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Thrifty Travel Tips for Visitors to Ireland

Budget Travel Tips

Thrifty Travel Tips for Visitors to Ireland So, you'd love to come to Ireland, but you're on a tight budget? Don't worry - you can have a great holiday in the Emerald Isle without breaking the bank. The following tips each make small savings, but together can significantly reduce the cost of your vacation.

Hire a Car

Most visitors to Ireland are eager to visit various locations within a relatively short time. If you're travelling with others, car hire may offer a cheaper alternative to train, bus and taxi fares (which can prove costly when you add them all up). Check out our online quotes ; you'll be surprised at how cheap car rental is with Carhire.ie.

Stay in B&Bs

Almost every town and village in Ireland offers reasonably priced bed and breakfast accommodation. Bed and breakfast accommodation tends to be family run, and therefore homely and relaxed. Of course, not all B&Bs are the same, service and quality can vary greatly. Seek recommendations, or try to find B&Bs that have been approved by respected guides or authorities, such as Bord Failte, the Irish Tourist Board.

Shop Around in Advance

It's amazing how much you can save by shopping around before you go on vacation. Most Irish visitor locations have a website, as do many B&Bs, restaurants, etc. Check out prices before you go, make comparisons, and book ahead.

Visit Smaller Towns and Villages

In living cost surveys, Irish cities are consistently found to be pricier than smaller towns and villages. There can be a difference between prices in Dublin and elsewhere in the country. Aim to stay, eat and find entertainment away from the big centres, for at least part of your vacation, and you'll be sure to make savings.

Eat Early

Many Irish restaurants now offer a discounted "early bird" menu for evening diners who arrive before restaurants get busy. The exact time varies, but typically the early bird menu is available between 6pm and 7.30pm. If information on discounted menus is not visible near the entrance, enquire within the restaurant. Many restaurants will be happy to offer you an early bird discount in any case, as they will be happy to get your custom.

Ask for a VAT Refund

Unless otherwise stated, the price of Irish goods and services includes a sales tax - known as Value Added Tax (VAT), which is usually 21%. Visitors to Ireland from outside the European Union are entitled to obtain a refund of VAT on goods that they purchase, providing they take them out of the country within three months. A few of the large shops, especially those that sell gifts and crafts, will deduct the VAT from large purchases at the point of sale, when they are to be shipped abroad. Ask the shop about its VAT-refund policy before buying gifts.

Enquire About Discounts

Are you a student or aged over 60? Do you have a small child with you? People who fall into these and other categories may avail of discounts at Irish tourist attractions, museums, cinemas, sporting occasions, and other events and places of interest. Discounted prices are not always displayed explicitly, so it's best to enquire before you book or pay. Students - be sure to take along your student identity card.

Stick to Your Budget

Before you travel, decide how much money you have, and how much you are willing to spend each day, and stick to it! The main reason people spend more than they'd planned to on vacation is because they fail to manage their own budgets. This is particularly important when visiting an Irish pub - where it's all too easy to spend more than you'd intended!