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Ireland Budget TravelTraveling Ireland on a budget and saving money

Traveling Ireland on the Cheap

With airfare rising due to fuel costs and the dollar falling due to ... well, this is probably not the place to get into that. Ireland continues to attract travelers and even though the rising costs have hurt me in the past, I've learned to travel economically and stretch my dollar a bit further. Mind you, I may not buy lots of souvenirs but I do make one big purchase every time I visit including Waterford, a wool sweater -- or artwork.

These simple suggestions are sure to help you save money along the way:

Save Money With Self Catering in Ireland

You can save some money on longer visits to Ireland by self-catering, which is nothing more than renting a cottage, townhouse, manor or castle when in Ireland - the latter not saving you as much since you are now paying for some luxuries.

If you're planning on visiting Ireland for more than a week and want to situate yourself in one location with day trips from there, then self-catering cottages are the least expensive way to go. Let me rephrase this -- if you have a group of four or more traveling then the cost will likely be less than that of standard B&Bs.

You are basically renting a home for the duration, buying your own food and fixing your own meals which is where the big savings comes in. Shorter durations and you're throwing away quite a bit of food that you've purchased and not used as well as costs to clean the place (typically not included).

For me, vacation doesn't involve making meals but when it comes to a large group I have rented homes, villas and cottages to help defray costs.

Fill Up on the Irish Breakfast

This is really not a suggestion because it ultimately happens whether you plan on it or not. The breakfast that awaits you at most B&Bs is far more than you would typically eat at home, giving you enough energy to keep you going well into the afternoon. You usually have a choice of cereals, fruit juices, yogurt, fruit and more ... in addition to your tradition Irish breakfast, tea/coffee, and of course toast.

I usually don't feel the least bit hungry until 2pm or so, at which time I'll stop for a snack and that is it. A plate of chips (french fries) and a pint of Guinness is all that I need to hold me over until dinner.

Save By Dining in Pubs - Pub Grub for Dinner

Pub typically offer meat-and-potatoes plates that are huge and well-priced. The food is good too so don't let the term "pub grub" put you off. Many menus will include roast beef or chicken with potatoes and vegetables, well balanced and large portions.

If you are treating yourself to a night in a castle, by all means pre-purchase the dinner in USD! It's a good deal and you'll have a choice on a set menu for each course so you won't be saddling up to a buffet at these establishments.

Save Traveling Ireland with an Efficient Itinerary

Although cars are quite efficient in Ireland, gas (petrol) is about $9.00 USD / gallon as of 2014 so that tank will cost you nearly $100 for a small car. Plan carefully!

I've helped many travelers on Frommers Message Forums with their itineraries and trying to make their route more economical and linear when possible.

Suffice it to say that lots of backtracking will cost you more not only in time but in the wallet as well due to the cost of gas.

Save Shopping in Ireland - Limit Souvenirs and Shop Wisely

This is hard for first-timers and I understand but if you can limit your souvenirs you've obviously saved quite a bundle ...but also shopping wisely will save you some well-earned dollars as well. How many woolen sweaters can you actually wear? Trust me, I've worn them shoveling snow... and was sweating so don't buy a few thinking you'll wear them to work or inside at any time!

The Blarney Woolen Mills offer a huge selection of well-made products at decent prices. I'd rather purchase items from small shops but you'll likely find higher prices if you do.

Now that airlines are charging for extra bags I think I'll be taking advantage of the offers of free shipping when I'm there -- why not? The less I take on the plane, I save -- and you don't pay the VAT when shipping items.