Ireland FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Ireland and the tour. Click here to jump below for general tour questions.

Updated 9/28/17

Q. Do I need a visa to enter Ireland?
A.
Residents of many countries do not need a visa to enter Ireland. This website lists the countries from which, if you are a passport holder, you do not need a visa.

Q. If I want to arrive prior to the start of the tour or stay on beyond the last day, can you book additional hotel nights for me?
A. Yes, of course we can. As soon as you have your flights booked, let us know which nights you’ll need additional accommodations and we can handle that (based on availability, of course).

Q. Will I be met at the airport upon arrival in Dublin?
A. The cost of the airport pickup is not included in your tour cost but we can make arrangements for you or you can take a taxi or bus on your own. Please check with our Client Liaison for the cost of the airport pickup. Note that this is based on the number of people so if you will be arriving at the same time as others, the cost will be less than if you were by yourself.

Q. What’s the best airline to take and best way to fly into Ireland?
A. Usually people book their flights based on price and loyalty programs. Cost will be different depending on where you are flying from. In any case, note that this tour starts in Dublin and ends in Shannon so you’ll probably want to book your tickets into Dublin and out of Shannon. There’s an outside chance that it will be cheaper to fly roundtrip to Dublin and get a separate ticket from Shannon to Dublin but that’s usually not the case.

Q. If I book my tickets round trip from Dublin, how can I get from Shannon to Dublin at the end of the tour?
A. There are 5 ways to get from Shannon to Dublin: by train, Euroline Bus, Citylink Bus, airline, or rent a car. The train, bus and flying all take about 4-5 hours. Driving is a little over 2 hours, but is based on traffic (plus the time to pick up and return your rental car).  Here is a good website to compare the costs. One recommended route is to take either a bus or taxi into Limerick and then take the train from there to Dublin.

Q. Will bottled water be readily available on the tour?
A. While it will be available, there is a charge for bottled water during our activities and while traveling by bus. Even though it will be available, we strongly urge our tour participants to carry their own reusable water bottle and bring a water purifier, such as a SteriPen, so as to cut down on the number of plastic water bottles that get thrown out daily in Ireland.

Q. Do you suggest we bring gifts for the locals?
A. It’s certainly a nice gesture (but not necessary) if you have small gifts to leave with friends you make along the way. Things that might be appropriate include souvenirs from your home town including items with logos (Seattle mugs or baseball caps, for example), chocolate or coffee.

Q. Is it OK to have more than just a carry-on for the tour (in other words, checked bags)?
A. While you will be more comfortable moving around with fewer bags, you likely won’t be the only one with checked luggage.

For international flights, note that some airlines have a strict weight limit for carry-on bags so even if you have a small bag, you may be required to check it due to its weight. And if you have any additional flights within Europe that are booked on low-cost carriers, they may have weight restrictions for carry-on and checked luggage.

Q. How should I dress/pack for this trip?
A. You will not need any dress clothes per se as we will not being going out anywhere that would require them. Lightweight travel pants, tops, dresses and/or skirts will be most comfortable. You’ll receive a full packing list for the tour that will help guide you.

Our rule of thumb is not to bring more than two pairs of shoes–one pair good for walking and perhaps a pair of sandals (depending on the weather forecast).

The weather in April can be unpredictable. We may have beautiful sunny warm days or we may have grey, cool and rainy days. It’s best to prepare for the worst and plan on bringing layers so that if/when it warms up during the day, you can wear your warmer weather clothes.

We’ll be on the Aran Islands for a couple of days and they are notoriously rainy and cool (but oh so beautiful!!). Before we arrive there, you may already have found a lovely Aran-island made sweater to buy.

Q. Would you recommend taking a raincoat?
A. Definitely bring a lightweight raincoat. One that is lightweight will pack down relatively small and allow you to wear it on warm and cold days.

Q. Are there hair dryers at the hotels?
A. Hair dryers are available at all of the accommodations with the possible exception of the BnBs on Inis Oirr. There we may or may not have hair dryers in our rooms.

Q. Is there WiFi at the hotels?
A. Expect WiFi (usually complementary) at all of our accommodations with the exception of the BnBs on Inis Oirr. There we may or may not have internet.

Q. What kind of food should I expect on the tour?
A. Ireland’s food scene has changed a lot over the years and there is much more variety and higher quality food available now than ever before. In addition to the typical Irish food that you won’t want to miss, there will be lots of international options available as well.

If you have special dietary needs or preferences, expect to be flexible. Those who are gluten-free may find some options but vegetarians likely won’t find much tofu or tempeh or protein beyond meat and fish.

Expect to find lots of tea and coffee available but if you are a decaf drinker, consider bringing decaf Starbucks VIA or your own decaf tea bags as decaf can be more difficult to find.

Q. What sort of power adaptor do I need?Power Adaptor Type G
A. Ireland uses what’s considered a type G power plug. It should look like this >>>>

Q. Can I use my cell phone in Ireland?
A. There are a few ways you can use your cell phone in Ireland. First, consider buying an international data plan from your provider. AT&T offers something called the Passport, for example. You purchase a certain amount of data and you have a month to use it. You can use it for maps, internet, phone, texting, apps, etc.

Second, you can simply turn your data off and only use your phone when there’s WiFi.

Third, if you have an unlocked phone, you could buy a local sim card and use a data plan on the local network.

Q. Are ATMs available?
A. There will definitely be ATMs available throughout the trip. You’ll want to let your bank know in advance that you are traveling so they don’t deny usage of your card thinking it’s a fraudulent charge. You’ll also want to find out what, if anything, your bank changes for international ATM withdrawals. If it’s based on each transaction, you’ll want to take larger amounts of money out rather than making numerous small withdrawals so as to limit the charges.

Q. What’s the currency used in Ireland?
A. The Irish use euros. Consider downloading an app such as Converter so that you have quick access to the exchange rate.

Q. Can I use my debit or credit card for purchases?
A. Absolutely. As long as your bank is aware of your travel plans, you shouldn’t have any problem making purchases while traveling.

Q. How much money should I bring with me?
A. We get this question a lot, and it really does depend on your spending habits. Because you’ll have relatively easy access to cash through ATMs and you can make purchases using a debit or credit card, you likely won’t need much cash in hand. Having said that, bringing some small bills to tip a taxi driver or bellman upon your arrival and before you’ve had a chance to change money might be helpful.

Q. How should I best carry my money?
A. While Ireland is a safe country, there are opportunistic thieves everywhere Baggallini Walletlooking for a way to separate you from your cash. You might consider carrying your passport, credit/debit cards and cash in something like a neck pouch or a large wallet like this one from Baggallini. You could then put that in a larger bag that you wear over your neck.

Q. Is tipping appropriate?
A. The majority of tips for the driver/guide and any other guides we have is covered under your trip cost. Having said that, small tips for your waiter and for our driver/guide would be appreciated if they’ve gone above and beyond.

Q. Do you recommend any special vaccinations for this trip?
A. There’s nothing you need specifically for Ireland. However, you’ll want to consult with a travel doctor for medical advice.

Consider getting an updated DPT shot and consider Hepatitis as that’s just good to have.

General tour questions

Q. Do I need insurance for this tour?
A. Although we don’t require evacuation or travel insurance, you might consider one or both of these. We highly recommend evacuation insurance for cases where you are sick or injured and need medical attention and don’t want to go to a local clinic or hospital. Medical evacuations can cost as much as $60,000.

Travel insurance is a good idea for those who may have to cancel a tour at the last minute (due to a potential family issue, for example) or for recovery of lost luggage or missed flights. Insure My Trip has a wide range of options, good customer service, an easy to navigate website. They offer numerous affordable options including travel, medical and evacuation insurance.

Q. Will I receive a refund if I have to cancel my participation in the tour?
A. Once you have paid a deposit, there is a cancellation fee if you cannot join us. The cancellation fee depends on the tour and how far in advance of the tour you cancel. Our refund policy is covered in our Booking Terms and Conditions and is also outlined on the Registration Form that you’ll receive within 24 hours of registering. Refunds will be sent by check within two weeks of us receiving written notification (email is fine) of your cancellation. If Beth is traveling when you cancel, it may take longer than two weeks to get your refund check out to you. She’ll mail it as soon as she can upon returning to the U.S.

Q. Are my items safe in my hotel room?
A. Your items *should* be safe, but we recommend that you carry small luggage locks to secure the zippers together so that no one is tempted to peek in your bag.

When something goes missing, it’s usually later found in the bottom of one’s luggage. In the meantime, hotel staff are the first to be blamed. It’s best to keep your items (especially valuables) locked up so that this is not even a question.

Q. Will you be sending an updated itinerary with our overnight accommodations so we can leave it with folks at home?
A. You’ll receive the hotel information as well as emergency contact information one or two weeks before departure but it is subject to last-minute changes.

Q. What’s the emergency contact info that I can give my family?
A. You will be given a cell phone number for someone in-country employed by our local tour operator as well as a list of hotels. All of this will be provide shortly before your departure.

Q. How do you fit everything into a carry-on and still have room for souvenirs?
A. We encourage you to pack light and do hand laundry along the way. You may then purchase a bag (such as a duffel) once-in country to bring home souvenirs.