Planning a vacation is exciting! So many options of what to see and do, places to stay and dine.
Today I'm sharing the Ireland travel tips you need to make your vacation magical and memorable (for the right reasons) in 2020!
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Designed to guide you through every step of your Ireland vacation from when to go and what to see to what to pack and how to save money.
Planning the Ireland Vacation of Your Dreams answers all the questions you have about Ireland travel. Visit Ireland Family Vacations and click shop to buy for just $5 thru December 24, 2019.
2020 Ireland Travel Tips You Need to Know
Ireland's visitor numbers continue to climb so I recommend planning earlier rather than later- especially if you have dreams of castle stays and popular destinations.
(1:45) Check Your Passport
Make sure your passport is valid for at least the duration of your trip, but preferably 6 months from the date of arrival.
Because of visa time limits, many countries require your passport to be valid for three to six months beyond your departure date. While Ireland does not, officially, follow this rule and most visitors can stay in Ireland up to 90 days with no visa, there have been cases of visitors turned away if their passport expires during their travel period or shortly after.
Read: Paperwork & Passports: What You Need to Visit Ireland
(2:40) Book Your Accommodations in Advance
It used to be that you could land in Ireland and let the road lead you to your nightly lodging. That has become more difficult as Ireland's tourism numbers have increased dramatically (2019 numbers are predicted to exceed the nearly 10 million visitors in 2018!!).
If you are traveling from June thru September I recommend booking every night in advance.
If you want to stay in a castle, manor house, or popular locations like Dublin city, Doolin, or Killarney, book early. Some of the most popular accommodations are almost filled for summer 2020!
All other times book at least your first and last night's accommodation in advance.
Read: A Quick Guide to Ireland Vacation Lodging
(3:45) Reserve Your Car in Advance
Not only will you pay more to book your car the day you land- especially at an airport!- but if you need an automatic transmission you must book that in advance of your visit.
Even manual transmission vehicles can sell out during the busiest travel times. I have personally seen people turned away from multiple car rental counters as there were no cars available that day.
Read: Everything You Need to Know About Car Rental in Ireland
(5:10) Choose Your ‘Must See' Sites
My advice- choose 3 – 4 sites that you simply must see. Like your trip to Ireland won't be complete if you don't see them. Then find those sites on a map (use an online map or print one) and mark them. Plan your itinerary based on those sites.
If you get overwhelmed try one of my free Ireland itineraries. These itineraries are created to work on their own or in combination with one another if you have an extended vacation.
Read: Planning an Ireland Itinerary that Won't Ruin Your Vacation
(6:00) Follow the Road Less Traveled
In podcast episode 56 I shared the most, and least, popular destinations in Ireland and in podcast episode 78 I shared the 7 Wonders of Ireland.
While many of the marquee sites are popular for a reason, those sites can get so busy and so crowded that you can be overwhelmed during your visit. And not in a good way.
Listen to those podcasts to get tips on Ireland's most popular sites, helpful advice for visiting those ‘must see' places, and spots that take you ‘off the tourist trail' to the spots most visitors don't see!
Listen: The Most Popular Tourist Destinations in Ireland
Listen: The 7 Wonders of Ireland
(7:00) Use a Driver Guide
If you don't want to drive but want to explore more than the limited train service will allow, hire a driver guide.
I have used, and highly recommend, Ireland Chauffeur Travel. Their guides are certified by Failte Ireland (that's the Irish tourism board), the vehicles are luxurious and comfortable, and the drivers are very personable and have so much knowledge to share!
It's the most relaxing way to travel through Ireland!
Contact my personal consultant Michelle Lee – [email protected] -to get a quote for your Ireland vacation. And be sure to use code IRFV2020 to save 5%.
Learn: More about Ireland Chauffeur Travel
(8:25) Travel with Me!
After the success of A Celtic Experience this past September I decided to do another one! Dates are August 29-September 6, 2020.
3 seats remain for this small group guided tour of Ireland.
Tour cost is €2600 and included accommodations, transportation, tours, daily breakfast + 4 meals, and some incredible experiences in my favorite places in Ireland.
Discover: Get all the information about A Celtic Experience
(9:20) 3 Places to Add to Your Itinerary
County Sligo – yes, the entire county. I've spent quite a bit of time in this oft-missed spot along the Wild Atlantic Way over the past three years and the more time I spend here, the more I absolutely love it. You'll find incredible coastal views, amazing outdoor activities, and some of the best food in the country.
The Boyne Valley – You may have heard of Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. But how about Loughcrew, Slane Castle, or Ireland's largest Norman castle in Trim? Plan 2-3 days to explore the ancient heart of Ireland. Expect to hear more about Discover Boyne Valley in 2020.
Scattery Island – Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Kilrush (along the Wild Atlantic Way route to/from the Cliffs of Moher) will take you back centuries. This ancient monastic site features a round tower, 5 churches, a cathedral, a Napoleonic Artillery Battery, and a lighthouse. (the next podcast episode is all about Scattery Island– don't miss it!)