Despite its small size, Ireland is an incredibly well-visited country with around 10 million people making their way each year to the Emerald Isle. However, that small size makes it so that things can get expensive in a hurry in such a small country. In fact, Ireland is one of the 20 most expensive countries to visit in the world.
Airline tickets and hotel accommodations aren’t too horrible for travelers, but the everyday spending that you’ll have to do can set you back quite a bit. This shouldn’t scare you off from wanting to see one of the most beautiful countries in the world, though. Here are five essential tips for visiting Ireland on a budget that could save you hundreds (if not thousands).
Admire the Natural Beauty
Ireland has some of the most breathtaking sights that you could ever imagine, and seeing them by yourself won’t cost a thing. Sites like the Cliffs of Moher are a great place to spend an entire day without breaking the bank, and there are also some free museums around the country that you and the entire family can enjoy.
Even seeing places like Blarney Castle can end up being affordable. A family of four costs €45 to visit the castle which contains the legendary Blarney Stone as long as they’re purchased in advance. Some of the other natural landmarks that you can see without spending money include the Giant’s Causeway, Cathedral Rocks, and Clew Bay. There’s no shortage in Ireland, and self-guided tours won’t set you back a penny.
Head at the Right Time
Ireland is one of the most ideal places in the world to visit during the summertime, but it also means that it can be very expensive. With that said, the cheapest month to visit is going to be in November. Once the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s pass by, though, the prices start to come back down to November’s levels until March hits. Of course, that’s when St. Patrick’s Day arrives and the weather gets nicer.
Of course, you’ll want to choose the right airport to use if you really want to maximize your savings. There are only five international airports in Ireland, and Dublin is by far the cheapest if you’re a foreign visitor. While still not cheap compared to some major international cities like London, it gives you the best bang for your buck.
Don’t Stay In The Cities Too Long, Though
While your Irish excursion is now likely to begin in Dublin, that doesn’t mean you should stay in the city for long if you’re looking to save. Dublin is one of the more expensive cities to visit in all of Europe, so make your way to the smaller cities and towns. If you still do want to be in a city, then Belfast is going to be a much cheaper option while Waterford is another great alternative that’s a bit smaller than either.
Other great budget cities in Ireland include Donegal, Kerry, and Mayo. You’ll be able to travel via Irish Rail to get between the more notable cities of the country, so make sure to book your trip in advance to save even more. There are also buses available, and in many cases can actually be cheaper than trains. Some people prefer the buses simply because it gives them a better view of the natural beauty of Ireland, too.
Shop Around For Lodging
Ireland doesn’t have a ton of hotel options compared to some of the other European countries as they tend to keep things at a smaller scale. With that in mind, you can still shop around for the best hotel prices, especially if it’s during the least-busy times of the year that we mentioned earlier. The best way to find lodging in Ireland is to use a home-rental option like Airbnb, which also gives you cheaper access to the smaller towns and cities.
This will also give you cheaper options when it comes to dining. Restaurants in Ireland can be expensive, so renting through an Airbnb will allow you to stock up on groceries throughout your journey instead of spending upwards of €100 per day. While the groceries in Ireland aren’t the cheapest, it’s still a much more favorable option.
Don’t Stay Too Long in the Pubs
There’s a common misconception because of the pub culture in Ireland that it can be incredibly cheap to drink at one in the country. That’s not the case, however, as Ireland has one of the highest costs per pint for any country in Europe. Because of this, you’ll want to limit yourself when visiting these world-famous pubs.
Once again, it’s a better idea to go to the grocery store and get your fill before walking over to the pub. Don’t overdo it, stay safe, and save yourself a lot of money in the process!