Like any project or step into the unknown, it’s good to take some time to sit back and relax first. Gather your thoughts and think about what this trip will mean to you. Is it your first trip to Ireland? Does Ireland have an ancestral tie that you want to discover, are you here to soak up the heritage/scenery or are you here to party? Whatever your reason for making this epic journey first take a deep breath, close your eyes, visualize and get ready plan.
2. Research and Plan.
“Fail to plan, plan to fail” It’s time to let your fingers do the walking – however if you are anything like me you will get bored and overwhelmed pretty quickly by the enormous choices available. I think it’s a good idea to take each day of your trip one at a time and not try and see everything at once. I recommend staying 2 nights minimum at most locations as it will eat into your quality time by driving, looking for, parking checking in unpacking and packing every day.
3. List your to dos and check off you must do’s
In a way this links back to “research and plan” as with any other trip you will take in your lifetime there are certain things that you will want to see/do more than others. I would list out the things that you absolutely have to see in order of importance – then I would take a look at them geographically and see if it’s within your timeframe without spending all day in your car driving. Remember you experience a vacation and it is very personal – maybe you’re a film buff and you want to see the Star Wars and Game of Thrones locations – it can be easily done but not on the same day, perhaps a game of golf in between locations or eating in a Michelin star restaurant is your thing, whatever it is if you do what need to be done you can find a lot of fun between the gaps.
4. Don’t try to see everything at once so choose your time and places wisely.
Ireland is a geographically small country but don’t be fooled in to thinking you can to see it all at once. I think a big mistake that people make is rushing from attraction to attraction without noticing all that s around them. Ireland is renowned for its friendliness and willingness to embrace visitors so why not try and soak up some of that welcoming vibe – you will feel better for it, a word of warning though we have some real grumps too but they are in the minority☺
Money, Money, Money – In my experience from traveling you will need half the clothes and twice the money to have an epic adventure. You will have a good idea of your big expenses – flights, hotels, car before you go after that it’s down to eating, drinking, admissions and gifts. Don’t solely rely on credit cards, it’s good to have cash (Euros) on you as well. If you are planning your trip for a long time you can buy euros once a month to avoid many major swings in the exchange rates – dollar cost averaging- I would look up the best place to buy Euros before traveling over the airport rates are high comparatively. American Express is not accepted in a lot of smaller outlets and beware your car insurance is not covered by American Express in Ireland as it is in a lot of countries.
6. Plan at least one big splash out expense
Any time I travel I like to go 5 star at least once. This might not be in your budget/plan/ Wardrobe etc. but I highly recommend it. You work hard , vacations are not an everyday occurrence, life is short so what not demand the best no matter how brief a moment, be it a Castle stay, private tour, front row seats or a 5 star restaurant just do it – at the end of the day it’s the experiences that we remember not the money we spent.
7. Don’t leave accommodation to chance.
This is a fairly obvious one but it’s easy to think that you have more time than you really have in picking the right place to stay- especially during the weekends in the summer. It is wedding season in Ireland and the rooms are filling up fast. Luckily there are more options than ever with Airbnb, guest houses and bed and breakfast etc. – however this might not be ideal for your overall plans so book now and plan around your accommodation.
8. Don’t bring your work on vacation.
The very definition of a vacation is “a period of suspension of work” if you need to write this somewhere you can see it every day please do because for you to get the most out of any vacation you need to unplug unwind and be present. I would recommend planning your trip during a relatively quiet time at work (not easy to do in this hyper connected world of ours) but the benefits of letting go and recharging the batteries cannot be overstated – besides why take the time and effort to plan and pay for a trip of a lifetime and leave your mind back at the office.
9. Don’t carry your house with you – pack lightly.
If you are traveling to Ireland during the summer you will need a light rain jacket – it’s your best friend. You might not see a drop of rain on your trip but most likely you will experience some sun showers if you are very unlucky it will rain the whole time you are here, either way it’s out of your control so don’t obsess it bring a rain jacket, comfortable shoes and pack around that – remember we have shops here too so don’t burden yourself will too much stuff.
10. Don’t wait until everything is perfect in your life – take action.
As with everything in life nothing happens until you make it so. If Ireland is taking up space in your brain and it’s an itch you can’t scratch then pick a date make a plan and take action. We are here to help, I Dream of Ireland was created from the thousands of times that people have heard my accent and said that they one day dreamed of going to Ireland, the good news is it’s never been easier or more accessible to get here so throw caution to the wind and make your dream a reality.