Travel On A Budget

Travel On A Budget

Travelling and everything that goes with it can add up quickly and become expensive. As with everything in life, there is a savvy way to do things! Being savvy with travel means you can keep the costs down but still have a fantastic time. Meaning you don’t miss out on exploring the world. Take a look at these tips on how you can travel cheap while getting that rich experience.

Booking Flights (1)


Everyone has stayed in hotels and/or hostels. However, not everyone has tried  Airbnb ! their accommodation falls into that budget accommodation sweet spot. Less expensive than a hotel yet more comfortable and private than a hostel. It all really depends on how much you want to spend. Using Airbnb, you can find hosts with rooms to rent or entire homes! You can filter your search based on any budget and they have secure listings across 190 countries. All hosts are rated and reviewed by others so you can easily see if it’s a place that suits. Hosts are often more than happy to point you in the way of the best spots to eat, drink and the must see sights.

Why not become a host and make some travel money? Put up your place on Airbnb while on your holidays and generate a little extra spending money.

Booking Flights

Try To Be As Flexible As Possible

Look at the prices of flights to your chosen location over the course of a month to see when the cheapest time to fly is. There is a search tool with Google that allows you to visualise price changes over any given time period. However, peak times of year are always going to be expensive.

Skyscanner & Kayak

Skyscanner and Kayak are really useful services that search across dozens of airline providers to bring you the best deals.  You can easily search and compare flights to any airport in the world! When you use them, try to be as flexible as possible with your dates and destinations. Cool features on both websites are the price alerts (informing you of price changes) and you can look at the price across a whole month. If you’re undecided you can simply choose anywhere as a destination! Avoid unnecessary upgrades as they only marginally improve travelling and the money can be used elsewhere on your travels.

Booking Flights (4)

Research and Plan

Putting together an itinerary or a daily/weekly plan for your trip will allow you to allocate your budget effectively based on the activities that you want to do and keep tabs on what you are spending. There are plenty of websites and Apps available to make this easier. Loney Planet started as travel guide books but have developed beyond this to incorporate much more.


There are lots of things you can do to have a rich cultural experience on a budget. It’s just a matter of doing your research, which the internet makes easier than ever. Asking others can also be a great source of info in person or online. For example, oftentimes museums have ‘Free Days’ midweek. In most cities, you are sure to find free walking tours available provided by local guides but often you are expected to tip. These tours are a great way to see a city. This is also a great opportunity to meet more travellers who may have some savvy travelling advice to share too.

Booking Flights (3)

One of the biggest holiday expenses is food. Tourist and backpacker destinations are notoriously expensive so ask around and find out where the locals eat. If staying with an Airbnb host ask them for a suggestion. This may be outside the main commercial areas but you are sure to have a more authentic experience and to find some hidden gems. It’s also a great way to explore a city through its food!

Talk to us today about a holiday loan and get to seeing the world!

Need Currency Exchanged- (1)


Planning A Holiday?

Planning A Holiday?

Whether you’re looking for the ‘if not now, then when’Once in Lifetime Holiday Loan, or the ‘I can’t wait to see their excitement’ Family Holiday Loan, come and talk to your local credit union.

Here For You

Our philosophy has always been to look at things differently. We understand the difference a holiday loan can make to your life – creating memories and high points to look forward to, so we always look at your whole story to make sure you arrive at the perfect destination. We only propose holiday loans with realistic terms, which you can pay back in a way that works best for you.

We don’t charge administration fees or transaction charges and you can pay back your holiday loan early without penalty if that becomes an option. Remember, in your local credit union, you are not a customer, you are a valued member.

Examples of Loans


Secured Loan (4)
Holiday Of A Lifetime Loan


If you borrow at our Personal Loan Rate of €2,500 at 10.98% (11.60%APR), the weekly repayments are €50.81. You repay a total amount of €2,641.90. You can use our Loan Calculator to get a tailored loan estimate here; calculator.

If you are looking for some holiday tips we have a few here; Our Top Travel Tips.

Travel Insurance

You can also get your Travel Insurance is from It’s a new suite of insurance services brought to you by credit unions and AIG. offers great value to credit union members on home, car and travel insurances. 

So if you are thinking about heading off on a holiday, be sure to talk to us today.


Summer Camps

Summer Camps

There are a variety of summer camps on offer around Cork and further afield to help keep children entertained during the school holidays. We have put together a list of interesting summer camps that are set to take place. There is a great diversity of camp types on offer and there is something to suit every child’s interests. Each summer camp has a link included to the website for more detailed information.

Fota Wildlife Summer Camp is for children aged between 5-12 and is best suited for children with a keen interest in animals. Each day of this week long camp follows a different theme. Supervisors and demonstrators are undergraduate and qualified primary school teachers. A playful approach is used towards learning so to ensure that children enjoy themselves but also pick up valuable skills and knowledge over the course of the week. Activities range from arts and crafts to sports and environmental activities.

Location: Fota Island

Dates: Week 1; July 20-24, Week 2; August 10-14.

Price: €95 (10% Discount for park members or 3+ children in attendance), there is also a supervised train service from Kent Station for an additional €20.

Designer Minds Camps are for 7 -13 year olds and run from 10am-2pm daily. This summer camp follows the themes of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to help prepare children for the countries fastest growing industries in a fun and engaging way. Helping children to feel at ease with the above themes and particular focus is placed on design. It is an alternative to the drama, dance, and sports orientated summer camps already out there. Aimed at the budding scientist, techie or engineer who loves to design, build and experiment with technology. Designer Minds achieve this through the use of a wide variety of equipment in their lessons including; robots, magnets, tablets, lego, k’nex, electronics and more.

Location: Garryduff Sports Centre, Rochestown.

Dates: July 18-22

Cost: €120 for Junior and Senior Camps


GAA Cúl Camps are aimed at children aged 6-13 years of age with a strong basis on games that aim for skill acquisition and development. Enhancing friendships, getting children active and healthy, with opportunities to learn about teamwork. These camps have been operating nationally for the past number of years and have been very successful. Specific skills are coached with small practice games at the end of each day and a blitz at the end of the week. It is one of the more affordable summer camps that are in operation around Cork and each child gets free GAA gear with a backpack. All skill levels are catered for in hurling, football and camogie.

Location: Blackrock

Dates: July 25-29

Cost: €55 with reduced prices for additional children taking part.

Compass Camps are for children aged between 6-12 years of age run from Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm. The group sizes are kept small to minimise waiting times for activities and for a better leader to child ratio. This summer camp is based in nature and involves team games, campfire cooking (drinks, toasted marshmallows, popcorn) scavenger hunts and a playground area. It is an interactive and immersive way for children to learn about nature through the use of games, with all of the activities based outside in the woods!

Location: Garryduff/Oldcourt, Cork

Dates: July 4-8 and August 8-12

Cost: €140

Anyone4Science summer camp this year is focusing on themes of botany, food science, pulleys and levers, acid and base chemistry and plastics. This camp has a wide age bracket of 4-15 years of age with all experiments being age appropriate. Providing the best science, engineering and maths activities for children with a keen interest in science.

Location: Life Time Lab and CIT

Dates: July 11-15 and 18-22, 25-29 (CIT)

Cost: €150 with discounts for multiple bookings. (Early bird booking €135 before June 6)

Let’ Go offer two varying types of summer camps for children aged 7-13 with a sports camp and an iPad camp. The iPad camp is designed to suit children who love technology and a little bit of sport. During the day children will spend 70% of the day working with iPads and 30% participating in sporting activities. While on the iPads children will create music, movies, comic strips, multi-media slide shows, video documentaries, stunning presentations with animation and effects exploring rich multi-media activities. The sports portion also offers a different take by including  KMX karting, zorb balling, human table football and a high energy assault course.

The multi-activity summer camp offers two programmes of activities, one for the 5-6 year olds and the second for the 7-13 year olds. With a wide variety of activities that can be viewed in full on their website.

Location: Ursuline Convent, Blackrock

Dates: August 8-12 for both camps.

Cost: €95 and €100 for iPad Camp reductions on offer for group booking.

Parks Tennis holds summer camps for children aged 6-17 years old and has been in operation since the early 1980’s. They offer daily classes are designed to ensure lots of active fun and tennis skills. They combine structured tennis sessions with fun and games. It is about building community spirit and encouraging children to participate in an active and fun sport to help stay healthy.

Location: Ursuline Convent, Blackrock

Dates: July 25-29 and August 2-5

Cost: The 5 day camp is €50 and the 4 day (August) camp is €40.

Konfident Kidz camps are suitable for children aged 4-13 and aim to build self-esteem and confidence through a variety of activities depending on participants age. Activities include; drama, games, art, dressing up, puppets, sing-a-long songs and rhymes for the youngest group. For children aged 7-9, the activities include; exploring improvisation, drama games, scripted plays, characterisation, prop making and stagecraft. This group will perform for parents on the final day. While the oldest group will be involved with devising a script or scenario, a soundtrack, and film a movie over the week. They will study improvisation, character development, devising theatre and acting for the camera. All the activities are conducted in a non-competitive environment.

Location: Bishopstown

Dates: July 4-8

Cost: 3 Day Camp €65, 5 Day Camp €85 with discounts on group bookings.

Some other summer camps outside of Cork that look really exciting and innovative!

Inspireland caters for 8-16 year olds and it sets out to nurture participants creative side. Children learn about creativity through a variety of mediums including; the art of storytelling through poetry, puppetry, illustration, drama, and art craft bookmaking. Participants can choose between morning and evening sessions. Each of the five days focuses on a different creative skill set. This one is definitely for your little artist!

Location: Limerick School of Art & Design

Dates: Runs on a weekly basis throughout July from the 4-29.

Cost: €175

Camp Rockwell is one of the most popular summer camps in the country every year and has activities for children aged 5-15. The summer camp has the use of the schools full facilities including; 24 acre lake, 25m indoor swimming pool, rugby, soccer pitches, basketball courts, all-weather pitches, tennis courts, gyms, golf course and a forest. They are sure to have something for every child! A hot lunch is also provided and a variety of activities take place at the above mentioned facilities that are age appropriate. The day of activities lasts from 9.30am to 5pm and there is also transporation available (at an additional cost).

Location: Rockwell College, County Tipperary.

Dates: the first and last week are already fully booked. Week 2 takes place between July 18th – 22nd.

Cost: €170

Get West Kayak Summer Camp  aimed at paddlers between the ages of 8-16 the small group sizes allow for the operators to cater to all levels. The camp runs over the course of five days and aims to get children active and learn a new skill. All the equipment is provided, including the safety equipment. The organisers also offer a variety of other activities throughout the year.

Location:  University of Limerick

Dates: Start in mid-June and run throughout the summer.

Cost: €110


There is something on the list that caters for all interests and budgets to help keep children active, engaged and busy during the summer. The locations of summer camps in cork are closest to the credit union, so if they are fully booked there may be spaces at another location.




Holiday Tips

Holiday Tips

Almost everyone at some stage wants to get away from it all and go on a holiday break. Be it just for a weekend with friends, a family fortnight away or a honeymoon! That special time away from all the daily routines can be just what you need to recharge the batteries and reduce stress. Here are some tips for your holidays this summer.

Before You Leave

If it’s possible, be open to flying mid-week as this is often the time when you get the best prices, with Tuesday and Wednesdays having the best value on average. The optimum time to book is often 50 days in advance. It is also a good idea to delete your browser history when searching for flights online because prices can increase the number of times you search on a particular website.

Remember to take out travel insurance before you head off no matter for how long you are going away. It might seem obvious but plenty of people don’t do it and later regret it. Better safe than sorry!

Learning a little of the local language of your holiday destination is always a fantastic idea! It’s amazing what a few words can do and the locals tend to be warmer to those who have made the effort and are having a go! There are plenty of resources available online to help you pick up a few words. A great app for your phone or tablet is duolingo that offers learning languages in a fun and innovative way. The languages on offer include French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese to name just a few and it’s completely free!

A little planning goes a long way! Do some research on your destination to make the most out of your holiday. By looking up the best restaurant or the must-see sights you can really maximise your time away. Creating a plan of activities for your time on holidays helps but also leave some room for the unexpected.



Try to get to the airport early to beat the queues so you won’t have to rush and become stressed. Have everything you need ready, like your tickets/board pass printed out and make sure you have your passport (before leaving the house!). Make the security check as smooth as possible by having all your jewellery and anything else that could trigger the alarm off you, before getting to the metal detector. Make sure your liquids in the correct sized containers and placed in the clear plastic bag. If you have a laptop make sure it’s in an easy place to remove because they need to be scanned separately.

Ear plugs can be a great way to help get some sleep on a flight or if your accommodation is noisier than you would like. Be sure to stay hydrated on the flight by drinking water, as it helps with jet lag on long flights.


Try to pack less with the aim being to only have carry-on luggage with you because you have less to carry, don’t need to check it in and your bag is less likely to get lost. If you have to check luggage in, then weigh it before leaving the house to be sure it’s within the weight limits, so you don’t end up paying additional fees.  Also, when packing roll your clothes up to get the most out of your luggage space. Most bags that are lost find their way back to owners after only a short period of time by airlines, so try not to worry.

Only pack the things you will actually use and with clothes try to pick things that can be matched to create more outfits. Remember to bring some of the essential items depending on the type of holiday. Some things that need to be on every trip;

  • Toiletries and a small first aid kit.
  • Charger and cable for all your electronic devices.
  • A continental plug adaptor.
  • Sun protection (suncream,sunglasses, a hat).
  • A book or kindle.
  • Print out copies of reservations and flights.

Create a checklist before leaving to make sure you have everything.


Hotels aren’t the only type of accommodation out there, Airbnb has a huge variety of accommodation for any budget and any group size. People offer accommodation from just a room to the use of a whole house/apartment. These premises are often in great locations and hosts offer loads of local information on what to do in the area. You can check out reviews of your host’s accommodation before booking, to make sure its suits. Hostels are always a great option if you’re trying to reduce costs, with many family/youth hostels available. It’s a good idea to do a quick online check of accommodation before booking, so there aren’t any unwanted surprises when you arrive!

beach booksStaying Safe

Try not to carry too much cash on you at any one time in case something happens, you don’t want to lose a huge amount. A money belt is a good way of stopping pickpockets while on your holidays. Let family and friends know you have arrived safely with a quick message and do so throughout your trip to keep them up to date.

When out and about keep you day bag or handbag close to you at all times as to not give thieves an easy ride and try not to flaunt your possessions.

The best tip of all is to use your common sense when on holidays and  you’ll have a great time!

Benefits of Getting a Loan With Us

Here are some of the benefits of getting a loan with St. Michael’s Credit Union  rather than on your credit card at over 22% or from a money lender like Provident at over 187%!

  • St. Michael’s Credit Union interest rates are fair and reasonable.
  • There are no hidden fees or transaction charges.
  • Repayments are calculated on your reducing balance, so you pay less interest with each repayment.
  • You can pay off your loan early, make additional lump sum repayments or increase your regular repayments, without a penalty. Other lenders may charge you extra for paying them back faster!