I’m finally finished my blog posts about Ireland. The trip was crammed full of activities, sights, drives, photographic opportunities and it was just so hard to condense it into a few blog posts. I certainly hope I have managed to describe it to you so that you could get a feel of what it was like to be there.
I thought as a final post about Ireland, I would include some details about what it all cost to give you an idea of what you get for your money out there. The trip was done with a careful eye on money and between my friend and I, we recorded EVERYTHING that we spent our money on.
So firstly, my flight. I flew with Aer Lingus. They were perfectly comfortable but a little worn in places. It was an Airbus 320 (for the airline geeks out there) and I had to pay £12 each way for my checked luggage (save money here and only take carry on luggage) and I chose to pay £5 each way for a booked seat. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bothered booking a seat and I would have saved £10.
On board, you are offered a selection of snacks and drinks to buy. £5 would buy you a sandwich, £4.50 a beer, £3 a danish, £2.60 a coffee/tea and £2 a fruit juice. It works out much cheaper to buy yourself a drink and snack in the airport (AFTER security otherwise you risk your drink being confiscated) and munch on that instead.
Total cost for my return flight was £104 (€129 or $163) and my friend paid €120 (£96 or $151) for her flight.
Book as much as possible online and you are SURE to save money. Hotels are often cheaper if you book through a booking website. I used Booking.Com and managed to book us a 4 star hotel for 3 nights for just €138 (£110 or $174). Bargain!!
Hostels can be booked through Hostel World but they do take a non-refundable deposit. Each individual hostel takes a deposit and you pay the balance on arrival. If you don’t arrive as per your booking, you will still be charged the first night’s accommodation so make sure, if you do need to cancel, that you leave enough time to avoid this.
Hostels prices are cheaper if you stay in the shared bunkhouses but private en-suite rooms are available in most places. Watch out though, the private rooms are often the same cost as Bed & Breakfasts and hostels don’t always include breakfast so shop around a little before you book.
Total cost for 10 nights accommodation for 2 in Travelodge, Hostels and a lovely 4-star hotel €380 (£305 or $480)
Most sights have ticket offices on site but some things are better booked beforehand. Our ferry to the Aran Islands was one thing. In peak season, the boats get filled up very quickly so bear this in mind.
Check opening times on the internet for sights as sometimes they open all weekend but then close one day during the week. Awful if it is the day you visit.
Visit around lunch time when most people have disappeared off to eat and you can sometimes enjoy a less cluttered tourist attraction (first thing in the morning is also good if you are an early riser)
Total cost for 2 for entry into cathedrals, churches, ruins, forts and various other sights €142 (£114 or $179)
We chose to buy all our own breakfasts, except for 3 mornings in hostels. Captain Halpin’s Bunkhouse offers, for just £2, porridge, milk home made bread, jams, honey, tea or coffee. Neptunes Hostel offers a free breakfast with sliced white bread and jam, milk, tea and coffee. All other days, we bought scones, muffins, bread, instant porridge and various fruits. This saved a small fortune.
What saved an even bigger fortune, was that we did this for lunches too. A pack of ham and some fresh irish soda bread, followed by a drink and some fruit is MILES cheaper than eating in restaurants.
For dinners, we always ate out. It was our reward for driving and navigating all day. We tried to watch our pennies here but eating out was quite expensive no matter where we went.
For 10 days and for 29 meals, the total cost was €344 or €172 each. That’s just £276 (£138 each) or $435 ($217 each). For 2 people, that is not too bad.
Petrol and Car Hire
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I didn’t have a very good experience with Hertz in Ireland. Saying that, I have heard good reports from other countries. Make sure you read your small print and shop around and you should be fine.
I got the hire car cheaper through the internet and as part of the Aer Lingus booking than if I had contacted Hertz directly (I compared prices and it was roughly a £15 difference). As a UK citizen, make sure you have both your paper license AND your driving license card with you.
Hertz did offer us a deal that if we brought the tank back empty, they could fill it cheaper (for €1.35/litre instead of €1.65/litre available on the road). These prices were correct so we opted for this. What ended up happening, was that they charged us for filling a 47 litre tank and not the 34 litre tank we DID have so it worked out more expensive. I am still fighting with them for a refund so watch out for companies offering you ‘good deals’.
Petrol, as I mentioned was roughly €1.65 a litre and we paid just €96 for petrol for the whole trip of 1514 miles. It was a tiny car but seemed to be very economical.
Total cost for car hire and petrol for 10 day trip €328 (£262 or $414)
We caught the bus into Dublin a few times, caught a ferry and paid toll fees on the M4 motorway back to Dublin. (Be careful on the ring road around Dublin, there is an automatic toll which means you have to pay online by 20:00 the next night – if you have a hire car, they automatically charge the card you used to pay for the car hire)
Total cost for all of these was €69 (£55 or $87).
That means that the GRAND total cost for 2 people for a 10 night trip to Ireland including flights, car hire, food, accommodation and sights cost €1511 (£1215 or $1910) or €755.50 each (£607 or $955)
What do you think about this? Do you think it was reasonable considering what we saw and did? Drop me a comment with your thoughts as I’m interested what others think about the costs…