My husband and I just returned from our first overseas trip. We chose to explore Ireland for 9 days. It was fantastic, breathtaking, and tons of fun! I highly recommend adding it to your, “must do” list.
I wanted to share our trip with you for two reasons: 1. as a way to journal it for my own memories and those of my family. 2. to help out any one who would like to tour Ireland, too.
I will do several posts where I will share what to pack, what videos to watch prior to going, guide books to buy, what we explored in Ireland, and all the in-between.
Today, I will focus on PREPARING for your Summer trip to Ireland.
What to take:
- One carry-on luggage. Yes, you can fit it all in 1 suitcase and you’ll be so glad you did. We had several travelers pass us in the airport, stop us and ask, “Is that all you have? How did you pack so light?”
- Summer temperatures in Ireland are mid 60s – low 70s. So, some short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, pants or jeans, and shorts or skirts would all be appropriate. Plan to mix and match shirts and jeans/pants/skirts in order to pack light. Pack to wear each shirt at least 2 x’s and alternate your pants to wear at least 3 times.
- Dress in layers.
- Bring a light jacket every where. I used mine often but discarded it midday.
- Sometimes when exploring places up on a hill, the wind can really kick up so taking a scarf or hat for added warmth is beneficial.
- A money belt that will hold your passport, money, credit card, and drivers license
- Headphones – there are a few sites that have audio tours you can get an app for on your phone. Also, international flights offer movies to watch.
- Travel toiletry items – remember all liquids must be 3 oz or less and all must fit in a quart size baggie.
- Socks and undergarments – these are easy to wash in the sink and let dry. Use shampoo, laundry soap, or bar soap to wash them.
- Comfortable shoes (make sure water won’t ruin them) – at least 2 pairs
- Camera, batteries, charger
- Medicines you take
- Laundry soap or bar soap for washing clothes in sink
- Plug converters – Ireland and England have the same outlets but the rest of the European union are different.
- Fabric refresher
- Hair dryer/straightener – make sure they are dual voltage
- Addresses for sending postcards home. Allow a week for a postcard to reach home. Some places were you buy your postcard will sell you a stamp and mail it for you as well.
- Eye glasses/contacts/contact solution
- Small bag for daily use to carry water bottles/snacks/camera (backpack or small duffle bag or over the shoulder bag)
- Lip balm
Get a passport. Allow at least 4 – 6 weeks for processing. We got ours at the post office and some post offices require appointments. We found that these appointments were weeks out so we found other post offices that it was just a “show up” kind of arrangement.
Research if any of your credit cards can be used overseas without incurring foreign charges.
Contact your credit card company that you will be traveling overseas.
Videos to watch
To insure tight packing, roll your clothes in a military roll. Here is an example of a “how to” video. There are lots and you may find another one that is more helpful to you.
This Rick Steves video is helpful as well. It is quite lengthy but she has many tips that first time travelers may benefit from.
Guide book(s) to buy:
Rick Steves current Ireland trip. This was invaluable to us on our trip. What I liked about it was it is very detailed, contains more background information for you while you are on certain tours, has up close maps of various cities, provides research on restaurants, hotels, and attractions for the country.
If this guidebook isn’t for you, there are lots more. I had a friend who used and recommended Ireland for Dummies.
Websites we found helpful:
Pinterest – This is my Pinterest board called, “Let’s take a trip”
Trip Advisor – so many helpful reviews
We found our fantastic travel package at Great Value Vacations.
Included in our package was our roundtrip flights, lodging in a hotel in Dublin, rental car, and then a voucher for B&B Ireland to stay in B&Bs of our choice within this system. We were very pleased with every aspect of this package.
B&B Ireland is a very easy to use site that contains pictures, reviews, a map to make sure the bed and breakfast will be near where you need to be, and online reservations. We enjoyed our bed and breakfasts immensely. We used our bed and breakfast for simply providing us with a bed to sleep at night and a good breakfast to begin our day. We stayed one night in each and would continue our journey. Only once did we stay two nights and that was because of our travel plans. If you’d like to know the specific B&Bs we stayed in throughout our trip, just ask and I’d be glad to share them with you. You may find that your first choice for a B&B is already booked so book them as early as possible but if you don’t get your first or second choice, I bet it will be just fine, too. We weren’t able to book our first or second choices very often and were still very pleased with our experience. We stayed in 3 and 4 starred B&Bs.
Dan Dooley Car Rental and found them just wonderful to work with. They were so helpful and kind and efficient. When we returned our car, the shuttle bus was waiting for us and the driver collected our luggage before my husband was finished paying or I was even finished making sure I had gotten everything out of the car.
**That’s all I can think of to help you prepare for your trip. If I missed something, please leave me a comment. If you have traveled to Ireland and have a “must know before you go” tip, please add it as well to the comments.
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Tomorrow’s post: Driving in Ireland