When it comes to travel, everyone wants to know how to travel on a budget. (cheaper cost means you can see more destinations!) At least that was my mindset when I travelled around Europe for 4 months with my sister. We travelled quite inexpensively, and without having to sacrifice comfort. (YUP, no dingy motels for us!) One of the places we saved the most money was Ireland, so in this post I’m sharing my 4 tips to travel Ireland on a budget and of course all the attractions I recommend seeing!
Tip #1: Secure House Sits
Instead of staying in hotels or an Airbnb, we secured two house sits through trustedhousesitters.com. We stayed one week in a duplex 30 minutes outside Dublin and two weeks in the countryside outside Cork. We had to look after the owner's home and pet at each place while they were away in exchange for us staying there. Three weeks free accommodations was pretty sweet and cut down the cost of our travels A LOT!
The website is quite popular in the UK, and we had around 5 weeks of our trip unplanned so we were open to travelling anywhere in the UK where we could secure a house sit. I recommend signing up for the website if your travel plans are flexible and definitely if you plan on visiting the UK.
Tip #2: Cook Instead of Eating Out
A perk I love about staying at a house or Airbnb is having access to a kitchen. I love eating out but after travelling for so long I crave a home cooked meal and something healthier. We got pub food and a beer one night in Dublin to check out the bar scene, and went out for dinner at Ireland’s best fish n’ chips restaurant while driving through Kinsale.
But other than that we cooked all of our meals at home. This saves quite a bit of money. Plus we did a lot of day trips and wanted to bring snacks with us, so buying groceries was a smart decision for us.
Tip #3: Rent a Car
When we stayed in Cork we had to rent a car because we were in the countryside, but I think we would have rented one either way because it gave us freedom to drive anywhere we wanted! We took day trips to Killarney National Park, the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, and the seaside towns Kinsale and Baltimore. We drove into the city of Cork a couple days and drove to a few nearby abandoned castles and graveyards.
If we didn’t rent a car it would cost substantially more to book tours that would include transportation to these attractions. Plus Ireland’s beauty is in the long drives through the countryside, so if you can manage the narrow and windy roads (I also had to learn quickly how to drive on the opposite side of the road..) then renting a car is the best way to see Ireland. (also if you are over 25 years old and can drive a manual then you save more money when renting a car there!)
Tip #4: See Cheap or Free Attractions
If you’ve read my Iceland or London blog posts you will know that all I need to enjoy my travels is beautiful scenery and my camera. So I usually skip overpriced tourist attractions unless I am dying to go.
My sister and I paid to go to Blarney Castle, which was only 15 euro’s each, and it was 7 euro’s to see the Cliffs of Moher. But besides that we drove through Killarney National Park which was free, wandered the seaside towns of Kinsale and Baltimore, explored abandoned castles and graveyards and walked around Dublin and Cork. So everything else we saw was free, besides gas and parking.
Driving through Cork and the small towns in southern Ireland were so cute and charming. There were lots of colourful buildings, beautiful churches and castles. SO. MANY. CASTLES. It felt like a whimsical fairytale! And around every corner in Dublin there was a pub or coffee shop that was covered in flowers. The history and beauty of Ireland stole my heart.
I hope you found these tips helpful when budgeting for your next trip, and of course remember everyone has different priorities when travelling. Some people are foodies and want to try out the best restaurants, others enjoy doing guided tours, or look forward to staying in upscale hotels. So apply the tips that work best with your style of travel!
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