Tuesday 16 October 2018

Christmas Gifts: 10 stocking fillers for the savvy travel fan

Salzburg Christmas Markets
Salzburg Christmas Markets
Moleskine travel notebooks
Benro BK10
The Christmas Quarter
Flightradar24.com's view of Ireland and the UK at 10.53am on August 23, 2017. Screengrab: Flightradar24.com.
Kildangan House, Co. Mayo

Pol Ó Conghaile

Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

Most Irish travel agents and hotel groups do gift vouchers, and oftentimes that nudge is all you need to kickstart a booking.

In fact, eight out of 10 people surveyed by skyscanner.ie recently said travel would be better than the usual Christmas gifts.

Here are 10 stocking fillers to get your shopping started...

1. Fly away

Both Ryanair (ryanair.com) and Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) do gift vouchers, ranging from €25 upwards. You can put them towards any flights.

2. Post-Christmas blues

Killadangan Exterior.jpg
Kildangan House, Co. Mayo

Ireland’s Blue Book has gift vouchers from €100 upwards. They come in a gift folder  and can be redeemed against any of its country houses, hotels or restaurants. See irelands-blue-book.ie

More: Ireland's Blue Book reveals four new members for 2018

3. The write stuff

So much of the travel experience is digital these days, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasure of a notebook and pen. Moleskine notebooks start from around €12.90 online (ie.moleskine.com) and the brand does accessories such as bags and phone covers too.

Moleskine travel notebooks

4. Pass the packages

Shop around to find the best incentives, and double-check you can use them in the January sales. Clickandgo.com, for example, offers bonus vouchers worth €25 to €100 if you buy before December 23 (depending on the value). Similarly, Sunway (sunway.ie) will add a free 10pc to the value of gift vouchers. 

5: ’Appy days:

Flightradar24.com's view of Ireland and the UK at 10.53am on August 23, 2017. Screengrab: Flightradar24.com.

A few euro can buy a far superior app experience. Travel fans can track planes till the cows come home with flightradar24.com, for instance — with annual subscriptions from just €9.99.

More: Flightradar24 has conquered the skies – but how does it work?

6: Premier Pressies

Got a soccer fan in the house? A surprising number of Irish tour operators do Premier League packages, particularly to Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona home games.

Expect to pay north of €149 to €199 for a hotel and match ticket (flights or ferry extra) with the likes of Abbey Travel (abbeytravel.ie), Celtic Horizons (celtichorizontours.com), Marathon Sports Travel (marathonsportstravel.ie), Cassidy Travel (cassidytravel.ie) or Club Travel (clubtravel.ie).

See also itaa.ie/offers for members’ deals.

7. Gadgets on the go

Travellers love their gadgets, particularly small, thoughtful improvements that we mightn’t think to invest in ourselves. A good power bank or travel adapter is worth its weight in gold, for starters.

8. Festive photos

Snappers looking to up their game will appreciate a mini-tripod (for selfies, low-light shots and video; try Manfrotto or Joby).

9. Selfie stocking fillers

Benro BK10

Better still, try one that doubles as a selfie stick (I’ve been happy with a Benro, above, which I bought for around €35 in Dublin).

10. Wash-up

A final, genuinely useful gift is a good travel wash bag with miniature bottles — you can keep it as a go-bag in your case.

Read more:

Top 10 Twixmas breaks: Sneak away between Christmas and New Year

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