Tips for saving money on your trip to Ireland

Ireland can be the trip of a lifetime without costing you your life's savings.

Ireland can be the trip of a lifetime without costing you your life’s savings.

Hoping to travel to Ireland this fall, but dismayed by the cost? There are ways to save money that will actually make your trip more pleasant.

First, stay in a B&B or Guest House, rather than a hotel. AirBnB is a great resource for both international and domestic travel. A whole apartment in Kinsale, with a view of the harbor can cost as little as $85 on AirBnB, whereas hotel prices can easily go for two or three times that much. On top of that, you have the ability to cook for yourself — you’ll save a lot by not eating out for every meal.What do you think?

Do keep in mind, however, that there are scammers out there. If you use a service such as AirBnB, be sure to contact the actual owner to conform the reservation.

If AirBnB isn’t for you, try staying in an old school bed and breakfast. Rick Steve’s tip is that a B&B offers double the warmth and half the cost of a hotel, plus all the local knowledge you could possibly ask for (and breakfast!).What do you think?

And, if you’re down for it, a hostel can be the most inexpensive option of all. There’s always the dorm-style lodging if you’re really cutting costs, but they’re not the only possibility. With the demand for cheaper travel options past just the backpacking hoards, hostels are becoming a bit more swanky and are adding more private rooms.

When you fly to Ireland, don’t travel on peak days. According to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney in an article from USA Today, this means traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Since most business flying happens at the beginning and end of the work week and most vacationers like to travel Friday through Sunday, airlines drop prices to try to fill seats on “off” days.

Also, don’t book too early or too late; it can actually play against you when it comes to airfare. Quartz suggests buying tickets about 60 days out for international travel to avoid paying too much for your flight.

Picnics save money. Ten dollars buy a fine picnic lunch for two anywhere in Ireland. Stock your room with drinks and munchies upon arrival. You can pass train rides enjoyably over a picnic meal. Many grocery stores have elegant deli sections.

Speaking of train rides, be sure to travel like a local. If the residents take the train or bus, why are you going through the expense and hassle of renting a car? In cities such as Dublin or Galway, you can often walk to most locations, and sometimes a taxi is cheaper than the bus. If you’re going out into the countryside, a car makes sense; not so much in the city.

Don’t rely on your credit card. Many locations won’t accept them. Ireland, for example, has a system of cards with chips embedded to help protect against fraud and can’t take an American card without them. (NOTE: More and more American banks are now switching to the Chip and Pin system as well.) Rick Steves also notes that many of the places that offer better bargains, like craft shops and independent bed and breakfasts, may not accept plastic. Use ATMs rather than travelers checks. You’ll get your cash cheaper and faster. While ATMs give the best possible rates, they do come with transaction fees. Check with your bank on fees and exchange rates before you go. Minimize the fees by making fewer and larger withdrawals. Take out enough for 4 or 5 days. Keep out enough for the day ahead and store the extra cash safely in your money belt.

Now is an excellent time to travel to Ireland because the off-season starts in October, and it’s a great time to look at booking your trip for the spring shoulder season of April and early May, before the main tourist season gets started and prices go up.

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