Ah, summer: season of sunny beach days, outdoor adventures and bonfire-lit nights. But in 2022, it’s also a time of outrageously expensive tanks of gas, jam-packed airports, busy roads and rising coronavirus cases.
This summer might not be easy and breezy, and it definitely won’t be cheap. But as millions of people venture out for vacation — some after spending the last two years closer to home — they might need a little expert guidance on saving money, staying safe and navigating the travel chaos ahead.
Book these cheap summer travel deals before they sell out
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HOLIDAYMAKERS looking for cheaper getaways should target trips on new routes opened up by airlines, a travel guru has revealed.
He also suggested avoiding popular hotspots and opting for locations “off the beaten track”.
Travel expert Fergal O’Keeffe said demand for foreign holidays has taken off as people saved up “two years or three years worth of summer holiday funds” during the pandemic.
He also warned that the cost of holidays are on the rise across the board due to inflation.
Speaking to the Irish Sun, he said: “This demand will have an impact on price, but prices are likely to go up for other factors as well. One thing that I’ve already noticed is the cost of car hire has gone unbelievable.
“I am planning to go to Greece during the summer, and for six of us the car hire for two weeks was going to cost over double the price of the flights for six.
“So that’s going to be a major issue everywhere because during the pandemic these companies weren’t renewing, or even sold off stock. So that’s something that people need to be aware of.”
The Tipperary native, who hosts the Travel Tales with Fergal podcast, said traditional summer destinations are “more popular than ever” – but there are still cost-friendly trips to be had.
He said: “My recommendation would be to go off the beaten track.
“For my own personal holiday, I noticed that flights to Athens in Greece were a little bit more expensive than pre-Covid, so I decided to go to Thessaloniki, which is the second biggest city in Greece. This was way cheaper.
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“The cost was roughly two-thirds the price of flying to Athens, even though it’s further from Ireland. So by going to places that are off the beaten track, you will be able to make massive cost savings.
Publican Fergal, who owns Hearns Hotel in Clonmel, continued: “Something else that I would always recommend to people is to look at airline’s new routes.
“Each year Ryanair has new routes going from Dublin, Shannon or Cork, and the first year of those new routes on Ryanair, or even on Aer Lingus, are always cheaper because they’re trying to introduce and encourage people to go to these places.
“These routes are new to Ireland so they’re less popular, meaning they’re cheaper, but also when you get there, more often than not things like accommodation and food etc are also a lot cheaper as well.”
Offering some alternative locations suggestions, Fergal said Malta is “a beautiful place” that’s “very accessible”, and has the benefit of being “English speaking”.
He also offered some European alternatives to the likes of the Canaries or Costa Del Sol.
He said: “There’s some beautiful places in northern Spain, like San Sebastian. Or you could try Biarritz, in France. They have amazing food, there’s great walking there, lovely coasts, so being a little bit more imaginative like that could be just what is needed.”
He continued: “Sardinia is another place that I would really love. It has that Italian influence, but it is also very different from other parts of Italy.
“But the top places I’d recommend would be Puliga, in southern Italy. There’s flights to Bari, and from there you can go down to Puliga.
“That’s an area that is not very popular but weather wise it’s amazing, and it’s really cheap. And the beach areas are amazing.
“Another place – and it’s my favourite place actually – is the Peloponnese Peninsula, in Greece. It has absolutely spectacular mountains, stunning little seaside villages, and it is very reasonably priced.”
The travel guru said despite increased costs in Ireland value for money can still be had with staycations – but again holidaymakers must be willing to look outside of the typical tourist hotspots.
IMPROVE OUTDOOR TOURISM
Asked if made tourism minister what he would do to beef up the country’s offerings to tourists, Fergal said he would make greater use of Ireland’s great outdoors.
He explained: “There’s a massive shift towards outdoor tourism. Due to the pandemic, there is a trend towards people being outdoors more, and people have a greater emphasis towards being healthy and being out walking etc.
“So looking at the mountains in Clonmel, or in Kerry they could be utilised more. What other countries do, because I’ve done this in New Zealand and in the Alps etc, is they have huts in the mountains. The Government provides these and you walk from hut to hut for a few days.
“Imagine that was set up in Clonmel. People would spend three, four, five days up in the Coomera Mountains, walking around there, staying in huts.
“So the Government should be providing that infrastructure, like the huts, the walking trails etc. I think that’s a huge potential for outdoor tourism that hasn’t been fully tapped in Ireland.
“People would spend some money in the town before heading up the mountain ranges, they would then spend money again when they come back down.
“There’s huge potential for that in Tipperary, Donegal and Kerry, all over Ireland really. That’s an area that I would certainly look at if I was tourism minister.”
The glorious sounds of traveling season are upon us: jet engines whooshing into landing patterns overhead and the ding, ding, ding of gasoline pumps ringing as they wring the dollars from our pockets. After two years of pandemic-induced seclusion and a false start last year, many of us are finally getting the chance to go to all those places we’ve been daydreaming of.
Check out these deals on some of the best travel gear this week to get you up, out of the house, on the open road, and in the skies. Also, be sure to check out our guide to face masks we actually like to wear for when you’re in crowded spaces.
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This deal excludes luggage sets and clearance items, but that leaves nearly all of their stock as included in this sale. Spend $150 and receive 10 percent off, or spend $250 and receive 15 percent off. Given Travelpro’s reputation in the market as a premium brand, that shouldn’t be a hard threshold to meet. The Crew VersaPack ($250 before discount) was my pick for the best soft-side carry-on.
Keep your belongings organized inside your luggage by separating them into packing cubes. They’ll keep your clothes from getting creased by sharp objects, and you won’t have to dig around to find matching socks any longer.
Chances are that if you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’ve handled a Samsonite bag. Now you’ve got your pick of 15 percent off everything sitewide, from wheeled carry-ons to travel backpacks. If you order two or more items at a time, your discount gets bumped up to 20 percent. Don’t forget to enter the code MAYSALE before you complete the checkout. The same offer is available at Ebags.com, a budget bag brand now owned by Samsonite, if you use the coupon SUNSHINE.
Airlines have weight limits for luggage. And if you plan to fly internationally on a non-US airline, you might be surprised by how strict they are with their low limits. You don’t need a fancy digital scale that’ll run out of batteries. Just keep this manual scale around, and when you’re done packing a heavy bag, affix the scale’s strap around the luggage and lift it. It’ll show you the weight all the way up to 80 pounds.
Fold down one or both expandable mesh sides to give your little buddy some room to stretch out on long trips. To keep things secure on this metal-framed, soft-sided travel crate, buckles secure it closed when you’re moving, and the accordion-style sides lock open when expanded to prevent mishaps.
Nap and Slumber Deals
A common travel tip—especially in hostels and grimier motels—is to bring a sleeping bag liner to sleep in when you bed down for the night. This polyester fleece liner will keep you warm in those over-air-conditioned hotel rooms and give you peace of mind if you’re squeamish about strange sheets. There’s also a polyester-cotton-blend version for $25 ($5 off) if you tend to sleep hot and don’t need the warmth of a fleece liner.
We’ve all fallen asleep crammed up against the window of a plane or car. Or worse, we’ve let our head droop while we nod off and wake up to a neck stiffer than a Giant Sequoia. A contoured neck pillow is the best way to catch some z’s on a flight or train journey without wrenching your neck for the rest of your trip, and the memory foam will help alleviate pressure points.
If neck pillows aren’t your thing, or if you’d prefer a pillow that can be used on a bed, check out this puffy 18- by 12-inch rectangular pillow. Because it’s filled with synthetic insulation instead of bulky memory foam, you can pack it down into a 5- by 11-inch space in your luggage.
Don’t blare your music straight out of your phone speakers on the bus, train, or plane. We live in a society. Do the civilized thing and pick up some earbuds, so you can rock out without creating any new archenemies. They have active noise cancellation, too, because you don’t want to hear everybody else’s noise, either.
Who knows how reliable the electrical system is in that old hotel. Keep your laptop, your phone, and your tablet safe from power surges by bringing along this compact, two-outlet surge protector that also features two USB ports. The included type C, G, B, I, E/F, and A plug adapters mean you can bring it with you to most of the top-visited countries around the world.
You can’t always count on the hotel to have an iron. Plus, I’ve always found steamers to be quicker and easier to use. The discount isn’t huge, but this is a stellar steamer that gear reviewer Medea Giordano and I have both used for years and been very pleased with. Just remember that, as a North American-market product, it may not work with other countries’ electrical outlets.
Warm-weather vacation season seems to be off to an early start this year in Michigan. Whether you’re planning a week-long getaway or just a quick overnight adventure, our friends at Pure Michigan have put together some travel deals for May. Some are available for this month only, while others offer savings into the fall. The specials range from island stays to golf deals to a digital passport with perks for wine lovers.
Check out some of these great deals for May travel:
#1 Trout Creek Condo Resort vacation rentals in Harbor Springs, Petoskey area.
Details: “Kick off your summer with a vacation Up North to Trout Creek Condos. Save 25% on lodging and enjoy local parades and activities. Onsite pools, hot tubs, hiking trails, tennis and pickleball. Only 30 minutes to the ferry to take you to Mackinac Island. Centrally located between Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Mackinac. Close to Lake Michigan beaches, championship golf courses, bike trails and birding.” For more information, check here.
Details: “Bridge the seasons and get an early start on summer by booking a Shooting Package at Drummond Island Resort. Package features a 10% lodging discount, plus one shooting outing for each registered guest. Choose a lively game of paintball on our 10-acre course or shoot clays and skeet at The Cedars.” For more information, check here.
Deal: Find your perfect pairing on the Traverse Wine Coast and enjoy savings along the way.
Expires: May 31, 2022
Details: “Traverse City Uncorked is back! For an event that goes by the name “Uncorked,” it’s no surprise that one of the prizes for participating is a corkscrew. This is just a token to remember your Traverse Wine Coast experience. The real prize is taking a few days away in May to sample the wines of the region. Download the free passport to take a self-guided wine tour, track your winery visits, get discounts, check-in to hotels and win prizes.” For more details about the Uncorked savings, check here.
Deal: Budget Host Crestview Inn in Sault Ste. Marie, MI: Stay two consecutive nights and get the third night FREE for booking dates May 1-June 5. Other area hotels also have listed specials.
Expires: June 5, 2022
Details: “Start your 2022 vacation season off with a stay in scenic Sault Ste. Marie. Spring is a time to unwind and recharge ahead of a busy summer. From hiking trails to watching 1,000-foot freighters transit through the Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie has it all. The Soo offers peace of mind and unbeatable experiences. Book your stay in the Soo today and enjoy a spring getaway.” For more details on this offer, check here.
#5 Ann Arbor
Deal: Peonies and Deals are Blooming in Ann Arbor. Save 15-50% off regular rates.
Expires: June 15, 2022
Details: “May and June bring colorful blooms to Ann Arbor, the perfect time to visit! Don’t miss one of the world’s best collections of peonies, with over 10,000 flowers. Search our hotel specials to find the perfect accommodations for your trip. While in town, enjoy our food scene, with over 400 restaurants to choose from. Explore our walkable down districts, while taking in the public art around nearly every corner. Start planning your getaway now.” For more details on these savings, check here.
Deal: Rooms starting at just $169 Sunday-Thursday in May, and $189 Sunday-Thursday in June.
Valid: Specific dates now through June 30, 2022.
Details: “Springtime is a great time to experience Pure Michigan in Frankenmuth! Plan your visit now and enjoy family fun at the Bavarian Inn Lodge with two water slides, four pools, over 160 video games, indoor mini golf course and a special offer for you! Enjoy a one night stay in a standard room with two double beds, a special Root Beer Package in your room, and four rounds of mini golf in the family fun center. All starting at just $169 Sunday-Thursday in May, and $189 Sunday-Thursday in June (plus tax). This offer is for a limited number of rooms now through June 30, 2022, on a first come, first serve basis. There are some date exclusions.” For more information on this deal, check here.
Deal: Save $50 on cabin rentals now through June with Promo Code ‘SuperiorStay’.
Expires: June 30, 2022
Details: “There are places that feed your soul. That clear your mind. That bring you back to what is really important. Lake Superior has that kind of power over most anyone who visits but especially those who stay at Fresh Coast Cabins. Experience the majestic beauty of the Lake while exploring the Keweenaw. Book any cabin during the month of June and receive $50 off when you use Promo Code ‘SuperiorStay’.” For more information on this deal, check here.
#8 Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel: 135th Birthday Offer
Deal: Celebrate the hotel’s 135th anniversary all month with a $135 dining credit, breakfast, dinner & more.
Expires: July 31, 2022
Details: “You’re invited to be part of the celebration in July for Grand Hotel’s 135th anniversary! The iconic luxury hotel opened July 10, 1887. Getaway with family and friends and explore the best that a Mackinac Island summer has to offer. Enjoy breakfast and dinner daily, a $135 food and beverage credit, complimentary room upgrade (based on availability), 10% discount at Grand Hotel shops and more. We look forward to celebrating Grand Hotel’s 135th birthday with you!” For more information on this offer, check here.
Details: “Get your vacation planning set with our Plan Early, Save More offer for your getaway in May and October. Enjoy 20% off room rates when you book 10 days or more in advance. Discount is applied on available dates; promo code is not required. Offer is pre-paid and non-refundable.” For more details, check here.
#10 Crystal Mountain resort in Thompsonville
Deal: Crystal 18 deal: Play 18 holes + use our range/practice facility. Stay the night starting at $104 per person per night.
Expires: Oct. 31, 2022
Details: “Great golf, great value: Play either of our two 18-hole championship courses – both rated ★★★★ by Golf Digest. The Mountain Ridge is the longtime home of the Women’s Michigan Open and a quintessential Up North Michigan golf course. The Betsie Valley course, renovated in 2021, is now more scenic and playable than ever. Package includes 18 holes with shared cart, per adult, per night; unlimited use of the practice center and nightly lodging.” For more information, check here.
#11 Grand Rapids – Grand Golf Getaway
Deal: Stay & play the area’s best courses with a hotel-golf package.
Expires: Nov. 1
Details: “Grand Rapids boasts some of Michigan’s finest golf courses–and six of the best are participating in a special stay & play deal this summer. Check in to the Country Inn & Suites East Hotel for one or two nights and play up to 54 holes at Pilgrim’s Run (Golf Advisor’s top Michigan course), Ravines (an Arnold Palmer design), The Mines (built atop historic gypsum mines) and more. After a day on the links, relax at one of the city’s 40+ breweries.” For more information, check here.
Our resident travel expert Megan O’Sullivan has given us the green light to finally return to Bali for a Holiday
In this segment from The Juice Megan chats about the different aspects of travelling to the Indonesian holiday destination and information about luxury resorts on the island!
Megan’s agency, itravel The Junction, also has a cheeky little deal happening for people keen to travel to Bali at the moment. You can check it out here, and listen back below for more Bali holiday tips.
Are you ready to travel this spring? Lots of folks in the travel industry are betting that you’ll pack your bags and go somewhere.
Ready or not, airlines are having a tough time keeping up with increasing demand. Look no farther than Alaska Airlines’ decision to cancel its popular Anchorage-Honolulu nonstop flights. Slashing this route is part of a broader initiative to better align the schedule with available flight crews, avoiding further cancellations and delays this summer.
Even if you want to fly to Hawaii this summer via Seattle, the price shoots up from $377 round-trip — nonstop — in mid-May to more than $1,000 round-trip starting June 1.
Perhaps that’s your clue to check out some of the early-season specials available around Alaska. May is a great month to see the best of Alaska, if you can look beyond the random patches of snow and the brown lawns.
Stan Stephens Cruises in Valdez offers two glacier cruises each day. The most popular cruise leaves at 10:30 a.m. from the small boat harbor for Columbia Glacier. You’ll spend six hours on the water. In addition to seeing the glacier, there’s plenty of wildlife along the way: whales, otters and eagles, among others. The regular price for the cruise is $145 per adult. But if you live in Alaska, you can save 30% off the cost if you sail between May 15 and June 15. That brings the price down to $106.50 — there’s a $5 fuel surcharge. Use the coupon code “ak30.″
The coupon code also works on the longer Mears Glacier cruise. This tour can take as long as eight hours. According to the tour description, the captain “has the time to go where we typically spot sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, humpback or orca whales, porpoise, eagles, puffins, cormorants and more.”
The Mears Glacier cruise doesn’t start until June 1, so there’s a two-week window until June 15 to get the discount.
Up in Fairbanks, the Riverboat Discovery and Gold Dredge 8 are offering a 40% discount for Alaska residents. (The Binkley family, which owns and operates the Riverboat Discovery and Gold Dredge 8, also owns the Anchorage Daily News.) As long as you purchase your tickets by May 6, you can visit anytime this summer, between May 11 and Sept. 17.
The Binkley family has operated sternwheeler riverboats in Alaska for more than 100 years. Today, though, the main focus is taking visitors on a three-hour tour down the Chena River in Fairbanks. The cruise includes a visit to the “Chena Indian Village Living Museum” and a stop at the home and kennel of the late Iditarod champion Susan Butcher. The kennel now is operated by her husband Dave Monson and their daughters. There’s also a touch-and-go bush pilot demonstration where the plane lands right next to the riverboat. The regular rate for the cruise is $75.95, but Alaska residents can sail for $45.57 per adult.
Gold Dredge 8 is a great place to catch “gold fever.” The giant dredge operated in the Goldstream Valley between 1928 and 1959. Your visit to the dredge includes a tour through the superstructure and a lesson on how the gold was extracted from the massive amounts of “paydirt” extracted by the dredge’s giant buckets. Then you’ll get a chance to pan for some gold — which is a very different process from the giant dredge. The regular price for the tour is $45.95, discounted for Alaskans to $27.57 each.
For the first time since 2019, Princess Tours will offer its rail/hotel packages between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The packages include rail transport between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks, plus accommodations along the way at the Mt. McKinley Princess and hotels near the entrance to Denali National Park.
Using Princess’s online booking engine, you can choose from 15 itineraries between one and four nights that offer 2-for-1 deals.
For example, tour “72E” includes rail transportation in Princess’s private rail cars between the Anchorage train station and Talkeetna. From there, ride Princess’s bus to the Mt. McKinley Princess for a two-night stay. Then, take the train back to Anchorage. Usually, the cost is $549 per person. With the 2-for-1 offer, it’s $274 per person, plus tax.
Ride all the way to Denali and back on tour “72A” which features two nights accommodations near the park. Because Princess works with two hotels near the park entrance, they don’t specify whether you’ll stay at the Denali Princess or the McKinley Chalet Resort; it’s right next door. The regular cost for the tour is $849 per person, reduced to $424.50 per person.
You also can ride on the Princess cars all the way to Fairbanks, stopping off in Denali for two nights along the way. Choose tour “72B.” The sale rate is $399.50 per person.
The Princess rail tours start May 17, running through Sept. 11.
If you’ve ever wanted to sail through Alaska’s Inside Passage on a smaller, luxury ship, check out Alaskan Dream Cruises’ sale for May and early June.
You can review the itineraries online for the “Last Frontier Adventure” and the “Glacier Bay and Island Adventure.” But you won’t find the best prices listed on the web page.
There are special unpublished Alaska resident discounts available.
There are two ships operating the “Last Frontier” itinerary, the 54-passenger Admiralty Dream and the 76-passenger Chichagof Dream. Usually, the all-inclusive cruises start at $3,795 per person for the 8-day/7-night itinerary. That includes accommodations, meals and all activities such as kayaking, guided hikes and expeditions away from the ship in skiffs. Alaskans can sail for as little as $1,500 per person. The sale rate applies for departures on May 13, 14, 20 and June 3.
The 40-passenger Alaskan Dream will sail from Sitka on June 5 on the 8-day/7-night “Glacier Bay and Island Adventure.” The cruise includes port calls in the remote communities of Pelican and Kake, in addition to sailing deep in to Glacier Bay. This itinerary also features a cruise through the scenic Wrangell Narrows between Wrangell and Petersburg. Usually, the cruise rates start at $5,195 per person. Alaskans can sail for as little as $1,995 per person.
To get the Alaska discount, residents have to call the reservations line directly: 855-747-8100.
If you’re not ready to devote a week to sail the seas, consider the four-hour Resurrection Bay cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours. The cruises operate Thursdays-Sundays between now and May 16. Usually, the rate is $89 per adult. Book online and bring it down to $80 per adult. Plus, adults can bring one or two kids aged 2-11 free.
The cruise is booked as a “gray whale watch” cruise. You might see some gray whales. You might see some orcas, too. You’ll likely see some otters, an eagle or two, some porpoises and a bunch of glaciers.
Major Marine Tours in Seward invites you to bring your mom for free on Mother’s Day, May 8. At least one other person has to pay, though — you can’t just drop Mom off at the dock. This special offer is available either on the Spring Wildlife Tour or the six-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise.
Clearly, there are plenty of incredible adventures here in Alaska to keep you busy until Alaska’s direct service to Hawaii returns on Nov. 11.