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Top Ten Travel Tips For Long Flights

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Travelling long-haul for the first time? Arrive in style by following my top ten travel tips for long flights.

Sitting on the runway in Dublin airport waiting for our flight to take off, I couldn’t help but notice some nervous passengers in front of me. They asked the air hostess if they could get off the plane first, they only had ninety minutes before their connecting flight to Bangkok took off from Heathrow’s Terminal 5. I was in a similar situation but was quietly confident I would make it. That is until the captain announced that they had to circle for about fifteen minutes before landing. I found myself wishing I had booked the earlier flight. I have lots of tips for long flights but before you fly – choose your flights wisely!

1. Choose your flights wisely.

 The Travel Expert's top ten travel tips for long flights

If you can, fly direct, particularly to the USA. You can go through immigration in Ireland before you leave which is a massive bonus. Customs queues in the States can be up to two hours long which trust me, seems like an eternity after a long flight.

You will also not have to worry about being delayed and missing connections, and of course obviously the journey time will be shorter. If you have to take two or more flights, check the overall journey time. You might save €100 by going with a particular airline but the flying time could be ten hours longer than the alternative. You will end up spending that and more in airports and purchasing snacks on board.
 

2. Don’t buy separate tickets.

If you are not flying direct, make sure you purchase one ticket from your origin to your destination., i.e don’t purchase a Dublin – London ticket and a separate London – Bangkok ticket. By purchasing one ‘through’ ticket, the airline will be obliged to put you on the next available flight should you miss your connection.
 

3. Give yourself enough connecting time.

Top ten travel tips for long flights by The Travel Expert

So this might sound obvious but sometimes minimum connecting times are just that – minimum. If your flight is delayed even 15 minutes, the terminal bus pulls off just as you arrive, and you have a 15 minutes wait for the next one, that could be the difference between getting your flight or not. And if you are like me and get there in time (just about) your luggage may not…

 

4. Pick good seats!

The Travel Expert's top ten travel tips for long flights

One of the top tips for long flights is to make sure you choose good seats! Checkout seatguru.com which shows detailed seat maps for all aircrafts. If travelling with older children, it can be more practical to get two seats together, one in front of the other, rather than four across the middle of the plane.

A window seat can be handy to rest your head against while sleeping, also you won’t be woken by people wanting to get past you to use the bathroom.

Read: Top tips for travelling with kids

Contrary to popular belief exit seats are not always the best seats, they can be drafty and are often located beside the toilets, so it can be difficult to sleep. You will see first hand reviews from customers on Seatguru similar to what you see on TripAdvisor.
 

5. Make use of the large baggage allowance.

When travelling long haul, most airlines will allow you a 23 kg checked bag – use it. Try to avoid large, heavy cabin bags if you have connecting flights. You need as much space at your feet for a long flight and dragging cabin bags on to buses or trains when changing terminals, is not pleasant!

 

 

6. Check in online.

 The Travel Expert's top ten travel tips for long flights

Where possible check in online for ALL legs of your journey. Most airlines will let you do this 24 hours before departure. This will save you queuing for boarding passes and valuable time.
 

7. Think food, bring snacks and pre book meals.

If you don’t fancy the usual chicken korma or similar on your flight – bring plenty of snacks with you. If travelling with kids pre book kids meals in advance, vegetarian options can also be a good choice for adults. You can usually pre book meals in the ‘manage booking’ section of the airlines website.
 

8. Look after yourself.

The Travel Expert's top ten tips for long flights

Long flights can be tiring on your body and drying on your skin. Drink plenty of water and use good moisturisers, my personal favourites are Estée Lauder’s advanced night repair and their travel exclusive pack can easily be picked up at duty free before you fly.

During the flight I like M.A.C.’s fix spray which can be sprayed over your make-up to hydrate your skin as you fly. It also comes in 30ml size for €10, so ideal for your hand bag. Make sure to buy a travel size hand cream and vaseline for your lips, trust me these are essential!
 

9. Bring supplies.

Phones, tablets, books, games – bring anything that you can think of to pass the time. Most planes have power sockets now so bring your charger with you so when you arrive at your destination, you can still use your phone. Think about how best you sleep, if you need aids like sleeping tablets, neck cushions, eye masks, ear plugs  – bring them.

Verbatim MEDIA SHARE is invaluable if travelling with kids. It creates it’s own wifi network so kids can watch movies on their tablets or phones anywhere, even on a plane.  It is also really compact so much easier to carry than a portable DVD player and lots of DVDs.
 

10. Join the airlines frequent flyer club.

Just because this is your first long haul flight – it hopefully wont be your last. And those miles clock up very quickly!

 

Have you any tips for long flights to add my list? I would love to hear from you, just comment in the box below 🙂
 

Safe travels.

 

Travel Tips

My Top Ten Travel Hacks

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Planning your next holiday? Check out my top ten travel hacks! They might save you time, money and make travelling a little easier!

 

 

1. Use the free passport reminder service.

If you are reading this post and have not already done this I urge you to click here straight away! This free services lets you add your passport details and expiry date and will email you to tell you when your passport is due to expire.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

2. When booking flight tickets or other travel services online, compare like with like.

Many package holidays will include airport transfers and baggage but if you book flights and a hotel separately, you will have to add these to the cost. Hotel comparison websites such as Trivago or Tripadvisor will search numerous websites for accommodation and you may find significant savings. Don’t forget to check out the Irish Travel Agents Association website, they feature top offers from Ireland’s leading travel agents.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Check one way and return airfares.

You may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another.  One airline may also have better flying times on the outward journey and another on the return. Websites such as Skyscanner combine most airlines and quite often you will find the best value flights will be with two different carriers.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

4. Know your weather

When you see a deal to the Mediterranean for €199 in January, it is probably because you won’t get hot weather! If you are looking for a sunshine break, check the weather forecast for previous years by using the historical tab on wunderground.com

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

5. Delete your cookies.

The jury is still out on this one! Some airlines have been known to increase the cost of flights when you return to their website. They store your ‘cookies’ and can tell when you search for the same flights a second or third time. There are various opinions on this but to be safe, delete your cookies and use an incognito window when making your booking.

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

6. Photocopy or scan all documents before you go.

It is not something we like to think about but is it possible that you could be a victim of a crime on holidays, or simply loose your passport or other documents. Passport, insurance details, credit cards, flight tickets – all of which are much easier to replace if you have copies of the originals safely stored. Alternatively, store the scanned documents in the ‘Cloud’, using Google Drive (15GB of free space and part of your Gmail account), ‘Dropbox’ which gives you 2GB of free storage space or an app like ‘Evernote’. These digital copies are stored safely online and available by logging into from any computer in the world!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

7. Luggage tips

Check luggage allowances before you start to pack. You will be surprised how many airlines hand luggage allowance is only 7kg, particularly with charter or long haul flights. Invest in a luggage scales, they are not expensive and will save you a lot of stress, particularly if like me, your case always hovers around the baggage allowance! If travelling with kids, let them use their own baggage allowance, not only will they love the independence but it will save you money and save your back!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

8. Pre order your meal on the flight

Pre order a vegetarian or special dietary meal if possible. You will more than likely be served first! This is particularly handy for long journeys or night flights, when you want to try to get as much sleep as possible. I usually find the vegetarian options are actually better too!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

9. Pre book seats before you go.

Check out seatguru.com. This offers great advice and photographs on most aircraft seats. You can see what seats are close to the toilets or babies bassinet’s.  They will advise if a seat does not recline or which seats have the most legroom. If travelling as a couple, book an aisle and a window seat. If the flight is not full they will usually leave the middle seat empty. If it is assigned to a fellow passenger, simply ask can you swap seats!

The Travel Expert's Top Ten Travel Hacks

 

 

 

10. Make use of the latest travel apps.

Tripit will store all your confirmations and itineraries in one place, just email the confirmations as you get them and the app will provide you with a full itinerary before you travel. Google Maps will allow you to download maps before you travel, for use offline.  Lounge Buddy will allow you to purchase lounge access at more than 800 airports around the world. regardless of whether you are a frequent flyer. TheXE Currency app quickly converts exchange rates so you know the exact price of what you are buying. Tripadvisor will send you push notifications about highly rated restaurants or attractions close by.

The Travel Expert's top ten travel hacks

Did I forget any? Comment below with your favourite travel hack.

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah 

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 
Travel Tips

Top tips for a digital detox on holiday!

Beach, relaxation by The Travel Expert

How many of us look at our phones just before we go asleep and first thing when we wake up? Ok, so we may not admit that to many people, but in reality, many of us do….

 

Why do we obsess so much about what others do? Why do we spend so much time watching other peoples lives and then moan that we don’t have enough time to do anything? Before we know it, it becomes a habit and it’s something we just ‘do’.

The beauty about holidays is that habits go out the window and everyday is a new experience. We can literally forget what we do at home, sit back, relax and immerse ourselves in a different culture. In order to really do this properly, and return from holidays feeling like we have really switched off, we need to do just that – switch off.  It may seem hard at first but trust me, you can see the latest picture of Kim Kardashian’s ass or the Sport Bibles latest football video when you get back, along with the post about the top 10 best burger joints in Kazakhstan!

Tips to have a tech free holiday by The Travel Expert

So I’m assuming if you have got this far you are looking for some inspiration to help you along the way.  I’m not an expert on avoiding email or social media but I have learned a few tricks during my travels! Here are my top tips for a digital detox on holiday.

 

1. Let people know you are away.

Make sure you turn on your ‘out of office’ on your email and leave a voicemail on your phone saying you are on leave. This may not stop the first email or phone call but it will certainly stop any future calls from the same person. Also if you decide not to answer your phone and they call again, well at least you will know its urgent! If they don’t call back – it can wait till you get home!

 

2. Leave your devices at home.

Ideally leave everything at home but let’s face it, we are not that brave! You can however limit yourself to one device, this works great with kids too, tell them they can only bring one thing, phone, ipad, console or laptop. At least when the battery dies, you will have some free time!

tips to avoid a stress free holiday by The Travel Expert

3. Research before you leave.

Check out the best restaurants as well as the top attractions at your destination and print these out before you leave. This may seem a bit antiquated but it will save you going online when abroad.

 

4. Avoid additional wifi charges

If there are additional fees for wifi in your hotel room – don’t pay them! If you really need to go online, go to the designated wifi area which should discourage excess use.

 

5. Bring the latest ‘must read’ book.

Once you start reading a good book, its hard to put it down and it will make the withdrawal symptoms much easier to manage. This also works with kids, bring a book they are interested in reading and hopefully they wont miss their Ipad or console as much!

Top tips for a tech free holiday by The Travel Expert

 

6. Engage time limits.

If you can’t manage to be without your device at least limit it to a particular time of day. Personally I think night time is easier, if means you have to be outside during the day and enjoy the sunshine. This also works well with kids too, if out for a meal at night time, they can enjoy some time on phones or consoles while you enjoy a nice bottle of vino!

 

7. Go old fashioned

Bring back the old times and play cards and boardgames. If travelling with kids hunt for crabs along the beach, try deep sea fishing or relive your youth and try a waterpark. If you are a little adventurous you will be surprised how much fun you can have going outside your comfort zone.

Tips to have a tech free holiday

8. Ban headphones!

This for me is the most annoying habit. If your teenager wants to listen to music, try to listen together, as a family. This works really well if hiring a car or playing some music before you go out in the evening. Take turns in introducing various music, I’m sure they will love to hear some old Beatles classics as much as  you will love the latest Beyonce number but hey, its educational for all!

 

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Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah 

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

Travel Tips

Top 10 mistakes we make on holidays!

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No matter how organised you think you are, when you are in holiday mode, barriers fall down and mistakes are made! Here are my top 10 classic mistakes we make on holidays!

 

1. Don’t know the exchange rates.

This is a very common mistake. If travelling outside the Euro zone make sure you know exactly what the local currency is worth. There are many stories of people hopping in a taxi from the airport and paying exorbitant taxi fares because they didn’t actually know what they were handing over. Likewise there have been many porters who received very handsome tips from the ‘newbies’ at the resort!

 

2. Have only large notes

We are all guilty of this one! We arrive at a nice hotel where the porters will expect to be tipped and all we have are €50 bills. When changing money ask for small notes or if travelling within Europe make sure you have some small notes or coins with you.

 

3. First day syndrome!

We are so relaxed on the first day, we see the sunshine and all we want to do is jump in the pool! This means we leave activating the safety deposit box until later and leave money and valuables unattended. The first day is prime time for thiefs in resorts so don’t say you haven’t been warned!

 

4. Get sunburnt.

This can happen on the first day too when all you want to do is get out in the sun. The other most likely time is your last day, when you HAVE to get the tan before you go home!

 

5. Eat bad food.

How many times do you walk into a restaurant because a local is asking you to come inside? Ask at reception in your hotel for recommendations or check tripadvisor for restaurant reviews before you go out.

 

6. Get sick.

Sickness on holiday is very common, the chemicals in the water or the sudden change in temperatures can cause a sick tummy. Wait for 10 minutes before turning on the air conditioning in your room and like wise turn it off 10 minutes before leaving. Drink bottled water and have a bottle beside the sink for brushing your teeth. Be careful where you eat and drink, many drinks will contain ice made from local water and salads may not be washed in bottled water. If you are unfortunate to have a tummy bug, the last thing you want to do is rush down to the local pharmacy. Bring small packs of immodium and motilium with you, they will take up no room in your suitcase – you will be really glad you brought them!

 

7. Try to cram everything in.

This happens to most of us, we read the top 10 things to do in a particular place and try our best to fit them all in. You will end up needing another holiday when you come home. Remember to relax on holidays and enjoy the rest. Choose one thing that will leave a lasting memory, and leave the rest to chance. If you get to see everywhere great, but don’t fret if you don’t – you can always come back!

 

8. Don’t check the weather

Remember although your iPhone may say that it is 20 degrees, you need to check what the ‘feels like’ temperature is! A cool breeze in the Canary Islands for instance can mean you will need cardigans during the day and even coats at nighttime! You may also experience some tropical storms so a lightweight waterproof jacket can be a Godsend.

 

9. Think you don’t need travel insurance

People always think the horror story wont happen to them! You never know when you will need travel insurance and it is so inexpensive,  it makes no sense to travel without it.

 

10. Don’t respect the local culture.

Remember you are the ‘intruder’! If the local custom means shoulders must be covered when entering a temple for instance, you need respect this. Likewise topless bathing may be forbidden – make sure you check the pool or beach rules before you strip off!

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

Travel Tips

Top tips for travelling with the Elderly

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I have brought my ninety year old Mum on many holidays and I learned a few tips along the way! Here are my top tips for travelling with the elderly.

 

1. Choose your destination wisely.

For many elderly people, travelling is a huge ordeal. Choose somewhere that they would like to see, not necessarily where you would like to go. Scenic destinations with nice views, plenty of sightseeing and most importantly not too many hills or noisy bars! Heat is also a big factor so choose somewhere that is not normally 40 degrees at the time you are going. If there is a nice breeze like in the Canary Islands or the Algarve, that’s a bonus. If they like the beach make sure the water is shallow with no sudden drops or large waves, a travel agent or websites like tripadvisor should be able to advise you of this.

travelling with the elderly

2. Where possible choose short flights.

Long haul flights can be uncomfortable for them and the risk of DVT is slightly higher in flights over five hours. If you are in the fortunate position to be able to travel business class, go for it!  Failing that, make sure they move about on the flight, walk regularly up and down the aisles and stay hydrated. Mind you this applies to all of us!

 

3. Take your time and arrive at the airport early.

Take advantage of the excellent facilities at the airport. If they are unsteady on their feet or simply find the walk from check in to the departure gate too long, book a wheelchair to bring them to the gate. Check in early and have a nice relaxed meal before you go, as the airplane food may not suit them.

travelling with the elderly

4. Email the hotel or discuss requirements with your travel agent before you leave.

If booking with a travel agent request a low floor or a room beside the lift or reception. Some hotels are so big now that the rooms can be quite a distance from the reception or swimming pool. If booking independently, email the hotel before you go and let them know you have an elderly person with you.

 

5. Transfers

Unless your hotel is a long distance from the airport, try to book private transfers or take a taxi from the airport to the Hotel. Some shuttle transfers can be extremely long and the price difference is normally minimal.

travelling with the elderly

6.  Travel Insurance

This may sound obvious but make sure they have adequate travel insurance. The E111 form only covers them in a public hospital. If they have a major injury and require an air ambulance for instance, only an official travel insurance policy will cover that. Make sure they declare any pre existing illnesses to the Insurance provider before they go, otherwise they may not be covered.

 

7. Stock up!

It should go without saying but bring plenty of sunscreen, a sun hat and insect repellent. Their skin is very sensitive and the last thing you or they need is to get bitten or sunburned.

travelling with the elderly

8. Take it easy!

Don’t pressure them to go with you to the beach every day or to visit that ‘must see’ cathedral. They are used to quiet time and would probably be quite happy to chill out and read a book in their room. You may want to trek off sightseeing for the day or go out during the mid day sun, but don’t feel you have to bring them with you each time. Remember holidays are for relaxing too, if they want to take it easy – let them.

 

I still recall the tear in my Mum’s eye when she saw the Vatican for the first time, that memory will always stay with me. Taking an elderly person away with you may not seem like a big deal, but it could mean the world to them.

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

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The Travel Expert Reviews The Top Mosquito Repellents.

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For many people, getting bitten by mosquitoes can ruin a holiday. I’m often asked what are the best products to buy. I decided to test the leading mosquito repellents while on holiday in Egypt – here are my results!

 

 1. Boots Repel Once Spray Tropical Strength – €13.99 Boots stores nationwide

Boots Repel once mosquito sprayI found this very effective and I used it for most of my holiday. Although it did work, I did find it a nuisance having to spray myself regularly and the smell was very strong. Although it states it provides 8 hours protection and you only need to spray once per day, I felt if I was in and out of the swimming pool or sea that surely this must wear off? I found myself spraying more than once and with a long list of cautions and hazards on the back of the can – I am not sure how wise that really was!

My rating ***

 

 

2. Boots Repel Once Cream, Light Fragrance – €9.99 Boots stores nationwide

Boots Repel once light fragrance creamI preferred this to the spray, the smell was not as strong and was a nice texture on your skin. You also got the feeling that it stayed for longer than the spray, although I have no proof of that! You need to allow it to dry before applying sunscreen. The whole sunscreen and insect repellent application can take quite a lot of time each day! You also feel it needs to be re applied after swimming, yet it states on the bottle not to apply to kids more than twice per day.

My rating ***

 

 

3. Buggabandz – €9.99 McCabes Pharmacy Stores nationwide

Buggabandz, Mosquito RepellentThese were a bit hit with my kids, they are very comfortable to wear and come in various colours (even pink for girls). They can be worn on wrists or ankles and suit adults and children.  They look like a surf anklets so my son thought they were quite cool to wear! They come in a reusable pouch so if returned to this each night they should last for seven days. Most importantly they worked, not one bite.

My rating *****

 

 

4. Bugband Insect Repellent Band  – McCabes Pharmacy Nationwide €6.99

Mosquito Repellent BandAlthough the cheapest of all the bands it was also the poorest in quality. It didn’t tie very well around my wrist and I lost it within 24 hours. Luckily I had brought some spray and cream with me so I used both of those instead for the rest of the week.

My rating *

 

 

 

5. THEYE Mosquito Repellent Band.  Pack of three £9.99 on Amazon.co.uk

Theye Mosquito Repellent Bands, Sarah Slattery, The Travel ExpertThese worked very well, they looked like a watch so personally I felt they looked odd around your ankle, although they could be worn there. We wore them on our wrists and although they come in small and large sizes, the smaller size were still a little big on my kids wrists. They are supposed to last up to 2 weeks if placed in the resealable bag after use and they come in five different colours. These were very effective, not one bite while they were worn.

My rating ****

 

 

Buggabandz were my personal favourite and were a big hit with all the family. I would also bring some of the Boots spray or cream too as a back up, they were very effective, just not as handy to use. Alex wearing Buggabandz, Sarah Slattery, The Travel ExpertYou never know, you may loose a band or one could break – better be safe than sorry! If you want to keep them on at all times, even at bed time, buy a second pair and replace them after 4-5 days and hopefully stay bite free for your entire holiday!

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

Sarah

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Travel Tips

Top 10 things to pack when travelling abroad.

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

 

1. Travel documents.

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

2. Carry on bag.

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

3. Moisturiser, lip balm etc.

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

4. Books, magazines.

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

5. Chargers , travel adaptors.

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

6. Medicines

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

7. Suncream

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

8. Sunglasses.

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

9. Research material.

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

10. The right frame of mind.

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

 

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Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah 

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City BreaksEuropeTravel TipsTraveling With Kids

Top 10 Tips for Taking Kids on City Breaks

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From toddlers to teens, check out my top 10 tips for taking kids on city breaks and get planning your next weekend break away.

Taking kids on city breaks may not be as daunting as you might think. Flights have never been so accessible, which has resulted in low airfares to many European cities – it would be a shame to not take advantage of them, well thats my excuse anyway!

Travel broadens the mind and is extremely educational for children. They will learn new cultures, see famous landmarks, try new foods and who knows, may even learn a bit if history too. Hopefully my handy tips and tricks will see you will jetting off on a family city break in no time.
 

 

 

1. Choose your city wisely.

tips for taking kids on city breaks

There are so many family friendly cities to choose from but it is important to do your research. Old towns may be pretty, but cobblestone streets are not ideal with buggies.

If taking young children on a city break for the first time it can be a good idea to choose a city that you have already been to, and you would like revisit. You won’t feel it necessary to see all the top attractions the second time round, and you will have a more relaxed trip.
 

 

 
Alternatively, choose a small city where you don’t have ten ‘must see’ sights to see, because no matter how well behaved your children are, there are only so many museums and monuments that kids can take.

Travelling with tweens and teens is much easier. Long flights are no trouble, they will be impressed seeing important landmarks,  and will have studied some form of history in school, so museums may be a lot easier to visit. 

Read: My top 10 city breaks for families
 

 

 

2. Get your kids excited before you go.

Find something that you know they would be interested in and focus on that. Perhaps there is a famous landmark, a football stadium, a theme park, or an aquarium that you know they would be excited to see. Google famous films that are made in that city and watch a movie together before you go.
 

 

 

3. Choose good flight times when taking kids on city breaks.

Very early starts are ok if your kids will sleep on the plane, but if this is not likely, then try to choose day time flights. Many hotels won’t have your room ready till 2pm anyway, so arriving at 11 am, after being asked ‘are we nearly there’ ten times, only to be told to come back in a few hours, is not ideal!

On your last day all children want to do is go to the airport, so try to get an early flight home and avoid hanging around. That €20 you think you are saving by coming back on a later flight, trust me you will spend it ten times over.
 

 

 

4. Choose your hotel wisely.

Try to choose a hotel that is centrally located, so you can walk to restaurants in the evening and sights during the day. If you can, try to get a hotel with a pool. It is a great incentive when out walking all day, to reward your children with a swim in the evening before you go to dinner.
 

 

 

5. Get the kids involved.

Tom ten city breaks for families

Give them maps and let them help plan your day. Try to encourage your children to take selfies infront of famous landmarks and bring them back and show their friends or teachers.
 

 

 

6. Choose museums that are interactive or child friendly.

Choose interactive museums where possible, and not the type where you will see ‘ Please do not touch’ displayed regularly. There are usually technology, science or transport museums in most cities that everyone can enjoy. 
 

 

 

7. Plan one thing each day that interests them

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Try to fit some sightseeing in the morning while your children are fresh. Plan an activity for them in the afternoon, a visit to a park, zoo or kids attraction. Boat trips appeal to adults and kids and replace traditional hop on hop of bus tours with Tuk Tuk tours. 

In Rome the Vespa or Golf Cart tours are particularly exciting with kids. 

Read: Top 10 things to do in Rome
 

 

 

8. Bring portable toys, buggies or even scooters!

tips for taking kids on city breaks

Bring pocket colouring books, lego, smart phones, tablets or anything that fits into a backpack. When you are taking time out for a coffee or standing in line in a queue, they can come in very handy.

Download movies or TV shows for kids to watch on the plane or bus journeys. Depending on your children’s ages you may want to bring buggies but if they are old enough a fold up scooter can be a great asset to get around a big city.
 

 

 

9. Try something new.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Children will visit lots of aquariums, zoos or even theme parks in their lifetime, so do something different that they will remember the trip for. Maybe its something simple like eating the local street food, or taking a Tuk-Tuk ride around the city, but do something that you would not do in your own home town.

 

Viator and GetYourGuide have super family activities in all major cities and AttractionTickets.com offer discounted attraction tickets and theme park tickets. I recommend booking in advance, as the top attractions tend to get booked out.  
 

 

 

10. Relax and enjoy it!

Don’t stress out if you can’t fit everything in. I’m sure you will enjoy taking your kids on city breaks, and if you love the city that much, you can always come back.
 

Like travel tips? See more here!

 

Family HolidaysTravel Tips

9 Dublin Airport Tips You Need To Know Before You Fly

dublin airport

For some people who are not used to travelling the airport can be very stressful. Read my top airport tips below and get your holiday off to a great start.

 

  1. Weigh your luggage before you go!
  2. Passports, visa and all the important stuff.
  3. Check terminals, car parking, roadworks.
  4. Get to the airport early.
  5. Use the fast track.
  6. Check-in.
  7. Security screening
  8. Executive Lounges
  9. Before you board.

1. Weigh your luggage before you go!

airport tips

Before you go you should make sure you weigh your luggage to ensure you are within the weight limits for the particular airline you are travelling with. You don’t want to be one of those people at the top of the queue taking clothes out of one bag and placing them in another.
 

 

 
You will also want to avoid any excess baggage charges, as not only are these exorbitant, but usually you have to queue up at the ticket desk to pay them and then re queue to check in. This can be very stressful if you are short on time and the security queue is very long.
 

 

 

2. Passports, visas and all the important stuff.

airport tips

I think it goes without saying to make sure that your passports are valid, but you will also need to check the regulations of the country that you are travelling to. Passenger locator forms, as well as proof of vaccination may be required, and  some destinations require that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date.
 

 

 
This is becoming more and more common with some European countries applying this rule as well as the USA and many long haul destinations.
 

 

 
If travelling to the USA make sure you have your ESTA in place, it is compulsory for everyone travelling to America now. Log on to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

I always recommend printing your documents, as well as keeping a digital copy, just incase they are mislaid.
 

 

 

3. Check terminals, car parking, roadworks

airport tips

You should check with AA road watch to ensure your planned journey is free of road works, sometimes the airport website will also have this mentioned in their news section.

Check which terminal you are departing from. As a general rule, Aer Lingus and long haul flights go from Terminal 2, and most other airlines from Terminal 1, but you need to check your travel documents to be sure.
 

 

 
Allow plenty of time if using the airport car parks, especially the long term ones, as some of these are 20 minutes from the airport terminal. The DAA airport website is very useful and have many top tips, details of airlines and their terminals,  plus the latest car park deals are available here.
 

 

 

4. Get to the airport early.

airport tips

There are many new restaurants open in our airports now now including Diep le Shaker, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the fantastic food market – Marquette. Depending on the time of your flight it might be an idea to go to the airport early. It will stop you worrying about traffic, queues etc and allow you some time to enjoy a nice meal before you depart, or check out the shops at The Loop.
 

 

 

5. Use the Fast Track

use the fast track to save time at the airport

If you are short on time or have a particularly early flight – use the Fast Track facility. It’s a fantastic service that caters for a variety of travellers. If you don’t want to queue at security you can pay from €7.99 – €12.99 to use the fast track service. You also get a voucher for a free coffee, which can be purchased in many outlets before you board.

 

 

 

6. Check-in.

airport tips

Where possible always check-in online. Even if you still need to check in a bag, it usually guarantees you a shorter queue and seats together on the aircraft. If  travelling with Aer Lingus use the dedicated self check-in kiosks to weigh your own bags.
 

 

 
If you are travelling within Europe, you should arrive at the airport two hours before your flight departs, irrespective of whether you have checked in online or at the airport.
 

 

 
If you are travelling long haul this is should be increased to three hours. If travelling to the USA you will need to go through emigration at Dublin or Shannon airport, and therefore check-in times are 3 hours before departure. Remember you will still need to go through security even if you have checked-in online and in busy periods these queues can be long.
 

 

 

7. Security screening.

airport tips

Security is where everyone’s stress levels increase! I think it goes without saying not to pack sharp implements, but even kids toy guns, razors etc should never be in your hand luggage. Ideally pack all liquids in your checked baggage, but if you need to have them in your hand luggage, make sure that there are no liquids over 100ml, as they will be confiscated.
 

 

 
Some things are evidently liquid, like drinks and perfume, others are less obvious, like gels, pastes, lotions, toothpastes, hair gels, face creams, liquid cosmetic, deodorants and shaving foam. Any liquids that you have not checked in, and are below the 100ml limit should be placed in one clear plastic bag and separated from your bag on the trays provided.
 

 

 
Medication is allowed, but you may have to demonstrate that it is for medical purposes – I recommend a note from your doctor stating this. Similarly with baby’s bottles – you may have to drink them to prove they are indeed what you say they are.

Remember to remove outer jackets, belts, shoes, laptops from cases when you reach the passenger security screening area as this will speed things up.
 

 

 

 

8. Enjoy the Executive Lounges and additional facilities available

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You can use the Executive Lounge in Terminal 1 for up to two hours (regardless of what class of ticket you have) with complimentary drinks, snacks and newspapers from only €20 if booked online. The luxurious 51st &Green Lounge in Terminal 2 is €30, or complimentary if travelling business class.
 

 

 
There are also other genie services where you can book a family care attendant or chaperones if someone is travelling alone and needs help. All of these are available to book on the Dublin Airport Website, www.dublinairport.com.
 

 

 

9. Before you board

my top picks for airport shopping online

When you make it through the screening area, check the flight information screens to see which gate your flight is departing from. Sometimes gates can change for operational reasons.
 

 

 
If shopping in Duty free on the way out, make sure to use Shop and Collect system – they take care of your purchases and you don’t need to worry about the extra weight in your luggage, you simply pick them up when you return.

Take advantage of the ‘honest’ airplane water stops that are scattered around the terminal. Put €1 in the box provided, so you will have water when you board and stay hydrated for your journey.
 

 

 
Bon voyage!

 

Want to see more travel tips? Click here!

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

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