My Money & Me is the new lifestyle show on RTÉ where presenter Kathriona Devereux and the team share money saving tips each week. This week Pól Ó Conghaile shares his insider tips on holiday-ing in Ireland.
Staycation Insider Tips:
1. Book early:
This year will be busy so if you know in advance you're holidaying in Ireland, book early. It's late for this summer, but next year make your plans in January or February and if you can sneak away in April you'll find fantastic deals and possibly some lovely weather.
2. Go off peak:
It's seems obvious, but try to go outside of peak times- the difference between prices in school holidays and outside of them can be up to 30% percent on a hotel room in August V’s September.
3. Book Direct:
More and more of us are using third party online companies to book- this isn't always the best value. Get on the hotels own site or on the phone and see if they'll offer you the same rate or less. Even if they won't, they might throw in a dinner, a spa treatment or free kids club. It's always worth asking.
4. Ask for an upgrade:
When you arrive at a reception desk- don't be coy, ask for an upgrade. There's often a much better room lying vacant. The trick is to be confident like this is something you do all the time, not act like someone chancing their arm.
5. Think of Sundays:
Sunday is a great night to get the best value out of a top hotel. You can get midweek rates, check in early as the weekenders vacate, and get a late check out the following day. The hotel will be nice and quiet and you can make the best of their service and facilities.
6. Let the hotel know it’s an occasion:
If it's any sort of occasion, make it clear when you're booking. Don't be shy about it; the hotel won't be shy when taking your money. Hotels know you're going to spend a few bob there if you're celebrating, and they're also always thinking of repeat business. If they can make that anniversary or birthday stay extra-special, you might just come back next year. This could mean a free bottle of wine or champagne, free desert, spa treatments, and top class service.
7. Self-catering with a difference:
Think outside the box - if you're looking at self-catering, try Airbnb. We have 7,500 hosts in Ireland now with some fantastic and us usual properties in great locations.
Hostels are no longer about stinky sleeping bags in packed dorms. There's also a whole new wave of posh hostels, ‘poshtels’ offering private rooms with private bathrooms. They're new, nicely designed and have the social element you won't find in hotels.
9. Last minute tips:
Booking last minute can be risky - you won't always get exactly what you want. However if you are going the last minute route, haggle, absolutely. It's all about how you carry it off. The worst that can happen is they say no or offer you the official rate. Most hotels will prefer to get rid of the room on the day at a much lower rate than have it sitting empty, so you could be in luck.
10. Do lunch:
Restaurants can be very expensive, particularly the one everyone's raving about. So don’t go at the busy evening time rush, go at lunch-time. You're on holidays, you can go whenever you want. The bib gourmand or really hot new restaurant could be €60 or €70 for 3 courses in the evening, but you can eat the same food in the same place cooked by the same chefs for €25 less at lunchtime - almost one third of the cost!
My Money & Me, Wednesday at 8.30pm on RTÉ One. If you missed the first two episodes, catch-up on the RTÉ Player here.