Ideas, suggestions and recommendations that can help you choose from a more limited palette of options that we know — both from professional and personal experience.

The Travel Agent Renaissance

Has the travellers' love affair with the Internet finally peaked? Has it eventually dawned on consumers that all the best deals aren't necessarily found online? Judging by a growing number of articles that have begun to appear in various mainstream publications both in Ireland and abroad over the course of the past 12 months, the answer would appear to be a resounding yes! And we're not talking about small, regional titles here. August publications such

When is the best time to visit Spain or Portugal?

How about now! June is an ideal time of year to visit either country as you get to enjoy the best of all possible worlds. You don't have to endure the high temperatures of July or August; The beaches, bars or restaurants aren't as crowded as school is still not out in a number of countries — most notably our neighbours across the Irish Sea — and perhaps best of all, there are still great bargains to

The Isle of Calypso

No, we're not talking about Trinidad and Tobago but another small island located almost half way around the world! The island of Gozo (the smaller sister iland of Malta) is also know as the Isle of Calypso as it was reputedly the location where the nymph Calyso imprisoned Odysseus for a number of years, as chronicled in Homer's Odyssey. For such a small and sparsely populated island of 31,00 souls, it contains 22 churches, one of which

Malta — proof that the best things sometimes come in small packages!

Reputedly the second-most densely populated area on Earth (after Hong Kong), Malta challenges the first time visitor as to what they think they know about this small 90-square mile rock that lies between Sicily to the north and Libya to the south. Boasting the world's oldest free-standing structures — yes, they're said to be older than Newgrange — Malta is an island of contradictions that will delight the eye, ear and palate of even the

Day 4 in Puglia

Is there anyone out there who doesn't love Italian food? I don't think so. It is justifiably regarded as one of the worlds' great cuisines and not a lot of people know that French cuisine — often regarded as representing the pinnacle of gastronomic excellence — actually derives from Italian influences which were introduced into the French Royal Court around the time of the Medici's. See — you learn something new every time you read this blog!

Day 3 in Puglia

Everyone knows that Italy is rich in its antiquities but many assume that most of these are concentrated in locations such as Rome, Florence, Venice and so on — legacies of the vast wealth of these former city states. It may surprise you to know therefore that Southern Italy (and Puglia in particular) enjoys its own superabundance of exquisite buildings and sublime architecture and nowhere is that more apparent than in the gem that is
Typical Trullis in Alberobello

Day 2 in Puglia

There are so many places to go and things to do in Puglia but two good places to start are the city of Ostuni and the town of Alberobello. You may never have heard of either but believe me, you don't know what you're missing! Ostuni sits perched atop a hill that overlooks the surrounding Puglian countryside and is known locally as the white city on account of its preponderance of white-washed walls and buildings. Although it has

Puglia — and the Santa Claus connection!

I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Italy. It just seems to tick all the boxes — history, culture, architecture, landscapes, its people and above all — its glorious food. It’s also hard to believe that prior to 1861 Italy didn’t exist! Prior to that date, it was little more than a collection of city states and principalities in effect. The problem with Italy nowadays is that a few ‘jewels in the crown’

May Day, May Day!

OK, we've cheated a little — we should have said May Month but that doesn't really have the same resonance now, does it? What on earth are we on about? It's just our ham-fisted way of drawing your attention to the fact that during the entire month of May, Royal Caribbean (along with its sister brands of Celebrity and Azamara) will be offering savvy consumers just like you, amazing deals, discounts and free upgrades across

Get ready to experience the ‘hidden’ Italy

Some of you may already be familiar with Italian destinations such as Rome, Venice, Florence, Sicily or the Amalfi coast but how many of you have ever visited Puglia in the far south? Probably not that many, I suspect. Puglia is, like most of the rest of the Italian mainland, a veritable treasure trove of antiquities, impossibly beautiful churches mimicking every conceivable architectural form and boasting cuisine to rival anything that one could reasonable expect to find in even

How the role of the humble travel agent has changed in recent years.

Before the arrival of the Internet, everyone used travel agents to book their travel arrangements because agents were able to access information that was not generally accessible to your average traveller. The Internet changed all that and empowered consumers by enabling them to research and find all sorts of interesting 'goodies' online. This democratisation of  travel created the illusion in the minds of many consumers that they no longer needed travel agents and that they

Summer has arrived!

I'm not talking literally of course — just figuratively — and wearing my travel agent hat! Easter has always traditionally represented the start of the summer season as this is when tour operator summer charter programmes begin and winter charter series end. It is also then an appropriate time to remind people of the kinds of things that they need to think of/prepare for, before setting out on their overseas travels. What follows is a

The art of getting a quote that is both competitive in price and relevant to your needs starts with gathering all the right information about what you want to do (or think you want to do!).