Don t be weighed down by too much luggage. Pack light to easily get around. Photo Credit: Flickr user waymorefunner
1. Pack only a week’s worth of clothes even if you are traveling for 2 weeks. You can always re-wear or have your laundry done for you at a laundrette located in many towns.
2. Bring a garbage bag for dirty clothes. It keeps clean and dirty clothes separate and it also is handy when dropping them off at a laundrette.
3. Roll your clothes. You can often squeeze a little extra space in your bag this way (read: more room for souvenirs).
4. Take one medium luggage and one carry-on per person and no more. It quickly gets tiresome lugging the big guy suitcase up and down Bed and Breakfast stairs.
5. Use packing cubes to separate out your clothes from electronics from make-up. Makes finding things much easier!
6. Don t go out and buy packing cubes. Save the plastic packaging that sheets, pillows, etc. come in. They work just as well as expensive cubes, but don t cost anything extra!
7. Pack old/worn out underwear or purchase some at a dollar store. As soon as you are done with each pair, throw them away. You ll have a little more room for souvenirs at the end of your trip.
Only by renting a car can you see hidden places like hill tops on Achill Island, Co. Mayo
8. Rent a car! So many travel Ireland by coach bus. This is okay if you are unable to drive, but if you have the ability be sure to rent a car to see the countryside and meet the people on your schedule.
9. Compare booking sites before you book your car rental! Not only check the primary American brands, Hertz. Alamo. Budget , etc. but check Dan Dooley. Irish Car Rentals. AutoEurope. Argus. and Sixt. Just know what you are getting before you reserve. Some companies are great at sneaking hidden fees.
Locals and tourists alike picnicking along the water next to the Spanish Arch in Co. Galway
10. Buy snacks at an Irish store. It’s always fun being a local and to check out the differences in food options plus snacks will help tide you over until the next meal.
11. Get a Twix! (This is a special Stephanie tip can you tell?). Twix candy bars in the US have all sorts of preservatives—not in Ireland! What a fun little treat.
12. Take snacks, lunch or dinner with you to the airport. Airport/plane food is expensive not great on long haul flights. Enjoy your own food and make everyone else jealous!
13. Go for a picnic! There are lots of great deli’s in most towns. With a little cheese, meat and some crackers, you ve got yourself a picnic (and a cheap meal).
Cook up a storm in your own kitchen!
14. Try a self-catering cottage or apartment to save money. Usually rented by the week, you can save a bundle on accommodations and meals!
15. Sign up for Groupon or other social coupon email list for the areas you plan to visit. You might get some great deals on cheap meals, activities, or accommodations.
16. Eat the big breakfast that is served at your B B. It will last you well beyond midday—lunch is then often later without much need for a big dinner. Again saving you some $$.
17. Bring a water bottle for each person on your trip to Ireland. Fill up in the morning and ask your wait staff to refill throughout the day. You can save a bundle and it is better for the environment this way!
18. Use travel points. If you have a credit card that you use often but aren t collecting any points, apply for a card that gets you lots of bonus sign-up points and use it! You may be able to get enough points to pay for a portion of your travel costs.
19. Don t take much cash or bring traveler s checks. Use the ATM to get Euros when you land in Ireland. You ll get the best exchange rate this way.
20. Check your local credit union to see if they charge fees for international ATM transactions—many don’t!
21. Try AirBnB as an alternative accommodation. It can be even cheaper than even a traditional Irish Bed and Breakfast but still the same intimate experience with local expertise. (Using that link will give you a $25 coupon on your first stay!).
General Ireland Travel Planning Advice:
Can you think of a better place to be lost in?
22. Don t try to see the entire country in a week. Pick a couple of places and really explore!
23. Reach out to the locals—they have the best advice and it s always great experiencing Ireland up close.
24. Get lost. -) No really, taking a wrong turn in Ireland can lead to some of the best undiscovered small towns. It also gives you an excuse to stop to talk to the locals for directions or advice.
25. Learn a bit o’ Irish before you leave! It s always fun to say Sláinte (Slan-cha: To Health) at pub and sound like a local.
26. Seek out hidden gems beyond the regular tourist spots. Don t know where to start? Just ask your B B owner. They will know where to go. Or Check out Ireland Travel Kit for off the beaten path, traveler tested, suggestions.
27. The Trip Advisor Ireland Forum is very active and helpful when planning your first trip. Take a look at Trip Advisor s reviews of accommodations and attractions. Always drop the highest and lowest review to get more accurate evaluation.
28. Double check your flight times before you leave. If you book airfare far in advance the departure time can change.
29. Add at least a 1/3 more time to travel estimates between point A and point B. The roads are small. There will be many stops between for pictures. And you may enjoy a wrong turn or two. No worries though You are in Ireland!
30. Bring a good pair of walking shoes. It will be really tempting to (and you should) get out of the car and explore the countryside.
31. No matter what. Above all else. Even if something doesn t go as planned. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Because there will be a time that once again you will be dreaming of Ireland.
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