Nothing is more exciting than vacation planning, right?

Especially when you're planning a trip to Ireland!

We've covered all the most essential elements

The Basics - Ireland Trip Planner 101

Book Early for Best Value on Flights, Dublin Hotels & Our Tours

🏦 Notify Your Bank and Cell Phone Provider of Your Travel Plans.

🏥 Purchase good quality Travel Insurance

🧳 Travel light, packing only the essentials

⚠️ Double Check Your Passport date, any meds or other essentials ahead of departure


Early Vagabonds Catch the Worm!

⏳ How Early Should I Book My Tour?

Our tours fill up quickly during certain months. May, June and September are all popular. To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise that you book in advance.

💡 PRO TIP: Ask our friendly reservations team for the month with most capacity. Enjoy greater choice and flexibility!

Alternatively, try taking a tour off-peak (March, April or October). We offer a 10% discount to Vagabonds and Driftwooders travelling off-peak.

🛫 How Early Should I Book My Airline Tickets?

When booking long-haul flights to Ireland, it's best to book well in advance. More airlines fly direct to Ireland than ever before.

  • Irish flag-carrier Aer Lingus operates direct routes to Ireland from many North American cities. Minneapolis and Montreal launched in summer 2019.
  • Norwegian Airlines operate low-cost routes between Ireland and North America.
  • Flight price comparison sites, such as Kayak or Skyscanner, can be very useful. You could also use a travel agent.

Try booking your flights midweek, instead of the weekend. The best deals are available midweek because this is when airlines update their systems.

Read our guide to saving money on flights to Ireland

Make sure you have your tour dates confirmed before booking flights.

💡 DID YOU KNOW: There is only a €100 deposit required to secure your tour with us. Even if you haven't decided on your flights, we can hold your tour departure for 7 days on a provisional basis (no cost or obligation).

Learn more about our New Flexible Booking Terms and €100 Deposits

🛌 How Early Should I Book My Dublin Hotel?

Dublin is a popular city. Finding accommodation in Dublin can be challenging even outside peak vacation times. Our advice is NOT to leave booking accommodation in Dublin to the last minute.

All Vagabond and Driftwood tours start and end at the Grand Canal Hotel. Use the promo code VAGABOND to receive a discount.

Can't find a room at the Grand Canal Hotel? We recommend using to locate suitable accommodation nearby.

Using AirBnB? Dublin neighbourhoods to try searching for (convenient to reach the Grand Canal Hotel) include:

  • Grand Canal Dock
  • Ballsbridge
  • Sandymount
  • Donnybrook

Triple Check Your Travel Essentials

🏥 Should I book Travel Insurance?

Yes. We highly recommend taking out full travel insurance before coming to Ireland. Your travel insurance policy should cover potential medical bills, lost baggage, flight delays and cancellations.

Vagabonds and Driftwooders have obtained well-priced travel insurance cover from World Nomads.

🛂 Is my passport out of date?

It can take weeks to process a passport which is out of date.

If you already have a passport, check (and then double check) that it's valid for the duration of your stay. Check now!

Find Information on Passports In Your Country:

USA: Bureau of Consular Affairs Passport Section

Canada: Passport Office

Australia: Passport Office

US Passport and retro camera on top of a map of the world

Before You Depart for Ireland

🧳 How do I pack for Ireland?

Firstly, make a list of all the things you need. Find our handy list of what to bring to Ireland here.

We strongly recommend that you pack lightly, taking into account the changeable nature of the Irish climate.

Because of our small-group ethos, our tour vehicles are small. There is limited luggage capacity. To be fair to everyone, please only bring one suitcase per person, no bigger than 30" (75cm) along its longest side.

Alternatively, one large suitcase between two people. Laundry facilities are available at selected hotels on longer tours.

💊 Do I need to bring my prescription medication to Ireland?

Consult with your doctor before you depart. Ensure you have sufficient medication to allow for delays or unexpected events.

Read this handy advice from the US Embassy in Ireland's website

💡 PRO TIP: Carry all important medication in your hand luggage. In case your checked-in bag is mislaid, you will still be on top of things.

🖨️ Should I Print Out My Travel Documents?

Yes. Don't rely on digital devices for important documents when you travel.

Always carry a hard copy of the following:

  • Flight booking confirmation documents and/or home-printed boarding cards.
  • Dublin accommodation booking documents, for before and after your tour.
  • Directions/printed map to your Dublin accommodation. This will help you locate your hotel and aid taxi drivers to find it too.
  • Vagabond or Driftwood Tour confirmation. Youll receive this by email 21 days before departure. On the morning of departure, your VagaGuide will ask to see a printed copy to confirm your booking.
  • Photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documentation, in case of theft or loss. Keep these copies in a separate bag to the originals. You can't be too careful!

📞 How do I contact home and family when in Ireland?

Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is important for all of our guests.

Because we visit rural destinations, phone signal can often be weak or non-existent. Please be aware that, in our off the beaten track hotels and guesthouses, wifi will be more reliable than phone signal. Meanwhile, roaming charges can be exorbitant.

To access the internet on your phone outside wifi hotspots, you have two main options:

  1. Contact your home phone provider before you travel and ask about an international roaming plan.
  2. Purchase an Irish sim card, to swap into your phone. Although your phone needs to be either unlocked or have dual/virtual sim feature if you intend to purchase a sim card in Ireland. The simplest way to do this is by buying an Irish simcard upon arrival at Dublin Airport. The Spar convenience store beside Arrivals in Terminal 2 stocks simcards. Or at a Carphone Warehouse store in Dublin city centre - this outlet supplies all of Ireland's major networks and their staff can advise you on what will suit you best. Irish simcards can be topped up in most convenience stores.

💡 PRO TIP For tours passing through Northern Ireland, be mindful that you'll be crossing an international border (Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom). Consequently, any roaming plan you pre-arrange before your tour should include the United Kingdom (UK) as well as Ireland.

Crumpled euro note resting on tarmac

Money Makes The World Go Round

💳 Do I need to tell my credit card provider that I'm travelling to Ireland?

Yes. Please pre-notify your credit card provider of your travel plans before you leave. International charges on bank cards may raise red flags and lead to a block on your account.

For tours passing through Northern Ireland, mention to your credit card provider or bank you will be visiting the UK as well as Ireland.

💡 PRO TIP Be sure to ask about international service charges.

💵 How much cash should I bring with me to Ireland?

The choice between cash and card boils down to personal preference. ATM cash machines are not prevalent in some of the off the beaten track destinations we travel to. For this reason, it's best to avoid the need to visit an ATM every day of your tour.

However, carrying large amounts of cash is inadvisable too. In Ireland we use Euro (€). You'll need a different currency Pounds Sterling (£) if your your tour passes through Northern Ireland.

Read more about cash, credit cards and spending money on our dedicated blog.

Ireland and UK three pin plug

Last Minute Practicalities

🔌 Do I Need An Electrical Adapter in Ireland?

In Ireland and the UK, we use a three-pin plug, with square pins. The voltage is 240v.

Check that any appliances you are bringing to Ireland can work on a 240v system. The voltage level should be shown somewhere on your device.

Check out our dedicated blog on electrical adapters

📸 What camera accessories will I need in Ireland?

Carrying a camera? Fully charge it and and carry spare batteries as well as memory cards with you. For tips on taking better photos with your camera: 7 Check Our Our Blog: 7 Tips for Taking Better Travel PhotosPlan what you want to do in Dublin before coming, to get the most of your time there.

Immediately Before You Leave

⏱️ How can I ensure I get to the airport on time?

Plan how you'll get to your home airport in advance. Try to anticipate potential delays like rush hour traffic or major sports events that might coincide with your journey.

Aim to be at your home airport at least 3 hours before departure, to allow for delays.

📄 What should I double check before leaving home?

Print your boarding pass. Double check your flight departure times. Triple check any supplies of personal medication is in order.

Interior of Trinity Library showing shelves of books and an antique timber roof


After Landing in Dublin

🛬 How do I get from Dublin Airport to my Dublin hotel?

We recommend taking a taxi from Dublin Airport to your Dublin hotel. There are also multiple bus services serving Dublin Airport.

Read our handy guide to Dublin Airport transfers

☘️ What should I see in Dublin?

It's not all boring practical stuff! Ireland's capital city is an amazing place to visit. Even if you only have a few hours to spare, Dublin's delights are well worth exploring.

Read our guide to non-touristy things to do in Dublin

Planning a trip to Ireland can be so much fun. We hope you have a great time organising your visit!

Travel checklist for planning your 2021 trip to Ireland

Email us at with any questions or queries.

Photo Credits:

Photo of checklist/hand by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Photo of passports by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Photo of Trinity College Library by Jonathan Singer on Unsplash

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