In October 2019, my husband and I had the pleasure of seeing Ireland on the 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland Tour.
Our itinerary took us all around the beautiful island of Ireland.
We were expertly guided from the spectacular Causeway Coast and historic cities of Northern Ireland to the epic Wild Atlantic Way, including the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Dingle.
Here's what we learned; my top travel tips and tricks to make your Ireland tour the best ever!
Packing For Your Ireland Tour
Packing for any vacation can be challenging.
It's especially perplexing when the trip is your first visit to a country.
Thankfully, after four tours of Ireland with Vagabond, I now have my packing routine down pat.
🎒 DO Bring A Backpack or Bag
This is for your day to day needs.
Your suitcase will be pack away in the back end of the tour vehicle during the tour. As such, it will be inaccessible while you are exploring.
Each morning, I would throw my rain pants, rain jacket, purse, medications and camera into my backpack.
On Drifter tour vehicles, there is a small overhead space above the seats where you can store a daypack.
📓 DO Bring A Small Notebook
I have found a small notebook invaluable to use as a travel journal while in Ireland.
Each day, I would record the places we visited as well as any tidbits that our VagaGuide shared with us. We learned so many facts about Ireland and its people.
Once I got home, I was glad that I had written it all down. The journal also helped when I was organizing my pictures from the trip.
🤳 DO Bring Your Phone
Even if you are not going to make calls from Ireland, a cellphone can be a priceless travel tool
I put mine on airplane mode with the wifi on.
Each day at lunch, I would use the free wifi in the pub to check my email and send a quick update home.
Phones come in handy for other things too. One of my fellow Driftwooders took daily notes on her phone instead of a journal.
I used my phone to take some pictures. And people with nice, new phones took better pictures than my big, heavy camera.
🧳 DON’T Over-Pack
There is no need to bring dressy clothes or shoes.
Most nights, we ate dinner in the same clothes that we traveled in that day.
Use a small suitcase, carry-on size if you can, as you are in charge of your bag each morning and night.
Don’t worry about being seen on Day 6 with the same shirt you wore on Day 1. No one really cares!
Also, don’t fuss over the hair and make-up. Rain showers and wind will give you a new hairstyle once you make your first stop of the day!
No matter the time of year, you will have at least some rain, so just be prepared to get out into it.
Find out more about packing for your trip to Ireland
Who Will I Meet On A Tour of Ireland?
Vagabond & Driftwood Tours welcome guests from all over the world to Ireland.
The itineraries have no age limit, aside from small children. If you're aged 8 to 108, Ireland is waiting!
😊 DO Expect To Make Friends
I made formed some amazing friendships over the course of my four tours of Ireland.
On our first tour, we met people from Canada and the US on our Drifter tour vehicle.
Everyone was so nice! To this day, we still stay in touch regularly via WhatsApp.
Our VagaGuide Michael helped us to meet each other and get to know the Irish as we travelled around.
Eight of us even got together for a reunion back home in Florida!
Irish people have a welcoming reputation.
They are very friendly - especially if you buy them a pint!
Do get out of your comfort zone if you can. Visit an Irish pub and strike up a conversation with your neighbour.
You'll be amazed at where the conversation leads!
What Is Irish Food Like?
Ireland isn't world-renowned for its cuisine.
But I think it's just a matter of time before the fresh ingredients, excellent service and high quality pubs and restaurants are discovered by the travel world!
🍲 DON’T Be Afraid To Experiment
My advice for Irish food is to venture out of your comfort zone and try novel foods and drinks.
We had so many great meals in pubs and hotels.
You don't need to visit a fancy restaurant to have a wonderful meal.
One of our favourite Irish staples was the soup served in local pubs. It's usually made with fresh vegetables or fish and comes with generous hunks of delicious Irish brown bread.
Dairy in Ireland is world class. The milk served with our breakfast was thick and creamy. The salted butter is to die for!
We also ate incredibly fresh fish and chips from street stalls. The seafood in Ireland is beyond amazing!
Last but not least...
🤩 DO Expect The Best Tour Ever!
Vagabond & Driftwood Tours are dedicated to making their guests fall in love with Ireland.
It certainly came true in my case!
Bring your sense of adventure and be prepared to have a wonderful time.
Remember, if there is rain, that means... rainbows!
So, to sum up my Driftwood tour... So many miles, so many smiles and plenty of craic!!
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