Sometimes, the deal is just too good.
It’s a warm and sunny Saturday here in Vancouver, a clear sign that winter is now well behind us. We’ve packed up our snowboards and winter gear, pressure washed our backyard patio and planted new flowers in the garden. Spring is now in full swing on Canada’s west coast. With the changing seasons come new travel opportunities, and this year is no different.
We’re excited to announce our next big family trip – we’re going to Ireland!
Why Ireland, you ask? Well, sometimes, when the deal is too good to pass up, you change your plans and take advantage a sweet deal.
Ireland has been on our radar for years, but, for some reason, something has always come up that prevented us from visiting. Most recently, we planned to attend the Rugby World Cup last year in England and we were going to include a stop in Ireland while in the area.
That trip didn’t end up happening, so we put it to rest and moved to other opportunities.
Over the past few years, many of our friends and fellow travel bloggers have traveled to Ireland and shared their stories. As we read their stories and flipped through their Instagram feeds, we couldn’t help but get excited about visiting this magical land.
Then, a few months ago, we learned that Cameron’s mother would be working in Dublin for several months, so we revisited the idea of traveling to Ireland. We jumped online and began researching flight options to see if a trip to Ireland was even feasible.
Traveling with 2 kids is expensive, especially when you’re flying over the Atlantic.
We prefer direct flights when we travel with our boys, and don’t mind paying more for this convenience, but there are limited options for direct flights from Vancouver to Europe.
Most flights go directly to London, Paris or Frankfurt, which is not far from Dublin, but, when you factor in layover times, it makes for an incredibly long travel day.
Here’s how it all came together.
On a whim, I checked with Aeroplan to see if I could find any direct flights from Vancouver to Dublin. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Air Canada Rouge is now offering direct flights from Vancouver to Dublin three times a week, beginning in June 2016.
We plugged in our ideal dates and did a double take – the direct flights to Dublin were only 36,000 miles and just over $300 in taxes. We couldn’t believe it!
We don’t typically think about redeeming our Aeroplan Miles for long-haul flights to Europe because the taxes are often way too expensive to make it worth while. Normally a flight to Europe requires over 60,000 miles and the taxes are over $500.
So, you can see why we jumped at this offer.
Big changes for Aeroplan members
Over the years, we’ve felt that there’s one glaring disadvantage to Aeroplan’s loyalty program – not being able to use Aeroplan Miles to pay for taxes. It’s a complaint many Aeroplan members have with the program.
When you redeem your miles, you don’t want to pay a bunch of taxes that, in some cases, are almost half the price of the normal airfare. We’ve been there. We’ve even opted to pay full price for flights and save our miles for another day because the taxes were too much.
But that’s all about to change.
As of April 1, 2016, Aeroplan now allows members to use their miles to pay for the taxes on flights. You can read about the new program here.
We’ve been waiting for this change for years and are happy the day is finally here.
We need your help!
We will be in Ireland for two weeks, beginning June 18. After a few days in Dublin we plan to pick up a rental car and road trip around the country. But we don’t know where to start.
Our boys have made it well known that they want to see a castle. We plan to explore as much of the countryside as possible, including visits to the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Rock of Cashel and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Have you been to Ireland? What should we do? Where should we go? Is there a “must see attraction” that we should include on our itinerary?
We’re still in the early stages of planning the trip, so we welcome your feedback, travel tips and recommendations.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Photo credit for the Ireland photos in this post can be found by clicking on the image.
Disclosure – Aeroplan is one of our travel partners, however expressed opinions are entirely our own. We are long-time supporters and users of the Aeroplan rewards program.