Planning Your Trip In/Out of Dublin
Wednesday, June 8, 2022 | Categories: Ireland Travel Planning; Travel Agency Savings;
When reviewing tenative itineraries from prospective clients, or responding to requests on social medial platforms, the biggest piece of advice we have is - GET OUT OF DUBLIN. It doesn't mean we don't like Dublin but we'd rather rearrange a client's itinerary to make the best use of time and allow for some rest and relaxation while in Dublin. What do we mean?
Many first-time travelers book their flights in and out of Dublin, not knowing that Shannon exists on the west coast or that fares tend to be the same, allowing you to mix/match the airports, with the same carrier, for the same rate. Keep in mind that when the plane fills up, rates go up so you will find Shannon fares trending higher because those that know about the airport will book their flights right away, leaving the more expensive seats to the last-minute travelers.
With flights booked, we are continually asked about a hotel for the first night in Dublin so clients can rest and recover from jet-lag but this is where we explain, over-and-over again, that getting out of Dublin right away is the best bet.
Get Out of Dublin Right Away
We don't recommend Dublin for the first night for the following reasons:
- Car Rental: Do you get the car rental at the airport and try to drive downtown? Do you pay to park the rental car for an entire day along with the cost of the rental and insurance for a day? This kind of answers itself but then that leaves you with a €35 taxi ride to the downtown and back to the airport to pick up the car. Or you can pick the car up downtown and try to drive out ofthe city? It's just too much stress for your first day in Ireland. GET OUT OF DUBLIN!
- Check-In Time: You aren't guaranteed a check-in until 3-4pm for accommodations but most flights from the U.S. arrive early in the morning so you're 'homeless' for many hours, waiting to get into your room. Yes, you can drop your luggage and have it stored for you and yes, there is a chance that a room will be ready first-thing (more so in the off-season) but if no, you're walking around Dublin, always wondering, 'is my room ready?' It's a horrible feeling and you can't really enjoy your time as jet-leg becomes amplified by situations like this. GET OUT OF DUBLIN!
- Jet-Lag: You'll arrive without much sleep because the flight time is short and meals disrupt the small amount of time you have to actually get sleep. We've found that staying up the first day and trying to adjust your circadian rhythm will help. GET OUT OF DUBLIN!
Once folks realize that they're wasting that first day with all of the above and we convince them to get on the road, their vacation officially begins!
Get On The Road
While check-in is still 3-4pm, you have almost an entire day to get out and explore... carefully! We say that because you're going to be tired and driving while tired can be dangerous. Top up your coffee as soon as you exit Customs and before you get in line for your car rental so the caffeine flows. We also find that the adrenaline starts to pump, partly because you're driving on the left but your vacation has officially begun. How could you not be excited?
Your first night can be anywhere in Ireland, it doesn't matter because you'll have six or more hours to get there. Plan to stop often to stretch those legs, get out and see some sights and take in the fresh air. Have a nice lunch on the road, but skip the Guinness, if you can, as it will only add to your tiredness.
If you are too tired, there are many pull-offs where you can park the car and take a nap - a good 20-minute nap will energize you and help keep you and your companions safe on the road.
Check-In and Nap
We tend to arrive at our first accommodation right at check-in, tired and ready for a room to freshen up and NAP! Yes, as soon as we get into our room, we all crash but not after we set an alarm on our phone to make sure we wake up by 6pm. A few hours of deep, restful sleep followed by a nice dinner and perhaps one drink and we're ready to call it an early night.
By going to bed early that first night, we find that we wake up at our normal time and are pretty much adjusted to the new time zone, well worth forcing our way through that first day.
An Additional Night
Now that you saved that first night in Dublin and hit the road, you have the option of adding this night elsewhere in your trip. We typically add an additional night in the first location, if only spending one night, so you can really explore since the first day was tiresome.
If you already had more than one night in that first location, you can add a night elsewhere in your trip to help slow it down a bit.
Dublin At The End
Dublin is a must for every first-timer and countless clients have said that they were glad they saw it but they would forego Dublin on any subsequent vacation. It makes sense, we feel the charm of Ireland is the countryside rather than the large city.
We always recommend dropping the car at the airport, north of the city, and save the stress of driving downtown. Having driven in Dublin years ago, it's changed quite a bit and the one-way streets, traffic and construction makes it too stressful that we try to follow our own rule. We then take a taxi downtown so we're done with the driving portion of our trip and just relaxing at this point.
We typically book clients into Dublin for the last two nights of their vacation, giving them one full day of touring and exploring. Grab the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus tour to get an overview of the city and then stop at the different sights that interest you. Two opportunities to enjoy the Dublin nightlife, pubs and restaurants before taking a taxi back to the airport.