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Win a family trip with Stena Line

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Win a family return trip to Britain with Stena Line. 

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AA Rewards partner Stena Line would like to give one lucky family return trip tickets to Britain.  Plus give all AA customers an exclusive 20% saving on sailings when you book by 19th August.

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Providing sailings from as early as 1561, during the reign of Elizabeth, between Howth in Dublin and Holyhead in the UK.  Stena Line now consists of 22 strategically located ferry routes with a modern fleet of 35 vessels including fast ferries (HSS), traditional combi-ferries, RoPax-ferries for freight and passengers, and pure cargo ships.

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The Prize

A return trip for two adults and two children including a car on either Stena Line’s Dublin to Holyhead or Rosslare to Fishguard Routes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Competition closed

Congratulations to our competition winner, Brian Johnston.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21309″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/aa/aa-rewards/Exclusive-20-off-Sailings/105/” img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Stena Line are now offering all AA Customers an exclusive 20% saving on sailings.  Click here to find out more.

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Categories
Europe Germany

Driving in Germany – Top Tips and Advice

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Make sure your German driving experience is amazing, by checking out all the rules and regulations before you go.

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No matter what country you plan to take a motoring holiday in,  each country enforces many motoring rules and regulations to follow.  These range from speed limits, fines, traffic signs, motoring behaviours and expectations, passenger safety. compulsory equipment and many more.  So to make sure you’re prepared when driving in Germany, find out all you need to know below.

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You must be at least 18 years old to drive a temporarily imported car or motorcycle when driving in Germany.

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  • Your car insurance must have at least third-party cover.  So check your insurance policy before you travel. If you need to arrange your car insurance click here to get a quote and save more when you buy online.

 

  • It’s recommended to cover your car in the event of a breakdown when taking your car abroad.  With AA Europoean Breakdown Cover local garages across our European road network will be on standby should you experience any bumps on the road when driving anywhere in Europe.

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Plan your journey before you go with  AA Routeplanner to ensure you stay on the right track when driving in Germany.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”4. Fuel” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21229″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  • Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane) and diesel are widely available.
  • LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also referred to as simply propane or butane) is also available from over 5,000 stations.
  • Leaded petrol is not available, as it’s being phased out through the EU and indeed globally. But you can buy a lead substitute additive.
  • You are permitted to carry up to 10 litres of petrol in a can in your vehicle. However this is not permitted on board ferries.
  • Credit cards are accepted at most service stations but you should check with your credit card company for usage in Germany before travel.
  • E10 (petrol containing 10% Ethanol) is widely available in Germany. Although the fuel pumps are clearly marked it is not suitable for all vehicles.  Check with your car manufacturer before use or refer to European Car Manufacturers’ Association list here.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”5. Speed Limits” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text](Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers).  German speed limits operate in Kilometres per hour km/h.

  • Built-up areas 50 km/h (31 mph)
  • Outside built-up areas 100 km/h (62 mph)
  • Dual carriageways 130 km/h (80 mph) (recommended maximum)
  • Motorways/ Autobahn 130 km/h (80 mph) (recommended maximum)
  • You may only drive on German motorways if your vehicle has a design speed of more than 60 km/h (37mph).
  • In bad weather (visibility below 50m) the maximum speed limit is 50km/h (31 mph).
  • If you’ve got snow chains fitted the maximum speed limit is 50 km/h (31mph).

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  • Front and rear seat occupants must wear seat belts, if fitted.
  • All children aged under 12yrs and with a height less than 1.5m must be seated in a suitable child seat/restraint.
  • All children aged 3 years and over they must ride in the rear of the vehicle.
  • No rearward facing infant seats are allowed in the front of a vehicle which has an airbag. Check out our video on how to fit a child car seat correctly here.
  • Any child restraints/seats you use must conform to ECE 44/03 or ECE 44/04.
  • The driver is responsible for making sure that all children are safely restrained.
  • These laws also apply when riding in a taxi.

 

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  • We recommended that you use dipped headlights during the day. However you must use dipped headlights during the day if fog, snow or rain restricts your visibility and when in tunnels.
  • Driving with parking lights alone is prohibited
  • If you see a blinking yellow light at an intersection it means stop, then proceed if the intersection is clear. If you run a red light you’ll more than likely be caught. Many German intersections have radar-controlled cameras that are hooked up to traffic lights.

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  • During the winter you cannot and must not use summer tyres. Standard tyres fitted in Ireland are generally considered summer tyres and are not suitable for adverse winter weather conditions such as snow and ice.
  • Winter, or all season tyres will normally be marked with ‘M+S’, a snow flake or snowy mountains symbol. As some ‘M+S’ tyres sold in the Ireland are summer tyres, and thus would not meet German requirements, we would recommend that you check with your tyre supplier or manufacturer before you purchase/travel.

Tyres M&S

  • Using summer tyres in winter could result in a €60 fine and if your vehicle obstructs traffic as a result of incorrect tyres you will receive a further increased fine of €80. And you will not be allowed continue your journey unless you purchase the correct tyres in line with German regulations.
  • You must never use spiked tyres. These are completely forbidden.

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  • The legal alcohol limit is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of whole blood. Just how many drinks it takes to give a person a 0.5 blood alcohol count depends on size and other factors, but two small beers, a quarter of a litre of wine or a jigger of hard liquor will probably get one close.
  • Persons exceeding this limit will be fined and face a license suspension of up to three months for the first offense.
  • If you’re under 21 or have held your licence for less than 2 years there is a zero tolerance limit and you could be fined €250 if even a small amount of alcohol is detected.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”10. Fines” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21244″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  • Fines can be on-the-spot fine or in the form of a deposit.
  • If you refuse to pay your vehicle can be confiscated.
  • You could be fined for many offences including speeding, using abusive language and making derogatory signs.
  • Wheel clamps are not used in Germany but vehicles causing obstruction can be towed away.
  • Click here for a detailed list of traffic fines and violations that apply in Germany.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”11. Parking & Emission Zones” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]It is generally difficult to find a place to park during working hours, though in many cases you may be able to park in the evening at places where it’s barred during the day. Round signs with red borders and a blue interior and an “X” mean no parking or stopping whatsoever. Similar signs with a single diagonal line mean restricted parking, or parking for a limit of three minutes only. Signs with only a red border and white middle mean no vehicles of any type are permitted.

GermanyBe forewarned: German towing fees are very high!

Some German cities operate environmental zones in which access to some vehicles is restricted. These restricted areas are indicated by signs “Umweltzone” showing coloured vignettes (“Plakette”) – green, yellow and red.

If you intend driving in one of these restricted areas you will have to display a ‘Plakette’ (sticker) in your windscreen.  If you don’t you will be fined €80.

hu-plakette-botYou can get a ‘Plakette’ from technical inspection centres or approved garages in Germany and the colour of the ‘Plakette’ issued will depend on the type of engine and the Euro classification of the vehicle. You will have to present the vehicle registration certificate and pay a fee of 5 to 10 Euros.

The fee is a one-off charge and the ‘Plakette’ remains valid in any German City as long as it remains fixed in the vehicle. You cannot transfer it to another vehicle.

You can obtain a vignette before you travel but we recommend that allow plenty of time.  Click here to find out how to purchase one before you go.

Check out maps and detailed information of the environmental zone areas here.

If you haven’t got enough time to get the ‘Plakette’ before you travel, there are lots of testing stations throughout Germany where you can get one. You can visit the Dekra website and enter a postcode or street name to find the nearest testing station that they operate (this section of the DEKRA website is only available in German.)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”12. Motorcycles” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21251″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  • Motorcyclists must wear helmets and drive with the headlight on at all times
  • You must also wear a crash helmet when riding a trike or quadbike capable of more than 20km/h unless seat belts are fitted and worn.
  • The Germans also have a complicated right of way rule. Unless otherwise posted, the driver coming from the right at an intersection has the right of way. Just because you are on what looks to be a major road, you may not be on the “priority” road. A diamond-shaped sign (yellow in the centre surrounded by a white border) tells you if you are on a priority road.)

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  • Warning triangle

Not actually compulsory for visiting motorists but we strongly recommend that you do carry one, as all drivers must signal their vehicle in case of breakdown, and it is a compulsory requirement for German residents.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”21241″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

  • Reflective jacket

Not actually compulsory but recommended as drivers of German-registered vehicles must carry one.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”21370″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

  • First aid kit

Not actually compulsory, but recommended, as they are compulsory in German registered vehicles.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”21240″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”14. Other rules/requirements to be aware of” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  • We recommend that you carry a spare bulb kit.
  • If you are driving a slow-moving vehicle you must stop at suitable places and let others pass.
  • Motorists may not pass a bus that signals with its blinker that it is approaching one of its stops. Once the bus has stopped it’s OK to pass it, but at what the Germans call Schrittempo. This means moving so slowly that the needle on your speedometer doesn’t register.
  • You must not use radar detectors. If you have a gps or sat nav system that can show the location of speed cameras then this function must be disabled or the system must not be carried.
  • Traffic calming zones (Verkehrsberuhigungenzone), indicated by a sign showing a pedestrian and a child kicking a ball, are often found in residential areas. In them playing children may use the entire street and traffic must stop for pedestrians and move at no more than 7km/h.

Germany

  • If you’re involved in an accident, do not leave the scene. As the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident you must remain at the scene for at least 30 minutes before leaving, if alone. If you are involved in an accident with others, you must exchange personal and insurance information. Leaving the scene of an accident can lead to severe financial penalties and, depending on whether personal injury to others or extensive property damage is involved, you could be incarcerated or lose your license.
  • You must adapt your vehicle to winter weather conditions. This includes but is not limited to use of a suitable additive in windscreen washer fluid and winter tyres (as mentioned above). In extreme weather snow chains may be required too.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Image of hi-vis jacket used under Creative Commons BY SA License. Image Credit Diamond Rubber Products

Here’s some quick links to some other interesting articles about Germany you might also be interested in:

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21260″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”full” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/aa/insurance/european-breakdown-cover.aspx”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Germany

Best Places To Visit in Bavaria

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Beautiful Bavaria and Beyond

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Bavaria is the perfect place to visit thanks to its natural beauty and rich heritage. From the vibrant hub of Munich to the charming setting of the Bavarian Forest, this iconic region offers an atmosphere much different to that seen across other parts of Germany.

This independent spirit emerges in all kinds of ways, from the local delicacies – the famous white sausage and wheat beer – to the three distinct dialects that are spoken in the state. Such a large and varied area also has a great deal for the traveller to enjoy, so we’ve got together with Hertz to bring you some of Bavaria’s highlights.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Fairytale Castles

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19955″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]If you’ve ever wondered where Walt Disney found the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, then head down the A7 motorway from Nuremberg to Füssen, then take the B16 to Neuschwanstein Castle. This medieval-style palace stands high above the surrounding countryside with high towers and turrets. It was built in the 19th century by the reclusive King Ludwig II as a retreat where he wouldn’t be disturbed, however he passed away shortly before its completion, so the palace was opened to the public in 1886.

You’ll find another of his grand palaces at Herrenchiemsee, near to the Bernau exit of the A8. Set on an island in Bavaria’s largest lake, Ludwig took inspiration from Versailles as he set about transforming this old monastery into a palace fit for a king.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Fantastic Lakes and Forests

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19956″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]There are a multitude of beautiful lakes to explore in Bavaria, and you’ll find the most scenic of them at the Starnberger Fünf-Seen-Land (the land of five lakes) – 30 minutes from Munich along the A95 motorway.

The largest two are the Starnberger See and the Ammersee, with three smaller and more secluded lakes nearby. They all offer the opportunity for a refreshing dip in the cool waters, as well as water sports like sailing and windsurfing. If you prefer to stay on dry land, there’s a huge choice of walking and cycling trails to follow through the lakeside woodlands.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Magnificent Mountains

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19960″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Bavaria’s also home to the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, whose peak is nearly 3,000 metres above sea level.

Drive for just under two hours down the A95 from Munich to reach base camp, then you can reach the summit by cable car or by catching a cogwheel railway from the traditional alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Once there, you’ll be able to look out over the near-to 400 other spectacular peaks across Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, something that’s truly breath-taking.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Vibrant Cities

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Munich and Nuremberg are Bavaria’s two largest cities and are linked by the A9 motorway. The former is a combination of the traditional and the modern, featuring great art galleries and museums, while Nuremberg has grand architecture and for many centuries was a favoured destination for German kings.

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Wherever you’re planning to visit, Bavaria offers the freedom to explore. And with excellent roads and scenic surroundings, the travelling will all be part of the adventure.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With thanks to Hertz,  for providing us with all the wonderful places you should not miss if visiting Bavaria.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off and add an additional driver for free with Enterprise, Alamo and National Car Rental, our AA Rewards partner. To Get a quote or book here.[/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 European Breakdown Cover quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/European-Breakdown-Cover.aspx” background_image=”20100″ button_text_color=”#000000″ 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]

Categories
England Europe France Ireland Northern Ireland Uncategorised Wales

Why I Love Camping With Family – A Customer’s Story

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AA customer, Jennifer Browne, shares her experiences of camping with family and offers some top advice.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Camping with family started for us only as recently as August, 2015.  We were invited to visit with friends in the U.K. but were told once the flights etc. had been booked that we would be spending 2 nights camping as a group in Forest of Dean in Wales. We were told not to worry as we knew they were experienced campers who would show us the way and had everything we’d need for the experience. I was so reluctant to camp because I had never done it before. The thought of sleeping in a tent with only a thin piece of material separating me from the elements did not immediately appeal.

However, my family and I took to it like ducks to water and how things have changed. I now love camping and so does my family. What’s not to love; the outdoors, the easy way of living, the peace, the memories for the children. You just can’t beat it or put a price on it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Equipment is everything ” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#111111″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

As soon as we got home we bought our first tent, an eight man Vango which has so far proven to be a very good family tent. As our experiences of camping have evolved and so has our equipment list. We bought the matching awning for our tent which is very handy for rainy camping trips. You can take off wet rain coats and wellies in the awning to avoid getting the tent wet. Our most recent purchase was the camping fridge.  It’s so handy and I would totally recommend it.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”21060″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When it comes to camping with family, your equipment makes the difference between a memorable experience or wet, cold and miserable days that no one will look back on with fond memories. As such I would recommend the following items to make your tent feel like that home away from home:

  1. A ground sheet. It provides an extra layer of protection for you and your tent from the ground. It will also help lengthen the lifespan of your tent.
  2. Picnic blankets or carpeting for the floor inside the tent for extra comfort. There’s nothing nicer that sitting down and playing a game of cards with the kids last thing before you hit the sleeping bags.
  3. Blow up beds. We found that once you can afford the little bit of extra space these take up, then they’re a must have item for the best night’s sleep.
  4. Some compact fold up chairs.
  5. Sleeping Bags. Invest in a good quality sleeping bag for that extra sleeping comfort. Just check the season grading on the bags.  Generally a season 2 bag is great for spring/summer and provides that extra warmth for those cooler nights.  We even brought our own pillows – great comfort for the kids to guarantee a good nights sleep.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Preparation is key” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When preparing for your trip, get each family member to pack their own rucksack so they know where their own belongings are. This is great for teaching the kids to look after their stuff. Everyone knows the main things to bring camping, the tent (a good start), sleeping bag, chair, plate, cup, spork and a flash light. After that you’re into the luxuries.

Going on so many camping trips you get to pick up ideas weather it’s bringing new equipment or putting up or taking down the tent.  It’s very much a team effort.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Camping highlights” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#f2c02b” title_color=”#000000″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

When camping with family, there are some amazing experiences and adventures to be had and every family or couple should take what they want from camping. But, the best things for me and my family about camping are:

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  1. Escaping the busy day to day life to the peaceful, quite country side.
  2. Learning to appreciate and experience the outdoors.
  3. Spending true quality time as a family.
  4. Having fun cooking outdoors.
  5. Learning new skills.
  6. Doing it all on a budget. Camping is very affordable.

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Finally, our most memorable trip so far was to a beautiful four star campsite in Co. Wexford called Morriscastle Strand Holiday Park. When we arrived, not knowing what to expect, we were met by friendly staff who managed the family run site since 1969. The pitches were well layed out and sheltered, the facilities were top notch and spotless and best of all, the beautiful beach and sand dunes were right next to us. We have had some great trips so far and we look forward to trips that are yet to come.

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With thanks to Jennifer Browne, an AA Car Insurance and Membership customer,  for sharing her camping journey and giving us real insight into  great tips and benefits of camping.

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Some useful links:

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Are you an AA customer?

Keep an eye out for regular Great Outdoors offers too with AA Rewards perfect for all your outdoor activities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20899″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/aa/aa-rewards/welcome.aspx” img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Uncategorised

Win Annual Travel Insurance and a €300 Car Hire Voucher

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We are giving away three AA Annual Travel Insurance policies plus three €300 Hertz car hire vouchers to ensure you and your family are covered when travelling in Europe.

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The prize is: 

 

  1. Three Hertz vouchers to give away to three lucky winners, where each gives free 3 day weekend Hertz car hire across Europe.  Each voucher is valid until 31st December 2017 and is valued at €300.
  2. That’s not all, we’re also giving each of the three winners a whole year’s free AA Travel Insurance for them or their family.

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COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”grid” 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_column_text]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Congratulations to our winners Anthony McCarthy, Rhoda Boyle and Christopher Hayden.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off Hertz car hire with AA Rewards.  To find out more click here.

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Categories
England Europe France Ireland Italy Northern Ireland Portugal Scotland Spain Wales

Win a €300 Car Hire Voucher From Hertz

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Win one of two Hertz car hire vouchers 

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Hertz are giving two lucky people the chance to win a 3 day weekend car hire voucher for anywhere in Europe, each worth €300.

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The prize is: Two Hertz vouchers to give away to two lucky winners, where each voucher gives free 3 day weekend Hertz car hire anywhere in Europe.  Each voucher is valid until 31st December 2017 and is valued at €300.

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COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

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Congratulations to our 2 Winners:

 

  1. Neil Jackman from Tipperary
  2. Caroline Ryan

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/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” video=”show_video” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” video_mp4=”http://www.theaa.ie/travelhub/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Brando-AA-Tomato-Fight-Radio-40-Rev-05-04-16-1.mp3″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”20337″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_3d” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travelhub/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Brando-AA-Tomato-Fight-Radio-40-Rev-05-04-16-1.mp3″][/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” video=”show_video” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” video_overlay=”show_video_overlay” background_image=”20337″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

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Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off Hertz car hire with AA Rewards.  To find out more click here.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”19898″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium” link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/AA-Rewards/Welcome.aspx”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_js]

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Categories
Spain

Top Day Trips To Take From Madrid

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Staying in Madrid? We’ve teamed up with Hertz to give you five of the best day trips to take from Madrid. 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The crowning capital of Spain is a vibrant metropolis bursting at the seams with history and culture. But it’s more than a destination in its own right as Madrid, located at the heart of the country, is also the perfect gateway to explore further afield.

Whether you want to discover the Orange Blossom Coast of Valencia or the Gothic architecture of Seville this summer, here we explore five of the best day trips from Madrid, thanks to Hertz.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Zaragoza

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A three hour drive north-east of Madrid will take you to the capital of Aragon, Zaragoza. Located on the banks of the River Ebro, Spain’s fifth-largest city offers long views out over the valley. Discover Roman ruins, a turreted castle, freshwater aquarium and thriving café culture.

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Sierra Morena

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Located 300km south of Madrid in Andalusia, is the dramatic Sierra Morena mountain range and natural park where you’ll want to get out of your car and take in the vast views. If you like to hike, there’s a useful visitor centre with details on trails to follow. There’s also an animal sanctuary that is home to wild boars and deer, while wild lynx and wolves have been spotted in the area.

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Cuenca

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A 165km drive south-east of Madrid will take you to the historic walled city of Cuenca, an important UNESCO World Heritage site with Moorish history, a Gothic cathedral and an ‘overhanging house’ situated precariously on the cliff tops.

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Serranía de Cuenca

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Keeping with the theme of Spain’s mountain ranges, Cuenca is also the gateway to one of the country’s finest national parks. Perfect for those with a sense of adventure as you can explore the rivers and waterfalls, or head into the mountains for a bird’s eye view of the city.

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Salamanca

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Drive 215km north-west of Madrid and you’ll come to Salamanca, a charming city renowned for its cultural heritage and home to Spain’s oldest university. The place comes into its own on a summer’s evening when the last rays of sunshine light up its sandstone buildings, and cast a golden glow onto the streets.

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From picture postcard views of the mountains to exploring the streets of Medieval Spain, there’s plenty for you to see and do this summer with a holiday to Madrid.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With thanks to Hertz, our AA Rewards Hertz Car Hirepartner, for providing us with five worth while day trips from Madrid.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off Hertz car hire.  Get a quote or book your car hire here.[/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 European Breakdown Cover quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/European-Breakdown-Cover.aspx” background_image=”20100″ button_text_color=”#000000″ 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]

Categories
Italy

The Complete Driving Guide to The Italian Lakes

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Exploring the Italian Lakes with Hertz. The complete driving guide from Brescia to Milan.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With Brescia nestled at the foot of the Alps and nearby Milan leading the way with its cosmopolitan cool, northern Italy is a region of contrasts. And it doesn’t stop there as sandwiched between these two cities you’ll find the beautiful Italian lakes, home to picturesque towns and restaurants with a view.

To truly take in the splendour, wind your way north of Brescia towards Milan. In the town of Erbusco, you’ll enjoy idyllic views of the mountains, local delicacies and dishes that will tantalize your palate. Below we explore the best locations to stop off on a road trip, as put together by Hertz.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Erbusco

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full” image=”20127″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]You’ll find Erbusco a short 10km drive south of Lake Iseo. Famed for its rolling hills and Franciacorta vineyards, the town is perfect for a rural retreat in Northern Italy. Tour the vineyards – up there with the best in the country – and sample authentic dishes made in the town’s farmhouses and local cafes.

Visiting the Albereta Relais & Châteaux is a must. This neo-Renaissance architectural gem can be found at the centre of the Franciacorta region. Heading west along the A4/E64 will take you to neighboring Brusaporto. This is the place for foodies and Da Vittorio is the highlight, thanks to the culinary wizardry of the Cerea brothers casting gourmet spells on your palate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Lake Como

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Head north-west on the SS342 from Brusaporto through Bergamo to Lake Como, perhaps northern Italy’s most beautiful spot of open water. With meandering country paths climbing through the hills and stunning views out on the lake, this is the place for those who love the outdoors. The banks of Lake Como are lined with a mixture of popular holiday resorts and picture postcard villages, with visitors able to enjoy the shoreline locations and even take to the lake itself for water sports and boat trips.

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Orta San Giulio

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”20132″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Orta San Giulio is the ideal stop-off town if you’re looking to take a break from your road trip around Italy’s lakes. As you head along the E62 towards the city, visiting Lake Maggiore and the Barromean Islands offers an excellent opportunity for exploration.

Enjoy the tranquility of Isola dei Pescatori as you indulge in the local seafood – with all the fish caught locally from the still waters. Once you reach Orta San Giulio, prepare yourself for a taste of stunning architecture.

Have lunch in the Turkish-inspired Villa Crespi, before wandering the pebbled inner-Piazza Motta streets to explore the city. You’ll find the Sacro Monte UNESCO World Heritage Site here too, which began construction in the 16th Century.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Soriso Novara

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” image=”20131″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]An absolute must-visit for seafood lovers, Soriso Novara’s Lake Orta is renowned for fish. From pike to perch, spend an afternoon casting your line out onto the open waters or trying out the catch of the day at one of the many waterfront restaurants. For a break from this tranquil lakeside spot, head into the hills and visit the Basilica of San Guilio. This Roman masterpiece is steeped in history, with the pulpit made out of beautiful black stone.

Leaving Soriso Novara and taking the A8/E62 south to Milan will mark the end of your lakeside road trip. But from the tranquil Orta to the splendour of Como, you’ll have experienced a true taste of Northern Italy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With thanks to Hertz, our AA Rewards Hertz Car Hirepartner, for providing us with everything you need to know about exploring the Italian Lakes.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer and planning to hire a car when abroad, you’re entitled to up to 10% off Hertz car hire.  Get a quote or book your car hire here.[/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 European Breakdown Cover quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/European-Breakdown-Cover.aspx” background_image=”20100″ button_text_color=”#000000″ 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_raw_html]

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Categories
France

The Best Châteaux In The Loire Valley

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With hundreds of châteaux to choose from, we’ve teamed up with Hertz to give you the top 3 must sees.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When the kings of France started to build their châteaux in the Loire Valley several centuries ago, it started something of a craze which saw many other noblemen aspire to make their grand architectural plans into a reality, and position themselves close to the seat of power.

As a result, you’ll find more than 300 spectacular castles lining a 280km stretch of the River Loire. With natural beauty and a warm climate, it’s no surprise the region was a popular location for the French aristocracy. The Loire Valley is also known as the Garden of France, home to countless vineyards as well as fields as far as the eye can see growing cherries, artichokes and asparagus.

With over 100 châteaux open to the public, knowing which ones to visit can be quite a challenge, so we’ve worked with Hertz to choose a few of the very best for you, as well as a few more must-sees.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Château de Chambord

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19882″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Head down the A10 and take the Blois turn-off to discover the largest of the region’s châteaux. It was started by King Francois in 1519 and was eventually completed by Louis XIV in the mid-17th century. Built in the French Renaissance style using white limestone, it’s an undeniably imposing sight, even though its original purpose was only to be a hunting lodge.

Today it’s not just the château that’s open to visitors, you can also enjoy boat trips on the lake and horse and carriage rides through the grounds. There are also a number of gîtes you can rent on site which can sleep up to six people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19951″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]One of the most romantic and fairytale castles of the region, Château d’Azay-le-Rideauis is easily reached via the N10 from Poitiers. It sits on the island of another of the area’s rivers, the Indre, and its reflection in the water that surrounds it makes it an even more enchanting vision.

Nearby, there is one of the area’s many affordable restaurants, L’Aigle d’Or, which serves local cuisine and offers a very reasonable ‘prix fixe’ menu for around 30 euros.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Château de Villandry

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19943″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Many of the castles have stunning formal gardens and perhaps the most impressive are at Château de Villandry, just a short drive down the D952 from Tours. The gardens were extensively re-designed after 1906 when de Villandry was restored, and today there is a maze, ornamental gardens, parterres as well as a spectacular area dedicated to growing vegetables.

Along with many other of the region’s chateaux, there are stunning son et lumière displays on evenings throughout the summer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Great cities too…

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”19948″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Visit Nantes, the original capital of Brittany, and you’ll find that this former shipbuilding city is an exciting cultural hub, while Orléans has a brilliant art museum and a spectacular cathedral too.

Then there are all the vineyards to visit which produce predominantly white wines including Muscadet, Sancerre and Vouvray – and just driving from one to another will give you plenty of opportunities to enjoy some of France’s most beautiful scenery.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]With thanks to Hertz, our AA Rewards partner, for providing us with all the information in choosing the best Chateaux to see when visiting The Loire Valley, “The Garden of France”.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer, you get to up to 10% off and add an additional driver for free with Enterprise, Alamo and National Car Rental, our AA Rewards partner. To get a quote or book click here.

And don’t forget to take out travel insurance, available with the AA from just €24.99.[/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 European Breakdown Cover quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Insurance/European-Breakdown-Cover.aspx” background_image=”20100″ button_text_color=”#000000″ 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]

Categories
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Best Books To Read This Summer For All The Family

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Check out Easons top books for all the family to read this summer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time to plan those long anticipated summer holidays.

Whether you’re jetsetting across Europe or stay-cationing in your very own backyard, a good book is the perfect accessory to any summer holiday.

To help alleviate the search for the best picks, we’ve teamed up with Easons.com to give you a round-up of this summer’s most anticipated releases, for all the family. From eagerly awaited follow-ups to new releases from bestselling authors, the below titles will help you escape this Summer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Books For The Kids

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 1.   Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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In her seventh novel, international bestselling author and twice winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo tells a masterful story that blends pathos and humour. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father – who has run away with a dental hygienist – will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.

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2.    Broken Hearts Club by Cathy Cassidy

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A brand new standalone book! Is it ever too late to mend a broken heart? Andie, Eden, Ryan, Tasha and Hasmita love being part of the Heart Club. They’ve promised to stay best friends forever and nothing can tear them apart. But sometimes things happen that you couldn’t ever have expected and forever might not be as long as you think. Now, two years later, Eden and Ryan are haunted by memories of the past. Can they find a way to bring the club back together or is it too late to mend a broken heart?

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3.    Apollo 1 by Rick Riordan

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After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

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4.   Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

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Look out! Tom, Delia and the whole Gates family are going on holiday. How will Tom manage to keep himself busy on the most boring campsite ever? By doodling, of course! An exciting new story – with doodle your own elements! – from award-winning and best-selling author Liz Pichon.

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Young Adult Recommendations

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1.   Desolation by Derek Landy

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THE EPIC NEW THRILLER CONTINUES. Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master. Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose. And that night is coming.

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2.   Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

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Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED. In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

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3.    Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

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Centred on the story of a Leaving Cert student, Emma (18), who lives in a rural town in Ireland, Asking For It is about what happens to her one night at a party, an incident that changes the course of her life. Filled with uncertainties and perspectives, this is brave and clever writing from a relatively new voice in Irish fiction.

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4.    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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The stunning sequel to Sarah J. Maas’ New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses. Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court – but at a steep cost. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms – and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future – and the future of a world cleaved in two.

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Books For Him

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1.   The Last Mile by Baldacci David

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Memories can be a real killer Melvin Mars awaits his fate on Death Row. He was one of America’s most promising football stars until, aged twenty-years-old, he was arrested and convicted for the murder of his parents just as he was due to begin a very lucrative contract with the NFL. A race against time ensues because, when revealed, that information threatens to tear apart the corridors of power at the very highest level. The case proves to be life-changing for both Mars and Decker in ways that neither could ever have imagined.

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2.   World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

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He has everything he could possibly want; money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity. But in a town that runs on corruption, vengeance and greed, success can’t protect Joe from the dark truth of his past — and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full . . . Chilling, heart-breaking and gripping, this is the most complex and powerful novel to date from Dennis Lehane, writer on The Wire and author of modern classics such as Shutter Island ,Gone, Baby, Gone and The Given Day .

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3.   The Hurley Maker’s Son by Patrick Deeley

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Galway, 1978. In the wake of his father’s passing, Deeley makes the slow, sad journey home. Remembering the tiny, precious moments of his childhood spent in his father’s hurley-making workshop and at his mother’s side, this is a beautifully evocative memoir, reminiscent of John McGahern’s Memoir.

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4.   A Time of Torment by John Connolly

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Parker is not like other men. He died, and was reborn. He is ready to wage war. Now he will descend upon a strange, isolated community called the Cut, and face down a force of men who rule by terror, intimidation, and murder. All in the name of the being they serve. All in the name of the Dead King.

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Keep an eye out in May for…

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Books For Her

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1.    All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

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Tess Taylor is gearing up for a wedding day to remember. And nothing is going to get in her way. That is, until an unexpected summons arrives completely out of the blue for jury service. Kate King, celebrity socialite, is going through a very public divorce. On the surface, the two women couldn’t be more different, but their worlds collide as the courtroom drama unfolds. And lessons in love and friendship await them both.

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2.    One with You by Sylvia Day

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The final chapter in the global blockbuster Crossfire quintet Gideon Cross. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free . . . or break us apart. Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

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3.   The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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A one-in-a-million story for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and think about how extraordinary ordinary life can be. Not to be missed by readers who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, ELIZABETH IS MISSING or THE SHOCK OF THE FALL.

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4.   Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

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This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray. Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, ELIGIBLE both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

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Keep an eye out in May for…

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With thanks to Easons.com, our AA Rewards partner, for providing us with all the best new reads this summer for all the family.  These are sure to keep everyone entertained over the summer holidays.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”20282″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”full” link=”http://www.easons.com/”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Easons’ are giving all readers 10% off online purchases.  Just click here to start shopping and enter the promotion code: “AASUMMER10

 

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA customer, you’re entitled to regular discount on Easons.com.  To find out more click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/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/AA/Insurance/Travel-Insurance.aspx” background_image=”20216″ button_text_color=”#000000″ 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]