Considering self-drive in Ireland? Wondering how difficult it is? Never fear! We're here to answer all of your concerns.
7 Reasons a Guided Tour of Ireland Beats Self-Drive
✔️ See MORE than you would on your own. Must-see sights PLUS all of our favourite hidden gems.
✔️ Flexible itineraries with downtime and lots of options. Real independence.
✔️ No hassle driving stick, at roundabouts or remembering to drive on the left.
✔️ No refuelling. No hidden car insurance costs. No fiddling with maps or GPS.
✔️ Skip the queues at major attractions by arriving outside peak hours.
✔️ Be more sociable. Make friends on tour and meet real, live, local Irish people.
✔️ Little or no research necessary. We've been researching the best bits of Ireland since 2002!
The Key Advantage of a Guided Tour Vs. Self-Drive
If you takeaway only one reason to take a guided tour over a self-drive vacation to Ireland, it's this:
We guarantee you'll see MORE on your Vagabond or Driftwood tour than you will do with a rental car and a pile of maps.
Seeing everything you want to see: it's the main challenge facing all tourists.
Cliffs of Moher. Giant's Causeway. Blarney. Galway. Dingle. You'll hit all the must-see sights of Ireland on your Vagabond or Driftwood Tour. But by timing visits outside peak hours, our amazing VagaGuides will ensure you miss the crowds and see these major attractions at their very best.
Aside from the headliners, we'll also take you off the beaten track to places that would be hard to find on a self-drive vacation to Ireland.
We've been refining our itineraries since 2002. We know the best lodgings, the places to visit, the most fun activities to do and the most delicious restaurants to eat in.
No need for long hours of research either!
How Flexible are Guided Tours?
Flexibility. Independence. Two big concerns which might tempt you towards self-drive in Ireland over guided tours.
The good news is that all Vagabond and Driftwood tour itineraries have flexibility baked-in. No two tours are ever the same.
While our scheduled tours follow set itineraries; the routes and attractions are by no means written in stone. At the outset of each tour, you VagaGuide tour guide will be keen to hear what each passenger wants to get out of their tour. This helps us tailor sights and activities to the group.
Why can we do this? Our tour groups are small. The small-group size of our tours gives us (and YOU!) this flexibility.
What's the Best Ireland Tour Itinerary?
Ireland may not look like a big place. But navigating around the countryside in Ireland is deceptively hard.
Irish roads are predominantly single lane. Large motorways and expressways are clustered around large cities. Did you know there are no freeways in Donegal, for example? What's more, phone and GPS signal can be unreliable in off the beaten track locations.
What's the alternative? Simple! Take one of our guided tours. But don't take it from us...
"We saw things we never would have known to visit had we gone off on our own.
And we never had to worry about a thing-they took care of every detail, especially the driving!!"
Yes, that's a real TripAdvisor review from one of our happy Vagabonds (August 2019). And it's typical.
Guided Tours Are More Sociable
There's no doubt that our guests bond.
"We made numerous friends along the way, including fellow passengers, local artisans, and the occasional sheep or horse!"
(Yes, this is a real, live TripAdvisor review from September 2019).
Meeting real Irish people can be tough when you travel independently. It's one of the most rewarding parts of taking a guided tour of Ireland.
Passengers get to know each other through fun stops and optional activities. Perfect if you're a solo traveller.
Many of our past VagAlumni keep in contact long after their tour through our Vagabond & Driftwood Facebook group.
Get to Know Your Guide
The small-group nature of our tours holds another advantage: not only will your friendly VagaGuide tour guide be on first name terms with you, they'll get to know you properly, and vice versa.
Our compact tour vehicles mean that you won't have to shout to get your tour guide's attention!
How Can I Experience The Real Ireland?
You may find it hard to see non-touristy things in Ireland on a self-drive vacation.
Since Rob led his first Vagabond tour back in 2002, we've built strong relationships with local suppliers and residents of the towns and villages we visit.
This means that you, as our guest, will receive an authentic Irish experience. We'll introduce you to our friends. Hear their stories, ask them questions and get a feel for what life is really like in Ireland.
Katy and Neil are typical of the characters you'll meet on a Vagabond or Driftwood tour. They're the chef and hotelier, respectively, at the family-owned Gougane Barra Hotel.
When your tour arrives at Gougane, Neil will be there to welcome you with a few words in Irish - this is the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht area after all! He'll explain Katy's evening menu in person. And he'll be there to wave you off in the morning.
The location of Gougane Barra is far off the beaten path in West Cork. Even most Irish people don't know it!
Like to know more? Email us your questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Different Is Driving in Ireland?
🤞 Difference #1: Narrow Irish Roads
Irish roads can be nerve wracking to drive but beautiful to look at. Narrow winding lanes with stone walls on either side makes for picture postcard images. But if you are not accustomed to driving on roads with limited space, a guided tour could be the best option.
⚙️ Difference #2: Driving Stick
Irish rental cars tend to have manual transmission. If you're used to driving automatic at home, make sure you rent an automatic.
👈 Difference #3: Driving on the Left
We drive on the left in Ireland. That means Irish cars are right hand drive (steering wheel and controls on the right).
🛑 Difference #4: Speeds in KMs
In Ireland, speedometers display speeds in kilometres per hour. Speed limits and distances on road signs are also in kilometres.
♻️ Difference #5: Different Road Layout
Road layouts are different in Ireland too. We ❤️ roundabouts!
Where you might find a crossroads in North America, you'll find a roundabout in Ireland. When entering a roundabout, you give way to traffic from the right.
Irish road signage ain't great.
And Irish people giving directions? Not much better...
If this all seems like too much to figure out, leave the roundabouts to our expert VagaGuide driver guides.