Tag Archives | bargain holidays

Dubious advice for prospective holidaymakers in The Irish Independent

Under the headline “Holidaymakers can save €140 each by flying from North“, Aideen Sheehan relays to us statements from an online travel agency telling us that:

Sluggish demand in the North means flight prices there are currently cheaper than from Dublin, resulting in significant savings for identical holidays.

SUN holidays can be up to €140 cheaper per person if you fly from Belfast instead of Dublin.

Presumably coming from a press release, the story is from travel operator ClickAndGo.com and is effectively free advertising for them through the remainder of the article.

Buyer Be Very Careful

If you're reading this, you're probably on a PC with internet filtering, or a poor connections, so you're missing a picture of the clickandgo.com logoWhat Ms. Sheehan fails to tell her readers is that anyone in Ireland booking their holidays with ClickAndGo.com and flying out of Belfast won’t have their travel covered by the normal licencing and bonding arrangements under the Commission for Aviation Regulation rules that they’d have if flying out of Dublin, for example.

They are, however, covered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority equivalent bonding scheme.

According to the Commission for Aviation Regulation website, who oversee licencing and bonding:

Under the Transport (Tour Operators and Travel Agents) Act, 1982, (the “Act), Tour Operators and Travel Agents are required to be licensed and bonded in respect of the sale and offering for sale, of travel originating within the State to destinations outside the State.

You’ll see that this says “within the State”. For the purposes of licencing and bonding, no matter what your politics are, flying out of Belfast means you’re not originating your holding from “within the State”, and therefore you’re unfortunately not covered unless there is the UK Civil Aviation Authority cover instead.

Independent Newspapers has “form here”

Back in 2009, Dan White gave travel advice in the Evening Herald which necessitated this warning post from me for consumers, Incorrect advice on Travel Agents in the Evening Herald. The key advice at that time, which is again relevant in light of this more recent article, was as follows:

If you book a holiday with an Irish travel agent, but if you’re departing from an airport outside the Republic of Ireland, then you are not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation bonding scheme. You would be covered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority scheme – assuming your travel agent has signed up to it (and many Irish travel agents don’t).

So, if you book your holiday from a Dublin travel agent but fly out from Belfast, you’re not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation scheme.

Another thing to be careful of – the Commission for Aviation Regulation only covers anything booked from a travel agent that includes travel (i.e. flights). If you book a villa in the south of France, but decide to book your flights with Ryanair, then your villa booking isn’t covered by this scheme either.




American Type Deals Arrive in Ireland

Irish News of the World

Sunday March 29th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

American Type Deals Arrive in Ireland

Here on ValueIreland.com I’ve written many times about how great it would be if Irish business started adopting many of the best customer service practices that we experience whenever we’re in the United States.

Related to the coffee story, one wonders why Irish cafes and restaurants don’t see the same benefit in offering the “free refill” on hot and cold drinks.

Recently, both a car company and a clothing shop have adopted a novel way of encouraging people to spend their money. Known as the “redundancy refund”, these businesses are offering customers a full refund on the purchase of a car or a suit if they become redundant.

Only this week then, it was brilliant to see the redundancy refunds arriving in Ireland.

Sunway Holidays have introduced a new redundancy refunds policy, hoping that it might calm the concerns of those people who might be crying out for a holiday, but are worried about what might happen in their jobs.

Unfortunately, the small print says it’s only valid on bookings made between March 23rd and April 30th, but for travel from May 1st to October 29th, and you must be made redundant at least 1 month before you travel.

I’m still excited to see this kind of innovation being introduced into Ireland. Here’s hoping more companies can be as forward thinking. Check out Sunway.ie for more details.


Five star Buys – Get hols for a lot, lot less

Irish News of the World

March 1st, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Holidaying on the cheap

We’ve just about made it through the winter, but things are still looking bleak with all the doom and gloom around. Maybe it’s time to think about taking a foreign sun holiday to give ourselves something to look forward to so we can get away from it all for a while.

In these financially difficult times, plans for a holiday need not be given up completely. With these top tips, I’ll help you find yourself a great sun holiday, but costing a lot less than you’d think.

First things first – decide how much you can afford to spend, and when you want to take your holiday. If you don’t have all the money now, start saving a little every week. Do this rather than depending on your credit card – that should only be for emergencies.

Booking package holidays as late as possible before departure means you’ll get the best value possible – sometimes up to 20% discounts are possible. The downside is you’re going to have a smaller choice of where to go. If your travel dates are flexible, this might not be as much of a problem.

Most travel holiday companies now provide special offer or last minute deals as well as an e-mail newsletter that will give you weekly updates of where the best deals are. Some companies will even give you an extra discount for booking online, maybe only 2.5% but it all adds up to an extra jug of sangria on the Costa!.

If you’re dealing with a travel agent, haggle a little to get a better deal. You could get yourself an extra discount, or possibly even a free upgrade on your flight or your room. Remember, it costs nothing to ask, and they might give you a special deal to guarantee your business – these days anything is possible! For travel agents who are finding business difficult these days, you never know what they might offer you to get your business. Play them off against each other – if nothing else, its fun!.

If you’re taking a package holiday, or if you’re planning on booking your own flights, hotel and car hire separately, there’s one item that you should remember to make sure you’re holiday isn’t ruined.

In February, a travel agent in Donegal went bust and while most of the people who had holidays booked with them will get their money back through the Commission for Aviation Regulation bonding scheme, many potential travelers will not because their flights were leaving from Derry or Belfast which, being outside the Republic,  is not covered within the bonding scheme.

If you’re tempted to take a flight for your holiday leaving from outside of Ireland like that, especially as it may be significantly cheaper, you should confirm that your travel agent is covered by an equivalent UK Civil Aviation Authority travel bond (look for ATOL protected).

Otherwise, because you’re travelling from outside the state, you won’t be covered if your travel agent goes bust.

Even if you fly from within Ireland, but book your own flights and then separately book your hotel accommodation, your accommodation isn’t covered because to be covered by the Aviation Regulator bond scheme, your holiday must include travel. AND  flights booked direct with airlines are not covered by the Aviation Regulator bond scheme, so if the airline goes belly up before you travel, you’re not covered.

On the plus side though, many ValueIreland.com readers have found that booking their individual holiday requirements separately can save them significant amounts of money, and can mean easier schedules – no 4am flights from Dublin.

Between Ryanair and Aer Lingus, many top holiday destinations are covered and if your travel dates are relatively flexible, it’s possible that you can get your flights for anything down to 1c each way (before taxes and charges obviously).

When it comes to booking hotels, there are loads of hotel search engines that will offer deals on rooms around the world. If you’re not sure where to go, the excellent TripAdvisor.com will give you the low down on the hotels to use or avoid. TripAdvisor also provides links to their own associated hotel search engines – Hotels.com being one that ValueIreland.com is happy to recommend.

Lastminute.ie has a special feature when it comes to getting hotel rooms on the cheap – the “top secret hotels”. These are unnamed hotels offered at significant discounts around the world. A quick tip to find out what these hotels are is to sort them according to price, or distance from a major amenity – you’ll then see the “top secret hotels” beside their not so secret version – the descriptions will be the same. Not so secret any more!

If you’re hiring a car when you go away, the good news is that normally it’ll cost you from 20-50% less than if you were hiring the same car in rip off Ireland. Assuming you need a car, a site like AutoEurope.ie can help show you the best offers around.

Many airline and hotel websites will give you a link to “special offer” car hire websites – give these a miss. In my experience, most of the time it’s actually more expensive to use these special offers than booking directly yourself.

It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance when you’re going abroad. Check if you’re credit card has travel insurance included for free – many do these days. It could also be included in the cost of a package holiday, and if not, ask for it to be thrown in for free.

A final quick tip will save you money if you’re booking on Ryanair flights – assuming it’s not taken away soon. To avoid paying the ridiculous €5 each way per passenger credit card fee, first buy Ryanair vouchers where there’s no credit card fees, and then use those to buy your flights where no charges will be levied.

Obviously there’s the usual issues to be aware of when using vouchers, but for a family of 4, this tip will save you €40.


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