2017 is the first year where we’re travelling to Ireland and booking every step ourselves! Here are a couple of things you should not forget when planning your own trip to Ireland without any travel agency!
The TV once again showed this lovely ad about Ireland? Irish music doesn’t leave your ear and you just want to travel there and leave your home behind for a bit? Perfect!
Now the question arises whether you want to book via a travel agency and take the easy route? After all you just tell them what you want, they create the perfect package, you pay and off you go! But – if the package is too expensive for your liking, they just don’t get it right, or you just want to book your own individual adventure, then read this entry before you jump into the world wide web or collect dozens of trip magazines.
So, you decided the travel destination shall be Ireland! Splendid!
But, do you want to travel around the country, visit one city, or more? Do you want a car or is it okay to depend on public transport? What documents do you even need to enter the country?
Okay, just breathe in for a bit, and let’s start over!
What do you need to be allowed to enter the country?
Visas are not required by most citizens of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.
If you are from a different country, then please check this homepage: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_to_ireland/coming_to_live_in_ireland/visa_requirements_for_entering_ireland.html#l0aabc
Great, now that we know we can enter, how do we get there?
The easiest option is to fly to Ireland. You can, however, also drive there or take a bus or train. We always go there by plane.
You either go to a travel agency and let them book for you, or you book yourself. If you book yourself, the internet is your help. You can either just search in google your start and end destination and see what are the results. Or you use one of these price-compare pages or the pages of the respective flight companies. Best is a mix of all.
We tried all and then in the end settled for using the homepage of a flight company as this was the best option for us.
Also: keep in mind to always check the complete price! Sometimes you need to pay extra for luggage; also check what weight you can take with you as luggage.
Cool! We got a way to get there. Now… what?
Of course you first need to be sure if you want to stay in one place or travel around. If you stay in one of the big cities, you can rely on public transport, take a flight that reaches your direction right on point and you’re good to go.
If you want to travel around a bit, I found it best not to rely on public transport. Rent your own car, that’s definitely the best option! You can either book that from home, or right at the airport. But booking from home certainly has the advantage of being able to compare better. Just check what car you need and what’s the best option for you price-wise.
Oh, and if you rent a car – in Ireland you drive on the left side. And some streets are really small and not really even.
If you stay in one place, a city trip is great for starters! Dublin, Cork, Belfast are probably the biggest and best well known ones. For my first trip to Ireland, I stayed in Dublin for almost a week. Public transport was great and we even did a one-day trip to some cultural places over an hour away.
If you don’t want to stay in one place, get a car and look at the map – choose a route that would interest you. You can either book some hotels in advance or just try your best and see where you end up for the night and try to find a bed there. The less adventurous way is to book a hotel or B&B in one area that is convenient for all you want to see, get a car and make daily trips to the destinations you want to see.
When you want to travel to Ireland, it’s best to look at a map, or just google Ireland and look at the images showing up. If there’s a spot that looks interesting, an area you really want to see – you can check where this is and plan your trip accordingly.
You want to fully explore city life? Best look at the pages of the big cities in Ireland and just see which one appeals to you the most.
Wilderness is what you’re seeking? Great, Ireland offers a lot! Ruins, a wild coast, small villages with unique pubs, festivals, farms, little islands in lakes full of fish. And best of all, Ireland is not such a big country. That means you can easily drive around and get from Dublin to the far left of the country in under 3 hours.
We know some areas of the Island already, so we know which places we want to visit again. But this time we will also stay in Belfast and in Bushmills for a bit, which is totally new. I looked at tripadvisor, some blogs, Ireland tourism pages and just random google for spots I’d like to visit. And I’ve come up with a few of them.
So, we booked the flight, booked the hotels and B&B’s online, reserved a car and noted down some spots we want to visit. We’re going to fly there this May and I’m already more than excited. I’m going to check out the book store today and look if any of these travel books would be a good buy or if I’m again better off with the Internet. I’m going to write a separate entry for these travel books vs the Internet soon-ish.
But until then: have fun with your Ireland trip and if you got any questions – just ask ahead!