Do I need travel insurance?
Jet Lag Jack Tours highly recommends that you investigate travel insurance and make your own decision (probably "yes"). Check out this Clark Howard article for general information. InsureMyTrip.com will give you a comparison of multiple policies.
What is the best way to fly to Ireland?
In 1st class.
Oh, that's not what you meant?
Shannon (SNN) and Dublin (DUB) airports both have non-stop flights from the U.S. However, you will find the most flight options into/out of Dublin. If you decide to connect through London Heathrow, be sure to schedule a minimum of 2 hours for your layover. Every passenger connecting in LHR will go through Border Control and security.
Remember, also, that most flights from North America are overnight flights. If you plan to arrive in Ireland on Saturday, you will need to book a Friday departing flights.
What do I wear?
The weather in Ireland can vary widely; plan to wear layers and bring rain gear. A light waterproof jacket with a hood is perfect!
Ireland is relatively informal. "Dressing up" for our tour is a pair of khakis and an Irish sweater or collared shirt along with a better (non-running) pair of shoes.
Tips for packing?
DO NOT pack a hair dryer. Hotels and B&Bs will provide one in the room.
DO pack a washcloth if it is part of your daily hygiene or make-up routine. Not all accommodations include washcloths with their linens.
DO pack light. You may find yourself carrying your bags up one or more flights of stairs and/or rolling it across uneven sidewalks. At those times, you may find yourself wondering if those extra outfits were worth it.
DO bring 2 pair of shoes: your primary walking shoes and an additional pair to double as an emergency backup and a change for the evening. Walking shoes can be running shoes, hiking boots or an upscale comfortable shoe. Our evening meals will not require dress attire, but you may want a change from your hiking shoes.
DO NOT put your prescription or over-the-counter drugs into your checked bag. Put them in your backpack for carry-on.
DO pack the adapters for your electronics in your carry-on backpack. (See the question regarding electricity).
What about electrical items?
Almost everyone travels with one or more items that require electricity whether it is a hair dryer, cell phone, tablet, computer or camera. What do you need to know for travel to Ireland? The electrical supply in Ireland is 230v and 50hz and uses the 3-prong UK type plugs. If you are bringing items from the U.S., there are a couple of things to consider.
The first thing you need is a plug adapter. When shopping, look for a "UK" or "Type G" adapter. The least expensive will adapt your U.S. plug into a UK outlet. If other countries are in your travel future, you may want to consider a universal travel adapter. One unit will adapt to US, UK, Europe and more. Many of the universal adapters also include 2 USB slots so you can charge multiple electronics at once. Adapters are readily available from electronic stores, hardware stores, luggage stores and Amazon.
The second concern is a voltage converter. Check your appliance for a label indicating its power input. If the label indicates "100-240V" and "50/60Hz", the appliance is ready to go with only a plug adapter. If the label only indicates 100/110V and 60Hz, it will not function properly (and could be severely damaged) on Ireland power. In this case, you would need a travel voltage converter. Again, check your electronic stores, hardware stores, luggage stores and Amazon. Most cell phone chargers, computers, tablets and camera battery chargers operate on 100-240V. Hair dryers usually do not!!
One last tip to file away for your arrival: all Ireland outlets are switched. If your electronics aren't working or charging when they are plugged in, make sure you can see the red on the outlet that indicates it is "on".
How much does it rain in Ireland?
An Irishman would have you believe it rains every day. Our experience is that we see sun virtually every day. The summer months are typically less rainy than the winter months, but there is a VERY HIGH probability you will see some rain some time during your visit. Please come prepared with a rain jacket, (preferably hooded as wind often renders umbrellas useless.)
What cash should I bring?
The official currency of Ireland is the Euro (€) and purchasing some in advance is not necessary. ATMs are available in the airport when you arrive. Check your Debit/ATM card and verify that it is in the Cirrus or PLUS network. Check with your bank for foreign transaction fees, exchange rates and ATM fees so that no major surprises are awaiting you upon your return. If you want to bring some US (or Canadian) cash for in-transit expenses, that should be sufficient. If you bring USD or CAD for use in Ireland, go to a local bank upon arrival to exchange it for Euros. The airport exchange rates are not favorable and retailers generally do not accept foreign currency.
What about credit cards?
Mastercard and Visa credit cards are widely accepted. Let your bank know that you are traveling internationally to avoid your card being denied as suspected fraud. Check with your bank regarding foreign transaction fees and exchange rates. Some banks charge a premium on the exchange rate, others charge a foreign transaction fee while others do both. A "good" credit card should not charge more than 2% above the wholesale rate (what the banks pay) while we have seen some "bad" cards charge as much as 5%. You can check the current wholesale exchange rate here. Top of page