Ah, Ireland, the land of rolling hills, time-worn ruins, and the world-famous Guinness beer. This European country is captivating, from the teeming tradition and lively music to the wild landscape and rich background.
Wow, there sure is a lot on offer! Planning a trip to Ireland involves a lot of planning, especially if you don’t want to miss out on anything. But how can you squeeze it into one fun-packed itinerary that doesn’t break the bank?
With this in-depth guide to planning tricks and tips, you’ll be saying “top o’ the morning to you” in no time! Let’s figure out how to plan a trip to Ireland!
Step 1: Decide When You Visit Ireland
The first phase of planning a trip to Ireland involves finding the best time to visit. This depends on your travel plans and what type of trip you want, as Ireland can offer something different every time of the year.
Each season has many pros and cons, and you can always expect four seasons in one day. While the summer season promises warm days dashed with sunshine, the winter offers a glance at the green-graced landscape.
The summer season, July to August, is the ideal time to explore and do outdoor activities. You can also expect a full range of activities, attractions, events, and festivals. This is the high season in Ireland, so be prepared to spend extra cash on accommodation and flights.
In the fall/autumn season, September to November, and in the spring season, March to May, you can enjoy various outdoor activities. The weather is quite cold, but with a few rays of sunshine here and there. As these are the shoulder seasons, this is the best time to visit Ireland for budget travelers.
Ireland’s winter season, December to February, offers chilly weather and lots of rain. If you’re looking to avoid big crowds and save a few extra pennies, this is the best time to visit Ireland. During Christmas, you’ll even be able to experience festivities and events and partake in activities like stargazing and ice skating.
Now that you’ve decided, it’s time to figure out how many days you need to spend in Ireland.
Maybe planning a 5-day Ireland itinerary could be the perfect fit, or maybe you could plan a route for a road trip for two weeks?
Step 2: Figure Out Your Budget
Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish, get your budget prepared like a professional!
Traveling around Ireland offers adventures, but it can be quite expensive if you don’t plan properly. This second phase involves setting up your ideal travel budget. You will need to consider everything, from accommodation, attractions, and flights to transport, food, and activities.
If you’re a backpacker or budget traveler, this step is crucial. Budgeting in every last detail can help you prepare ahead and avoid unexpected, last-minute costs. Plus, having a savings goal for your trip can help motivate you to work and save.
The standard daily budget for Ireland is approximately €109 per person. Depending on your travel style, and the amount of money you plan to spend, this can vary greatly. Check out these budget travel tips if you want to incorporate fun and spontaneity without spending the extra price tag.
Step 3: Determine Your Top Destinations
The perfect Ireland itinerary looks a little different to everyone. Maybe it’s a road trip winding through the crashing coastline and quaint countryside, or perhaps it’s a city trip full of pubs and music!
Whatever your preferences are, Ireland has plenty of top-notch destinations that are well worth visiting. Dazzling Dublin boasts colorful streets and pubs, Cork encapsulates history-rich streets and plenty of museums, and the Aran Islands offer a taste of the country’s untamed wilderness.
Step 4: Think About How You’ll Get Around
Transportation isn’t exactly the most fun thing to plan. But it’s an important step, especially if you’re a budget traveler. Before you jet-set off to Ireland, you’ll need to plan every last detail.
The major cities are home to decent transport options, including flights, buses, trams, trains, taxis, and shared bicycle systems. If you want to know how to plan a trip to Ireland, you’ll need to consider all the options. Don’t forget to consider time, cost, and availability if you’re traveling in the low season.
Step 5: Find Your Ideal Accommodation
When I say Ireland has it all, I mean it. The accommodation scene here is vast! Whether you want to stay in an enchanting castle hidden in the countryside or keep it modern in a towering skyrise in the capital city, there is something for you.
What’s something that appeals to you? Are you interested in spending extra on a hotel, or are you happy to stick to your budget and keep it affordable in a hostel? You can choose sharehouses, Couchsurfing, hostels, Airbnb, and hotels.
Best Areas to Stay in Ireland
Each corner of Ireland is home to unique experiences, top-notch stays, and all-around unforgettable attractions. Figuring where the best place to stay in Ireland can be a challenge, mainly because there’s so much on offer. But alas, there’s no need to fear! I’ve got you covered for budget-friendly alternatives.
Here are some of the top accommodation options in Ireland:
- Jacobs Inn in Dublin
- Bru Bar and Hostel in Cork
- Ashfield Hostel in Dublin
- Galway Hostel and Bar in Galway
- The Grapevine Hostel in Dingle
- The Black Sheep Hostel in Killarney
- Kinlay Eyre Square Hostel in Galway
Step 6: Decide on Your Must-See Attractions
Planning what to see and do is the fun part!
In this part of planning a trip to Ireland, you need to decide what attractions and activities you want to tick off your bucket list. Are you keen on sightseeing, or do you want to keep it reasonably low-key?
This all depends on your travel style, and there’s no right or wrong way to plan your trip. Make sure you include the things that appeal to you!
Ireland has excellent activities and attractions, and there’s a lot to do in both big cities and rural towns.
Here are some must-see attractions to sprinkle into your Ireland itinerary:
- Head on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher
- Tour the Guinness and Jameson Irish Whiskey Factory in Dublin
- Strut your stuff on a private walking tour through Dublin and Grafton Street
- Take a step back in time at the Blarney Castle
- Drive along the Wild Atlantic Way
- Eat yourself silly on a Dublin food tour
- Explore the Killarney National Park
- Discover the ocean views from the Ring of Kerry
- Hit the beach on the Dingle Peninsula
Step 7: Get the Necessary Travel Documents
So, now that you know how to plan a trip to Ireland, it’s time to get stuck into the nitty gritty stuff. Organize a valid travel visa, and don’t forget about travel insurance coverage too. The sooner you prepare, the sooner you can get excited about your trip.
Step 8: Start the Packing Process
Finalize the planning process with this complete vacation packing list. Don’t want to waste time scavenging through your belongings? Easy. Scan over this packing list and pick out all the items you need.
Don’t forget that Ireland is known to have four seasons in one day, so even if you’re planning a summer trip, it’s best to prepare ahead. Your best bet is lightweight clothing, layers, jackets, and comfortable walking shoes. Keep your stuff organized with these packing cubes. But why stop at the basics? Take it up a notch!
Now you know how to plan the perfect trip to Ireland, set yourself up for success with these travel essentials:
Why Visit Ireland?
Ireland is a vacation lover’s paradise, illustrated with an idyllic coastline, rich culture, lush hinterlands, and ancient architectural gems. This must-see European destination boasts something different at every time of year and there’s seriously something special for every type of traveler.
Ancient Ruins, Wild Weather, and Beyond!
Now that you know how to plan a trip to Ireland, it’s time to shake things up. Set your hopes high and leave the rest of the planning process up to Pilot!