Nothing is more exciting than vacation planning, right? Especially when you’re planning a trip to Ireland! We’ve put together an essential checklist.
Early Vagabonds Catch the Worm!
Book Your Tour Early – Our tours fill up quickly during certain months. May, June and September are particularly popular. To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise that you book in advance. Reach out to our lovely Sales & Reservation team with any questions you may have »
Book Your Airline Tickets Early – More airlines fly direct to Ireland than ever before. WOW and Norwegian Airlines have recently opened routes between Ireland and North America. Aer Lingus launches new direct routes to Ireland from Minneapolis and Montreal in summer 2019. Price comparison sites, such as Kayak or Skyscanner, can be very useful. You could also use a travel agent.
When booking long haul flights, it’s best to book well in advance. Make sure you have your tour dates confirmed first before booking flights. There is only a 15% deposit required to secure your tour and we can also hold your tour for 7 days on a provisional basis (no deposit required at that stage). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details »
✔️ PRO TIP: Try booking your flights midweek, instead of the weekend. The best deals are available midweek because this is when airlines update their systems.
Book Accommodation Early: Finding accommodation in Dublin can be difficult, even outside peak holiday times. Don’t leave booking accommodation to the last minute. All Vagabond and Driftwood tours kick off from the Grand Canal Hotel, but there are various options nearby. Check alternative accommodation close to the tour start point on Booking.com »
Triple Check Your Travel Essentials
Travel Insurance: We highly recommend taking out full travel insurance that covers potential medical bills, lost baggage, flight delays and cancellations. Previous passengers have obtained well-priced cover from World Nomads (Vagabond Tours receives no commission from this recommendation).
Ensure Your Passport is in Date – It can take weeks to process a passport. 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
Canada: Passport Office
Australia: Passport Office
Before You Depart for Ireland
Packing List – First, 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, while taking into account the fickle nature of the Irish climate.
Because our groups are small, our vehicles are small – with 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 persons. Laundry facilities are available on longer tours.
Prescriptions – 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.
Travel Documents to Print Out
Don’t rely on digital devices. 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 help you get to and from your Dublin accommodation.
- Vagabond or Driftwood Tour confirmation. You’ll 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!
Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is important for all of our guests. Please be aware that the wifi in hotels and restaurants will be more reliable than phone signal. Because we visit rural, off the beaten track locations, phone signal can sometimes be weak or non-existent. Also, roaming charges can be exorbitant.
To use the internet on your phone outside wifi hotspots, you have two main options:
- Contact your home phone provider and ask abour an international roaming plan.
- Purchase an Irish sim card, to swap into your phone. The simplest way to do this is 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.
NB – For those travelling to Northern Ireland (12 Day Giant Irish Adventure, 11 Day Discover Ireland, 6 Day Northern Island Tour & 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour), be mindful that you’ll be crossing an international border (Northern Ireland is part of the UK). Consequently, any roaming plan you pre-arrange should include the UK.
Cash Vs Card
Credit Cards – Pre-notify your bank of your travel plans before you leave. International charges on bank cards may raise red flags and lead to a block on your account. If your tour is going to Northern Ireland, mention you will be visiting the UK as well as Ireland. When talking to your bank, be sure to ask about international service charges, which can range from 1-3%.
Cash is King – This 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 for within Northern Ireland. For currency exchange rate, check out the latest currency conversion rates on XE.com
Last Minute Practicalities
Getting to the Airport – Plan how you’ll get to the airport from your home, well in advance of departure. Aim to be at the airport at least three hours before departure to allow for delays.
Adapters – 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. It should state somewhere on your device its voltage level. Check out our dedicated blog on electrical adapters »
Camera – 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 Photos »
Immediately Before You Leave
Boarding Pass – Print your boarding pass and double check departure times.
Medication – Double check your meds are in order.
Once You Land in Dublin
Getting to your Dublin hotel – Check how you’re planning to travel to your pre-tour accommodation from Dublin airport. Or, y’know, simply read our handy guide on the topic »
Exploring Dublin – It’s not all boring practical stuff! Ireland’s capital city is an amazing place to visit and you’ll more than likely have some spare time in Dublin. Even if you only have a few hours to spare, Dublin’s delights are well worth exploring. To get the most of your time, read our blog: How to Plan Your First Trip to Dublin »
Mobile device – Unless you’ve got an international mobile plan or have bought a sim card for Ireland, it’s best to turn off your mobile data to avoid roaming charges.
Read up on tips from previous passengers – Find top tips for planning a trip to Ireland from our previous Vagabonds and Driftwooders »