like most Greek hotels but the service and welcome you receive more than make up for that. Best of all at night time you just need to wander along the shore to find a good bar or restaurant. In fact you could actually go barefoot because the bars have chairs literally on the sand – when you read about beachfront bars, they actually mean it! There are numerous restaurants to choose from and each one as good as the next. I love the Greek food, the salads, the stifados and the saganaki! My kids loved it too, everything is so cheap you can actually order a choice of main course or starter and the bill will still be ridiculously cheap! This is one of the reasons it is so popular with families, the endless supply of watersports and slides at the waters edge is another. The sea is shallow for a long way out so you can chill on a sun bed knowing your kids are safe in the water.

The Travel Expert, Corfu blog, review, Sarah Slattery

Try Spiros’ Baracco beach bar at Messonghi for a pre dinner drink or a night cap, either way you will receive a warm welcome. The Village Taverna is definitely worth a trip, great food and a great atmosphere in the old town of Moraitika. One of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in is in this area, Archontiko. Situated at the top of a peninsula this purpose built restaurant will amaze you. It is completely different to anything in the resort centre, modern in design and stunning gardens, you really have to go here! Everything we had was fantastic but they are renowned for their amazing steaks. The whole experience feels so five star but the prices are still really reasonable. In fact that’s one thing about Corfu or Greece in general, it is so cheap to eat out and overall you will spend a lot less than you would in Spain, France or Italy.

Travelling with children


While most of the resorts are laid back and generally unspoilt you may find it hard to spend your money! The shops are pretty poor with most offering the same souvenirs and beach wear. Corfu town on the other hand…has great shopping! There are great local and designer shops and it is a lovely town to potter around and people watch. Cruises stop here regularly in peak season so it can be very busy and of course if travelling in July or August it can be very hot! I would suggest going early evening when the temperatures are cooler and the day-trippers have gone back to their cruise ships! Enjoy a walk around the old town and marvel at the fortess and venetian mansions, do some sightseeing and catch a nice meal before heading back to your hotel. There are regular bus services from most of the nearby resorts so take this into account when choosing your holiday resort. Although I loved Sidari in the north of the island, you wouldn’t exactly pop into Corfu town for dinner!

Corfu town, The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery

There are plenty of excursions that can be arranged through your local representative or with local agents in your holiday resort. We hired a car and explored the island ourselves and I would highly recommend that. The roads are poor with no highways but the island is small and is easy to navigate. Stop off at hill top villages and admire the typical white washed houses or find an unspoilt stretch of beach for an afternoon dip. The island itself, the people and the landscape are what makes this island so alluring and why visitors return year after year. There are numerous hideaways waiting to be discovered, I recommend you go and find them….



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