How to Travel Ireland on a Budget
Ireland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to spend time there. Here are some helpful tricks and tips to make your Ireland trip work with your budget. We have spent many days, weeks, and months traveling Ireland. Here are some travel tips that helped us stay on budget in Ireland.
Purchase tickets online (ahead of time): Most trains, buses, amusements offer a discount if you book your tickets online ahead of time.
*The Guinness Storehouse offers a 10% discount online
*Irish Rail is ½ the price if you purchase your ticket online in advance.
Rainy Days: Plop into a bookstore with an attached café and read a book there. Make it a relaxing day and you don’t have to pay for a book. This works especially well on rainy days. In Ireland, there are many rainy days. You’ll get a uniquely Irish experience and you can relax and people watch too.
Couch Surfing: There is a great website out there that allows you to crash at someone’s place, or have them stay at yours. It’s traveling without traveling, or a place to save some money if you are on the road.
Help X: Another great website. This offers free accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours of work a day. Can’t beat that. This just goes to show ANYONE can travel. Just do it!
Local Shopping/Cooking In: Whether you are staying in a hostel or couch surfing it’s helpful to take advantage of the local supermarkets and cook in. The food is much cheaper and will go a lot further. Get creative and get in the kitchen!
Make New Friends: Believe it or not, hitch hiking is still very common in Europe. It’s also a great way to save money on transportation. You can get picked up anywhere in Europe. We’ve spent a great deal of time in the cars of strangers and have amazing life stories because of it. Use your head and always be careful. But certainly don’t be put off by hitchhiking in Europe.
Ryan Air: Europe’s cheapest airline. You may get dropped off 30 minutes outside of a main city but you will get there for the cost of a draft of beer. Just be sure to print your flight info out ahead of time and watch for all their hidden fees!
2 drink maximum: this may be the hardest one for some people. We know it was hard for us in Ireland as the Guinness is pouring from the sidewalk cracks. Alcohol can easily become your biggest expense if you let it. Be strict and skip the drinks one night or keep it at a minimum. You won’t regret experiencing Ireland sober and being able to remember your trip.
Share a meal: it would not be realistic to say you are never going to eat out. It just doesn’t happen. If you eat out, share a meal. Most of the portions are large anyhow. Maybe order a small appetizer or a side of bread if you are really hungry but if you have someone to share with, try it out.
Skip the tourist traps: Every big city will have loads of FREE stuff to do. You don’t have to hit all the attractions that have price tags attached. Before going to a city see your options. Pick one attraction that you really want to see and make that your “special treat” day. I promise you the wax museum in France is not going to be any better than the one in the US.
Snack Frequently: It’s easy to get carried away at eating bug meals at every meal, you’re probably more hungry than you ever remember because you are walking around ALL day. Stop at a local corner store and pick up some cheap snacks to tide you over. You will notice your eyes won’t be bigger than your stomach at every meal.
Fortunately for US citizens there are no visa costs to enter Ireland. All you need is your US passport. You will receive 90 days upon arrival at the airport or at the border. Enjoy your Guinness. Cheers!