Ask Joan: Corsica or Tuscany, and how to get to Brisbane

What is the difference between economy and premium economy seats?

 

We are thinking of a ten days to two weeks holiday in either Tuscany or Corsica this July or August. Would you have any ideas to help us make up our minds? TG, Dublin.

The one big difference between Tuscany and Corsica is accessibility. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus have direct flights to Pisa which puts you in Tuscany easily.

Best value flights to Ajaccio, Bastia or Figari would be through London Gatwick, Manchester, Toulouse, Lyon or Paris CDG with Easyjet. com. Ryanair has flights via Paris Beauvais and Charleroi to Figari. Prices in the summer will be around €200 plus the Dublin connection.

Corsica is a mountainous island the fourth largest in the Mediterranean. It measures 183kms by 83kms, so you may need to hire a car to explore. Corsica is also famous for its beaches. Expect to pay around €100 per night for a three star hotel. It is popular with both French and Italian visitors.

There are plenty of self-catering properties dotted around the island both in coastal locations and inland. Look at what is available on homeaway.com and Airbnb. com.

With a wider choice of flights to Pisa, Tuscany is an easy option from Ireland and fares are under €200 except at weekends. There are a number of options for enjoying Italy’s most popular province.

You could consider a fly drive holiday with Topflight.ie. The Taste of Tuscany includes flights from Dublin, car hire, seven nights accommodation divided between two four-star hotels. One is in Montecatini Terme and the other in Siena. If you time your trip around July 2 or August 16 you could see the famous ancient horse race the Palio in Siena.

Tuscany has a great variety of self-catering accommodation from ancient farmhouses to bijou residences to hillside medieval homes, see to-tuscany.com. The coast of Tuscany is lovely and there are a number of nice resorts like Viareggio, Forte di Marmi and Castiglione della Pescaia. Topflight have holidays in self-catering accommodation from around €599pps.

My daughter is going to Brisbane to work for a year leaving around the beginning of August. I was wondering if you could advise me a bit about flights. We are hoping she might come home for Christmas. Would it be cheaper to buy singles or is there such a thing as an open ticket. Also, what would be the difference between economy and premium economy and would it be worth pushing the boat out. BB.

There would be no advantage in buying single tickets to Australia, as the routes are operated by full service carriers that charge more for one way tickets. Open tickets are also very expensive. Fares to Brisbane will be in the region of €1,100 - 1,500. Premium economy tickets are usually double the economy cost. The difference is a bigger seat, more leg room, a bit more flexibility on the ticket and sometimes better food.

As to coming home for Christmas - it is the most expensive time to travel to or from Australia. Fares are high from mid December to mid January and people usually book them well in advance.

It would be helpful to book her tickets through a travel agent as there are so many variables and airlines flying to Australia. Agents to consider would be Abbeytravel.ie, Gohop.ie and Justsplit.ie.

Send your queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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