Hey hey hey! I can’t believe we’re already in November!! I feel like this year has flown by!! Since we are officially like 3 weeks away from Thanksgiving, so I wanted to share something about Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Last year, my parents booked an international travel package on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. They got an incredible deal! I had no clue that travel packages were even on sale for Black Friday/Cyber Monday! I was so interested in them, but we just couldn’t take the plunge! I wanted to share my parents’ experience on here, so that if you see a deal you’re interested in, you’ll feel ready to purchase!
Where did you go? What did you do?
Started off in Dublin; then stayed in a small quaint little outside of Dublin called Malahide. It was right by the ocean and was beautiful little town with very friendly people. Stayed at the Grand Hotel Malahide.
The next day, we were off to Kerry and the Blarney Castle. Here you can kiss the Blarney stone and get the gift of gab. Because I felt that I didn’t need this and because they hold you upside down backwards several feet off the ground to kiss a stone that hundreds just kissed, we opted out of that. Instead we toured the castle gardens. There was a wonderful Irish woolen mill there.
Next was the ring of Kerry, which took us through the National Park Killarney. This was absolutely beautiful scenery of Ireland country side, mountains, Atlantic Ocean, peat bogs, Dingle Bay, and just beautiful rural country side of Ireland. On this drive, our driver and guide made a stop and bought some bootleg whiskey, haha! It is called pochang; we don’t drink so we did not try it, but I could smell it. It smelled very strong, and every one said it was. He only got enough for every to have a taste. Our guide was great!
Next day, we went to the cliffs of Moher and the river Shannon. Also the Burren; no trees grow here, it’s land covered in large stones with many castles and monastic ruins.
Then we were off to Limerick. Here we added on a dinner at a Medieval Castle; it was wonderful.
Next we were on to Galway. There we took a river cruise on the river Corrib. The rest of the day was spent shopping in the wonderful little shops at an outside walking mall. There were all kinds of bohemian artists, dancers, and musicians. It was very cool. We bought some beautiful Claddagh Rings for each other; the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty.
Next on to Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abby. We drove through some beautiful rustic parts of Ireland, and met people that still spoke in the Gaelic language. This drive was littered with small villages with some walls and thatched cottages.
Next, we headed back to Dublin via Clonmacnoise and the banks of the river Shannon. This is where the 6th century original Celtic crosses are, and an 11th century cathedral.
In Dublin, we went to Trinity College founded in 1592 by Elizabeth 1; this is also where the 9th century book of Kells is kept. Then on to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is Protestant Not Catholic. We did lots of shopping there also. Our add on Dinner that night was at an Irish Pub. This was wonderful they came and danced on our table.
Lastly, we headed home.
What did your travel package include?
Hotels, Coach bus, Guide, tickets to all attractions, breakfast each day, and 2 dinners. The bus driver/tour guide stayed with us the entire time.
What website did you use to book your package?
Friendly Planet. The travel company they used in Ireland was Abby Tours.
Were you skeptical about purchasing an international travel package from a website on Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
A little, but we did some research on this company and they had very good reviews.
What was the process once you purchased your deal?
First was down payment, then they sent us all the information (hotels, attractions and vouchers and tickets) by email.
Some people might be concerned about the quality of the hotels and activities since it’s an inexpensive travel deal. Were the hotels and tours you went on what you expected?
Yes and more! They were great all hotels, 4 or 5 star. The tours and guide were wonderful.
Did you have any issues with your travel? If so, how was the customer service?
The only problem was at the Nashville airport; all flights to NY were cancelled and we had to get there to get the plane to Ireland. When we got our new flight out of North Carolina to Ireland, the arrival time was different. We called Friendly Planet with new times, and they sent the driver that was to take us to the hotel at our new time. No problems!
Would you book another Black Friday/Cyber Monday international travel package?
Yes, through this company.
Do you have any tips or recommendation for someone considering booking a Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel package?
Take advantage of all the optional/add on’s, like dinners and events. They are well worth the cost, and you will pay less booking through the tour company. Also engage your bus/tour guide in conservation. Ours was wonderful, and he told us so many stories. We learned a lot about Ireland just from his story alone. We added on an Irish Pub dinner, Medieval castle dinner, and a traditional dance performance.
If you need a flight from your town to say NY to get to your final destination, make it with the same travel company (Friendly Planet). We did not and had a hard time making sure we got flights that would get there in time to connect to the flight to Ireland and back. Try to fly the same airline too, just in case one part of your trip is redirected or your luggage gets lost.
If you have an overnight flight and can’t check in to your first hotel until the next afternoon, the travel company might say you can book early check-in for a fee. We waited until we got the list of hotels with their phone numbers and called them directly. We were able to get early check-in for free.
Make sure you have enough currency and/or an international PIN for your credit card.
What was the coolest thing you did or saw on your trip?
The Fitzgerald’s (mothers family) were conquers of Ireland in the 11th century and therefore are royalty.
One of the coolest was when we were at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We found out that our Irish ancestors, the Fitzgerald’s (mothers family) and the Orman’s (fathers family), were in a large feud and had a history of feuding in the 12th century. It was temporality resolved at St. Patrick’s Cathedral via the door of reconciliation, which is still in the Cathedral today. Kinda cool!
Another thing I thought was cool, is an Irish tradition that most of the women go by their middle name, which is what I do.
What was your favorite thing you did or saw on your trip?
Driving through Ireland and the rural country side and looking at beautiful, beautiful country. It was amazing. Also, the people were wonderful and all very nice. All in all, we would go back and probably use the same travel company!
Anything else I may have left out that you think someone might want to or should know?
We made some good friends that were on the same tour as us. We still keep in touch with these friends!
Clearly, they had an amazing time! I know they’d love to go back! I’m so glad that they were able snag this deal last year and take such an awesome trip! Travel packages are definitely going to be on our list of things to watch for come this Black Friday/Cyber Monday!
Have you purchased a discounted international travel package? Where is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go? Would you purchase a travel package on Black Friday/Cyber Monday? If you have any other questions, let me know! I’ll see if my parents can answer it for you!