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10 summer driving hazards to avoid

Summer driving has its own set of challenges whether you’re on home ground or not. High temperatures, increased stress levels, and extra demands on your car are all par for the course, so make sure you read our advice to stay safe on the road.

Wet or lost key fobs

It’s easy to lose your car keys in the sand, or ruin your remote control with water by accidentally taking the fob for a swim.

Keep your keys safe and dry and check your handbook – on most cars, there’s an alternative way to open the doors that you can use if the remote stopped working.

If you do need a replacement car key or key fob, call AA Keycare on 0818 646 004. Our specialist service means you’ll have access to a nationwide network of locksmiths.

Punctures

If your tyres are already damaged or they’re at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of summer will increase the risk of a blowout.

Make sure you check tyres regularly – for condition and pressures – and increase pressures to suit extra loads, as advised in your handbook.

Check caravan tyres too, and replace those that show any signs of cracking in the sidewall or tread grooves.

Overheating

When driving in hot climates, high temperatures can aggravate cooling system problems too. It’s important to check the coolant and cooling system regularly to avoid overheating.

Glare

Dazzle from the sun causes lots of accidents but you can reduce the effect by keeping your windscreen nice and clean, and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers.

It pays to keep a clean pair of sunglasses in your car year-round but avoid lenses that darken in strong sunlight.

Driving tired

If you feel tired, stop and take a short nap (up to 15 minutes) or drink two cups of strong coffee.

It’s best to avoid getting tired in the first place if you can. These tips can help:

  • Include a 20-minute break in journeys of more than 3 hours
  • On longer trips, take a break every couple of hours
  • You’re better off taking several short (at least 20 minutes) stops than one long one
  • Don’t drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal before driving
  • Don’t stop for a nap on the hard shoulder, and make sure you check parking restrictions before putting your head down at a motorway service area as you could get a ticket for overstaying your welcome.

Hayfever

If your hayfever is particularly bad, it’s best to get someone else to drive if you can. Also:

  • Make sure any medication you’re taking doesn’t cause drowsiness
  • Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car
  • Clean mats and carpets regularly to get rid of dust
  • Keep tissues close to hand
  • Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight

Loose chippings

Roads repaired with tar and loose chippings are a common sight in the summer but they can cause cracked headlamps and windscreens, and damage paintwork if you’re not careful. Stick to any temporary speed limit that’s been put in place and keep your distance from the car in front.

Fire

If you’re a smoker, don’t just throw your cigarette out of the window when you’ve finished it. Verges and embankments can become bone-dry and a smouldering cigarette may be enough to ignite roadside grass.

Tractors

The driver of that slow-moving tractor in front of you may have a soundproofed cab or could be wearing ear protectors, so may not be able to hear approaching cars.

Be aware that tractors only have to have brake or indicator lights if driving at night, so they may stop or turn suddenly and without warning in daylight hours.

When you’re driving in the countryside:

  • Keep plenty of distance behind a tractor
  • Remember that a tractor may be longer than it appears – there could be a loader on the front
  • Before overtaking, make sure you have plenty of room to get past

Avoid a breakdown this summer

  • Slow down if you come across a spillage – if you hit a bale of straw at speed you will damage your car
  • Don’t park in a gateway or passing place – they are farmers’ field access points
  • Drive extra carefully after rain, which can turn dry mud into a skid pan
  • And don’t forget that if you do experience a breakdown AA Rescue fixes 8 out of 10 vehicles on the spot. Meanwhile, if you’re planning to drive across Europe this summer, remember that with AA European Breakdown Cover local garages across our European road network will be on standby should you experience any bumps on the road.

Looking for ways to keep your driving costs down ahead of the summer? With AA Car Insurance you can receive an automatic €100 discount on any policy purchased online.

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Featured Las Vegas USA

Las Vegas – All you need to know for your trip

On August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip, Irish UFC hero Conor McGregor will fight Floyd Mayweather in what will surely be a historic boxing match. If you’re thinking about heading over, we’ve got all the details you need to plan what will be a definitely be memorable trip, no matter what the outcome of the bout may be.

Getting there:

Currently, there are no direct routes from Dublin to Las Vegas. One of the most popular ways and easiest for Irish people to get to Vegas is to fly from Dublin or Shannon to JFK in New York and get a connecting flight from there to Vegas. You can also fly from Dublin or Shannon to London and then on to Las Vegas. Alternatively, you could fly to California and get a flight, rent a car or bus it to Vegas from there. Aer Lingus have a number of different direct flights to American cities and offer connecting flight to Vegas so you can work out which option suits you best. You’ll also need an ESTA in order to get into the country.

 

The ESTA is an electronic registration system requiring travellers who are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to register in advance of travelling to the US. You should register through the Department of Homeland Security website, where you will have to pay a fee (currently $14).
Registration can be done by third parties on your behalf, such as travel agencies, and multiple applications can be completed and paid for in one transaction.

You can submit an ESTA application at any time prior to travel – the Department of Homeland Security recommends that it be submitted at least 72 hours in advance of travel. Once approved, it will be valid for multiple entries into the US and generally for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

  • If you don’t get authorisation to travel you’ll need to go to your nearest US Diplomatic or Consular Mission and apply for a visa.
  • An ESTA approval does not determine admissibility into the US. The final decision for entry to the US rests with immigration authorities at the port of entry.
  • The ESTA programme does not apply if you have a visa for the US.
  • Children, including infants, who are endorsed on a parent’s passport must have an individual machine-readable passport or else obtain a visa in the parent’s passport.
  • In most cases, to enter the US, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter. However, Ireland has an agreement with the US that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration – so your Irish passport needs to be valid only for the duration of your stay in the US.
  • However, if you’re travelling visa-free on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and your passport is valid for less than 90 days, you will be admitted only until the date on which the passport expires. If the passport is not valid for the duration of your stay, you must apply for a new passport from your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate while in the US.

Information gathered via The Department of Foreign Affairs

 

Getting around:

Most of Vegas is accessible on foot. However, the Las Vegas Strip is 4 miles long so public transport is a better option for most. Buses on the strip are very easily accessible and run 24/7, every 15 – 20 minutes. You can also travel the strip by monorail, which has trains arriving every 4-8 minutes and runs Monday 7am – 12 midnight, Tuesday through Thursday 7am – 2am and Friday through Sunday 7am-3am.

 

Things to do:

You’ll never run out of things to do in Las Vegas, it just depends on how long you’re there for. Here’s just a couple of things we recommend doing while in Sin City:

vegas

Place a bet: No trip to Vegas would be complete without a little gambling. Try your hand at one of the thousands of slot machines around or have a go at red or black. If you’re feeling more confident, take a seat at one of the more serious tables in any of the hotel casinos.

Watch the Dancing Waters Fountain Show at the Bellagio: One of the best free attractions in Vegas. Over 1,200 water cannons dance to music in the lake in front of the hotel, reaching highs of over 400ft. They take place every 15-30 minutes until midnight, depending on the time of year.

vegas

SlotZilla Zip line: One for the thrill seekers! This zip line flies you over downtown Las Vegas. It has two different height levels, depending on how daring you feel. Prices vary from $20 to $45.

Go to a pool party: Dayclubbing is a phenomenon which has really developed in Las Vegas in the last few years. What better way to cool off from the intense Vegas heat by partying it up poolside with some of the world’s best known DJs? Some of the most popular are Encore Beach Club, Drais Beach Club and Wet Republic at MGM Grand. A full schedule of DJ sets and venues is available here.

See a show: Whether you’re interested in concerts, magic, sport, cirque, comedy or musicals, Vegas has a show for you. Most hotels have venues in their establishments with nightly entertainment from some of the world’s best performers. Full schedules and ticket information is available here.

Visit The Hoover Dam: The Hoover Dam is one of the largest in the world and is just an hour from Las Vegas. Tours go daily from most of the hotels on the strip.

vegas

Before travelling, it’s recommended that you take out annual multi-trip travel insurance. This will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

If you’re planning to rent a car while in the US, and you’re an AA customer, you can get up to 10% off and an additional driver added free with Enterprise, Alamo and National Car Rental. Click here for more information.

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England Featured France Germany Italy Northern Ireland Scotland Spain USA Wales

Avoiding a Medical Emergency Abroad

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There are plenty of steps travellers can take in advance of a trip away to minimise financial costs and the inevitable stress that comes with a medical emergency abroad. We’ve listed below some incredibly simple steps to take ensuring everyone has a safe and enjoyable trip.

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See your doctor before you go

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It’s a good idea to get a medical check-up from your doctor before you go. If you’re planning on taking part in strenuous physical activities such as hiking or skiing, pay a visit to your doctor to make sure you’re in good shape for it. (And don’t forget to check with your travel insurance provider that these activities are covered under your policy.) Consider whether you need vaccinations for your destination, too. In an AA study, 23% of males aged 17-24 years old told us they needed medical attention whilst abroad compared to just 15% of women in the same age bracket. So once you pay a visit to the doctor, tell your partner/dad/brother to do the same!

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Medical care at your destination

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Learning about the quality of medical care at your destination means you’ll know what to expect should you need it. For example, in Spain there are two types of health establishments you can visit depending on the severity and type of illness – a hospital and a health centre (Centro de Salud). For serious illnesses or injuries, it’s expected that you would visit a hospital, but for instances not requiring immediate hospitalisation the Centro de Salud is your best bet. Knowing information such as this allows you to make sound judgments about what type of treatment you need.

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Know how to seek medical care

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Do you know how to call for help in a foreign country? It’s not something you even think of amongst the flurry of packing and printing out flight tickets, but it could prove to be the most vital. Click here for a map that shows local emergency telephone numbers from around the world.

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Carry health information

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]You might know your blood type and that you’re allergic to peanuts, but what about other background information like medications or previous surgeries? These could be crucial to a doctor giving you emergency treatment.

And while it’s wise to carry your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) with you if you’re travelling to Europe, be aware that it won’t cover for things like an air ambulance home if someone is in serious trouble, which can cost up to €20,000.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Check your insurance

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People often think medical care isn’t included in their travel insurance policy, but a lot of the time it is and they just don’t know. Check your policy to ensure you’re getting value for money and sufficient coverage. The AA provides unlimited medical cover for Members who have an extra Travel policy, meaning there are no restrictions on the amount you can claim.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]For more information on AA Travel Insurance, please click here.

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USA

Important Rule for Irish passport-holders Travelling to US

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If you’re jetting off to the United States this summer there is an important rule that Irish passport-holders need to be aware of.

[/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]As of 01 April 2016, all Irish passport-holders who travel to the United States via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must have a valid electronic passport. An electronic passport contains a chip, which holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page, like your name and date of birth. It also contains a biometric identifier which recognises your distinctive characteristics.

The rule applies even to passport holders who have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

[/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]What if I don’t have a valid electronic passport?

You’re still eligible to travel to the United States with a valid non-immigrant visa issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate; travellers must appear for an interview in the U.S. Embassy beforehand to obtain one of these. If a holiday isn’t on the cards, the U.S. Embassy advise that you still pay the non-immigrant visa application fee, fill out the DS-160 non-immigrant visa application form and schedule a visa appointment. If you have a holiday planned and your situation is a little more urgent, you can request an expedited visa appointment.[/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]How do I apply for ESTA?

Those travelling to the US can apply for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) on the official U.S. government website here.  The charge is $14.00 U.S. dollars for any authorized application and $4.00 for any application that is not authorized.[/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]

If you’re driving in the USA check out our guide for some top tips here.

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Europe Featured USA

7 Travel Tips for First-Time Backpackers

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We’ve teamed up with the Great Outdoors to give some expert advice for first-time backpackers.

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Just like in Douglas Adams Hitch-hiker’s guide books, the best piece of advice we can give to first time back packers is to always carry a towel, if you plan to trek a lot, then best to carry two. You wouldn’t want to need the same towel to do your face and feet now would you, just saying.

[/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=”2. Kit up” 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]WASH KIT

It’s important to bring the essentials; shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a razor, hand sanitiser/wet wipes. To keep it all safe, make sure to keep all your items in a water-proof wash kit bag or a zip lock bag.  You don’t want any of these leaking into your bag.

 

FIRST AID KIT

Remember to bring plasters, lip balm with UV protection, appropriate sun cream, antiseptic cream/wipes & any other medicine that you currently take. If your travels are bringing you into a malaria zone, for us, deet is the only way to go. It prevents a mosquito bite developing into something worse than an itchy rash. There’s plenty of different strengths to suit most skin types but do your research first to ensure the memories aren’t the only thing you take home from your tropical escape.  If you’re trekking, iodine tablets (with taste remover) or Chlorine tablets to purify water are sometimes handy too.

If you’re a couple it would be best practice to share a wash kit and medical kit.  There’s no point in doubling up on items.[/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=”3. Bring the essentials” 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]

If you’re sharing a hostel on your travels then ear plugs are a must! A travel sink plug is also a consideration, because not all hostel sinks come with one and how else would you give your face a good wash and a cotton sleeper wouldn’t do any harm either, after all, when was the last time that hostel mattress got a good cleaning. It’s also useful to also pack a small LED torch/headlamp, a universal travel plug adaptor and a money belt.

[/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. Keep your documents safe” 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]

Take colour photocopies of everything important. Certificate of all vaccinations, passports, traveller cheque numbers, travel insurance, drivers licence etc.  Save them on your mobile device and keep photocopied versions safe in your money wallet.

[/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. Clothing and Footwear ” 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 it comes to footwear, there is a lot to consider. If you are trekking through rainforest, then you might think that waterproof footwear might be the safest and while that might be the right choice for damp Irish days on the hills, rainforests are very humid and the rainshowers are very heavy. This can mean that your feet overheat while walking and rainwater can potentially run down your super wet legs and directly into your shoes. We would recommend a well vented trek shoe from Merrell or Salomon or a closed toe sandal from Keen or Teva.

As for clothing, there are so many options. Keeping in mind, the whole “travel light” theme. Choose your wardrobe for exactly where you’re going. Do some research on the weather for the time of year and when picking your outfits, be mindful of fabrics that wash well, washing clothes is not only a western world thing.[/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_accordion style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Warm weather”][vc_column_text]

Choose loose fitting clothing, and check SPF factors too, yes, sun rays can penetrate clothing so if you’re going light, take a look and see how the fabrics hold up in strong sunlight. Lots of brands rate their clothes with SPF factors and we can recommend both Columbia and Craghoppers At this point, it’s worth nothing that some brands impregnate their clothing with mosquito repellents, take a look at the Craghoppers Nosquito range. Also, be aware of long sleeve and short sleeve clothing and not just for protecting against sunburn, but leeches and ticks too, especially on jungle or swamp treks. And never discount the usefulness of a bandana of a neck tube, we would recommend Buff ourselves. Wear it to keep the sun off your head/neck or just to mop the sweat off your brow, a fine multi-functional piece of kit indeed! For wet weather, you might be tempted to opt for the most breathable of fabrics but bear in mind that they work best when the air inside your jacket is heated up warmer than the air outside, hence their lack of success in warm/humid climates. In fact a poncho and quick drying clothing would be a better combination.

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The most important aspect of being outdoors in cold weather is layering. Bring one outer layer that is suitably warm for where you’re going, ie jacket and lined trousers and then one mid layer for your upper body, ie fleece/light insulation, use synthetic or wool tops/tees/shirts as layers underneath and then bring a couple of comfortable base layers as these are the ones that will need changing/cleaning the most. There’s lots of choice to suit all types of budgets but the most important factor to consider when choosing clothes for colder climates is, “does it contain cotton?”. Cotton is a no no when it comes to keeping warm. Cotton likes to hold onto moisture, just think about how your bath towel gets more wet while you get more dry, and then think what a cotton polo neck would do to your warm, insulating and wicking layers whilst being active out in the cold. That’s it, everything grinds to a halt. We would recommend wool layers like those from Icebreaker or synthetic “Lifa” layers from Helly Hansen. There’s so many technologies out there and who doesn’t love a bit of science?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][/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=”6. Pack light” 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]You’re going away to try new things so there’s no point bringing all your things along. A week sightseeing shouldn’t need an 80litre rucksack. Try a smaller bag, discipline yourself to pack for carry on. No more checking loads of bags in or hanging around at carousels when you’ve landed.

A daypack/small backpack or tote/shoulder bag is also a great idea.  Just ensure it’s not big and rigid.  It’s easier to pack if it’s flat and flexible.

Packing TIP:  Pack the things you will use often and need to access regularly at the top and the things you will hardly use at the bottom.  If your pack is full it can be difficult to get to things without pulling other stuff out too if not packed correctly.

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If you’re going to put locks on your bags, you know, for peace of mind and stuff, then use a TSA lock. They’re the ones that the airport security have special keys to open during bag checks. You wouldn’t want to buy a lock and then have the airport security bust it open or worse still, bust open your bag or case.

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Ask the experts

If you have any questions and need to ask an expert wherever you’re travelling or whatever your adventure, ask the Great Outdoors team here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20899″ alignment=”right” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”287×84″ link=”http://www.greatoutdoors.ie/”][/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]

Are you an AA customer?

Keep an eye out for regular Great Outdoors offers too with AA Rewards.[/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″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” background_color=”#0a0a0a” background_image=”18625″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travel”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Featured Florida New York USA

Guide to driving in the USA

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Driving in the USA is both a sensible and convenient way to get around what is an enormous country. From obtaining your International Driving Permit to abiding traffic laws, find out all you need to know about driving Stateside with our handy guide.

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Shop around for car hire

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]If you’re driving in the USA, there are lots of choices and every airport has a huge selection of car hire companies operating there or nearby. You don’t have to go with the first option. Hertz offer 10% off pre-paid rates for all AA members.

Also be aware that many car hire companies in the USA are geared towards American drivers and so won’t offer car insurance in their total price. Make sure you know what you’re buying, and always ask about insurance if it’s not obvious that it is included in your full cost.[/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_column_text]

The Ts & Cs of hiring a car

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Make sure you have the answers to the below before you drop any dollars on hiring a vehicle.

  • Do you have to pay for a child car seat?
  • Do you need to have a full tank when returning the vehicle?
  • Are you of the correct age requirement to take out the vehicle?

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Choose wisely

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While a Ford Mustang convertible is tempting remember that you’ll need luggage space, too. SUVs are ideal for families and cost around the same to run in the US as a small car here – just be prepared to exercise caution when parking.

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Automatic Transmission

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Familiarise yourself with an automatic transmission; they are easier to use than our “stick-shifts” but it’s still a good idea to borrow a friend’s automatic car for a quick spin around on a quiet road before you go Stateside. It will make it less of a surprise when you’ve potentially got so many other “firsts” on the day you rent the car.

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Driver’s licence

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Get an International Driving Permit (IDP); it’s an internationally-recognised document that accompanies your Irish/EU driving licence and ensures you’ll be accepted as a qualified driver by the authorities across the US. IDPs are issued on behalf of the State by the AA and the fee is €15 (inclusive of admin/postal delivery charge).

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Motor insurance

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Car rental companies will offer whatever basic insurance is required in the state you’re renting but will try to sell you a more comprehensive level of cover, often at extortionate prices. The basic insurance often just covers you with an enormous excess, so search for deals on car hire excess insurance before you leave – many companies will cover you to that higher level for a fraction of the price.

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Traffic laws

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Familiarise yourself with traffic laws; most of the signs on US roads are either familiar or self-explanatory but no-one will explain a California 4-way stop to you before handing you the car keys, so ensure you know all about the unique customs and practices in whichever state you’re visiting. In some, for example, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn right at a red light; in others, it’s as illegal as turning left at a red light would be in Ireland. In general though, it’s the things that are legal which will surprise an Irish driver, such as helmet-free Floridians on motorcycles and New Hampshire drivers behind the wheel without seat belts (yes, in 2016!).

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Public transport

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Avoid driving in certain cities; US cities are often car-dependent and the idea of getting around by taxi or bus is ludicrous. But in a host of cities – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle – public transport is so good that driving is not only stress-inducing, it’s eye-wateringly expensive. $45 is a reasonable parking garage charge in San Francisco, so consider holding off on car rental until you absolutely need it – even in the land of the automobile.

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US national average fuel prices:

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Fuel is incredibly cheap and costs a fraction of what it does in Ireland. This is in part due to our high taxes; we pay about 64% of the cost of petrol and 67% of diesel to the Irish Government.

Oil trades on the world market in US Dollars which works in their favour as they wouldn’t have to worry about their exchange rate weakening, unlike us Irish. In comparison to Ireland it works out less than half the price we pay for petrol here. However, as demonstrated in the table above the price of fuel varies from state to state.

While diesel is the same in both America and Ireland, trying to identify a direct comparison of unleaded petrol in the US is not as straight forward. Unleaded petrol contains about 95 RON rating; to find the nearest US comparison watch out for anything over 91 AKI which is generally found in “premium” branded fuel.

It is also worth noting that when you see the listed price in US fuel stations they are listed in gallons as opposed to Ireland where the listed price is calculated per litre. A quick tip to calculate the price of fuel per litre is to divide the price by 3.8 (gallons).

US petrol is also weaker than what we use in Europe. Most European cars wouldn’t have the capacity to function on US petrol, which can be as low as 87 RON (EU cars run on 92 or higher), without an adjustment that would likely reduce its power output. However, US cars are designed to run on lower octane fuel, so using cheap fuel in a car wouldn’t damage it like it would European cars.

One little tip when filling up in the US; unlike in Europe, where petrol is a green pump and diesel is a black pump, US petrol (gasoline) pumps are marked black and diesel pumps are marked green.[/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_column_text]

Toll fees

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Go with the toll tag. Unless you’re planning to avoid every single highway and freeway in the state, you’ll likely encounter a toll booth or electronic toll and paying for that can be tricky and awkward, especially using a non-US credit card or scrambling for change. Many car rental companies offer a toll tag that covers all tolls for around $40 a week and we would advise that it is certainly worth the investment. See Cost to Drive where you can calculate the cost of tolls you meet on your route.

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Don’t fear motoring Stateside

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The roads are straight and wide, the cars are big and comfortable and between cruise control, sofa-esque suspensions and ultra-assisted steering (just how Americans like it), driving in the United States is a doddle for most Irish people. It will give you a new sense of appreciation for the truly-daunting situation a visiting American must find themselves in when driving an Irish rental car.

[/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]

Categories
New York USA

AA Roadwatch’s Doireann Garrihy Visits Manhattan and Brooklyn

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Doireann Garrihy checks out what Manhattan and Brooklyn have to offer

[/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]Whether it was for a summer of J1 madness or an outlet shopping spree, many of us have ventured across the pond for a bite out of The Big Apple.

We’ve seen the Empire State building, strolled through Central Park and nipped into Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s (if for no other reason than to SAY we did). Having visited Manhattan and Brooklyn this spring, I decided I would venture out of the tourist-y madness for a few days.

Having heard about it in dozens of songs and watched some of the most epic scenes in film taking place there, I thought it would be rude not to venture into the infamous Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Manhattan and another couple of days with friends in Brooklyn. Below are some of the places I visited in each and would highly recommend![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Getting to NYC” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

There are direct flights to/from New York from both Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport that take off a few times daily so no matter what part of the country you’re from, you’ve no excuse not to head across the pond. As well as booking your flights, remember to secure your travel insurance too to give yourself peace of mind.

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New York is very much doable by foot, but if you want to catch all the major tourist spots (or make your way out to Brooklyn), your best option would be to avail of New York’s expansive public transport network.

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A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a Subway trip. It’s the fastest and most economical way to travel around the city and how millions of New Yorkers get around. The services run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you’ll never be stuck!  If you’re staying in the city for a couple of days it might be a good idea to get yourself a MetroCard. You can buy a MetroCard at designated vending machines across the city as well as at Subway station booths and participating shops and newsagents. If you’re planning a longer visit to the Big Apple, it might be worth getting a 7-Day pass, which offers unlimited rides for seven days from the first day of use and costs $31. It’d be no harm to grab a subway map also and confirm your route with your concierge!

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Using a MetroCard is the way to go since bus drivers won’t make change and don’t accept dollar bills. The bus costs a flat $2.75 per ride and is perfect if you prefer an above-ground view of New York City. What’s great about using the MetroCard aboard the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) buses is if you need to transfer to another bus or the Subway, you can ride for free (as long as your transfer is within a two-hour period). Remember though that New York City traffic is not pretty and the buses are prone to long traffic jams.

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Where I Stayed

[/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=”20294″ 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]It’s a known fact: nobody visits NYC to lounge in their hotel room all day. The cliché is as true as ever; New York is the city that never sleeps, so forget about catching up on your Zs while you’re there – plenty of time for that at home! Furthermore, breakfast is rarely included in accommodation packages, so you’ll be spending even less time in your hotel if this is the case. Having a room that is clean and a bed that is somewhat comfortable is all you really need to worry about.

While in Manhattan, I stayed in Executive Hotel Le Soleil and it ticked all the boxes; a clean bedroom, bathroom and working wifi. Sorted!

Luckily, I had friends doing their J1 Graduate Visa that are living in Bushwick for the year and they were kind enough to put up with me during my four nights in Brooklyn.[/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]

 What I Did in Manhattan

[/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=”20296″ 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]Wall Street

I will openly admit that pre The Wolf of Wall Street, I would never have had any interest in visiting the Financial District. However, I’m delighted the movie inspired a trip to the area because I got more than I bargained for. Some of the architecture in the area is incredible and much to my delight, it’s a short walk to where the Statue of Liberty cruises depart from.

Soho

Soho refers to the area “South of Houston Street” and is also a reference to Soho in London’s West End. It’s worth strolling around and taking in the many gorgeous buildings but in terms of things to do, the NYC Fire Museum is worth a visit. It features lavishly decorated hand pumpers and a horse-drawn ladder wagon. If you have children with you, this museum is particularly entertaining.[/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]

Where I Dined and Drank – Manhattan

[/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=”20298″ 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]Keen’s Steakhouse

A restaurant’s ceiling probably isn’t the first thing that draws your attention, but at Keen’s, it’ll be all you can look at – until they bring you your meal of course. Established in 1885 – it is one of New York’s oldest and most revered eateries. It also happens to have the largest collection of churchwarden pipes in the world hanging from its rafters! The tradition comes from the days when travelers left their pipes at their favorite inns until they returned. Today, Keen’s is well known for its delicious steaks, but the pipe laiden interiors aren’t bad either!

Pete Dillon’s Pub

Many would tell you that venturing to an Irish pub while on holidays is the number one thing you shouldn’t do, but this rule can certainly be broken with Peter Dillon’s pub. It’s small enough to not have to shout at the people you’re talking to but big enough to house a bit of a ceili if needs be. Furthermore, the bartenders couldn’t be friendlier.[/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]

What I Did – Brooklyn

[/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=”20314″ 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]Shops at the Loom

If you’re looking to pick up a few hipster items or just fancy some window shopping, then make your way to this old textile factory. It’s the home to Indie boutique ‘Better Than Jam’ and stocks quirky finds from local designers. If you’re looking to pick up some cheap designer vintage bits, Closet Envi is the place to go! You’ll be sure to find really gorgeous stuff at rock bottom prices.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

While searching for a little peace and quiet amid the hustle and bustle of NYC, I stumbled upon this little slice of paradise! The garden was founded in 1910 and features thousands of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. Within it, there are serene spots such as the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the first Japanese-inspired[/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]

Where I Dined and Drank – Brooklyn

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I am a major burger enthusiast and Fritzl’s did not disappoint. I had the Cheek-and-Chuck patty, cloaked in cheese and topped with onions. It was nothing short of divine! A friend of mine had the fried chicken sandwich which also looked delicious. She is a regular at this joint and promises me that the seasonal salads are always well-crafted, too. Pull up a seat on the back patio and pair your meal with something from the beer list. Bliss!

The Evergreen

Who doesn’t love great drinks set at great prices? My friends and I stumbled upon this place while strolling around Bushwick. The bartenders were polite, the vibe was laidback cool and we didn’t want to leave. What’s more, we didn’t until we absolutely had to! It opens daily from 4pm-4am. You can visit theevergreenbar.com for their Happy Hour details 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]

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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…

[/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_single_image image=”20278″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-3133333-the-love-of-a-lifetime.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20279″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”200×278″ link=”http://www.easons.com/p-4228502-kick.aspx?utm_source=Partner&utm_medium=AA&utm_campaign=SummerReading”][/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=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

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]

Categories
New York

St Patrick’s Day Travel Guide to New York

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On St Patrick’s Day in New York, everybody is Irish so you’ll feel right at home in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. Whether you plan on catching a glimpse of the prestigious NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade or you hope to relax in one of the many Irish bars dotted around the city, St Patrick’s Day in New York will not disappoint. Just don’t get too vexed when they keep calling it Patty’s Day!

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There are direct flights to/ from New York from both Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport so no matter what part of the country you’re from, you’ve no excuse not to head across the pond. As well as booking your flights, remember to secure your travel insurance too to give yourself that extra peace of mind.

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Although considerably larger than the likes of London and Dublin, New York is still very much doable by foot, provided you’ve booked central accommodation. However, if you want to catch all the major tourist spots, your best option will be to avail of New York’s expansive public transport network.

[/vc_column_text][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Subway”][vc_column_text]A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a Subway trip. It’s the fastest and most economical way to travel around the city. Millions of New Yorkers travel by subway so it is a great way to get a real sense of how the locals get around. The services run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so you’ll never be stuck!  If you’re staying in the city for a couple of ideas it might be a good idea to get yourself a MetroCard. You can buy a MetroCard at various MetroCard vending machines dotted across the country as well as at Subway station booths and participating shops and newsagents. If you’re planning a longer visit to the Big Apple, it might be worth getting a 7-Day pass, which offers unlimited rides for seven days from the first day of use and costs $31. It’d be no harm to grab a subway map also and confirm your route with your concierge!

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The bus costs a flat $2.75 per ride and is perfect if you prefer an above-ground view of New York City. Again, using a MetroCard is the way to go since bus drivers won’t make change and don’t accept dollar bills, much like Dublin Bus here at home. What’s great about using the MetroCard aboard the MTA buses is if you need to transfer to another bus or the Subway, you can ride for free (as long as your transfer is within a two-hour span of time). Remember though that New York City traffic is not pretty and the buses are prone to long traffic jams.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”What’s On” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text image=”19866″ title=”New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade”]Of course, the big event that you will not want to miss is the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, it starts at 11am at 44th Street, marches up Fifth Avenue past St Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street and all the way through to 79th Street. It will finish up around 4:30/ 5pm at the American Irish Historical Society at East 80th Street.

If you’re using public transport to get to the parade, your best bet is to use the Subway. Routes A, C, E, 1, N, R all stop off close to the parade route. Anywhere along 5th Avenue is the perfect spot to experience the Parade. Remember though more than 2 million people are expected to take to the streets to watch this year’s parade so it’s a good idea to get down there good and early.

Remember if you do hope to catch a glimpse of the parade on 5th Avenue, there are a few rules and regulations you need to adhere to. Crazy green hats and beads are not permitted on the viewing stands and the consumption of alcohol isn’t tolerated. For a full list on parade regulations see here.[/image_with_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text image=”19867″ title=”Spend St Patrick’s Day in the ‘Irish’ New York”]

If the hustle and bustle of the New York City Parade is not for you, then this low-key Manhattan walking tour may be just what you’re looking for. This walking tour explores the “Little Ireland” district of the Lower East Side and talks you through the role of Irish immigrants in the history of New York City. The tour takes approximately two hours to complete and costs $20 for an adult. Students and OAPs can get the discounted tour price of $15 and you can book tour places online if you so wish. You’ll meet in front of St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets. As with a lot of locations in New York City, the easiest way of getting there is by using the Subway. Lines 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J and Z stop at Fulton, a short walk from the start of the tour. Routes R and W also stop at nearby Cortland Street.

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If you’re feeling a little homesick while you’re there and craving the green fields of Ireland, then a quick trip to Vesey St in Manhattan will bring you right there. Amid the towering skyscrapers of the city that never sleeps, is a small field from the west of Ireland, complete with an idyllic Irish cottage and stone walls. The cottage at the memorial is from the parish of Attymass in County Mayo and the site is a short walk from the 9/11 Memorial.

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Categories
Europe Featured France Germany Italy USA

Planning a Ski Holiday – What You Need to Know

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The January blues are almost behind us and you may be planning your next getaway already. For some, the snow-covered hilltops are calling and the countdown until the ski holiday is well and truly underway.

Whether you’re an experienced skier or this is your first time hitting the slopes, a little bit of expert knowledge always comes in handy. Luckily, our own AA Roadwatchers (and experienced skiers) Nicole Gernon and Adrian Harmon have put together this handy list of everything you need to know before your next trip.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Hit the Gym”][vc_column_text]

Both skiing and snowboarding are really enjoyable but also pretty hard work. You’ll get the most out of your holiday if you’ve some level of fitness built up beforehand. It’s a good idea to hit the gym a few weeks before you leave, focusing on your legs and tummy. You’ll probably fall down a lot mid-ski and your leg and core strength will really stand to you when you’re out on the slopes!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Bring the Winter Warmers”][image_with_text image=”19553″]Plenty of woolly socks, fleeces and long johns are essential. It may seem obvious, but make sure to get a few pairs of really good ski socks and most importantly, wear them when you get fitted for your boots. You’ll probably have your boot fitting the day or night before your first lesson and it’s easy to forget to wear them when you’re not togged out in the rest of your gear.

A new pair of everyday boots is also essential. You won’t be able to walk around the resort in ski boots, and runners are no good if you want to stay on your two feet. Make sure you pack some shoes or boots with non-slip soles, hiking boots or snow boots are best, so you won’t be sliding all over the place and your tootsies will be nice and warm.[/image_with_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Sun’s Out”][vc_column_text]

No, this is not a sun holiday to the Caribbean but believe it or not, it is possible to get sunburnt in the middle of winter.  If you don’t want to have a sore nose and flaky skin for the duration of your trip then sun cream is a must. The glare from the sun bouncing off the snow can also be quite intense and ski goggles don’t look great strolling around the resort, so pack a pair of sunglasses too. You won’t be sorry!

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Plastic bags are a really handy way to waterproof clothes in your suitcase. You’re travelling to a winter destination so there’s a good chance that it will be raining (or snowing) while your bags are on the runway or while you’re lugging them to your hotel. Wrap your clothing inside your suitcase in plastic bags to keep them dry. The bags can also double up as a handy way of keeping dirty clothes out of the way!

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People think of snow and automatically think of cold, runny noses and hands so numb from the cold that you can no longer feel them. However, with all that exercise you can actually get quite warm while skiing. Get familiar with layering – think a base layer, fleece and light ski jacket, so you can take them off as necessary. Ski jackets with vents and removable fleeces will be your new best friend.

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A small backpack is essential for a long day on the slopes. Whether you use it to carry a lunch or need somewhere to store your extra layers, a small compact bag that you can easily throw on your back is your best option. You may need a change of clothes, extra socks or a bottle of water while you’re out and about and a backpack is the handiest choice.

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Even if you’ve been out enjoying Après Ski until all hours, remember to eat a decent breakfast in the morning. You’ll be out on the (expensive) slopes for most of the day, doing a fair amount of exercise and you’ll be absolutely starving in no time. If you’re super organised you can pack some snacks for the day or, even better, make a lunch to bring with you.

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You wouldn’t leave a gym session or finish a run without stretching and skiing or snowboarding is no different. Before you hit the bar, take a couple of minutes or so to stretch. You’ll notice the advanced skiers doing it and your muscles will thank you the following morning!

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Another handy tip for fellow skiiers is to make sure your winter sports holiday insurance is up to date before you travel. Remember to upgrade your travel insurance to the appropriate additional level to ensure you’re covered for winter sports, as well as the likes of lost or damaged sports equipment. To find out more about AA Travel Insurance click here.

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