There is nothing more exciting than planning a trip abroad (especially to Ireland!), but it can sometimes seem a bit daunting. From booking flights, to passports and organising hotels. There is no need to stress, especially when you give yourself plenty of time and organise things step by step. And to help, we have put together an essential check list for planning your trip to Ireland:
The Months Before Your Trip to Ireland
- Book Your Tour We’ve seen a growth in popularity for certain tours during particular months (May, June and September). To avoid disappointment, we strongly advise to book in advance.
- Book Airline Tickets Early: When booking long haul flights, it’s best to book in advance as much as possible*. Price comparison sites such as Kayak or Skyscanner can be very useful. You could also use a travel agent to get you the best possible deal. There are now more airlines flying from North America direct to Ireland than ever before. WOW and Norwegian Airlines have recently opened up cheap “no frills” routes between Ireland and North America. Aer Lingus is our National carrier, and they have some good deals from time to time.
*NB – 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 email@example.com for more details
Expert Tip – Try booking flights mid-week instead of the weekend. As this coincides with when airlines update their systems.
- Book Accommodations: Finding accommodation in Dublin can be difficult, particularly around peak times. So don’t leave it to the last minute. We pick up from the Grand Canal Hotel at 8:10am on the first morning and drop of at 6pm on the last day. You can check out other nearby accommodation here. We recommend staying in the Dublin 2/4 area for proximity to the tour start location.
- Travel Insurance: We highly recommend full travel insurance that covers medical bills, delays, cancellations (for example if someone has a family member who is taken ill and they can’t leave them), lost baggage etc. We do have a link on our website to a company that previous passengers have obtained well-priced cover from before, the link can be found at https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/purchasing-travel-insurance/
- Check Passport: Make sure your passport is in date. It can take up to 6 weeks to process a passport. It is possible to do it in three weeks, however you will pay extra. If you already have a passport, make sure that it’s valid for the duration of your stay. Check now!
For more Passport Information:
Getting Close to Your Tour
Packing List – Make a list of all the things you need. We strongly recommend when packing, pack light and taking into account the fickle Irish weather. You’ll find a comprehensive list of what to bring here: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/top-tips-traveling-ireland/
Prescriptions – Talk to your doctor and make sure you bring a bit extra, just in case your flight is delayed. For more information on this check US Embassy in Ireland
Pro tip – Carry all important medication in your carry on. You never know what could happen to your check in bag.
Documents to Print Out – Don’t rely on digital devices always carry a hard copy of the following:
- Flight Confirmation documents
- Hotel Confirmations for before and after your tour
- Directions on getting to and from your accommodation
- Tour confirmation – You’ll receive this 21 days before departure. This will need to be presented to the guide on the morning of departure
- Photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documentation. Keep these copies in a separate bag to the originals.
Communication – If you plan to keep in contact with friends and family back home, using the WIFI in hotels and restaurants is best. Just be mindful of the time difference. If you want to use your phone outside WIFI hotspots, you’ve two main options, (without racking up huge roaming charges).
- Contact your phone provider and ask for their international roaming plan.
- Purchase an Irish sim, you can do this online before you leave or once you arrive. They are relatively cheap and can be topped up in most convenience stores.
N.B. For those travelling to Northern Ireland (12 Day Giant Irish Adventure, 11 Day Discover Ireland & 6 Day Northern Island Tour) be mindful that it is a different country (Northern Ireland is still part of the UK), and you will need to take this into account when making phone plan arrangements.
Credit Cards – Notify your bank before you leave, as international charges on bank cards raise red flags. If your tour is going to Northern Ireland, mention you will be visiting the U.K. and Ireland. When talking to your bank, be sure to ask about international service charges, which can range from 1-3%.
Cash – This is down to personal preference. It’s best to meet a balance of avoiding using cash machines every day, and carrying too much cash around. In Ireland we use Euro. You’ll need Pounds Sterling for within Northern Ireland. For currency exchange rate, check out X.E.
Getting to the Airport – Plan how you’ll get to the airport. Aim to be there at least three hours before departure.
Adapters – In Ireland we use a three pin plug, with square pins, just like in the UK. The voltage is 240v so you need to check that any appliances you are bringing over can work on a 240v system. It should say somewhere on the device.
Camera – Charge your camera and have spare batteries and memory cards with you. For tips on taking better photos with your camera, check out our blog: 7 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos.
Dublin – You’ll more than likely have anything from a few hours to a few days in Dublin. It is an amazing city and well worth exploring. To get the most of your time there plan in advance what you want to see. How to Plan Your First Trip to Dublin
Just Before You Leave
Boarding Pass – Print your boarding pass and double check times.
Getting to you hotel – Check how you’re getting to your pre-tour accommodation from Dublin airport.
Medication – Double check your meds are in order.
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.
Tips from previous passengers – If you’d like to find out what top tips our previous passengers have, you can here:
Bag size – 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 the longer tours. You can find a full list of clothing to pack here
We hope you have a great time organising your visit to Ireland, and of course visiting us! If you would like any further details please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org