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France

Top 10 Beaches to Visit in France

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What better way to spend your holiday in France than on the beach? Here’s our list of the top ten beaches to visit if you’re holidaying there this summer.

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  1. Biarritz Beach, France’s Basque Coast

Located on south-western coast of France, Biarritz beach is dubbed as the European capital for surfing. Favoured by beach walkers it has quintessentially become a playground for celebrities and affluent holidaymakers. If you are thinking of adding this best kept secret to your bucket list we recommend visiting between the months of June and September.

 

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  1. Plage du Conguel, Quiberon

Making the list of The Sunday Times top beaches in Europe, this gem is located on the southern tip of France overlooking the Atlantic and Quiberon Bay. From its translucent coloured water to its pearl-white sand, it is a sand-castle builders and sun worshippers’ paradise.

 

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  1. Plage de la Paloma, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Named after Paloma Picasso, the painter, Plage de la Paloma boasts luxury and is commonly known for hosting engagement parties, weddings, and birthdays. Nestled on the French Riviera, east of Nice it is cherished by sunbathers and water sport enthusiasts, giving something for everyone.

 

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  1. Plage d’Hendaye

This beauty is located close on the south-western French coast. Prides itself on its top quality of cleanliness and offers a picturesque walk on its promenade. You can soak up the sun by day; by night why not take a boat trip under the moonlight. Though it is often compared to Biarritz, further up the coast, it is not as busy, expensive or as lavish.

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  1. Plage de Pampelonne, Saint Tropez

One of the best and most well-known beaches in the beautiful Saint Tropez, it may welcome some 30,000 visitors in its peak season (July/ August). Temperatures can reach 30ºC but on average will reside at mid-twenties.

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  1. Le Touquet, Paris-plage

Located 150 miles north of the French capital, it is commonly referred to as “Paris by the sea”.  Dotted with a mix of French/English restaurants along the sea front why not get involved in the annual Le Touquet (motorbike) Beach Race.  The beach is long and wide and is absolute utopia once you get the weather.

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  1. Palombaggia Beach, Corsica

Situated on the south-eastern coast of France, this is one of the best beaches in Corsica. Boasting a stretch of 2km of fine white sands, pristine crystal clear water, this is ideal for water sport lovers. With free parking located right next to the beach. The one shortcoming with this find is that if you are not motoring it can be difficult to access.

 

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  1. Plage du Petit Sperone, Corsica

This breath-taking idyllic cove is conveniently located just 15 minutes away from Bonifacio. Golf lovers are truly in for a treat as one of France’s top golf courses is within walking distance. Be sure to take a boat trip to Ile de Cavallo which flaunts the popular Pecheurs spa and restaurant, you won’t regret it.

 

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  1. Santa Giulia Beach, Corsica

This is a true haven for water-sports fanatics, where you can go snorkelling along the reef and wind-surfing. If you prefer to relax while on holiday, why not add a boat trip to your itinerary. This beach has something for everyone so; it is no surprise why it attracts floods of tourists early in the summer season.

 

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  1. Plage d’Arone, Corsica

Dubbed as the most beautiful beach in North Corsica, Plage d’Arone is for those who enjoy tranquil and peaceful surroundings. Pristine sea water, breath-taking views of Piana the one downfall is that it is a bit secluded, but is worth the trip.

 

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Categories
Europe France Ireland

Driving in France

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Whether you’re heading for the Eiffel Tour, the chateaux of the Loire Valley or the beaches of the Côte d’Azur, here are some helpful tips if you are considering bringing your car or hiring one when you touch down in France.

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Car rental

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There are a wide range of car rental companies you can choose from like Hertz, Argus Car Hire and Sixt. To ensure everything is in order, it is pertinent that you take time to read the terms and conditions in advance of your flight.

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Insurance

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French car rental companies usually have unlimited third party insurance included in the agreed price. However, it is worth double checking this with your selected provider at the time of purchase.

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Tolls

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On most motorways you will come across toll charges where you can pay either by cash or credit card. They are pricey enough; as a rule of thumb they are about 7-10 cent per kilometre travelled and you can add about half that again if you are towing a caravan.

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Cost of fuel

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Fuel prices are down everywhere at the moment because of falling international oil prices. The AA’s most recent international fuel price report finds an average price of a litre of petrol at 1.28 cent per litre and 1.10 cent a litre of diesel in France. This slightly differs to what we are currently paying here at home with our latest average price of a litre of petrol is 126.5 cent and 112.8 cent for diesel.

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Driving in France

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]The obvious difference is that you drive on the right, the ‘wrong’ side of the road for us. If you haven’t had that experience before it can be a little scary and you need to be careful. Roads are generally excellent though and tourists in their millions use them every year with no problem.

The charm of the Irish football fans is world-renowned, but attempting it on the French may prove a problem. The best advice is to mind your manners. Fines can be heavy and your car can be impounded if you can’t pay immediately. Obey the rules & carry both original and copies of your passport and drivers’ licence.

Amongst other requirements, you must have a warning triangle and a reflective jacket in tow. The emergency jacket must be stored in the passenger compartment and worn when exiting the car in the case of an emergency or breakdown.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433512831965{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]

Make sure you’re never stuck by investing in European Breakdown Cover from as little as €15.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1433517982393{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travel” background_image=”18625″ button_text_color=”#ffffff” background_color=”#0a0a0a” button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)” button_hover_border_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.01)”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Main image by Spedona, used under CC licence.

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Categories
England Europe Featured France Italy Spain

Romantic city breaks in Europe for Valentine’s Day

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Forget petrol station flowers or a practical hoover to give your Valentine this year, make it an opportunity to build lifelong memories and whisk them off for a city break in Europe. Let us play cupid and see our top city breaks in Europe to spend the romantic period.

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Source: Flickr

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Rome

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If you’re scratching your head deciding on where to go, you can’t go wrong with Rome – they did invent the holiday after all. Dubbed as one of the most romantic cities in the world and fit to suit every budget, prepare to cross-off a few ‘once in a lifetime’ activities off your bucket list. Roam the Coliseum, the Spanish step or the Trevi Fountain, by day. By night, why not take a romantic stroll in the Villa Doria Pamphili where you can work off your scrumptious three course meal, while taking in breath-taking views of the picturesque city.

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Source: Flickr

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London

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Not a fan of romantic clichés? Then London is perfect, where you can spy the London Eye, immerse yourself in a shopaholic’s paradise down Oxford Street and rest your feet while enjoy an all-singing, all-dancing iconic West-End Show.

Taking a bus trip is a must when you visit the city where you can see popular sites like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and watch your childhood nursery rhyme come to life and view London Bridge.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”19580″]

Source: Flickr

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Venice

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Roses are red, violets are blue but nothing says I love you quite like a romantic getaway in Venice. A popular backdrop for proposals, honeymoons and just good old fashioned declarations of love. This little gem is most popular among romancers for its cruise down the Grand Canal. Because Carnival Time also takes place around the holiday, it can get very busy so it is worth booking all activities in advance of arrival. Not cheap though, and expect the price of your ice-cream to treble if you can see a bridge from your seat.

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Source: Flickr

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Paris

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Even for those who loathe clichés, you can’t deny the romance that flows through this truly captivating and beautiful city. Spot the Mona Lisa at the Louvre (she’s actually the least interesting thing in there but she’s on everyone’s must-see list), walk hand-in-hand across the iconic Pont des Arts padlock bridge that looks onto the Eiffel Tower, wander around high-end fashion outlets and savour a mouth-watering Valentines meal on-board a boat sailing down the Seine.

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Source: Flickr

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Barcelona

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If you want a romantic city break with a difference and an opportunity to soak up a bit of culture, then look no further than Barcelona. Exchange tender kisses at the Carrer dels Petons or the street of the (final) kiss. Legend says this small street was where men sentenced to the death penalty would meet their wives for their final farewell kiss. Hopefully this won’t be the case for you and your beau/belle. Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable footwear where you can explore some of the city’s most popular architectural sites such as; the Montjuïc castle, Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, the Parc Guell and Parc de Joan Miró.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Before jetting off anywhere these days be sure to check the Department of Foreign Affairs website for travel updates. Here’s what’s current at the moment: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/europe/.

 

If we have you tempted to book a flight for you and your Valentine be sure to take out Travel Insurance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]

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Categories
Attractions in Spain Europe Featured Iceland Indonesia Spain

Top 4 Destinations for a Solo Traveller to Visit

[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Travelling alone is no longer a taboo. According to a recent survey conducted by Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, 24% of holidaymakers opted to be a solo traveller in 2015, this is up from 15% in 2013.

Various travel agents, holiday comparison websites and cruise companies are starting to adapt to this growing trend, by method of updating their packages and facilities to cater for the budding “solo traveller”.

Particularly for first-timers it can be a daunting prospect so safety, the level of friendliness of the locals are important factors. Embark on a voyage of self-discovery and see some of our top picks for those who are travelling solo.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”19636″][vc_column_text]

Mediterranean Cruise

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Let’s face it, a cruise down the Med does sound like some piece of heaven but some solo travellers can get caught out with paying double the price for their tickets.  This occurs in an effort to recuperate the cost for the spare bedroom bunk along with a host of other costs such as; of food, drinks and spa treatments. However, various cruise companies are now beginning to accommodate single bedroom cabins catering for the growing number of solo travellers.

For all age groups; either single or married solo travellers, cruises are known to be a good way of making friends, meet like-minded people which often lead to arranging future holidays.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”19634″][vc_column_text]

Reykjavik, Iceland

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]After a holiday with a difference, that has friendly locals, a relatively strong level of English and is safe? Get a four-in-one and look no further then Reykjavik, Iceland. The coastal-capital has become a hot spot among solo adventure seekers. With a white blanket picturesque back drop, Iceland is a holiday you won’t forget.

According to a previous AA Travel Insurance poll, over half of survey respondents said that Aurora Borealis, or more commonly known as the Northern Lights topped their bucket list. Spot the breath-taking Northern Lights and if you get a clear night you can even see these over the city.

Thrill seekers can enjoy glacier hiking, horse-riding on a friendly Icelandic horse, whale watching, puffin watching or the opportunity to go snorkelling in the nearby Sifra, in Thingvellir Valley where your tour guides can arrange to collect you.

If you prefer a more laid back approach then the Golden Circle or a South Shore tour is perfect.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”19632″]

Source: Flickr

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Bali, Indonesia

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Calling all yogis. How does practicing yoga, deep meditation, attending spirituality workshops, spas, massages until your heart’s content sound to you? Topped with the usual bells and whistles of blissful beaches, enough markets to satisfy your inner shopaholic and once in a lifetime experiences. Not to mention, truly breath-taking views and did we mention Bali is also very cheap upon arrival? Though there is a catch of a 20 hour flight involved! But if you equate Bali into that trip you have been putting off to visit your son/daughter/niece/nephew/sibling/friend in Australia, it may not seem that bad.

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Costa Brava & Barcelona

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Still not convinced on a long haul flight? Then, sunny Spain is perfect and just a short flight away. Costa Brava is a top pick for solo travellers best known for its scrumptious food and restaurants, scorching weather, beautiful blank sandy beaches, magnificent landscapes and isolated coves.  Get the most out of your holiday and head south to Barcelona for a couple of days and soak up some culture, admire the Gothic architecture, browse shops down the Las Ramblas, gaze at the lively Magic Fountains of Montjuïc or tour the Barcelona FC Stadium.

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Attractions in Spain Europe Spain

Top Things to do in Barcelona

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Heading to Barcelona for a short getaway? We have hand-picked some of the best things to do in Barcelona that should make the top of your itinerary.

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La Sagrada Família

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If you only visit one tourist attraction, the La Sagrada Família should be it. It is one of the most visited landmarks in Barcelona and indeed, Spain attracting in excess of 2.8m tourists each year. The monument began construction in 1882 and the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi took over leadership in 1883 until he was killed in a tragic accident in 1926. To this day the famous Cathedral is still unfinished and is scheduled for completion in 2026.

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Source: Flickr

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Barcelona FC Stadium Tour

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Soccer fanatics, assemble. Is it a childhood dream of yours to play for one of the world’s greatest football teams? Well, we have the next best thing: get a behind the scenes pass to the Barcelona FC Stadium, where you can experience the adrenaline rush of walking (or running) in the footsteps of soccer legends on the pristine pitch.

The virtual experience will give you a feel of what it is like to stand in the boots of Lionel Messi, himself and play on one of the most famous pitches in the world, if only for 10 minutes.

You can also get a slice of what it is like to be a visiting team where you can tour the changing room as well as the presidential box, Barcelona FC Museum, chapel, press room and more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”19623″]

Source: Flickr

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The Magic Fountains of Montjuïc

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Attracting about 2.5 m tourists each year, the Montjuïc magic music and light show is definitely on of the top things to do in Barcelona. Immerse yourself in a true spectacle with synchronised water jets that move in tune to the lights and music. If visiting in September, you are in for a real treat where the Piromusical, a firework, laser light and music display is held. This is the main closing event to Barcelona’s largest annual festivals named the La Merce.

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Source: Flickr

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Las Ramblas

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Touted as one of the most popular streets in the city, Las Ramblas stretches 1.2 kms in length where you can catch a note at an opera at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, shop the Boqueria Market and attend an exhibition at the Palau de la Virreina.

Soak up the scents and aromas of the cafés and restaurants and get involved in the buzzing atmosphere of street vendors, shops and street performances. You can’t say you have been to Barcelona if you haven’t paid their most famous walking street a visit.

Because this street can become swarmed with tourists, be wary of preying pickpocketers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” parallax_content_width=”in_grid” angled_section=”no” angled_section_position=”both” angled_section_direction=”from_left_to_right” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]

If Barcelona has made your list of travel destinations this year, don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance.

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Europe Featured Florida Germany Ireland Italy Spain USA

Winter sun destinations

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Want to swap your thermals for sun, sea and sand? We have compiled our lust list for winter sun destinations.

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Source: Pixabay

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The Bahamas

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]The Bahamas has more to offer than just a picturesque backdrop of palm trees, powdery sands, sheltered bays, piña coladas and a good opportunity to top up on your Vitamin D this winter. It is also the official home to the swimming pigs, orange starfish and green sea turtles. Book yourself a spot on one of the Bahamaian plush beaches, with approximately 100,000 square miles of tropical sea and an estimated 5,000 square miles of land.

Top tip: If you’re bringing the kids (or big kids) be sure to attend the Dolphin Experience on Grand Bahama Island.

Highest average temperature for December: 26°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19528″]
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Jamaica, the Caribbean

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All the stereotypes you might have about the Caribbean come alive the minute you step off your flight and enter the laid back surroundings of Jamaica. Chill by one of the ramshackle beach bars or kick back on the sugar white sands and hail the sunshine with cocktail in hand, while you whistle along to the tune of Bob Marley’s hypnotic version of Don’t Worry, Be Happy reggae classic. Thrill-seekers can enjoy kayaking, snorkelling as well as other island activities.

Top tip:  Because of the low wage rate there’s a strong tipping etiquette in Jamaica and the general rates can vary from one place to the next. Before getting into taxis be sure to ask the driver how much the total cost of the fare will be, plus the expected tip rate.

Highest average temperature for December: 29°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19529″]

Source: Disparkys/ License

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Cyprus, the Mediterranean

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]The Mediterranean’s warmest island and the only one where you are guaranteed year round sun, with talcum white sand beaches, captivating mountain views, crystal clear waters and more culture than your average island. Cyprus is the perfect destination if you are after some mild winter sun rather than sweltering heat.

Top tip: To get the full Cypriot experience, it is worth renting a car where you can travel from North to South Cyprus in less than 4 hours.

Highest average temperature for December: 19°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19530″]

Source:Ines Hegedus-Garcia/ License

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Miami, Florida

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Looking for a sun kissed glow stateside, then Miami is the perfect winter sun destination. South Beach or ‘So-Be’ is touted as the ‘American Riviera’ where you can immerse yourself in the plush surroundings of a relaxing day on the fine white sands, clear blue sea of the Atlantic Ocean and the sophistication of trendy nightlife.

Think your furry friend deserves a bit of winter sun? Miami Beach is known to be arguably one of the most pet-friendly cities in the world, with hotels and tour operators aiming to cater to all your pet’s needs.

Highest average temperature for December: 24°C

Top tip: Mark a visit on your calendar of activities to people watch in the trendy cafés, bars and chic restaurants on Lincoln Road or Ocean Drive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19527″]

Source: Marc VeraartLicense

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Lanzarote, Canary Islands

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]With (almost) guaranteed sun, sea and sand there is no wonder why thousands of Irish flock to sunny Lanzarote all-year round. Kick back on one of Lanzarote’s finest beaches and soak up some rays. Prepare to cross off a few once in a lifetime experiences off your bucket list where you can take a camel ride over volcanoes, enjoy breath-taking views and stop for lunch in a restaurant nestled on a volcanic cave.

Top tip: Though it may be warm during the day time it gets chilly at night so be sure to pack a cardigan or a light jacket, you will thank us for it.

Highest average temperature for December: 22°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19518″]

Source: Mike Behnken/License

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Thailand

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]If you’re willing to brave a long haul flight, Thailand has become a popular holiday choice among us Irish. Hailed for their unique full-moon parties, elephant trekking experiences, year-round tropical climate, pearl-white sandy beaches, and translucent coloured water and is home to the setting of The Beach filmed on Phi Phi Island.

Top tip: Try and leave booking your accommodation until you arrive as you could end up saving a packet, leaving you with more money to splurge in the popular markets.

Highest average temperature for December: 31°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19524″]

Source: Thomas Tolkien /License

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Tenerife, Canary Islands

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Immerse yourself in the largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife, where you will be greeted with a warm blast of heat, swanning from Sub-Saharan Africa as you disembark your flight. Among the major USPs for Tenerife are of course lazing in the sun, building sandcastles and over-indulging in tapas and sangria, the turquoise coloured sea also warranted a title of an Ed Sheeran song.

Top tip: Particularly if it is your first time visiting the island be sure to book a car so you can freely explore the island.

Highest average temperature for December: 20°C[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]

If you are tempted to book a flight to any of these winter sun destinations, make sure to take out travel insurance at the time of booking.

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Austria Europe France Germany Italy

Are you prepared for your Winter sports holiday?

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Planning on hitting the slopes this winter? According to a previous AA Travel Insurance survey of almost 9,400 respondents, almost 9% said they had taken a skiing or snowboarding trip or both in the last five years.

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There’s no question that planning your break – choosing the resort, your chalets or hotels and flights, as well as sorting out your ski or boarding equipment – is great fun as it sharpens anticipation of the excitement ahead. But you mustn’t neglect the most important purchase of all – your winter sports cover. It is vital that you upgrade your travel insurance to the appropriate additional level to ensure you’re covered to participate in such winter sports, as well as the likes of lost or damaged equipment. If you don’t then you could invalidate your policy.

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Skiing and Snowboarding Holidays

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]If you suffer an injury that is worse than a dented pride and a few bruises it could cost a fortune between heli rescue, x-rays, surgeries and hospital stays.

Many people don’t realise that collisions on the slopes are dealt with in much the same way as a car accident. If a collision is clearly your fault, you could well be held personally liable so insurance is absolutely fundamental. It’s the same as with car insurance – it’s there to protect others just as much as protecting you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=”” css=”.vc_custom_1448544346578{margin-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]AA Travel Insurance suggests a few simple points to help make sure you enjoy your holiday – and get home again in one piece:

  1. Only attempt runs suitable for your ability
  2. Take some lessons if you’re a beginner or out of practice
  3. Pay attention to signs and markers on the slopes
  4. Leave plenty of space when overtaking another skier or boarder
  5. Only stop at the edge of the piste or where you can easily be seen
  6. Ski or snowboard on the marked runs – these are protected from unexpected alpine dangers
  7. Don’t ski alone – there’s safety in numbers
  8. Ensure you and your party have a piste map, and don’t stray from the main areas
  9. Do some exercise and get fit before you go
  10. Après-ski is just that – avoid alcohol until you have finished skiing or boarding for the day
  11. Make sure your winter sports holiday insurance is up to date before you go

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All AA winter sports single trip and annual multi-trip policies can be bought online, and you can now avail of a 20% discount if you are a private medical insurance policyholder.

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Categories
Featured Ireland

Christmas shopping abroad

[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Despite news that the Irish economy has experienced unforeseen growth this year, a voracious appetite for across-the-border and overseas Christmas shopping trips still exists among consumers. In one of our previous online surveys which you may have participated in revealed that almost 24% of Irish motorists planned a trip to Northern Ireland to do their Christmas shopping.

Some Irish consumers are also venturing further afield in an attempt to stretch their pennies.  Whether it’s to shop till they drop in some of New York’s most iconic department stores, or to experience the enchanting Christmas markets dotted across Europe, Irish shoppers are leaving a consumer shaped seasonal footprint in international markets.

But is it worth it?

International shopping does have its pitfalls, however. Coming up against fluctuating exchange rates, harsh weather conditions, and unfamiliar surroundings can make Christmas shopping more of a challenge than a luxury at times.

And while we all love a good bargain, getting value for our money should be at the top of everyone’s list this Christmas. The gifts may be cheaper to purchase, but just how much will it cost to get there in the first place? In addition to flights, accommodation, and spending money consumers – particularly those travelling outside the EU – should check how much they can purchase before Customs Duty or import VAT is applied upon re-entering the State.

Travel insurance & your rights

Overseas Christmas shoppers and holiday makers alike should also protect themselves against the risks of shifting weather conditions. Whether you’re travelling across the pond or traipsing through Europe, winters can be much harsher than on our little island, so flight delays and cancellations may be a regular occurrence. Consumers should make themselves aware of their rights regarding these events and ensure that they have proper travel insurance coverage in place.  For more on this topic you can read one of our past blog postings which goes into more detail here.

Knowledge truly is power when venturing abroad, particularly when it comes to knowing where the best places to bag a bargain are. It also pays to know your way around and with a bit of research ahead of time you can ensure you and your companions don’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Familiarize yourself with the country’s high street and exercise caution when lugging around shopping bags and storing your valuables. If you are the unlucky recipient of a theft or mugging whilst abroad, AA Travel Insurance can cover you for up to €500.

So whether you’re set to experience the snow-swept streets of New York or explore the glittering markets across Europe, remember it pays to research your destination in advance. Happy shopping!

To get an AA Travel Insurance quote today click here.

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Categories
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Finding the right travel cover

Taking out travel insurance may not be as exciting as booking a holiday, but before you start stocking up on sun cream and flip-flops it is something worth thinking about. After all, it can often determine whether you have the holiday of your life or holiday from hell.

What do you need from your travel insurance?
Whether you plan on snorkelling in Thailand or sunning yourself in Spain, you need to ensure your level of cover is fit for purpose. Below we have compiled a selection of quotes based on a range of holiday scenarios to help you find the right travel cover.

Can’t find one that applies? Log on to AA Travel Insurance to get a quote that suits your needs.

finding the right cover

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Christmas Markets in Europe

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Europe comes alive this time of the year, where they dust off the snow globes, unravel tinsel and switch on the fairy lights. Immerse yourself into the backdrop of your very own seasonal fairy-tale and visit some Christmas Markets that are just a short plane journey away. Here are some of our top picks that are certainly worth a visit this winter.

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Source: Croatia Week

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Strasbourg, France

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Strasbourg is the champion of European Christmas markets, in fact it is commonly referred to as: “Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas”. Better than that, it was voted by European Best Destinations 2015 as the best Christmas Market in Europe 2015 for the 2nd year running.

It is one of the oldest European Christmas market when it first popped up its stalls in 1570 and coined the name as Christkindelsmärik (market of the infant Jesus). So it is unsurprising that it is also the largest Christmas market in Europe boasting an impressive 300 stalls, extending across 12 areas of the city.

This market promises even the modern day Scrooge’s of the world to whistle along to the tune of the angelic carol singers.

When?

From 27th of November to 31st December 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19426″]

Source: Aachen Weihnachts Markt

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Aachen, Germany

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Although Strasbourg practically invented Christmas markets in Europe, nobody quite does Christmas like the Germans. Touted as the Christmas City, Aachen Christmas Market attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors every year from all over the world, both young and old.  With a sprinkle of some magic dust, each year the squares and streets surrounding the Cathedral and the Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a winter wonderland. Wander the stalls, sample some Aachen Printen, a local gingerbread speciality in the nearby Christmas Village and wash it down with some fine mulled wine.

When?

From 20th of November to 23rd December 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19422″]

Source: Alphacom

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Vienna, Austria

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Hear the sleigh bells ring and whisk yourself to the Viennese Christmas Markets. The main Christmas market takes place in front of City Hall where the little ones can learn how to make Christmas cookies and candles. The delicious aromas of signature festive punch, roasted chestnuts and other delicacies are sure to lure everyone into the seasonal joy.

Our very own director of consumer affairs, Conor Faughnan recommends trying the local Glühwein. This is a concoction of mulled white wine, a hint of cinnamon, sugar and spice and all things nice which is sure to prepare you for another round of stall gazing.

When?

From 13th of November to 26th December 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19423″]

Source: Gotohungary.com

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Budapest, Hungary

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]The Hungarian capital’s market is a popular choice for those who want to do a spot of shopping where they can purchase unique gifts and crafts. The main Christmas Market takes place in Vörösmarty Square where you can see the windows of Gerbeaud House transform into a giant Advent Calendar counting back the days until Christmas.

When?

From 28th of November to 31st December 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][image_with_text image=”19425″]

Source: Christmas Markets

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Nuremberg, Germany

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][vc_column_text]Enjoy a cup of hearty mulled wine to keep warm as you stroll through the traditional markets. Be sure to try the lauded Nuremberg gingerbread, Lebkuchen a local recipe that dates back 600 years. With over 180 stalls, you are sure to find the perfect gift for all your friends and family.

Visit St. Nicholas himself at Santa’s grotto located in the Children’s Christmas Market, which is sure to make a believer out of some sceptics.

When?

From 27th November to 24th December 2015.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”50″ css_animation=”element_from_fade”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

If we have swayed you to book a flight to any of the above listed destinations, be sure to purchase Travel Insurance to ensure you have a truly merry trip.

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