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Silversea All Inclusive Luxury Cruise, 11th November, 4 Nights, €1395!

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24 butler service, breakfast in bed, or dinner on your balcony. When it comes to luxury cruising, no one does it better than Silversea.

 

There are only a small number of six star cruises, or hotels for that matter, but Silversea hold that coveted prize. Their intimate cruise ships carry only 300 – 540 guests, a refreshing change from the many cruise liners that are constantly competing to have the largest ships at sea. While this may sound exclusive and beyond your budget, some of their prices are surprisingly good value when you consider the service you receive. Almost everything is included in the price, even in-suite dining, you could easily cruise on Silversea without putting your hand in your pocket. This incredible offer from Sunway will allow you to do just that.

silversea all inclusive luxury cruise

You will experience a taste of luxury cruising over four nights, with flights, baggage, transfers, gratuities and all meals and drinks included in the price. Sip champagne and wave goodbye to the eternal city of Rome, from your veranda suite, before cruising the Mediterranean for four days. Get up close and personal in each port, Silversea cruise ships can dock right in the heart of each city. Experience the glitz and glamour of Monaco, the lavender fields of Provence and the rolling hills of Tuscany, before cruising back to Rome.

silversea all inclusive luxury cruise

This taster cruise is on board Silver Spirit which is Silversea’s largest cruise ship, carrying 540 guests. Enjoy fresh sushi at the Asian fusion Seishin restaurant or authentic Italian cuisine at the à la carte La Terrazza. Chefs mix buffalo mozzarella from Naples, olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Umbria, with fresh pasta that is made daily on board. For more casual dining try the pool bar and grill, or the popular Stars Supper Club where you can enjoy some cocktails and live music afterwards. For an extra special evening try the six course tasting menu at Relais & Châteaux’s La Champange restaurant, where each course is paired with fine wines. Supplement of $40 applies.

silversea all inclusive luxury cruise

Although a relatively small cruise ship, you can still expect luxurious spa treatments in the 8,300 square-foot spa, which was voted best spa at sea by Condé Nast Traveler. There is also a heated pool, fitness centre and beauty salon. There are plenty of entertainment options including full scale production shows from their Show Lounge, sundowners at the Panorama Lounge and a selection of games at the casino. Shoppers will enjoy the designer boutiques on board including Gucci, Bvlgari and Swarovski.

silversea all inclusive luxury cruise

Fly from Dublin to Rome on the 11th of November and enjoy a four night all-inclusive cruise from €1395 per person. This price includes flights, transfers, checked baggage, all taxes and gratuities, 24 hour butler service, in-suite dining, complimentary beverages in-suite and throughout the ship. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a Silversea all inclusive luxury cruise, for an unbeatable price – don’t miss it!

 

Click here for more details: or call the cruise specialists in Sunway on 01- 2311868 .

 

This post was sponsored by Sunway Holidays but all views as always are my own 😎

 

Sarah

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Travel

Early Booking Offer to New York, Direct Flights & Hotel, 3 Nights, €495!

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I know what I wan’t under the tree this Christmas – this early booking offer to New York!

 

One of my favourite cities, New York captivates me every time I visit. There is so much to see and do, and every time I go back, a new attraction has opened. New York’s tallest building, the One World Observatory is the latest ‘must see’. Take the lift to the 102nd floor in under 60 seconds and experience a virtual time-lapse that recreates New York’s skyline from the 1500’s to present day.  The first National Geographic Encounter is opening in Times Square later this year. Immerse yourself in an interactive journey through the Pacific Ocean, play with sealions, sting rays and look n the eye of a great white shark. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center must also be on your ‘to do’ list, and let’s not forget the shopping! Regardless of what the exchange rate is, there are ALWAYS bargains to be had in New York. You could spend the day in Macys or take a trip to Woodbury Common, my personal favourite outlet mall.  When you are shopped out – live like a New Yorker and  chill out at the High Line, a Manhattan park that is situated 30 feet above the city. For more ideas on what to do, read my blog on the top 25 things to do in New York.

early booking offer to new york

But it’s not just the attractions that excite me. It’s the buzz, the massive skyscrapers, the yellow cabs, the shopping, the dining, the nightlife… I could go on forever!  If you haven’t already visited, now is your chance! This early booking offer to New York includes direct flights from Dublin and a three night hotel stay from €495 based on four sharing, or €575 based on 2 sharing! You will fly on the 1st of February and stay in the heart of Manhattan. The price  includes a three night stay at the highly rated Stewart Hotel ( formerly Affinia Manhattan) which is centrally located and receives great reviews on tripadvisor. If you fancy a stay at the popular Fitzpatricks Manhattan Hotel, that’s a steal too, at only €629 per person, based on 2 sharing.

So what are you waiting for? A deposit of €100 secures your booking and it’s never to early to talk about Christmas presents…….

 

Click here for more details:

 

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

 

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Canadian Rockies Fly Drive, Flights, Hotels & Car Hire, €1519!

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Always wanted to try a Canadian Rockies fly drive? This is the year to do it! Canada is celebrating its 150th Birthday so entrance is free to all the National Parks, the favourable exchange rate with Euro makes it excellent value for money and Lonely Planet has voted Canada as the number 1 country to visit in 2017!

 

Canada is the world’s 2nd largest country, so holiday options are endless, but despite the great cities, its Canada’s majestic landscape that captivates visitors.  Surrounded by the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and an interior full of jaw dropping lakes and rivers, Canada is a land of natural wonder. You will want to hike, cycle, go kayaking or even camp, Canada will bring out the nature lover in you.

Canadian Rockies Fly Drive

I have chosen a Canadian Rockies fly drive, an iconic trip with a lifetime of memories to be made, but is surprisingly still excellent value. With wide, well-signposted roads and English speaking natives, this is a fantastic way to explore the Canadian countryside. You will fly to Calgary and have a quick overnight in a hotel before setting off on your magical adventure through the Rockies. Your first stop is the famous Banff National Park. Visit Lake Louise, one of the world’s most spectacular lakes. It’s dramatic setting, a glacial lake with thick forests and snowy mountains – this is the Rockies perfect picture postcard. Explore the incredible countryside and relax in their hot springs before enjoying a meal in the resort town of Banff. It’s boutique shops and trendy restaurants are welcome alternative to the countryside.

Canadian Rockies Fly Drive

Drive one of the world’s most spectacular road trips, along the Icefields Parkway before arriving in Jasper. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the picturesque town of Jasper is worth a stop on its own and the National Park is the largest in the Rockies. The contrast of tranquil lakes, rugged mountains and massive glaciers will captivate you. It’s the perfect place for a hike, you may spot the local deer or maybe even some bears! If you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could try some white water rafting or kayaking. Check out the Jasper SkyTram for breathtaking views from the top of the mountains.

Canadian Rockies Fly Drive

You will also have the opportunity to see Mt Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies on your way to Canada’s largest ski resort, Sun Peaks, where you will overnight. Drive the Kamloops wine trail before arriving in the vibrant city of Vancouver. Overnight here once again, go whale watching or enjoy a full day exploring the city before getting your return flight home.

Canadian Rockies Fly Drive

The price for this 8 day Canadian Rockies fly drive is €1,519 including flights, taxes, hotels and car hire. This is based on travel in September but if you call the dedicated sales team in Sunway they will be able to quote you for alternative dates. You can also add on extra nights in Vancouver, add on a few days on the luxury Rocky Mountaineer, even add on an Alaskan cruise – the options are endless. Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. Why not join the party?

 

Click here for more details or call the dedicated sales team on 01-2311889

 

This post was sponsored by Sunway Holidays but all views as always are my own.

 

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Orlando Family Offer, 9th May, 2ad & 2ch, €465 per person!

Disneyland

For most families Orlando is THE bucket list destination. Lets face it the magic starts as soon as you tell your kids you are going to Disney World!

 

With over 12 theme parks and four waterparks you are literally spoilt for choice! From Disney World, to Universal Studios, simulator rides to rollercoasters, water slides to dolphin swims, the choice is endless.  Lets not forget how much is accessible from Orlando too. Visit the Kennedy Space centre, shop till you drop in the outlets, or chill out one some of Florida’s amazing beaches. Suffice to say there is something here for everyone. For more info on Orlando you can read my blog here.Orlando family offer

I found a great Orlando family offer with Sunway Holidays. Book early, save yourself a fortune! Fly from Dublin on the 9th of May and spend seven nights at the newly renovated Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, for only €435 per person based on 2 adults and 2 children. This hotel is located in the heart of Orlando on International Drive, close to theme parks, restaurants and night life and also offers free shuttle to Universal Studios. Facilities include 3 swimming pools, children’s playground, restaurant, sports bar and video games room! Highly rated on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, this is a great choice for a fun filled holiday. Price include flights, taxes, baggage and seven nights hotel accommodation. If you want to extend your stay talk to the Sunway team, add on more nights in Orlando, a few days at the beach or even a Caribbean cruise – the choice is yours!

 

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

 

Click here for more details:

 

Sarah

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Featured

Top Holiday Destinations in 2017

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Dublin airport has just celebrated it’s best ever year in 2016 and there are lots of new routes announced from Dublin, Cork and Shannon. It seems Irish airports are set for another bumper year.  So where are the top holiday destinations in 2017?

It looks like firm favourites, Spain and Portugal will remain the most popular short haul holiday destinations. Every other month we are hearing about new routes to the USA so American holidays will probably be the next biggest crowd pleaser. Short break enthusiasts will welcome the 9 weekly flights to Iceland and if you haven’t visited Athens or Amsterdam yet, 2017 might well be the year to do it. Cruise holidays are gearing up for another year of growth and the 14 weekly flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as the new daily Qatar airways service from Dublin to Doha, ensures long haul holidays will be easily accessible. Here are my picks for holiday hot spots in 2017!

Spain

Ireland’s favourite holiday destination never disappoints. Culture vultures or party animals enjoy the numerous choices for city breaks and beach holidays. Why not combine both though? The Costa Dorada looks like it could be the big winner this year. There are flights from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock serving Reus, Girona or Barcelona and Sunway and Falcon Holidays both offer package deals to Salou and Cambrils. The combination of the iconic city of Barcelona and the opening of Ferrari World at the already popular Port Aventura theme park, make it an ideal choice for all the family.

Top holiday destinations in 2017

Portugal

Another Irish favourite, the Algarve has almost fifty flights per week from Irish airports, in the peak Summer months. Aer Lingus have added a new service to Porto, and Lisbon is already a popular city break destination. It looks like lots Irish holiday makers will be flocking to Portugal in their droves in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Algarve

Italy

Lakes, mountains, cities and beaches, Italy has something to offer all holiday makers. Lake Garda is becoming more and more popular with families as there are numerous self catering and camping options. The Amalfi Coast is always a popular honeymoon destination and the islands will attract couples looking for an upmarket holiday. Sunway have introduced a direct flight to Sardinia for 2017 which should keep the beach enthusiasts happy, and the growing trend for authentic experiences will ensure that Irish numbers to the region of Puglia should continue to grow.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Sardinia

Greece

Always great value for money and appealing to the masses, the Greek islands should have many Irish visitors in 2017. There are direct flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, Crete, Rhodes and Kos with Falcon Holidays and flights to Athens with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Aegean airlines. This should ensure Athens will be a popular city break destination but also allow easier access to the sought after islands of Santorini and Mykonos.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Santorini

USA

Flights to the States have grown to unprecedented levels. New routes to from Aer Lingus to Hartford and Miami and extra flights to Los Angeles, Orlando and New York, should translate into a bumper year for Irish tourists to the USA. The addition of low cost flights with Norwegian Air from Cork to Boston and New York, as well as WOW air flights via Iceland, should ensure lots of good deals for Irish holidaymakers. San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic ‘summer of love’ with a year of events and festivals in 2017. And would you believe Elvis is dead 40 years this year… sure makes me feel old! Why not pay tribute to the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ by visiting Memphis during ‘Elvis Week’, between 11th and 19th August. See American Sky for details.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Universal Studios

Mexico

Mexico is one of our most popular long haul destinations. Falcon Holidays are offering direct flights from Dublin for those looking for a two week holiday in the summer months. Many choose to fly via America and combine with a city break in New York or Vegas. I think Mexico will continue to be as popular with Irish holidaymakers in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Mexico

Iceland

WOW air introduced flights to Reykjavik in 2015 which proved to be a resounding success. People chased the Northern lights and swam in the Blue Lagoon, with lots of positive reviews. So much so that WOW have decided to increase flights from Dublin and add on a service from Cork. It looks like Iceland will remain popular in 2017 for weekend breaks and as a holiday destination.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Chase the Northern Lights in Iceland

Cruises

One of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry is set for another bumper year. The competition has never been greater. Most major cruise lines have dedicated Irish websites now and many travel agents and tour operators have dedicated cruise departments. Free all inclusive drinks packages, half price kids offers and even free flights, will I am sure, entice Irish holidaymakers to cruise in 2017. New destinations like Cuba will make it easier for visitors to visit Havana without paying the increasing accommodation costs. River cruises are also proving popular for discerning clients. For those who don’t want to fly there are even cruises operating directly from Ireland in 2017.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
American cruise lines are now docking in Cuba.

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 has always been a favourite but now there are flights to Split and Pula with Aer Lingus, as well as Zadar with RyanairFalcon Holidays have also announced package holidays to Croatia and specialists Croatia Tours continue to offer a wide choice of package holidays to the region.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Dubrovnik

Middle East and beyond

With two direct daily flights to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi and now a new daily service to Doha with Qatar airlines, getting to Asia, Africa and Australia has never been easier. No lengthy lay overs in Heathrow and prices should reduce too!

Top holiday destinations in 2017
Dubai

South Africa

Ethiopian airlines‘ Dreamliner aircraft made many news reports when they offered cheap direct flights from Dublin to Los Angeles this year. They have now added extra connections from their hub in Addis Ababa to South Africa. This means that flights from Dublin to Cape Town should be easily accessible and hopefully well priced too.

Top holiday destinations in 2017
South African safari

They are my thoughts on the top holiday destinations in 2017 but please comment below if you have any more to add 🙂

 

Sarah

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Zanzibar, 14th June, 1 week, Flights & 4* Hotel, Half Board, €1259!

zanzibar

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Zanzibar some years ago and trust me, the word ‘paradise’ is an understatement!

 

The beaches are right out of a romantic novel. Zanzibar is the Indian Ocean, so you can expect amazing white sand and warm waters. Although Zanzibar is full of luxury hotels, most of them blend into the environment and it almost feels unspoilt. Watching the locals fishing in their dhows, while you chill out on a hammock, is typical of the lazy days you can expect there.

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

Of course if you want action, you can have that too. The capital Stone Town is worth a visit. It feels almost medieval with bustling bazaars and a Marrakech style medina. Zanzibar is an underwater paradise, it is the perfect place to try snorkelling or scuba diving. In fact my husband got his PADI dive licence there in five days!

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

I found a great deal in the luxury Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa Hotel. Situated right on the beach with rooms set in traditional round bungalows, it offers all mod cons yet retaining the island’s charming character. All rooms face the sea with large patio doors leading out to a  balcony or terrace.

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

This deal includes breakfast and evening meal each day and with three restaurants and bars, you have a great choice of dining options. Facilities at the Ocean Paradise Resort include a large pool, health and fitness centre and an abundance of water sports to choose from, including a PADI dive centre.
The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

Fly from Dublin to Zanzibar on the 14th of June and enjoy a seven night stay at the Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa for only €1259 per person. This hotel receives excellent reviews on tripadvisor and is also a travellers choice winner. This is a great time to visit Zanzibar as average temperatures are a balmy 25 degrees and there is little rainfall. Price includes flights, accommodation on a half board basis and all taxes. Other dates are available at a supplement.

 

Click here for more details:

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Sunway Holidays 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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In The Media

Last minute holidays on Today FM’s The Last Word

Girl on Beach

Looking for last minute holidays? Read my top picks and tips as discussed with Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word today.

 

The threat of ISIS and the cancellation of flights to places like Egypt and Tunisia has meant that Spain, Portugal and Italy are the most sought after holiday destinations this year. This trend is the same across most European countries. Although the extra capacity with Ryanair and Aer Lingus has seen no shortage of flights – the problem is accommodation to go with them. Think off the beaten track and you will find accommodation to go with the cheap flights, that are available. Greece is also good value, as are city breaks across Europe.

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Mid – Late July:

For people looking for Spain, the Canary Islands are the best value. Prices are available from €550 including flights and accommodation for seven nights from most travel agents. There are cheap flights available to the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, from €170 return with Ryanair but finding good accommodation at a reasonable price is the problem. If you look at towns, villages away from the beach resorts you can get much better value.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute holidays on Today FM's The Last Word

Lake Garda is good value too. Crystal Holidays are offering a week in the Miravalli Hotel for €468 on the 23rd of July for seven nights. This is a basic 2 star hotel, but very centrally located in Garda and has good reviews on tripadvisor. If you want to upgrade your accommodation, Sunway are offering the 3* Meridiana Hotel from €734. This is located in Sirmione, in my opinion, the nicest resort on the lake. All prices include transfers and checked baggage.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute holidays on Today FM's The Last Word

If you are looking for a cheap all inclusive holiday, ClickandGo.com have Fuerteventura on the 28th of July from €675 in the Globales Costa Tropical. Price for 2 adults and 2 children is €2399. Average 3* accommodation but good facilities including a gym, kids entertainment etc.

If you will go somewhere further afield Cobalt air have introduced flights to Cyprus twice weekly for July and August. These were only announced last week so prices are very low. There are plenty of resorts to choose from, lively Ayia Napa or quieter resorts like Protaras.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute deals with Matt Cooper on Today FM

 

Long haul / Luxury:

Mexico has been one of the most popular long haul destinations from Ireland this year and there is still availability in July. Tropical Sky are offering Secrets Silversands, a luxury 5* property for €1899 for seven nights. This includes flights from Dublin, transfers, baggage, and a junior suite on an all inclusive basis – a massive saving of €720 from the brochure price.

The Travel Expert discusses last minute deals with Matt Cooper on Today FM

Late August:

If you are flexible on dates and are not concerned about kids going back to school, the best time to find a bargain is late August. Many people choose the 1st two weeks in September or the last two weeks of August but the middle week, 27th / 28th of August is a good weekend to pick up a bargain holiday. At the moment Rhodes is available from €351 on the 31st of August and Zakynthos from €420 on the 30th of August. Both prices include flights, accommodation, transfers and baggage with Falcon Holidays. Click here for more details.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert, Zakynthos, Zante

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 time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

 

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Travel Tips

Top Tips To Find A Last Minute Deal To The Sun

Last minute deals

Trying to find a cheap week away and wonder where you are going wrong? Check out my top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun and wave goodbye to expensive holidays!

 

1. Be flexible on your dates

This is probably the most deciding factor. Do not expect to get a week in Marbella’s top hotel in August for half price, just because you booked it last minute. You need to be flexible on where and when you go. If you don’t have kids and don’t have to go during July or August – don’t! Choose the middle two weeks of a month or the last week of one month and the first of another. People tend to book annual leave in blocks, i.e the first two weeks of July or the last two weeks of July. Travelling during midweek can also be less expensive than weekends, and the airports are less crowded!

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

2. Choose typical times when deals are available

There are times in the year when last minute deals are more readily available so if you have plenty of annual leave, are retired or simply a good planner, these would be my suggestions for optimum times to get the best deals. During the summer season, most sun destinations are reduced in May, June and late September. The last week of August can also be a good time to take a two week holiday. In fact sometimes two weeks are cheaper than one at this time. During the winter time holidays from late November until Christmas time are always very reasonable and holidays also tend to reduce in price in April after Easter holidays. ClickandGo.com have a very useful special offer search where you enter the date you wish to travel and it will give you a list of what is available, in many destinations, at the lowest prices. Use my exclusive promo code TRAVELEXP10 to save 10% on your accommodation on any sun holiday or save €20 on any city break using TRAVELEXP20

ClickandGo

 

3. Be flexible on your destination

Spain, Portugal and the Balearic islands are popular with families so if you want to travel during the peak summer months, look at alternative destinations. The Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey will offer better value at that time, as will city break destinations. If you are looking to get away in September, Greece, Croatia and Italy are very popular with couples. You will find Spain and Portugal better value at that time of year, as children are in school.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

4. Fly out with one airline and back with another

In many cases Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly to the same destinations. You will find that sometimes it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with the other. Not only might this save you money, but the flight times might suit you better too.

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5. Use comparison hotel sites.

Trivago and Tripadvisor will offer you prices for hotels or apartments across many different websites. You will be surprised at the price differences for the same property, between one hotel website over another.

Trivago
Summer Vacations

 

6. Use Ryanair’s fare finder and Aer Lingus ‘anywhere’ search

These are really useful tools if you are just looking for a break away and don’t care where you go. You can select specific dates or a particular month and narrow the search to beach, city break, nightlife, family etc. You will see a list of the cheapest prices for the time you wish to travel. Aer Lingus’ search is clear on the home page but Ryanair’s is not as easy to find, so click here. Skyscanner’s everywhere search is also great, particularly if looking to go somewhere further afield.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

7. Compare like with like

Remember many package holidays include transfers and checked baggage. This can save you a lot of money over all, particularly if your accommodation is a long distance from the airport. All inclusive holidays may appear more expensive but when you consider all your food and drink is included, it might be worth paying the extra money before you travel. If you see a cheap holiday online, ask yourself what is included and compare the price with a package holiday to the same destination.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

8. Think longhaul

Sometimes longhaul holidays can be better value than short haul, particularly in the summer months when families are looking for short flights. A week in a luxury hotel in Thailand for instance might cost less than a similar hotel in Spain. And when you factor in the low cost of living, you may find overall there will be a significant saving. Tropical Sky have deals to Asia and the Caribbean from €999. With the introduction of direct flights to Jamaica and Mexico this year, there is incredible value for package deals with prices from €1199 for two weeks staying in a luxury hotel on an all inclusive basis.

top tips for finding a last minute deal to the sun

 

9. Use a Travel Agent

Travel agents are constantly checking travel deals. That is what they do, day in day out. Chances are they will know instantly what the best value is for a particular time of year. Call your local travel agent or check out the top deals by travel agents on the ITAA’s ( Irish Travel Agents Association) website. They will save you time and money searching various websites.

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

10. Read Reviews

And finally remember a deal is not a deal if you have a terrible holiday! If you are not booking with a travel agent, make sure you check hotel reviews on tripadvisor and check transfer times etc. If travelling further afield make sure your cheap flight to Thailand doesn’t take you three days to get there!

Top tips to find a last minute deal to the sun

 

I hope you found this post helpful and you find a last minute deal to the sun. Where ever you go – enjoy!

Sarah

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Zanzibar, 14th June, 1 week, Flights & 4* Hotel, Half Board, €1229!

zanzibar

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Zanzibar some years ago and trust me, the word ‘paradise’ is an understatement!

 

The beaches are right out of a romantic novel. Zanzibar is the Indian Ocean, so you can expect amazing white sand and warm waters. Although Zanzibar is full of luxury hotels, most of them blend into the environment and it almost feels unspoilt. Watching the locals fishing in their dhows, while you chill out on a hammock, is typical of the lazy days you can expect there.

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

Of course if you want action, you can have that too. The capital Stone Town is worth a visit. It feels almost medieval with bustling bazaars and a Marrakech style medina. Zanzibar is an underwater paradise, it is the perfect place to try snorkelling or scuba diving. In fact my husband got his PADI dive licence there in five days!

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

I found a great deal in the luxury Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa Hotel. Situated right on the beach with rooms set in traditional round bungalows, it offers all mod cons yet retaining the island’s charming character. All rooms face the sea with large patio doors leading out to a  balcony or terrace.

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

This deal includes breakfast and evening meal each day and with three restaurants and bars, you have a great choice of dining options. Facilities at the Ocean Paradise Resort include a large pool, health and fitness centre and an abundance of water sports to choose from, including a PADI dive centre.
The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Zanzibar

Fly from Dublin to Zanzibar on the 14th of June and enjoy a seven night stay at the Ocean Paradise Resort & Spa for only €1229 per person. This hotel receives excellent reviews on tripadvisor and is also a travellers choice winner. This is a great time to visit Zanzibar as average temperatures are a balmy 25 degrees and there is little rainfall. Price includes flights, accommodation on a half board basis and all taxes. Other dates are available at a supplement.

Click here for more details:

 

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

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.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

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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Best Travel DealsIn The Media

As Seen on TV3’s Sunday Am – 8th Nov 2015

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Here are my top picks for pre Christmas breaks as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

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Christmas Market Breaks

The winter price war between Aer Lingus and Ryanair means there is still great value in Christmas market breaks. The Irish Travel Agents Association has many advertised in their offers section, with packages to cities such as Prague, Krakow, Berlin for less than €200 with flights and hotel.

The Travel Expert offers a Copenhagen Christmas market break

I particularly like the Copenhagen Christmas market, it offers something different to the eastern European markets. Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and is situated right in the heart of the city. It is filled with over 500,000 fairy lights and decorated to look like a winter wonderland. There are light shows, concerts, fantastic restaurants and over 60 market stalls. You can take a spin on a rollercoaster or sip some mulled wine, while catching a top class concert. The market itself is the destination. Its also a great place to bring children, with lots of amusement rides for all ages and you can even combine it with a visit to Santa, who is on site! Note that the Tivoli Gardens market is open until the 2nd of January (most of the others are closed by Christmas Eve), so it is a ideal place for a post Christmas break too. ClickandGo are offering a great deal to Copenhagen in December, with Aer Lingus flights and two nights in a 4* Hotel for only €219. For more details click here.

 

Christmas Shopping Breaks To New York

Another holiday that has made a huge come back this year is the Christmas shopping break in New York. Despite the exchange rate there are still plenty of bargains to be found.

A Christmas shopping weekend in New York by The Travel Expert

 Century 21 department store (an American version of TK Maxx) is open from 730am so its an ideal place to start. Inevitably with the time difference you will find you are wide awake at 6 am the day after you arrive. Its also easier to find bargains when the store is neat and tidy – don’t try to go in the evening time, its like a jumble sale! Most of us love Macys and Bloomingdales and there are plenty of bargains to be found coming up to Christmas. My personal favourite is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. They have all the top designer clothes for a fraction of the price you would pay at home. It is also a really nice place to shop, like a massive Kildare village. Of course if you don’t want to venture outside of Manhattan you can always pick up the latest designer bag or jewellery on Canal Street for $20! For more details on shopping in New York, read my blog here.  The Christmas tree at Rockefeller centre is illuminated on the 2nd of December so I chose a package on the 4th of December. The price for flights and hotel for three nights is €695 per person, click here for more details.

 

Lapland

I went on a two night trip last year with my husband and two children and loved it. It was by far the best family holiday I have had, and one that I will never forget. It is not just about meeting the ‘real’ Santa, the whole experience is magical. The excitement starts from the minute you arrive at the airport to check in, the sign reads The North Pole, the excitement never goes away. There is entertainment on the short three hour flight and when you arrive at your log cabin in the snow, its like a winter wonderland. The trip included snowmobiling, husky & reindeer rides and a visit Santa’s post office and village. I would say to anyone to beg, borrow or steal to go, the memories will last a lifetime for you, and your children. For more information on my trip, read my blog here.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers an over night trip to Lapland

Sunway have the largest number of flights with 8 operating between Dublin and Cork. The two night trips are full and there is very limited availability on the 1 night trips. Likewise Cantebury Travel’s two and three night trips are also full. The good news is that Falcon Holidays still have availability left on their day trips. Prices are from €639 for adults and €579 for children and there is availability on the 5th, 12th and 18th of December. I would recommend anyone who is planning for next year to book well in advance. Use it as a savings club perhaps, pay a small deposit and pay in monthly instalments.

Like what you see, click here to see my best travel deals:

 

Sarah
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Best Travel Deals

Best Travel Deals As Seen On TV3’s Sunday Am

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Check out my best travel deals as seen on TV3’s Sunday Am on the 20th of September 2015.

 

Christmas Market Breaks:

Christmas markets are very much back in vogue. Ryanair have added extra capacity to many cities throughout the winter with lots of low priced airfares available.  I chose Berlin as it has over 50 markets to choose from and something to appeal to everyone. Sip some mulled wine while enjoying Christmas carols at the traditional markets of Charlottenburg Castle or the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Check out one of the Christmas Rock concerts at the Spandau Old Town market or try Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run at the lively Potsdamer Platz market. For more info on Europe’s top Christmas markets read my blog here.

Fly from Dublin to Berlin on the 1st or 8th of December and spend three nights at the Mark Hotel for only €199. Click here for more details.

Christmas market in Berlin by The Travel Expert as seen on SundayAM TV3

Girls Weekend Away:

Marbella is a great choice for a girls weekend away. There is plenty of style and glamour with a beachfront location, what more could you ask for! Sip a cocktail in Sinatras and simply people watch or dance the night away in the many bars or night clubs. There are lots of great shops in the old town that wont break the bank or if you want to flash the cash, there is no better place with lots of designer shops in the port to tempt you.

Fly from Dublin on the 6th of May and stay at the 3* San Cristobal Hotel for three nights for only €219 per person. Click here for more details.

The-Travel-Expert-offer-on-Marbella as seen on TV3

Family Holiday to Florida:

Florida is THE bucket list destination for families. There are over twelve theme parks and four waterparks so it is an adventure as well as a holiday! Enjoy the magic of Disney and marvel at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Shop till you drop at the outlets or swim with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove. I have chosen the 3* Ramada Gateway Kissimmee Hotel which is close to Disney but also offers a free shuttle bus to all the other main parks.

Fly from Dublin on the 8th of June and spend two weeks here for only €2399 based on two adults and 2 children. Click here for more details.

Universal Studios, Florida by The Travel Expert as seen on TV3

 

Like what you see, click here to see more great travel deals:

 

Sarah
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Seychelles, 11th May, 1 week, Flights & Hotel €1235!

Seychelles, The Travel Expert

When you think about paradise islands, the Seychelles immediately springs to mind.

 

With year round sunshine, perfect beaches and a an abundance of coral reefs, this is the ‘lovers’ island. Renowned as a top honeymoon destination, you would be hard pushed to find anywhere as romantic as the Seychelles.

The islands have a tropical appearance, yet receive little rainfall.  You will discover small cove beaches beside what looks like jungle terrain. Try some scuba diving, interact with their giant tortoises or just snorkel at the waters edge, the choice is yours. If you fancy a bit of life, take a trip to Victoria, the capital. Enjoy some lively bars and restaurants or wander through their bustling indoor market.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about honeymoon destinationsA trip to the Seychelles is normally a bucket list trip, but it is surprisingly affordable at the moment. Fly from Dublin on the 11th of May and spend seven nights in the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Beach Resort & Casino for only €1235 per person. Situated on a stunning beach and close to Victoria, this is a great choice for a couple looking to discover these islands without the typical expensive tag. The hotel has three restaurants and three bars on site, as well as evening entertainment and a casino. If you are feeling energetic you can enjoy their tennis courts, gym and water sports centre. Their 5 star PADI dive centre is recognised as one of the best in the Seychelles.

So do something spontaneous, be romantic  and book a trip to the Seychelles – you won’t regret it!

 

Click here for more details:

 

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

Sarah

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Lake Garda, 9th July, 4* Garda Village, 2ad & 2ch €2529

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Still looking to book a Summer holiday? Lake Garda ticks all boxes, it’s got scenery, sights and plenty of style!

Lake Garda has so much to offer, from quiet lakeside towns to bustling resorts. Take water taxis across the lake and visit the popular towns of Riva and Limone, explore the nearby city of Verona or simply relax and enjoy the scenery for which Lake Garda is renowned.

 

There are so many different resorts to choose from but my personal favourite is Sirmione. It’s situated at the south of the Lake, which is handy for visiting Gardaland as well as being close to Verona.  Sirmione is situated at the tip of a long peninsula that juts out into the Lake. The old town has a fairytale like castle that sets the tone and gives a magical feel to the place. Take time to explore the narrow streets which are buzzing with local shops and Italian eateries.

The Travel Expert discusses Crystal Holidays Discovery Packages to Italy

The Garda Village apartments are situated close to Sirmione near the lakeshore. They are bungalow style apartments in a large complex with plenty of facilities. They have kids clubs, a large swimming pool and plenty of on-site entertainment. Personally I would recommend a car ( there is free parking on site) but they also have a shuttle service to take you to nearby attractions, if you don’t fancy driving. There are so many things to see and do nearby but if travelling with kids, Gardaland is a must. This is one of Europe’s leading theme parks and is a great day out for all the family. I would also recommend a  visit to the amphitheatre in Verona, but for more information on Lake Garda check out my blog by clicking here.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers a family deal to Lake Garda

Fly from Dublin to Verona on the 9th of July for only €389 per person. This includes airport taxes and 20kg checked baggage per person. The Garda Village 1 bedroom standard bungalows are €973 for seven nights. You can also choose to upgrade to the comfort bungalows (bilo) which are €1,169.  These are slightly bigger and more modern than the standard bungalows. This is excellent value for a family holiday during the summer months and one that all the family are sure to enjoy!

 

Click here to book flights: €389 per person

Click here to book accommodation: €973

 

Like what you see? Click here to see all my travel deals in one place!

 

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

 

Sarah

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