Recently back from a fantastic vacation (or holiday, for you on the other side of the pond) to Ireland, I picked up a few handy travel
- Make sure if you are renting a car in Ireland that you get your insurance before arriving. Once there the costs can be outrageous! We neglected this and were handed a bill of $200 per person. Not a good way to start out our vacation.
- Get cash at the ATM in the airport. You’ll need coins for the tolls and parking. Check with your bank to find out additional fees and currency exchange rates. Ours charged us $5 per ATM withdrawal and $5 every time we used our debit card,plus transfer fees and the like (I personally felt nickel and dimed to death). So make that withdrawal count!
- Remember the motion sickness pills, especially if you are stuck in the back seat of the car. The roads are extremely narrow and winding. Or, just do what I did, close your eyes and catch up on some Z’s.
- Speaking of Irish roads, we purchased an SD card with GPS for Ireland. This was invaluable! We packed our Garmin and once on the road popped the card in and we were driving like locals…almost. The steering wheel is on what we in America are used to as the passenger side, and you drive on the opposite lane. It took some getting used to and it felt like we were on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
- It isn’t necessary to tip the hotel maid, however, tipping is a good idea in restaurants. Sometimes it will be added automatically to your bill, but more often than not, it won’t be, so don’t forget to tip!
- Pillows in Ireland, or at least all the hotels I stayed at, are very flat (and not very comfortable in my opinion). You’ll want extra pillows if you are used to fluffier pillows, most rooms had two or more pillows, but sometimes we had to call for more.
- Buy wine with a screw top. Our hotel only had one and they weren’t sure where they last placed it. We waited about an hour and a half and were about to give it up when the call came that they had located the corkscrew. Avoid the wait and buy screw top wine.
- And here is the best advice of all: unless you want to buy whiskey to drink over there (which is always delightful) buy your whiskey at the airport in the Duty-free shop. The tax on whiskey is nearly double the price. For example, one brand was $48 in the liquor store, but only $24 in the duty free shop. Some brands to look for that you can’t get in the States are Green Spot, Yellow Spot, Paddy (a little less refined, but tasty with one ice cube) and Powers. Of course, if you are visiting a distillery, there are always the special distillery reserves that you can’t get any where. You can only purchase them at the distillery. So, the choice is yours. One more little tip: rather than spending the 13 Euros on the Jameson Distillery tour, we opted to spend a little more and get a flight of whiskey’s. This was great fun if you just want to taste the whiskey and not learn how it is made. They pour the triple distilled, the Gold Reserve, the Twelve Year,and the Eighteen Year. Great fun.
- Allow plenty of time at the airport when departing. We were thrown a couple of curve balls where customs was concerned. There will be two security checks and a customs check, this saves time upon arrival back in America, but it cut our duty-free shopping. There was another duty free after the second security check, but it was limited on stock and one of the whiskey’s we were interested in purchasing was five Euros more. Just a word to the wise.
Enjoy your trip, I wish I was going again.
That is what I have to say. What are your travel tips?