Une Vagabonde

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How to prepare a road-trip in Ireland

Road-trips are the best when it comes to discovering Ireland. There’s no better way to experience the cities, villages and incredible natural sites of this enchanting country.

Ireland is not limited to its main cities like Dublin, Belfast or Cork. From breathtaking landscapes and rural idylls to buzzing urban hubs and amazing festivals, it’s all waiting to be discovered. By choosing a road-trip in Ireland, you’ll be able to unveil all the wonders of this gorgeous country. And traveling by car in Ireland is one of the only option to fully appreciate all the charms of the land!

When to go to Ireland?

Ireland has a mild, temperate climate and although at times rainy, you can visit at any time of year. From late October some sites close, and temperatures drop but on average, remain above freezing even in winter.

The months of June, July and August are the warmest of the year, when Ireland’s landscapes are at their most vibrant. However, in summer sites (and roads) are crowded and prices at a premium.

To avoid the crowds and still enjoy a great light for photography, May is the best.

Flights to Ireland

There are several low-cost options to travel to Ireland from Europe with companies like EasyJet, RyanAir or AerLingus. If you are coming from another continent, most international airports will offer daily flights to Dublin and Belfast.

If you can, a good option is to book two one-way flights in order to arrive in one city and leave from another. That will allow you to avoid driving in a circle and you’ll save time and miles! To book an open-jaw flight, you can use the multiple-city option on tools like SkyScanner.

Renting a car in Ireland at the best possible rate!

The first step to prepare for that road-trip in Ireland is, more often than not, to rent a car.

For my road trips I like to use Auto Europe. This site allows to compare all the car rental companies available in an airport or a city and to benefit from negotiated prices. In other words, if you were renting a car from Avis through Auto Europe, you’d pay less than if you were booking it straight from Avis. Auto Europe also allows you to cancel your booking up to 48 hours ahead. That can be useful if you need to cancel your trip last minute.

Here is are few tips to consider when you’re renting a car in Ireland:

  • Do not take the GPS option. It’s very expensive and Google Map in offline mode is good enough
  • Do take a zero franchise insurance on Auto Europe if you don’t have a Visa Premier or MasterCard Gold type of credit card.
  • If you pick up the vehicle in a city and leave it in another one, some additional fee can be applied. It that’s the case, they’re included in the Auto Europe price. Some other site only mention them when you pick up the vehicle and you might be in for a bad surprise.
  • Chose a rental offer where you pick up and drop off the car with a full tank of gas. It’s the most economical solution!
Photo by  Austin Neill

Preparing a road-trip to Ireland

There are several steps to follow in order to best prepare your road-trip in Ireland:

  • book your plane tickets
  • book your rental car
  • plan your itinerary in Ireland according to the length of your trip and your arrival/departure cities
  • book your housing in your pit-stops
  • book visits and activities that are important to make reservation for in advance

We have discussed flights and car rentals. I will be happy to share with you some suggested readings, do-not-miss areas and activities, best possible schedule and itineraries as well as recommended Bed & Breakfasts and AirBnB housing. Leave your questions in the comments section.

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