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The Best Black Friday Travel Deals – Hotel Stays from €28pp

BF 2020-2

I have searched the web to bring you the Best Black Friday travel deals, with hotel stays from €28pp, 2 nights for the price of 1, and some great Christmas gift ideas.

I publish a Black Friday travel deals post every year, and its always a great success! This year I have primarily focused on hotel stays in Ireland, but I hope to add some more overseas deals later in the week. I’ve got some ideas for pre and post Christmas hotel stays in Ireland, as well as some spring and early summer offers. Perhaps 2020 is the year to give the gift of travel –  can you think of anything better under the tree this Christmas?

Instagram

All of the hotel deals below have free cancellation, so you don’t need to worry if travel restrictions are in place, you can simply cancel your booking without any charge. I will update this post as more Black Friday deals become available, and add any overseas travel deals that I am made aware of. I also have FREE online travel experiences and some nice travel gifts, which are ideal stocking fillers 🎁.
 

 

 
Note all of these hotel deals are subject to availability, but in most cases there are multiple dates available, so if the date you click on is not available, search for alternatives. Most of the stays are based on stays from Sunday – Thursday, with supplements applying for weekends. Some of the links contain affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

Don’t forget you can claim up to €125 per person tax refund with the government Spend and Stay scheme. This is valid in selected hotels for stays up to 30th April.

Read: How to claim money back via the spend and save scheme
 

 

 

Overnight stays in Dublin:

4-Star stay in Dublin with dinner, bed & breakfast, pre or post Christmas from €71pp

Are the travel restrictions getting you down? Why not book yourself into a hotel for the night? The Hyatt Centric is one of the highest rated 4-star hotels in Dublin on Booking.com. Guests love it’s stylish decor, chic bar and restaurant, and its trendy location. For a limited time you can enjoy an overnight stay with breakfast from €47pp, or include dinner for just €71 per person!

This rate is based on 17th December arrival, but many more dates are available, pre and post Christmas. 

Search and book here

 

Read: 20 Dublin Hotel stays from €45pp
 

 

 

Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links €38pp

hotel deals in Dublin

If you want to combine a night out in Dublin with a morning stroll on the beach, Portmarnock is an ideal choice. You can also enjoy a game of golf or relax in its luxury spa. 

The Portmarnock Hotel has 30% off on selected dates with prices from €76 per room from January – April. Supplements apply for Friday / Saturday night stays.

Book 31st January

 

Book 28th February

 

Book 28th March
 

 

 

Hotel breaks over Christmas & New Year:

New Year’s Eve in Mayo, 2-night stay from €99pp!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


I have had many requests from people who want to get away for New Year’s eve. I have updated this post with lots of great deals, but this one for €99 is hard to beat. The popular Twin Trees Hotel in Ballina is located close to Mayo’s top attractions including Down Patrick Head.

The seaside town of Enniscrone is only a fifteen minute drive away, as is the Wild Atlantic Way. It also happens to have a leisure centre on site, if you fancy a swim. 

View offer here

 

Read: 20 Irish hotel deals for New Year’s eve

 

 

Family stay in Clare, The Inn at Dromoland, 27th December €258

family hotel deals in Ireland - The Inn at Dromoland Hotel

Situated on the famous Dromoland Estate, The Inn at Dromoland offers endless outdoor walks over 450 acres of countryside. With Bunratty Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and beaches  just a short drive away, there are plenty of options for outdoor pursuits, as well as an indoor pool with separate kids pool at the hotel. This festive family hotel deal is not available over New Year’s eve, so I have priced this stay based on the 27th of December, for two nights.

View offer here

 

Read: 10 Dublin Family Stays over Christmas Holidays

Read: 15 Family staycations over Christmas & New Year
 

 

 

Black Friday Hotel Deals for 2021:

4-star stay in Kilkenny Ormonde from €28pp

SUPing on the River Barrow, Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Ormonde is offering 30% off selected stays from January – May 2021. I have checked numerous dates and there are rooms available from €55 in January and February, €59 in March and April, and €66 in May. I have selected a few dates below, but they are likely to sell quickly, so edit the search dates to check alternatives. Prices are available from Sunday – Thursday, excluding bank holidays. 

Kilkenny Ormonde

This hotel is practically a landmark in Kilkenny City, and is located just minutes away from the Medieval Mile. Its brasserie and bar attract locals as well as visitors, and it is the only city hotel in Kilkenny that has a leisure centre and spa. 

Book 28th February

 

Book 21st March

 

Book 25th April

 

Book 16th May 
 

 

 

Get 2-Nights for the Price of 1 – Hotel stays across Ireland from €129 including breakfast!

Select Hotels of Ireland, a group of 29 independent Irish hotels have given me an exclusive 2 nights for the price of 1 voucher that can be used in ANY of their 29 hotels. Prices start at €129 for midweek stays, with a supplement of €40 applying for weekends. This is valid for stays from the 5th of January until the 30th of April, excluding bank holidays, Easter etc.

There are so many great hotels to choose from including the Celtic Ross Hotel, Clifden Station House, Kenmare Bay and Breaffy House Hotel, where I stayed during the summer. There are small supplements on selected hotels, including Actons Hotel Kinsale and the Dingle Skellig Hotel. Prices are total cost for a two-night stay with breakfast, for two people!

Use my exclusive PROMO CODE tex2for1 to redeem this offer. See full list of hotel prices here.

Book here 
 

 

 

Oranmore Lodge Hotel Galway, €28pp

black friday travel deals in ireland

The 4-star Oranmore Lodge Hotel is located close to Galway Bay, and a 10-minute drive to the city centre. It boasts a leisure centre with swimming pool, a counter-current swimming machine, gym and health centre.
 
The hotel is offering 30% off on selected dates from January – May 2021. I have checked numerous dates and there are rooms available from €55 in January and February, €59 in March and April, and €66 in May and June. I have selected a few dates below, but they are likely to sell quickly, so edit the search dates to check alternatives. Prices are available from Sunday – Thursday, excluding bank holidays. Add on breakfast for €6.50 per person.

Book 28th February

 

Book 21st March

 

Book 16th May

 

Book 13th June 
 

 

 

Ferrycarrig Hotel, Wexford, B&B, €45pp

black friday travel deals in Ireland

The highly rated Ferrycarrig Hotel offers stylish and spacious accommodation overlooking the river Slaney. It is renowned for its great food, olympic-sized pool and active health club and spa. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor, this is great value for a spa hotel break.
 

 

 
Price will show at €80 per room per night in January and February and €90 in March, April and May. Note the rate with breakfast is only €10 more. If the dates below don’t suit, simply edit the search to suit your requirements. Supplements will apply for Friday / Saturday night stays. 

Book 28th February

 

Book 16th May 
 

 

 

Connemara Coast, Galway,  B&B, €45pp

black friday deals in galway

Offering spectacular views over the Atlantic, yet only 10 minutes drive from Galway City, the Connemara Coast Hotel offers the best of both worlds. The Leisure club boasts a 19 metre swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, gym and treatment rooms.
 
Price of €89 per room includes breakfast and is based on stays in January and February. Price increases to €99 for March and April, €109 in May, €119 in June, and €129 in July. Supplement applies for Friday / Saturday night stays.

Book 28th February

 

Book 16th May

 

Book 11th July

 

Read: 20 Mother & Daughter spa breaks in Ireland
 

 

 

West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, B&B €35pp 

mizen head, cork

I love West Cork, I have visited many times – its one of my favourite places in Ireland. The West Cork Hotel is ideally located in Skibbereen, with the Wild Atlantic Way on its doorstep. This super deal of €69 per room includes breakfast, and is valid from the 2nd of December until 31st March – December 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 31st, February 12th, 13th, March 20th, 26th are excluded.

View offer here
 

 

 

Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy B&B: €37pp 

black friday hotel deals in Ireland

The 4-star Riverside Park Hotel and Leisure Club in Wexford is a firm favourite with Irish guests. There is a leisure club and a choice of dining options on site, including the popular Alamo Steakhouse. Its close proximity to Curacloe Beach, and Wexford’s top attractions make it an ideal choice for a staycation.

The hotel is running a super Black Friday offer with 20% selected dates until May 2021.

See more here
 

 

 

Luxury hotel Stays:

5-star Mount Juliet Estate, B&B €65pp

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Mount Juliet Estate consists of two residences, the original Georgian Manor House and the chic Hunter’s Yard. This super deal is based on staying in Hunter’s Yard and includes breakfast. Why not treat yourself to a meal in the Michelin-starred Lady Helen restaurant, and make it a stay to remember. I stayed in Mount Juliet recently and loved it, you can read all about my stay here:

Read: My review of Mount Juliet Estate
 

 

 
This deal is valid on selected dates from January – May. I have selected a few dates below but if the dates don’t suit, simply edit the search to suit your requirements. Note the lowest rate is €104, but this a non-refundable room, price of  €130 has free cancellation. Supplements apply for Friday / Saturday nights. 

Book 28th February

 

Book 18th April

 

Book 23rd May 
 

 

 

5-star Intercontinental Hotel, Dinner B&B in Junior Suite: €145pp

dublin hotel deals

The luxurious InterContinental Dublin has a fab five-star offer which includes an overnight stay in a Junior Suite, a three-course dinner in Seasons Restaurant, a full Irish breakfast, and a late check-out until 2pm. You will also enjoy complimentary access to the Wellness Area with the 14 metre indoor heated pool and Relaxation Area.
 

 

 
This deal is available to book from Wednesday 25th November until 2nd December and is based on for midweek stays in December 2020 or stays 7 days a week between January and March 2021 – subject to availability. 

View offer here
 

 

 

5-star Lough Erne Resort, Fermanagh, B&B: £99

lough erne resort

Lough Erne is offering savings of up to 50% for Black Friday! Enjoy an overnight stay with breakfast and complimentary use of the infinity pool, jacuzzi, sauna and Thai Spa for just £99 midweek or £139 weekend. Lough Erne is also offering up to 40% discounts on spa treatments and golf.

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

View offer here
 

 

 

Airbnb FREE online experience:

Airbnb online experiences

Airbnb is giving a FREE gift of $25 off an online experience hosted on the 1st of December, to every account holder! You can get $25 off ANY online experience including festive experiences, cookery lessons, cocktails making classes, or social impact experiences, like shark diving or an animal sanctuary visit – where 100% of the proceeds go to a non-profit organisation. Some Airbnb experiences are less than $25, so you can get the experience absolutely FREE!
 
Use code HOLIDAYS2020 at the check out. Only one code can be used per account, and it is valid on experiences taking place on 1st December 2020 only. 

See more here
 

 

 

Shopping & travel gifts:

Collect TRIPLE Avios when you shop online

When you are shopping online this week make sure you shop via the AerClub eStore. You will collect Avios as well as discounts in many online stores. Apple, Marks & Spencer, ASOS, Currys, Feelunique and lots more are offering triple Avios, and many more stores are offering double Avios.

shop via the aerclub estore

You can collect 1200 Avios when you spend €100 in  Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Life Style Sports right now – this a great way to boost your Avios balance.

See more here
 

 

 

The Perfect Christmas Gift Box –  Hotel Stay & 3 Irish handmade products: €199

christmas gift box from Select Hotels of Ireland

This fabulous Christmas Gift Box includes a one-night stay for two people including breakfast, at any of the 29 Select Hotels of Ireland, as well as three handmade Irish products.

This gift is beautifully presented in a presentation Christmas gift box that can be simply placed under the tree. It can be delivered anywhere on the Island of Ireland and delivery is included in the cost. Not only are you supporting small businesses, but also 29 Irish hotels too.

Read: Christmas gift box from Select Hotels of Ireland

Buy here
 

 

 

Travel gifts make nice stocking fillers!

I’ve got some great Christmas gift ideas for people who like travelling as much as I do! From travel bags to travel themed jewellery and prints, Ive got plenty of ideas in this post.

unique travel gifts

 

See more here
 

 

 

Overseas Holidays:

family fun on royal caribbean cruises

TUI is offering up to €250 off holidays departing from 1st March – 31st October 2021, and free amendments up to 21 days before departure.  Use the following codes at the check out:

Use code BLK100 and save €100 when you spend €1,000
Use code BLK175 and save €175 when you spend €2,500
Use code BLK250 and save €250 when you spend €3,500
 
View offer here

 

Sunway has a host of Black Friday offers bookable via their website from 25th November. 

10% off European sun holidays when you use code BLACK10 
30% off Norwegian Cruises – call through 01.2311800
21% off selected G Adventures Tours 
€50 deposit on  Worldwide & USA holidays
 
See more here
 

 

 
Aer Lingus is offering €20 off return flights and 50% off checked bags to European destinations up to  You can also change your flights for free before the 31st of May. Travel 01 February to 28 May 2021. Book by 30 November 2020.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

View offer here

 

Attraction Tickets Direct has a wide range of offers for Black Friday including: 

Adults at Kids prices on all major Orlando theme park tickets 
14 days for the price of 7 on Disney Ultimate or Disney Combo tickets
40% off Discovery Cove Packages for 2021 and 2022
4 nights free at Walt Disney World Hotels + 14 Park Days for the price of 7 +  $250 spending money
5% off  Universal Hotel & Ticket Packages
Free Covid Cover on new bookings – Full ticket refund within 21 Days if your holiday is disrupted Covid-19. See more here.
 

 

 
Emirates Holidays is offering 45% off a five-star stay in the Anantara The Palm Dubai. Price for flights and a three night stay on a half-board basis, is only €899 from 1st – 30th June 2021. This includes a complimentary upgrade to a one-bedroom apartment. Deposit of €150 secures booking. 

See more here
 

 

 
Travel Department and TD Active Holidays are offering €50pp on all new bookings of 7 nights or more made between 21st November and 30th November 2020 with the code VP-BLACK50. Their new Flexible Deposit applies to all Black Friday bookings, meaning that changes can be made without any fee, or customers can swap the deposit for a voucher that has no expiry date. This flexibility is valid right up to when the balance is due.

View Travel Department

 

View TD Active

 

Kelair Campotel is offering up to 35% off 2021 camping holidays in France, Spain and Italy, and a further 5% off for Green Friday.

See more here
 

 

 
Prices and information is correct at the time of issue but is subject to change. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity. I have taken the facilities, location and reviews from third party websites, these are subject to change so please check with individual hotels for clarification.  

Please note some of my Black Friday travel deals contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no extra cost to you. When you make a booking, you do so via a third party website  Read more in my privacy policy.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Travel Tips

What Is The EU Traffic Light System for Travel – My Step By Step Guide

airport travelling with masks

Confused by the new EU traffic light system for travel? My handy guide has all the categories, restrictions and quarantine rules.

On Sunday 8th November, the Irish Government implemented the new EU traffic light system for travel, and following a few amendments, it appears we finally have a workable system in place – well almost!

Eu traffic light system map for travel
The EU traffic light system approach provides for regions across the EU to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, (ECDC), based on the 14-day cumulative notification rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
 

 

 
The ECDC traffic light system will be updated every Thursday, and the changes applied will come into effect for travel into Ireland from the following Monday. The proposed measures for arrivals from orange, red and green regions, once implemented, will be reviewed fortnightly. It is important to note not all countries are adopting the same timelines  – see more below.

how does the new EU traffic light system for travel work

What’s new in the EU traffic-light system for travel?

The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is a significant one for Ireland, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain.
 

 

 
Arrivals from Great Britain are subject to the same traffic light system, and arrivals from other countries not listed in the ECDC report, including USA and Canada, will be treated on the same basis as arrivals from Red / Grey regions, including exemptions from advice to restrict movements.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The other significant change is in relation to testing. It is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining pre or post departure tests, which must be arranged and paid for privately. However, only PCR tests will be acceptable – not the more cost effective antigen tests. See more on this below.
 

 

Countries adopt different approaches within the EU traffic light system

mums weekend away

However, it is important to put this new EU traffic-light system into perspective. At present (19th November) Greenland is the only region that is classified as ‘Green’, while Ireland, the Canary Islands, Finland, Norway and parts of Greece are considered ‘Orange’. Currently many countries require visitors from high risk (red/grey) regions to provide proof of a negative PCR test to be shown on arrival. This must be taken within 72 hours of departure. However, Ireland has a different system in place (see below).
 

 

 
It is also vital that you check the requirements for the country you are travelling to in advance of travel. While Ireland updates its list of countries on the traffic light system every Monday, (taken from the ECDC Map published the previous Thursday), many other countries adopt different methods.

For instance, Spain will update its list every 15 days, giving tourists a window of certainty to make travel bookings, so that the countries will not change classification in two weeks. The first list published by the Spanish health authorities will be on the 23rd of November (and every second week after that) and this list will come in to effect 7 days later.
 

 

 

What does this mean for Irish people travelling to Spain and The Canary Islands?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


If you are travelling to Spain, including the Canary Islands, between the 23rd and 30th of November, you will need to produce confirmation of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival .  

If you are travelling to Spain, including the Canary Islands between the 30th November and midnight 13th December,  you are NOT required to provide a negative PCR test (as Ireland is considered an Orange region). If Ireland remains orange/amber on the 3rd December, a negative PCR will not be required for arrivals up to the 28th of December.
 

 

 
However, The Canary Islands has a separate regulation in place. ALL visitors who are staying in tourist accommodation must have an antigen test when they arrive. This test can be arranged on arrival and costs €25, the results are usually provided with 30 minutes.
 

 

 
There is also confusion over the governments current travel advice. The current public health advice is that there should be no non-essential international travel, however the Department of Foreign Affairs website states:

“Our current advice for travel to these countries (meaning those included in the ECDC map) is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’ ”
 

 

 
While the outlook for international travel still remains bleak in the short term, hopefully by adopting the new EU traffic-light system for travel, it should mean there will be more overseas travel in 2021, providing of course, that it is safe to do so.

travel in 2021 will be more accessible with EU traffic light system in place 

The new EU traffic light system for Ireland is as follows:

Regions are considered Green when:

The 14-day notification rate is lower than 25 cases per 100,000 of population and the test positivity rate is below 4%.

What restrictions apply?

None. Persons arriving from EU green regions are not required to restrict their movements.
 

 

 

Regions are considered Orange when:

The 14-day notification rate is lower than 50 cases per 100,000 of population and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher.

OR

The 14-day notification rate is between 25-150 cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rate is below 4%.

What restrictions apply?

Travellers are required to restrict their movements for 14 days, except where travel is for essential purposes as outlined here.

The request to restrict movements for 14 days can be waived if travellers have received a negative/not detected Covid-19 PCR test result during the three days before arriving in Ireland. In this case, passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession. 

It is also possible to reduce quarantine times by taking a PCR test in Ireland, five days after arrival – see more below.

 

 

 

Regions are considered Red when:

The 14-day notification rate is 50 cases per 100,000 of population or higher and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher 

OR

The 14-day notification rate is higher than 150 cases per 100,000.

What restrictions apply?

Travellers are required to restrict their movements for 14 days, except where travel is for essential purposes as outlined here. Quarantine times can be reduced by testing – see below.

 

 

 

Regions are considered Grey when:

There is insufficient information provided, or if the testing rate is lower than 300 cases per 100,000 of population.

What restrictions apply?

Travellers are required to restrict their movements for 14 days, except where travel is for essential purposes as outlined here.
 

 

 

If I take Covid-19 PCR test, can I eliminate or reduce quarantine times in Ireland?

travel updates due to coronavirus

The request to restrict movements for 14 days can be waived for passengers arriving from an Orange region, if they have received a negative/not detected PCR test result during the three days before arriving in Ireland. In this case, passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession.
 

 

 
Travellers arriving after 29th of November from a Red region can restrict their movements for five days, and then take a Covid-19 PCR test in Ireland. If they are in receipt of a negative / non detected result from this test they will no longer have to restrict their movements – this reduces the quarantine time from 14 days to 5. If the test is positive, they will have to restrict their movements for 14 days.

This provision will also be available to travellers arriving from an Orange region who may not have taken a pre-departure test.

A PCR test with certification is currently available from Randox at a cost of €99 and other suppliers throughout the country. 
 

 

 
Please note, there is currently a separate travel advisory for passengers arriving from Denmark. All such passengers, including those travelling for essential purposes are requested to self-isolate for 14 days.
 

Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

Is there anything else I should know?

eu traffic light system for travel will see more Irish people travelling in 2021

Notwithstanding the above, travellers are required to adhere to the public health advice and not travel if they are symptomatic of Covid-19, a close contact of a confirmed case, or have been advised to restrict movements by doctors. Everyone arriving in Ireland excluding essential transport workers must complete a passenger locator form and are expected to following the Government’s current public health advice.

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas

Note: The above guide is researched from reputable websites, however, travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the country and travel provider you are booking with before taking any steps to to travel abroad.

 

 

 

Sarah

FeaturedTravel Tips

Latest Travel Updates Due to Coronavirus

shutterstock_1659688534-compressor

Latest Travel Updates: Ireland adopts EU ‘traffic light’ system. Airport testing now in place. Spain requires negative PCR test to be provided on arrival.

 

I will be updating this post regularly with travel updates due to coronavirus, so bookmark it and make it your go-to post for the latest travel information. If you have queries in relation to airline refunds and vouchers,  these posts might also be of interest:

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled

 
 
Instagram
 
Ireland adopts new EU traffic light system:

Ireland has adopted the EU ‘traffic light’ system for travel, which provides for regions across the EU to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
 

 

 
The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is significant, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain. Arrivals from other countries outside Europe including USA and Canada will be treated in the same way as Red countries, and it is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining pre or post departure tests, which must be arranged and paid for privately.
 
Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
 

 

 
Airport testing now in place in Irish airports from €99

COVID-19 testing facilities have opened in Dublin Cork and Shannon airports as well as various locations around the country. Prices start at €99 for PCR tests in Dublin Airport, and €129 in Cork and Shannon. The testing facilities are fully open to the public, whether they require a test for travel, or for another reason.

Many countries now require proof of a negative PCR test for tourists arriving from high risk countries. Spain recently introduced this requirement from 23rd November. A negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival, must be shown on entry.
 

 

 
Ireland currently advises against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution.  

coronavirus

Travel Restrictions may apply to Irish people visiting selected countries in EU and around the world:

It is important to note that many countries require negative Covid PCR tests to be produced on entry, if you are arriving from a high risk country. Ireland is currently considered Amber (19th November ), but can change on a weekly basis, so it is important that you check Ireland’s status on the traffic light system, and the requirements of the country you are travelling to, before you travel. 
 

 

 
Spain will require a negative PCR test for all visitors from high risk (red/grey) regions the 23rd of November. This must be certified by health authorities within 72 hours of their arrival. A PCR test with certification is currently available from Randox at a cost of €99.

The Canary Islands have a separate regulation and require a negative antigen test to be taken on arrival for ALL visitors staying in tourist accommodation. An antigen test can be arranged locally and costs €25. However if you are travelling from a high risk region, and have a proof of a negative PCR test on arrival, this will suffice.

 

 

 
It is imperative that you check the entry requirements with the country you are due to travel with before you fly. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website:

“Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination. The list and our Travel Advice is under regular review, based on ECDC data and advice from experts, and will be updated on a regular basis.”
 

 

 
Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 
 

This website is a handy source to have, it shows you the number of Covid-19 cases in each European country, and may be useful if you wish plan overseas to a country with a lower infection rate than our own.
 

 

 

What if you don’t want to travel?

If you do you wish to travel, but your flight is operating, you are not entitled to a refund, regardless of your health situation. You should be able to change your travel dates, but if you cancel because you do not want to fly, that is seen as your own personal decision and no refund will be due.
 

 

 
Ryanair announced that cancellations up to end of July have been processed and all passengers notified. Therefore if you have not received any notification that your flight is cancelled, it is more than likely operating. They are currently NOT waiving change fees for existing bookings, so if you choose to change dates, you will have to pay the appropriate change fees. 

cancelled flights

Aer Lingus will allow you to change your dates without paying change fees for all departures up to 31st December. 
 

 

 
If the government advice is still in place against non-essential travel to the destination that you are due to travel to, then you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You will need to have had a policy taken out with travel disruption cover or government advice, before the advice came into effect.
 

 

 

Refunds and Vouchers:

Many airlines are offering vouchers instead of refunds and there has been a lot of confusion across the travel industry. The Irish government has recently backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund – note this is not applicable to airlines. These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday. According to Shane Ross, ‘the refund credit note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.’
 

 

 
 While Ryanair and Aer Lingus are ‘officially’ offering refunds for cancelled flights, they are actively trying to get passengers to accept vouchers or change their departure dates. Other travel companies are not offering refunds at all. I have full list of my most popular questions answered, and the links to apply for refunds in these posts:

How to get a refund from Ryanair

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

Face masks are mandatory with most airlines:

Like many airlines, Aer Lingus and Ryanair have confirmed that face masks are now mandatory. While social distancing is not possible on board aircrafts, there will be extra distancing measures in place in airports, and in-flight services will be reduced. 

Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19
 

 

Cruise lines & Tour Operators latest updates:

  • MSC has cancelled all sailings for UK & Ireland residents until 31st October. They will have a reduced number of ships in both the East and West Mediterranean from 15th August for Schengen residents only, (not UK or Ireland passengers).  Guests booked on a summer cruise can, up until 31st October, take advantage of the MSC Cruises’ Flexible Cruise Programme which allows guests to reschedule their cruise to a future departure date through to 31 December 2021. Guests affected by cancellations will receive a Future Cruise Credit of the value of 125%. If you are not in a position to take a Future Cruise credit, MSC Cruises will refund 100% of the balance paid on Cruise only and Fly Cruises.
  • Princess Cruises cancel all operations until the 15th December. Passengers can request a full refund or receive 125% cruise credit.
  • Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea have cancelled most sailings until 31st October. Passengers can request a full refund, a 125% cruise credit or can change existing cruise to 2021 at the same cost – see more here.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line have cancelled all sailings until 31st October. Passengers can request a full refund or receive 125% or 150% cruise credit, depending on departure date. Cruise credit is valid until December 2022.

 

 

 

US bans travel from Europe including UK & Ireland.

President Donald Trump has amended the US travel ban to include Ireland and UK effective midnight 16th March.The ban applies to anyone who has been in Europe within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. This does not apply to US citizens, however they will have to undergo health screenings on arrival.
 

 

 

Travel Insurance to exclude Covid-19 for new policies issued. 

With effect from 6pm on Monday 16th March 2020, a general exclusion for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) will apply to all new Blue Insurance travel insurance policies issued by travel agencies. This general exclusion will apply to all sections of the policy document. It is likely that all insurance companies will follow suit. Schedule Airline Failure and Third Party Supplier Insolvency will also be temporarily withdrawn. 

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

 

Book Insurance Here
 

 

 

Note: This post is being updated constantly but travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the company / airline you are booking with before taking any steps to cancel or travel abroad.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

 

Other related posts on the blog:

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy

 
Like travel tips? See more here.
 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

Travel Tips

When Can We Travel Again? 5 Things That We Need to Consider

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‘When can we travel again?’ was the top searched question on Google last week. Find out my thoughts below.

 

 

I was surprised to learn that ‘when can we travel again’ was the top searched question in Ireland last week. I should clarify, I am not surprised that people want to know when we can travel again, (God knows I do!), but I thought the question was a little vague. The answers to this question are completely different depending on where you want to travel to – be it at home or abroad, how much annual leave you have, and whether the airlines will even be flying. 

 

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There are five key questions that need to be asked before we can think about when can we travel again to a foreign country. If you can answer yes to all of these, then get planning! Otherwise you may need to hang on a little longer to find out…
 

 

 

1. Is the country you wish to travel to open for international visitors?

when can we travel again

Currently the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising against non-essential travel to most countries, except those on our Green List. Most of Europe is open to International visitors, but some require visitors to produce a negative covid test to gain entry.  Many countries including Australia, New Zealand and the US are expected to be closed to International visitors for many months.  

 

 

2. When will flights resume?

ryanair - when can we travel again

 

Many airlines have already resumed flying, albeit with reduced capacity. There are temperature checks and covid tests available in many airports, and face masks are mandatory on all airlines. Ryanair’s latest video highlights the new Covid measures than have been put in place. 
 

 

 

 

 

3. Are you prepared to self-isolate on entry and on your return?

travel updates due to coronavirus - when can we travel abroad again

Even if a country is allowing foreign visitors entry, there may be restrictions with regard to self isolation. These policies are changing all the time and may be removed in due course. Tests may also be carried out at the airport (see above) to eliminate the need for self isolation. 
 

 

 
Currently Ireland has a policy whereby anyone entering Ireland has to self isolate for 14 days if travelling from a non Green List country – this applies to both tourists and residents.  It is possible that you will need to plan annual leave for up to six weeks if you want to take a two week holiday – this includes two weeks self isolation when you arrive and when you return. If you can work from home this may not be an issue for you, but it should be something you clarify with your employer before you plan a holiday.
 

 

 

4. Are you happy to holiday with restrictions still in place?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

There is no doubt that holidays will not be the same until a vaccine is found. Most countries will have restrictions on the number of people in hotels, restaurants, bars and even beaches. Selected tourist resorts in Europe require you to pre-book your beach space in advance.

However, we have managed to get used to restrictions to a certain extent at home, so perhaps we will get used to it when travelling too. Villas and self catering holidays are already proving to be widely searched, and hotels will have much smaller numbers of guests. Personally, I will certainly be happy to holiday with restrictions in place, once it is safe to do so.
 

 

 

 

5. Are you concerned about contracting Covid-19 while you are away?

when can we travel again

This might vary depending on your age, reason for travel, and whether you can take time off work if you do happen to contract Covid-19 while abroad. Most countries when open, will have restrictions in place, possibly similar to our own. You may find the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 abroad is not much more than staying at home.
 

 

 
However, it is likely that you wont be able to stick to social distancing guidelines in airports, airplanes and even beaches. Many new insurance policies may have exclusions in place and will not cover you for Covid-19 – however Multitrip.com will cover you once the Department of Foreign Affairs says it is safe to travel to your destination. Ts&Cs will apply.
 

 

 
While the free European Heath Insurance card will be allow you to get treatment in a public hospital in Europe, it will not cover you for additional expenses such as hotel bills or rebooking alternative flights, should you need to stay in a country longer than planned. It is important to have adequate travel insurance cover in place before you travel.
 


 
It is important to note that travel restrictions and airline policies are changing daily, and that social distancing has become the new normal. Of course if a Covid-19 vaccine is found, travel may back to normal sooner than we think. In the meantime, I am hopeful that the work being done at European Commission level and throughout the world will make sure airports and airlines will be adequately prepared for when can we travel again – lets hope it is sooner rather than later.

 

Like this post? You might like:

Latest travel updates

Latest updates on refunds and vouchers

 

Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
 
Travel Tips

How to Get a Refund If Your Flight is Cancelled

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Struggling to get in touch with your airline? I’ve got five steps that show to how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled.

 

In these uncertain times, airlines like many travel companies, are struggling to stay in business. You will see many airlines encouraging you to change your travel dates by waiving change fees, or by offering travel vouchers with bonuses attached. If you can afford to take a voucher, then please do – it will keep travel companies in business. However, it is important to note that airline vouchers are NOT government protected. This post on how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled only refers to flights, and not package holidays, hotel accommodation etc. It is also important to note that Ireland’s travel agency refund credit notes will be covered by the travel agency bond, so your money IS protected as they will be government protected. 

 

Instagram

For some travel vouchers are ideal, it is money that we know we have to spend on travel in the future. For others who have lost their jobs, or are unsure when they will be able to travel again, it is understandable that they want a refund. I have asked been numerous times how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled, I’ve got all the answers here.

how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled

 

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled:

 

1. Apply via the airline refund form.

Most airlines have a travel disruption or refund section on their website. Read the terms and conditions to see if a refund is possible. It should be by law, but unfortunately not airlines are offering refunds immediately. You may find the page difficult to find so check their Frequently Asked Questions, as well as any travel disruption pages or information on vouchers – there will possibly be a link for a refund at the bottom of the page. If you can not find this link, try to contact them by email or web chat. Failing that try their social media channels.
 

 

 
It is best to have something in writing confirming how you tried to get a refund if your flight is cancelled, or if an airline has refused to offer a refund. I have added some of Ireland’s top airlines refund links below, however some airlines have taken the refund links off their website so you have no choice but to contact them.

Read: How to get a refund from Ryanair, my step by step guide.

Apply for Aer Lingus refund here

Apply for Ryanair refund here

Apply for Emirates refund here

Apply for United Airlines refund here
 

 

 

2. Keep an acknowledgement of your request.

When you have applied for a refund you should receive an email to say that your request has been received. If not, take a screen shot of your application showing the time and date that you applied. If neither of these are possible, contact your airline via email, chat or social media to confirm that your refund application has been received.

how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

3. Follow up with your airline if your refund has not been received within six weeks. 

If a flight is cancelled, airlines are obliged to refund you within seven days. However, in these unprecedented times it is understandable that refunds are taking a lot longer to process. I would expect refunds to take up to three months from the original application, but I suggest following up your request six weeks after your initial application to check on the status of your refund.
 

 

 

4. Make a complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation 

Understandably, airlines are trying to offer vouchers instead of refunds, however, they are still obliged by law to offer a refund. The regulation EU 261 still applies. The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the National Enforcement Body for EU 261, which sets out the rights of Air Passengers in the event that their flight is cancelled or delayed, or if they are denied boarding or downgraded. If your airline is not responding to you, or you are unhappy with the length of time that the refund is taking, you can make an official complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation and they will take up for case for you.
 how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
It is important to note that they can only carry out investigations in relation to flights departing from Irish Airports and flights arriving into Ireland from outside the EU where the flight is operated by an EU airline. For details on making complaints relating to departures from other EU countries, click here.

Myself and fellow travel journalist Ed Finn interviewed the Air Passenger Rights Manager, Sarah Fischer from the Commission of Aviation Regulation. Sarah explained to us in great detail how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled. Listen to the full podcast here:
 

 


 

 

 

5. Claim from your travel insurance

If for some reason you are still unable to secure a refund if your flight is cancelled, check to see if your travel insurance will cover you. Travel insurance companies insist that you try all other methods of securing a refund before you make a claim.  If you can prove that you have tried to secure a refund and it is not forthcoming, you many be able to make a travel insurance claim. 
 

 

  

Like this post? You might like:

How to get a refund from Ryanair, my step by step guide.

Latest updates on refunds and vouchers

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
Travel Tips

How To Collect Avios at Home – Top Tips To Boost Your Avios Balance

online shopping

Shopping online these days? Fancy some new loungewear or toys for the kids? Collect Avios at home now, and pay for flights with Avios later in the year.

 

I love online shopping, no hassle with parking, no crowds and no queues! However, with more and more retail stores closing, shopping online is no longer a lifestyle choice, it is a necessity. So why not take the opportunity to collect Avios at home when you shop online?

We all want something to look forward to, and having a nice pot of Avios to spend when we are back travelling again sounds good to me! Avios don’t expire as long as you collect or spend at least one Avios point every 36 months. I recently paid for flights to Spain in July and it was so easy!

See how to pay for flights with Avios here.

 

pay for aer lingus flights with avios
 

 

 
For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, it is the travel reward currency of Aer Lingus’ AerClub and other international airlines. As an AerClub member, you can collect Avios in a wide range of retail, travel and leisure partners. You can then use these Avios to pay for Aer Lingus flights and other travel related services.

Read my beginners guide to AerClub and find out why you should join.

If you still haven’t joined AerClub, now is the time to do it. There are so many ways to collect Avios, but in this post I am going to show you my top three ways to collect Avios at home.  

beginners guide to aerclub
 

 

 

1. Collect Avios at home in over 100 online stores via the AerClub estore:

 

I have been collecting Avios via the AerClub eStore for many years now. I find it is the easiest way to boost my Avios balance. You can collect up to 12 Avios for every €1 spent, and there are over 100 online stores to choose from. However, if you haven’t used the AerClub eStore yet, there has never been a better time to start… AerClub members who haven’t shopped online via the eStore before will get 20% Bonus Avios on their first transaction! 

 

High Street Fashion & Sports Stores

Fancy some new loungewear or sports gear? Get the latest looks from the biggest online fashion stores such as River Island, ASOS, Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo.com and Nike – and collect Avios at the same time.

collect avios at home when you shop loungewear

Shop here

 

TV & Tech:

Spare time on your hands? Now is the time to gather all those photos off your phone and turn them into a photo album. Photo companies, Snapfish and Optimal Print are also AerClub partners.

Fancy a new phone or tablet? Want to connect with your loved ones via Zoom? Perhaps now is time to invest in technology for your parents. You can collect Avios with Currys PC World, Apple and iTunes via the AerClub eStore. TV has never been so popular – you can also collect Avios with SKY and NOW TV.

collect avios from home when you purchase electronics

Shop here

 

Toy & Book Stores: 

The latest blockbusters, toys, games, or stationary, are all available at Eason. The Lego store, which has the largest collection of Lego online, is also an AerClub partner –  just what you need to keep the kids entertained over the next few months.

collect avios at home via the aerclub estore

Shop here

 

Department Stores: 

With Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Debenhams retails stores now closed, you have no option but to shop online. So why not collect Avios at the same time? Marks and Spencer is also available via the AerClub eStore. With a wide range of clothes for adults and children, as well as some great sleepwear and home comforts, there is always something to buy in M&S.

collect avios at home at marks and spencer

Shop here
 

 

 

2. Collect Avios at home when you shop online at SuperValu

Did you know that you can collect Avios by shopping in SuperValu, both online or in store? Many of you may know that SuperValu have their own reward currency called Real Rewards, but did you know that one Real Rewards point equals one Avios? 

In fact right now they are worth even more – Avios have just launched a bonus offer with SuperValu! If you convert your Money Back Vouchers or Real Rewards into Avios before the 4th of May, you will receive an extra 50% bonus, so if you convert 1000 Real Rewards points, you will receive 1500 Avios.

how to convert supervalu real rewards to avios

It is so easy to convert SuperValu Real Rewards points to Avios. You can convert them on the SuperValu Real Rewards app or on the SuperValu website in minutes.  

Read: How to convert SuperValu Real Rewards and Money Back Vouchers to Avios

See more here
 

 

 

3. Get up to 18,000 Avios by subscribing to The Economist for 1 year

Want to keep up to date with current affairs around the world? The Economist weekly newspaper focuses on world news, international business, and politics. Right now you can get up to 18,000 Avios for a one year subscription. AerClub members can choose from a print or digital subscription and earn 15,000 Avios, or subscribe to both print and digital and collect 18,000 Avios. Offer ends 31 May 2020.

collect avios at home

See more here

 

 

 

This post on how to collect Avios at home, was sponsored by Avios, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Like this post? You might like:

10 Ways To Collect Avios

5 Ways To Spend Avios 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert 
 

 

 

 
Travel Tips

Coronavirus: What Travel Insurance Covers – Your Questions Answered

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I have all your travel insurance questions answered below, as well as some top tips to make sure you are adequately covered for future travel plans.

 

 

Before you think of booking or cancelling a holiday due to coronavirus, you should check the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs website. They ultimately decide against non-essential travel to a particular region (FCO website in Northern Ireland and UK ). All airlines, travel agencies and travel insurance companies use the advice of the DFA before making any decisions about whether to cancel or alter flights, or allow refunds to be authorised. If the DFA advise against travel to a specific country or region, flights should be cancelled. 

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I also recommend downloading the Travelwise app. You can set alerts for the destination you are travelling to, and you will receive notifications if there are any status updates.

 

Read: Latest travel updates due to coronavirus 

 

 
I have received numerous emails and messages from travellers asking what travel insurance covers in relation to coronavirus. I decided to ask Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director of Blue Insurance and Multitrip.com to answer your questions. Of course, all insurance policies are different and these answers will not apply to every individual case, but hopefully most of your questions are answered below.
 

 

 
Note: This post is published on 11th of March 2020. Answers are correct as of today, but cover can change at any time and it is important to check your own individual policy to confirm cover.

what does travel insurance cover with coronavirus
 

 

 

If the Department of Foreign Affairs announces advises against non-essential travel to a particular country or destination, will my travel insurance cover me for cancellation?

If you have Government Travel Advice on your policy – standard with Blue Insurance policy booked via a travel agency and blueinsurance.ie, yes you will be covered for cancellation. Note this cover only comes into effect 14 days prior to departure. Premier Cover has a limit of €500 per person and Premier Plus has €750 per person. Note: new bookings will NOT be covered against Covid-19 to a country deemed as unsafe to travel to.
 

 

 
If you have Travel Disruption added to your policy this will increase to €1000 per person. Insured persons who have premier plus cover with Travel Agents selling Blue Insurance, will have Travel Disruption included automatically. Travel Disruption is also available at Multitrip.com

Read: Why you should add travel disruption cover added to your travel insurance policy
 

 

 
What happens if my holiday cost €2000 per person – will I get all my money back?

No. The level of cancellation cover varies from €500 – €1000 per person, depending on the type of policy you have.
 

 

 

If I am due to travel to Spain in a few months time, can I cancel now and get a refund?

No. You must wait until 14 days before departure to see if the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisory is still in place. However, many airlines and cruise lines are waiving change fees, so it may be possible to postpone your trip to a later time. Some hotels have small cancellation fees, so you may find all is not lost, should you decide to cancel.
 

 

 

If I have booked to go to a sporting event or concert that has been cancelled, will I be reimbursed for my concert tickets?

If you have tickets booked to a sporting event which is cancelled, but there is no advisory against non-essential travel in place, then you would not be covered for cancellation of your holiday. Example: The Ireland-France rugby match is cancelled, but flights are still operating to Paris, so no refund of flights, hotels etc, would be given. 

travel insurance coronavirus
 

 

 

If I have booked flights and a non-refundable hotel, and the airline changes or cancels my flights, will my travel insurance cover me for the hotel cost? 

This will only be covered if you have Travel Disruption cover added to your policy and the Department of Foreign Affairs advise against ‘all but essential travel’ to your destination.
 

 

 

Is it too late to take out travel insurance now?

No. Travel insurance can be taken out at any time, however a 7 day moratorium will be in place. If you are due to travel on holidays during the summer months and you book insurance now, it will come into effect in seven days time. 

Book Insurance Here
 

 

 

If I contract Covid-19 while I am away, am I covered for medical expenses and repatriation?

Yes. However, if you are travelling to a country where there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel, you would not be covered. 

coronavirus and travel insurance
 

 

 

If I make a claim, how long will it take me to get my money back?

At the moment claims are averaging a three to four week turnaround. It is important to note that you need to apply for refunds from your travel agent, airline or hotel before submitting a travel insurance claim. Claims will only be dealt with once all other avenues have been tried.
 

Book Insurance Here
 

Listen to the podcast here:

 


 

 

 
Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Like travel tips? See more here.
 

Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

 
EuropeSki HolidaysTravel Tips

Top 10 Tips For Family Ski Holidays

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Bringing the kids skiing for the first time? Check out my top 10 tips for family ski holidays and get off to a flying start!

 


I’m just back from our first family ski holiday in Austria, and to say I learned a lot is an understatement. I had skied five times previously, but it was a completely different experience with kids! We had a wonderful time and I picked up lots of tips that I thought I would share with you. I hope they help you plan family ski holidays of your own.

 

1. Bring the kids to a dry slope before you travel.

I recall what it was like wearing ski boots for the first time – it’s not pleasant, and does take some time to get used to. By taking lessons (even one) on a dry slope before you ski, it cuts out on any teething problems that may arise in resort. The first time kids try on ski boots they usually assume their boots are too tight or uncomfortable, and may wish to try to change them. This isn’t easy when you have started a lesson on the mountain. Let them get a feel for boots and skis before you fork out €200 a day on ski lessons in resort, only to miss half of it!
 

 

 
I also recommend that adults take lessons on the dry slope too, if they are new to skiing. If you arrive in resort and you are not a complete beginner, you may progress quicker if you have experience on a dry slop, as you will likely but placed in whats known as a ‘beginners two’ group. This can make a huge difference to how much you learn over a week’s holiday. 

dry slope skiing
 

 

 

2. Book a morning flight and get your ski boots / sticks organised the day you arrive.

Most ski resorts have changeover days at the weekend – this means that everyone is trying to get their ski boots and sticks on the same morning. If you have the opportunity to book a morning flight, and are not skiing until the following day, go to the ski rental shop when you arrive and get fitted for your skis and boots. This will cut out the queues in the morning and the inevitable stressful start to your holiday, which you don’t need. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 


 

3. Choose a ski resort suitable for family ski holidays

Not only do ski resorts vary considerably, but so do transfer times. Resorts along the Ski Welt in Austria: Söll, Westendorf etc. are just ninety minutes from Munich or Salzburg airports. Some resorts in France and Andorra can have a three hour transfer. This is not ideal with kids and can lead to ridiculously early starts on your return journey.
 

 

 
It is also important to choose a resort that is good for beginners, with plenty of blue runs. If money is no object then opt for a Club Med Ski resort. The facilities are second to none, with equipment and all meals included in the cost. There is also the possibility that your kids many not like skiing. Hopefully this will not arise, but some resorts have indoor water parks, toboggan runs or are located close to big cities, with lots of day trip opportunities.

family skiing holiday - tabogganing

Read: Skiing in Söll – All you need to know and why you should go.

Read: My love affair with Club Med Val d’Isere
 

 

 

4. Hire a locker beside the lifts

If your hotel is located away from the lifts (most tend to be), don’t panic. Hiring lockers at the ski lift is a game changer, in fact I would go so far as to say, make sure the resort you are going to has lockers before you book it. The alternative is you carrying your children’s skis and boots everyday, or attempting to navigate the ski bus with tons of equipment – believe me it is a nightmare.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

5. Bring the right clothes

As well as the appropriate ski jacket and salopettes, it is important to bring plenty of layers. Skiing is a tough sport and you will probably be hot on the mountain, even if it is -10 degrees. Light layers are better than thick jumpers as you can take them off as required. You will also be stopping for lunch during the day, and possibly enjoying some après-ski in the bar after skiing, so you want to be able to be comfortable in what you are wearing.
 

 

 
People rarely dress-up in ski resorts, in fact you will often see people dining out at night time in their ski gear, as they haven’t bothered to get changed. I would suggest bringing plenty of light long sleeve tops, rather than heavy jumpers. Ski socks and good gloves are a must, and under armour can be useful if temperatures are particularly cold.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

6. Go half-board in a hotel, rather than self catering.

I never choose half-board on holidays as we always enjoy dining out. We really enjoyed dining out in Söll recently as the restaurants are particularly good. However, I think a good hotel on a half-board basis is probably a better option for family ski holidays.
 

 

 
The après ski in the afternoons started at 4pm and typically we enjoyed this for a couple of hours before the kids (and adults) started to fade after a long day’s skiing. Arriving back at our apartment at 7pm and having to get ready to go out again and look for a restaurant wasn’t ideal. I think it would be easier on families to pop downstairs, enjoy dinner in their hotel and have an early night, so they are fresh for a full day’s skiing the following day.

family ski holiday in soll
 

 

 

7. Book ski lessons for everyone.

Regardless of your skiing ability, everyone should book skiing lessons. Every mountain is different and it is impossible to know the best runs and lifts to take without having a ski instructor with you. If your children are beginners I would recommend putting them into the ski school / ski kindergarten. They will be skiing with kids their own age and ability. You can meet them for lunch during the day, and depending on their ability, go for a short ski with them when their lesson ends.
 

 

 
If you are all of similar ability, private lessons are a great option. They are expensive for couples, but if you are travelling with a group or a large family, they can work out at a similar cost to group lessons. You can also be much more flexible and opt for four or five days, half days etc. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

8. Leave the last day free to ski together.

Regardless of which lessons you choose, try to leave the last day free so you can all ski together. The kids learned so much in the ski school in just three days, and we were able to use the chair lifts and ski down the mountain together – it was a great experience. Depending on your budget, you can also book a one-day private lesson for the whole family, so the instructor can bring you on the slopes he feels are the most suitable for your ability. 

family skiing holiday
 

 

 

9. Taste the local food.

Local food in ski resorts tends to be good hearty grub! Don’t be put off by the names or how the food looks, it is usually very tasty. The local goulash in Austria is delicious, as is Gröstl, (a bacon, onion and potato fry-up). Kids menus are not always available so if you opt for a Wiener schnitzel or a Currywurst, instead of a burger or a pizza, you might save yourself a lot of money by the end of the week. Believe me your kids will love Wiener schnitzels! 

family ski holiday - dining
 

 

 

10. Make sure you have ski travel insurance

Most people tend to take out annual travel insurance, however, make sure you are adequately covered for winter sports. This is in addition to the standard policy, with a nominal fee. With a higher than normal risk of injuries and adverse weather conditions, it is vital you have the correct travel insurance for family ski holidays.


 
Read: 5 Reasons why you should have ski insurance here.
 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Travel Tips

15 Travel Apps That Make Travelling Easy

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Travel planning, tips to help you on your journey, and how to navigate strange cities safely – check out how to use travel apps to make travelling easy.

 

Did you know you can point the camera on your phone at a building and it will tell you what its called, its purpose and even opening hours? This is Google Lens, something I recently discovered, and will now never leave home without! I also love the new features on Google Translate, where you can just speak into your phone and it will translate it into your language of choice. I’ve also got travel apps to help with travel planning: from hotel bookings to trip organisers and how to help save money on local attractions.
 

 

 
I have travel apps to help you stay out of trouble too: from getting safe taxis to avoiding banking charges, helping with currency conversions and storing important documents. I’ve even got an app to help with jet lag, and how to keep you entertained when travelling long distance. All of these travel apps are very highly rated on the Google Play Store and App Store, and most of these I use myself when travelling. I hope by using these travel apps, it will make travelling easy for you too. 

travel apps
 

 

 

1. Google Lens

Google Lens is your ultimate travel companion and one of my favourite travel apps. As much as I think tour guides are invaluable in certain cities, sometimes you just want to go it alone. Perhaps you are returning to a city and don’t feel you want a guide, or perhaps you are just an independent traveller. If so, you will love Google Lens. Google Lens searches the web based on what you see. Did you ever walk past a particular building and wonder what it is used for, or see exotic flowers and wonder what they are called? Once you have downloaded the Google Lens app, simply open it and point the camera on your phone to the building, flowers, or even an item of clothing. Google Lens will search the web and tell you the name and lots more information about the object you are searching for. If it happens to be for sale, it will even tell you where to buy it!

google lens travel apps
 

See more here

 

 

 

 

2. Revolut

The number of people using Revolut is growing at a phenomenal level – over 8 million people are using it now. You can open a virtual bank account in minutes from your phone – they don’t even have branches. You can spend money in over 150 countries without any fees (a fee of .5% for anything above 6k per month) and withdraw €200 a month in foreign ATMs for free – anything over €200 incurs a €2 fee. You can freeze your card if you have misplaced it, and unfreeze it when you find it again. You don’t have to cancel it completely, something I wish other banks would introduce. 
 

 

 
I love the exchange functions. If you are travelling to the US for instance, you can keep an eye on the exchange rate on your phone, and exchange money instantly if you see a favourable rate – you can even set up alerts for when your currency hits a certain value. I also love that you can set your account to round up card payments to the nearest whole number. For instance if you buy a coffee every day for €2.60, you can set Revolut to round this up to €3, and it will stash the 40 cent into a separate vault. You can have multiple vaults for holiday funds, special occasions etc.


 

Sign up here
 

 

 

3. Hotel Tonight

Over 285,000 people have given the Hotel Tonight app a 4.9 out of 5 rating – so you really don’t need to look elsewhere if you are searching for a last minute hotel. It will allow you to book hotels up to seven days in advance. Because it specialises in last minute bookings, it tends to get great prices direct from hotels with empty rooms available. This is a great app to use if you are travelling to multiple countries or cities on one trip, and happen to be booking hotels as you go. It’s categories are pretty cool too, you can search basic, hip, luxe, charming and high-roller hotels.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Download from App Store

 

Download from Google Play Store
 

 

 

4. Google Translate:

I love Google Translate, it can translate over 100 different languages within seconds. You don’t even have to type the words anymore! You can translate text by using the camera on your phone, or have a conversation with a local by speaking into your phone. If a restaurant doesn’t have an English menu, its not a problem, simply point the camera on your phone at the menu and Google Translate will translate it for you. Google Translate works offline too, just download the language packs from the country you are travelling to before you go. Google Translate is without a doubt one of the world’s best travel apps.

google translate travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

5. Timeshifter – The Jet Lag App

I am often asked about cures for jet lag and I usually reply with the same answers: set your watch to the destination time the minute you take off, and drink plenty of water. However, I now have another tip to add to my list! I recently discovered the Timeshifter travel app. Timeshifter was developed by world-renowned scientists and appears to have excellent results in reducing jet lag. You can create your own personalised plan, depending on your age, regular sleep patterns, length of flight etc. The developers are so convinced that it will work that they offer your first plan free – so why not give it a try?

jet lag app

 

See more here
 

 

 

6. Google maps

Officially the world’s top rated travel app, I like most people, have used Google Maps for years. However it wasn’t until recently I realised how much information is actually available to us. Did you know that there is an ‘Explore’ tab at the bottom of the map, that tells you about unknown places favoured by locals? When you are searching for an individual restaurant or museum, you can also check the google reviews, see photos from fellow travellers, opening times, and even prices.
 

 

 
I used to find it awkward using Google Maps when walking. I found myself turning my phone upside down, trying to figure out the correct way to go. Not anymore! With Google Maps new ‘Live View’ function, augmented reality (AR) will guide you in the right direction with arrows and directions. I used this recently in Palma and it was terrific.

google maps live view travel apps

Don’t make the common mistake and forget to download a map in advance of travel. Maps can be used offline, so you don’t need to use your data roaming. I even find this useful when travelling in Ireland, as there are places outside the big cities where the network coverage is poor, so having an offline map can be a Godsend. 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

7. XE Currency converter

We have gotten so used to travelling within the Eurozone, and most of us are aware of the approximate rate of the US Dollar, so we rarely think about currencies anymore. But what happens if you are visiting China or Japan, or maybe European countries that are not in the Eurozone, like Switzerland or Iceland? Trying to figure out the currency conversion can be quiet frustrating, especially if you are in a hurry to pay for something.
 

 

 
A classic mistake when travelling in a strange country is getting ripped off by the airport taxi driver, or giving an outlandish tip to the luggage porter, mainly because you are unsure of how much you are actually handing over. This has happened to tourists all over the world, including myself. Inevitably you are tired after travelling and are unaware of the currency exchange. It is only when you arrive at your hotel you realise that you have paid way too much.  The XE currency converter is a great app to have on your phone. You can convert currencies in seconds and use it offline too, as it saves the last updated exchange rates.

currency converter travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

8. TripIt

TripIt is the world’s highest rated travel organising app. As soon as you book a flight, hotel or car, forward the email to plans@tripit.com and it will be added to a master itinerary. You won’t have to search your emails, WhatsApp messages, calendars or anything else – they will all be stored in the one place.  

If you upgrade to TripIt Pro, it is like a personal travel agent. It will advise you when you leave for the airport, send real time alerts if flight times or gate numbers are changed, and even let you know how long security queues are!  

tripit travel app

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

9. UBER

Travelling in a strange country can be daunting. Using UBER instead of local taxis will give you a great sense of security. It is available in over 500 cities around the world – check if it is available in the city you are visiting here. Not only are all taxis tracked, but you will see your driver’s picture and car details before he arrives. You can pay with credit card, pay pal, apple pay, or cash. You will automatically be sent a receipt by email and be asked to rate your driver, which means drivers are usually on their best behaviour.

uber travel app

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

10. TripAdvisor

We are all familiar with TripAdvisor, but how many of you are familiar with the app? As well as checking reviews for restaurants, bars, hotels etc, the ‘Near Me’ function will help you find highly rated places close to you.  You can also see if any of your friends have visited a particular place and if they recommend it. TripAdvisor also offers deals on hotels, tours and attractions and you can book directly via the app.

best travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

11. Netflix 

Ok, so Netflix is a household name, but you would be surprised how many people pay the monthly subscription but don’t download movies or their favourite shows to watch online. You can download anything you see on your regular TV at home, on to your phone or tablet (make sure you do it using WiFi) and then watch them on the plane, train, or even in your hotel room. Having Netflix on your device, makes travelling long distances painless.

netflix for travelling

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

12. WhatsApp Messenger

If you don’t already have WhatsApp – download it now! Use to to make free calls, send free texts, even pictures when you are abroad. It uses your phones network connection, so once you are in a WiFi zone there will be no charges. It can also be a useful tool for group texts, both at home and abroad. 

travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

13. Audible

Audible is the highest rated books app in the App Store. Owned by Amazon, it is the the audio version of the Kindle app. I personally suffer from travel sickness if I read in a car or bus, so I would prefer to listen to an audio book than read a paper book or kindle. I also like to look out the window when I am travelling and take in the local scenery. You can do this while listening to an audio book. Audible will give you your first audio book free. After that you pay per book, or you can join their various subscription services.

audible travel apps

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store
 

 

 

14. Groupon

Groupon is a well-known shopping website, but did you know that they have deals in countries all over the world? Get deals on hotels, restaurants and activities in your chosen city – some with up to 70% off retail prices.  At the time of publication, I found shopping deals to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets from New York. The return bus journey is usually $42 but it is only $27 now on Groupon – a saving of 35%!

using travel apps to save on shopping

 

See more here
 

 

 

15. Google Drive

Store images of your passport, travel documents and photos in Google Drive, so you can access them anywhere in the world. They are backed up safely so you can’t loose them. You can also share your folders with friends, partners etc. Google accounts get 15GB of free storage across Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos, but you can opt for premium plan with larger storage space if you wish. 

passport

 

Download from Google Play Store

 

Download from App Store

 

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Note some of the links in my favourite travel apps post contain affiliate links, where I receive a small payment if a booking / purchase is made, but with no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Travel

Collect Double Avios On All Holidays With Aer Lingus Booked in October!

Aer-Lingus-A330-Render-View44B-HR-Sml-compressor

Book a 2019 or 2020 holiday or city break before October 31st, through Holidays With Aer Lingus, and receive Double Avios! I’ve picked city breaks from €198, sun holidays from €248, New York getaways from €546, and cruise holidays from €799!

 

I have teamed up with Holidays With Aer Lingus to tell you about their Double Avios promotion, which is available on all bookings made during the month of October. You can book beach holidays, city breaks, USA getaways, and cruises – and collect double Avios at the same time! Normally when you book through Holidays With Aer Lingus, you collect one Avios for every €1 you spend, but if you book by 31st October, you will receive two Avios for every €1 you spend. 

collect avios with holidays with aer lingus

Holidays With Aer Lingus has a wide selection of offers on its website and I have listed some of my favourites below. If you are looking to travel in 2020, you may also be able to avail of their super €1 deposit. This is eligible for bookings made more than 10 weeks in advance of departure, to the UK, Europe or the Canary Islands, including Aer Lingus flights. See full terms and conditions here.

   

Sun Holidays With Aer Lingus – 7 Night Deals from €248pps

Aer Lingus flies daily to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, so a sun holiday is always possible, regardless of the time of year. Holidays With Aer Lingus has some great winter sun breaks, including seven nights in the 4-star Beatriz Playa Hotel in Lanzarote on 29th November for only €471 per person sharing. This includes breakfast and evening meal each day, and return airport transfers. 

aer lingus holidays to lanzarote

View offer here

 

The Balaia Atlantico Apartments in the Algarve is another popular choice, and Holidays With Aer Lingus is offering a seven-night stay on a bed & breakfast basis, with return airport transfers included, from only €248 per person sharing, departing 24th March. 

holidays with aer lingus to the algarve

View offer here

 

European City Breaks With Aer Lingus – 3 Night breaks from €198pps

Holidays With Aer Lingus has many city break deals too. I have chosen a city break to Prague for only €198 per person sharing departing 3rd November as one of my highlights. You will be staying in the 4-star Kinsky Garden, which is ideally located just 10-minutes walk to Charles Bridge. Price includes Aer Lingus flights and a three-night stay on a bed & breakfast basis.

weekend break to prague with aer lingus

View offer here

 

If you are looking to try somewhere different for your Christmas market break this year, why not take a trip to Venice on 8th December? Price of only €199 per person sharing includes Aer Lingus flights and a three-night stay in the centrally located Pausania Hotel with breakfast.

venice city break with aer lingus

View offer here

 

USA Holidays With Aer Lingus – New York breaks from €554pps, Orlando from €599pps

Holidays With Aer Lingus offer great package deals to New York, Orlando and even Las Vegas. I have chosen a three-night stay in the centrally located New York ROW Hotel, which is only €554 per person based on two sharing, departing 27th February. An ideal Christmas gift perhaps?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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View offer here

 

Release your inner Harry Potter and visit the theme park capital of the world – Orlando. Enjoy a seven-night stay in the 4-star Holiday Inn Orlando for only €599 departing 28th January, based on two sharing.  

orlando direct flights with aer lingus

View offer here

 

Family Holidays With Aer Lingus – Disneyland Paris & New York Deals

Holidays With Aer Lingus is offering super Disneyland Paris breaks with park tickets included. I spotted this great deal, departing 2nd February. Price of €1553 includes Aer Lingus flights and a four-night stay in the Disney Santa Fe Hotel, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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So many great shots of the #fireworks in #disneylandparis 💥#disneycastle #disneymagic #familytravel #memories #priceless #fireworksdisplay @disneylandparis

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View offer here

 

Want to bring the kids to New York during the Easter Holidays? Enjoy a three-night stay in the 4-star Westin Hotel, for only €2595, based 0n two adults and two children sharing, departing 16th April. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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View offer here

 

Cruise Holidays With Aer Lingus – 7-Night Fly-cruise deals from €799pps

Did you know that Holidays With Aer Lingus sells cruise holidays too? There are cruise specialists waiting by the phone, on 01 539 7799, to recommend the right cruise for you. You can also find some great cruise deals on the Holidays With Aer Lingus website. Choose an 11-night winter Mediterranean cruise for only €799, visiting Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel. Price includes flights from Dublin, 10kg carry-on bag, return transfers, 11-night cruise, meals and entertainment.

cruise holidays with aer lingus

If you are planning a cruise for next summer, stay in a balcony stateroom on the brand new Enchanted Princess when it cruises the Med from Athens to Barcelona, visiting favourites such as Santorini and Sicily. Price of €1599 includes flights from Dublin, checked-in bag, return transfers, seven-night cruise, meals and entertainment, departing 18th July.    

See more here

 

How to collect Avios when booking through Holidays With Aer Lingus

Simply enter your AerClub membership number when you book online, or advise the Holidays With Aer Lingus travel consultant if you are booking by phone, on 01 539 7799. Avios will be credited to your AerClub account once you have travelled. Avios are issued and redeemed in accordance with AerClub Terms & Conditions, click here for more details.
 

How to spend Avios

Once you collect Avios by booking through Holidays With Aer Lingus, there are many ways to spend them. You can use them to pay for reward flights, hotels, car hire, and travel experiences. You can also use them to upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class, or part-pay for Aer Lingus flights. So even if you have only accumulated 400 Avios, you can use them to get a discount off your next Aer Lingus flight.

avios with aer lingus

How to get started

The easiest way to get started is to join AerClub, the Aer Lingus loyalty programme. It is so easy to join, simply click here. Once you join AerClub, you will enjoy the benefits of being part of a global network of partners and you can pay for flights with Avios. For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, read my first post about how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points or my beginners guide to AerClub and start your journey now.

 

 

This post on how to collect Double Avios through Holidays With Aer Lingus was sponsored by Avios, but all views, as always are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 
Travel Tips

What To Do If You Miss Your Flight

travel gadgets airport

Miss your flight? Don’t panic. Check out my top tips to get you to your destination as soon as possible, and hopefully without much additional cost.

 

It’s your worst nightmare. You spend months organising, preparing and even packing for your important break away, and in a split second your dreams are shattered. Maybe your alarm doesn’t go off, or you get stuck in a traffic jam, or maybe you miss a connecting flight through no fault of your own. Hopefully my handy tips on what to do, will help alleviate some of the stress caused when you miss your flight.  

what to do if you miss your flight
 

Contact the airline or your travel agent immediately.

If you are lucky enough to have booked with a travel agent, they should be your first port of call. Hopefully they will be able to find you an alternative flight as soon as possible. They may even have a contact in the airline and be able to change your flight without a penalty.
 

 

 
If you have booked directly with the airline, call them immediately. Try to get a number for your airlines ticket desk at the airport. The airport staff usually have more lee-way when it comes to waiving change fees than the average reservations agent at a call centre.
 

 

 
If you have managed to make it to the airport but are too late for your flight, go straight to the ticket desk and explain your circumstances in a calm, collected manner – the odd tear might help too! Appeal to their better nature, remember you have missed your flight and want them to help you. Now is not the time to rant about your airlines policy of closing the gate too early.

what to do if you miss your flight

 

Check your travel insurance policy.

Some travel insurance policies will cover you for Missed Departure. Multitrip.com’s Premier Plus travel insurance policy will cover you for up to €1000 in reasonable accommodation and travel expenses, depending on the reason you missed your flight. If, for instance, your hired car broke down or there was an accident on the motorway which caused an unexpected delay, these could be adequate reasons.
 

 

 
As a general rule of thumb,  you would need to persuade the insurance company that the reason you missed your flight was completely beyond your control – so needless to say ‘sleeping it out’ wouldn’t be covered! Adverse weather conditions and strikes are also covered if you have travel disruption cover. See my post on why you should add travel insurance disruption cover to your insurance policy here.
 
TopTip: If you are changing your travel plans and extending your return date, make sure you advise your travel insurance provider of your new travel dates.

what to do if you miss your flight
 

 

 

Don’t pay for new flights without checking alternatives.

If you are unable to persuade your airline to change your ticket free of charge, check alternative flight costs before agreeing a change fee. You may find it is cheaper to book a one-way flight with an alternative airline. Skyscanner show same day flight availability with multiple airlines.
 


 
TopTip: If you manage to re-book an alternative flight with a different airline, make sure your original return flight is not cancelled. It is very important that you advise your original airline that you will be using your return flight.
 

 

 

What to do if you miss your flight connection due to a flight delay.

The answer to this depends on how your flight was booked. If you booked two separate reservations and the first flight was delayed, resulting in a missed connection, you will need to follow all of the above rules. 
 

 

 
If, however, you have booked connecting flights under one reservation and you miss your connection, it is the airlines responsibility to book you on the next available flight without any additional cost to you. You are also entitled to accommodation and meal expenses if necessary. See my blog on what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed here. 

missed flight connection
 

 

 

Contact your hotel and airport transfer company.

Once you have a new flight booked, contact your hotel and airport transfer company to let them know of your new arrival time. If you are not going to travel, cancel your hotel as soon as possible. You may be entitled to a refund of some of your hotel cost.

 

 

Relax in the airport lounge

Now that the panic is over and you have a new flight to look forward to, book into the airport lounge while you wait for your next flight. Many airports have a general lounge that you can pay to access, such as Dublin Airport who charge €25 for up to three hours. Sit back, relax and enjoy some complimentary refreshments!

what to do if you miss your flight
 

 

 

Related articles on the blog:

Cancelled Flight? – What to do when things go wrong.

Flight cancelled with Ryanair – You may be entitled to compensation and expenses.

Top tips for booking travel insurance.

 

 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Travel Tips

How to Convert SuperValu Real Rewards Points to Avios

Supervalu Avios

Convert SuperValu Real Rewards points and Money Back Vouchers to Avios and get planning your next break away.

 

I am a regular SuperValu shopper and love that by shopping there, I can boost my Avios balance. I collect Real Rewards points when I shop in SuperValu, but I never use them to pay for my groceries. I convert my Real Rewards points to Avios instead. Did you know that one Real Rewards point equals one Avios? It is so easy to convert SuperValu Real Rewards points to Avios. You can convert them on the SuperValu Real Rewards app or on the SuperValu website in minutes. You can convert as little as 50 Real Rewards points or wait until your Money Back Vouchers arrive in the post and convert them all at the one time.

See more here

 

SuperValu have just posted out their Money Back Vouchers so the timing couldn’t be better to convert them to Avios.  You can collect 1000 Avios for every 1000 Real Rewards points or €10 Money Back Voucher that you convert. You need to convert your Money Back vouchers online and you can use the SuperValu Real Rewards app to convert Real Rewards points.

convert supervalu real rewards to avios

 

How to convert SuperValu Real Rewards and Money Back Vouchers to Avios

I have just converted my SuperValu Money Back Vouchers to Avios on the SuperValu website – this took 47 seconds! Watch my video to see how easy it is. Once you are logged in to your account, just follow follow along with the video below.  


 

How to spend Avios

So the big question is once you convert SuperValu Real Rewards points to Avios, what do you spend them on? There are many ways to spend Avios. Once you accumulate Avios, you can use these to pay for reward flights, hotels, car hire and travel experiences. You can also use them to upgrade from economy to business class or part-pay for Aer Lingus flights. So even if you have only accumulated 400 Avios, you can use these to get a discount off your next Aer Lingus flight.

convert supervalu money back vouchers to pay for aer lingus flights

For those of you who have been following me on my journey, I am delighted to say that I have accumulated 75,000 Avios now! My husband and I can now avail of business class upgrades the next time we fly to New York – I just need someone to mind my kids! Most of my Avios were collected by shopping and taking advantage of the many promotions that Avios run during the year – such as this one! For anyone who is not familiar with Avios, read my first post about how to get flights and upgrades with Avios points or my beginners guide to AerClub and start your journey now.

how to convert SuperValu real rewards points to avios

How to get started

If you are a SuperValu shopper but are new to Avios simply join AerClub, the Aer Lingus loyalty programme. It is so easy to join, simply click here. Once you join AerClub, you will enjoy the benefits of being part of a global network of partners and you can pay for flights with Avios. 


 

This post on how to convert SuperValu Real Rewards points to Avios was sponsored by Avios, but all views, as always are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
AmericaEuropeTravel TipsTraveling With Kids

15 Top Tips and Tricks for Visiting Theme Parks

roller-coaster-1592917_1280_opt

I have visited many theme parks, thankfully without enduring massive queues or spending a fortune. Check out my top tips for visiting theme parks and maybe you can too.

 

 

1. Book your tickets in advance

This may sound obvious but booking tickets in advance is one of the top tips for visiting theme parks! Tickets are ALWAYS dearer at the entrance to a theme park and you don’t have to queue! Attraction Tickets Direct have the LOWEST theme park ticket rates on the web, with free delivery and no credit card fees.😎 

Attraction Tickets Direct also offer many combination tickets that are not available to buy at the gate. You may get 2 days for the price of 1, or get discounted tickets to multiple theme parks, that are only available on their website. If you prefer to book by phone or are confused about what tickets to buy, why not call the expert staff in Attraction Tickets Direct’s Dublin office. They are open from 9am-9pm, 7 days a week, call free on 1800 936 640. All they sell is theme park tickets and hotels, so they know all the theme parks inside out!

 

 

 

2. Research, research research.

I can’t stress this enough. You WON’T be able to go on every ride, no matter how fit you are, or how small the theme park is. Check the height and or age restrictions before you go, so you can rule out rides that are not applicable for your children. Not only will this save you time, but by preparing your kids in advance you may avoid any upset, if they are too small to go on a top attraction. Mark the attractions that are ‘must see’ and go for them first. Check the times of shows or parades and decide what you want to see. Rides are usually quieter during parades, so bear that in mind if the parade is repeated and take advantage.

top tips for visiting theme parks

 

3. Parking tips:

Before you decide to drive, check the price of the parking. In some cases it can be exorbitant. It may be quicker and cheaper to take a shuttle bus to the park. If you do decide to drive, take note of where you parked. You will probably arrive at the park early, when the car park may be somewhat empty. Leaving however is a different story, so if you don’t know you where you parked your car, you could be in for a long night!

 

4. Bring supplies.

If there are water rides, bring swim suits and if you don’t want to get wet bring a poncho. A waterproof casing for your phone is also a good idea, as is a powerbank for your phone. You will probably take hundreds of pictures so you will want to re-charge it. Bring snacks, they will come in handy when you are waiting in line for a long time, and will be a lot cheaper than buying snacks in the park. A lightweight back pack is ideal as sunglasses and phones are not allowed on some of the fast rollercoasters. Most parks have lockers available, take advantage of this rather than carrying a bag around all day. If travelling during the summer time – don’t forget your sunscreen!

tips for visiting theme parks

 

5. Arrange a meeting place if you get lost.

Hopefully this won’t happen, but having a meeting place pre-arranged will alleviate some of the stress, if you manage to get separated from your friends of family. Remember there will be rides that only some of the family will go on, and on some occasions the rides finish in a completely different place to where they started from. Having a meeting place is essential.

 

6. Plan your route.

Don’t follow the herd. Most people tend to turn right when they go into a theme park. Why not go anti-clockwise or go to the rear of the park and work your way towards the entrance. Another good option is to go straight for the rides that you really want to go on. The most popular rides will have the longest queues, so go on them first when you have more energy and don’t mind queueing. This is a much better than standing in line for an hour at 5pm with exhausted children!

tips for visiting theme parks

 

7. Check out fast passes / fast track

Fast track passes vary from park to park. Disneyland Paris for instance has a great ‘free’ fast pass system. You simply go to a ride and get a time slot for later that day, then come back to a shorter queue. Other theme parks are not so good, or indeed free.

Fast pass tickets in some parks can be a Godsend if you are travelling during peak season, and if you want to go on the most popular rollercoasters. If however, you happen to be travelling off peak and/or you have small children who are unable to go on the big rides, they may be a waste of money. Fast passes in many parks are only valid on the top attractions, many of which are unsuitable for small children. Make sure you check each park for their individual offering.

 

 

8. Use the single rider lanes

There may be one or two people in your group who want to try the fast coasters. Make use of the single lanes where there is usually little or no queue. It may mean that you wont be able to sit next to your partner, but you may be seated in the row behind them, and if that means saving a half hour in the queue, it might be worth it!

tips for visiting portaventura

 

9. Use the baby swap.

The baby swap facility is not available in all theme parks, but if you see it – take advantage. They are used primarily for people who are travelling with a small child. You all queue together, one person stays with the baby in a room at the top of the queue, while the other goes on the ride. When your partner is finished the ride, you simply swap places.

 

10. Go at night time

Not only are queues way shorter at night-time, but many parks offer discounted tickets for evening visits. You may also catch a parade or fireworks display.

tips for visiting theme parks

 

11. Bring ID

This is one of the top tips for visiting theme parks in America. You have to have picture identification if you want to buy alcohol, regardless of what age you are in America. A nice cold beer after an exhilarating (or terrifying) ride might be needed, so make sure you bring ID with you.

 

12. Consider staying in one of the theme park hotels for a few nights.

Many theme parks including Universal Studios, Disney World and Port Aventura, have hotels on site. These can be handy if you are planning on spending a lot of time in these particular parks. You will usually have early access to the park before the general public, so you can go on top attractions without large queues. It can also be handy at night time for dining options, and for easy access to the park for firework displays, parades or shows.

tips for visiting universal studios

 

13. Check the shows are in English

We got caught out in Disneyland Paris when we queued for 45 minutes for the French version of Frozen! Many shows in theme parks are shown in different languages. Make sure the show you are planning your day around, is the English version. Sometimes there is a small icon on the park guide showing which language the show is in, failing that, check in with the information centre beforehand.

 

14. Pre-purchase Disney’s Fast Pass+ and Memory Maker.

Disney’s Fast Pass+ allows you to pre-book your favourite rides and attractions online before you go. This is automatically included with Disney tickets purchased through Attraction Tickets Direct. Similarly Disney’s ‘memory maker’ which normally costs $199 is free if you buy your Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. This allows you to keep ALL photographs that are taken of you in the park.

tips for visiting theme parks - disneyworld

 

15. Download the App

Many theme parks have their own free apps with tips for visiting theme parks, as well as wait times for rides, showtimes and availability in restaurants. Download the app before you go.

 

So they are my top tips for visiting theme parks. If you have any to add, just comment in the box below I would love to hear them.  This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets Direct but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Like this post? You may like:

 

The best tickets to buy for PortAventura

The best tickets to buy in Orlando

10 things to know about Universal Orlando before you book

New attractions at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens & Aquatica 

Book a Disney hotel & park tickets for 2020 and dine for free with drinks

 

Sarah

 

 

 

Travel Tips

How To Save Money On Aer Lingus Checked Baggage

Aer-Lingus-A330-Render-View44B-HR-Sml-compressor

I love a good travel-hack but this one has to be one of my favourites! Read on to see how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage.

 

When I travel to Europe I like to fly with Aer Lingus, but one thing that I don’t like, is the price of Aer Lingus checked baggage! When travelling alone I usually travel light and bring cabin baggage, but when travelling with kids, I like to check in cases and let them bring their own luggage too.

aer lingus checked baggage
 

 

 
We, like many families usually opt for two 20kg checked bags between us. In fact you will see online that Aer Lingus have an asterisk beside 20kg, it is the default size, so I can only assume it is the most commonly purchased option. If travelling mid-haul to places like Spain, Portugal etc the cost is €80 return for a 20kg checked bag, so the total is €160 for two bags. If travelling to the Canary Islands the cost is even higher, at €110 return per checked bag, therefore €220 for two bags.
 

aer lingus checked baggage to lanzarote
 

 

 
Now prepare to be amazed….
 

This is how you how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage!

 
Instead of selecting one 20kg bag per person, select 40kg checked baggage under one name. The cost changes from €160 to €140 on mid-haul routes and €220 to €170 on longer flights. That’s a saving of €50 if you are travelling to the Canary Islands, simply by using this travel-hack!

aer lingus checked baggage

You will see that it clearly shows that the 40kg you have selected is to be made up of two 20kg bags. This is exactly the same as if you selected them separately, only they are both allocated to one passenger instead of two! It is such a great travel hack but I’m bet you are wondering how you never spotted it before?
 
Book Aer Lingus flight here
 

 

5 More tips to save money on checked baggage fees:

 

Invest in a lightweight cabin-sized bag.

Try to bring hand-luggage only. Invest in the lightest case on the market! As soon as the kids are old enough, ditch the trunkies and buy them one too. I have a samsonite light-shock cabin case and I love it. It is super light but the frame is expandable so I can fit much more into this case than other cases that I have of similar size. I find if I am travelling to hot climates where jackets and boots are not needed, I manage easily to travel with only this case. I have a portable luggage scales and I bring it with me to avoid any worries that my case might be over-weight on the return. You can buy them for less than €10.

travel gadgets
 

 

 

Purchase sun-creams and toiletries in the airport once you pass through security.

One of the main reasons people purchase checked baggage is because you cannot bring liquids more than 100ml in size in your hand luggage. If you are going on a sun holiday, sun creams and extra toiletries are usually needed, but instead of purchasing these before you travel, why not pick them up in Boots once you pass through security? Simply slot them into your hand luggage before boarding and avoid the hassle at security!
 

 

 

Select different cabin-baggage on your outbound and inbound flights.

If travelling to places where you are likely to be doing a lot of shopping, select a 15kg checked bag on your outward journey and a 25kg checked bag on your return journey. Similarly if you are planning a Christmas shopping break to the USA you can select add an extra suitcase to your booking for the return journey only.

aer lingus checked baggage
 

 

 

Always book checked baggage online.

Most airlines charge much higher rates if you book baggage at the airport, so always make sure you have your baggage booked before you go. Some airlines charge more if you add on bags at a later stage, so if possible try to book baggage at the time of booking.
 

 

 

Check airlines baggage policies when booking flights.

More and more airlines are not including checked baggage in their cheapest airfares, but some still do. Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and many others have generous baggage allowances, while some low-cost carriers even charge for hand luggage! It is important to check with the airline before you book, in some cases it might be better value to flying with a premium airline.

my review of turkish airlines
 

 

 
I hope this guide, how to save money on Aer Lingus checked baggage, and I hope it will see you saving lots of money on upcoming trips! Let me know in the comments below if you do.

 

Like this post? You might like my top 10 travel hacks here.

 

See more travel tips here.

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 

CruisesTravel Tips

Cruise Connection Cover – Travel Insurance for Cruise Holidays

marella dream

Booking a cruise holiday? Make sure you have cruise connection cover, the travel insurance for cruise holidays.  

 

Cruising is one of the travel industries hottest trends, with 18 new oceangoing cruise ships launched this year alone. It seems that cruise holidays are growing at a rate of knots – no pun intended! The way travellers book cruise holidays has changed too, so it is vital that we have the right travel insurance for cruise holidays.
 

 

 
Many cruisers don’t necessarily book a ‘cruise package’, with flights and transfers included. Cruise-only prices are advertised with all cruise lines, and savvy travellers think nothing of booking a weeks cruise around the Med, and then searching for flights to coincide with it. While there is nothing wrong with doing this per se, it is important that we realise that if you miss your flight due to adverse weather, strikes, or because of a flight delay, the cruise company, well to put it bluntly, won’t really care… Unfortunately they wont ask 5000 passengers to wait until you arrive at the embarkation point.  

travel insurance for cruise holidays
 

 

 
Ireland’s leading travel insurance provider, Multitrip.com, were quick to spot the growing cruise trend and the need for specific travel insurance for cruise holidays. They are now offering cruise connection cover as an add-on to all of their travel insurance policies.
 

 

 
The beauty of having cruise connection cover is this; if you have booked a cruise holiday but happen to miss your flight to the original cruise embarkation point, Multitrip.com will cover you for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses to meet your cruise’s next embarkation point. Similarly if your cruise fails to meet its intended disembarkation, you will be covered for any reasonable travel and accommodation expenses incurred to get you home.

travel insurance for cruise holidays
 

 

 
We all know that flights can be delayed at any time, but we are also in an unfortunate age of air-strikes, airline failures and adverse weather conditions, so having the right travel insurance for cruise holidays is vital.
 
It is also important to bear in mind that if you are booking a cruise holiday with a travel agency, they may be booking the cruise and flights separately, so it is important that you ask your travel agent to add cruise connection cover to your travel insurance policy.
 

 

 
At the time of issue, the add-on fee with Multitrip.com was just €12 to a single-trip travel insurance policy or €20 for a yearly policy. A small amount that could save you a fortune in the long run…
 

 
Book Here

 

For more details visit multitrip.com or see your local travel agent.

 

Like Travel Tips? See more here.

 

Other posts that may be of interest:

 

What does travel insurance cover?

Top tips for booking travel insurance

5 Reasons why we need travel insurance

 

 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

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