Ireland Travel Checklist

A checklist of must have, should have and nice to have items when planning your trip to Ireland.

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Before You Travel

Reserve Rental Car Online
It is much cheaper to reserve online than to get a car in Ireland after you land .

Get a MasterCard to cover rental expenses and insurance
MasterCard is more widely accepted in Ireland and provides insurance.

Plan your route day by day
You don't have to be obsessive about keeping to the plan, but if you've thought about it ahead of time, you'll know where you want to go and what to see. Plan on no more than four hours of driving a day as you'll make frequent stops. If you can purchase maps ahead of time, do so, it makes planning easier. A good road atlas is very helpful.
Frommer's Road Atlas Ireland (Road Atlas)

Reserve at least the first night, better yet, the first several
Reserving your first night reduces the stress of looking for a place to stay, especially in big cities.

Reserve long term stays in cottages or to let houses
Longer term stays require planning as many are already booked year round. Plan ahead and reserve at least 3-6 months in advance. A small deposit is usually required.

Reserve last night near exit airport
Reserving the last night reduces stress, gives you time to repack and have a shorter drive to the airport.

Notify your Bank of travel plans
Notifying the Bank will keep them from freezing your account due to unexpectedly large charges out of the country.

Pack your carry on with basics in case your luggage is lost
Include a pair of socks, underthings and basic toiletries in carry on appropriate containers and in clear zip lock bags.

Print out sunrise and sunset schedule for the days you'll be traveling
This is very important for photographers as you'll know when the best light will be available.

Synchronize your watch, phone and cameras to the new time where you're traveling
This is a very important step to do either in route or at arrival. The camera is especially important as you try to sync up where you were when you took a picture. If the time isn't accurate, it can be very confusing later.



Must Have

Money/Travel Belt or Passport Holder
A money belt or passport holder gives you quick and easy access to your ID, boarding pass and money while in airports or on the plane. We use this Concealed Neck Pouch.

ATM Card
ATM cards are the best way to get money and avoid extra fees that credit cards and some banks charge. Check before with your bank and consider using another bank or credit union that doesn’t charge fees for international transactions.

Travel Adapters
The travel adapter converts your device plug to an Irish plug. Make sure the device is 220 compliant or you’ll need a converter as well.

Ireland Road Map
Get a multi page atlas with all the roads. You’ll want the back roads as this is the best way to travel and see more.
 Frommer's Road Atlas Ireland (Road Atlas)

Major City Maps (Dublin, Cork)
These are available as small books or laminated folders. They will help you get around whether on the bus, foot or in a car.
 Laminated City Center Street Map of Dublin, Ireland

City Bus Tour Passes (Dublin)
The best way to get around Dublin. You can purchase a pass online or as you board the bus. Be aware there is more than one company and they are not interchangeable.

International Cell Phone or Sim Card
If you need to call home, or have others call you, this is a good way to go. Contact your phone provider to get details. Here is a good option for an overseas phone.

Light Waterproof Windbreaker with hood
You will encounter rain, wind or both at some time. A waterproof windbreaker will save you a lot of grief. Umbrellas usually die in the wind and don’t work well outside the cities.

Layered clothing
Layer your clothing as the weather changes often.

Camera (one per person)
There are a lot of things to take pictures of and it is hard to share. If you can, get the same camera so you can share memory cards and batteries. You can also reduce your luggage weight by sharing a charger.

Extra Memory Cards or Film
You will use more than you think and it is cheaper to bring it than buy it there.

Extra Camera Batteries and charger
It is a good idea to have a backup battery for each camera and don’t forget the charger.

Day Pack
A small, light daypack can be zipped up and attached to your belt or pocket until you need it. Perfect for carrying small purchases, printed material, maps, food, water and cameras.

Travel Journal or Notebook
Keep a record of what you’ve spent, where you eat and if you can, a summary of what you’ve seen and done. This makes labeling photos, and in general remembering your trip later easier and more enjoyable. You can keep receipts in the journal as well. We usually keep a journal in the front and expenses in the back of a single book. We try and update the journal at dinner or before bed every night. Just hit the highlights and any thing specific you want to remember. We put in the names of restaurants, special towns and people. You won't remember later.



Should Have

Voltage Converter
Use a voltage converter for devices that are not 220 compliant.

Duchas Heritage Pass
If you plan to visit historic sites, this pass pays for itself in about 4 visits. Comes with a nice book, map and directions to the sites. Available online or at any of the sites.

Waterproof Pants
If you plan on hiking, this can keep you more comfortable in the rain or in wet fields and grass.

Waterproof Boots
Ireland is wet and muddy even when it is nice weather. The ground is rough and having extra ankle support is critical when climbing over ruins and rough paths.

Boot Socks
These will make your feet a lot happier. Take at least two pair.

Believe it or not, you will probably need these at some point. Take a cheap pair as you’ll mostly need them when driving and hiking and it is easy to misplace or leave them behind.

Discovery Series Maps
If you’re planning any exploration or back road hiking, these maps will show you in detail where you need to go. They are available laminated which is a good idea. Buy just the ones you need for specific areas.

Image Storage Device or Strategy for Image Storage
Your memory cards will get full if you have a digital camera. Plan ahead and either use a memory storage device to empty your cards, bring a laptop or plan to stop into internet cafes to have your images burned to CD or DVD.

Zip Lock bags (large and medium)
Zip Lock bags have many uses from storage to waterproofing your camera. Get one large enough to put over or hold your camera. Have several more to hold shells, rocks and other mementos.

Permanent Marker
A permanent marker is nice for labeling your plastic bags, writing on wet surfaces and labeling luggage.



Nice to Have

Tripods are allowed in some buildings and can be very nice for low light conditions. Outside they can be helpful in the wind. Don't take a heavy tripod, consider travel tripods. They are smaller, lighter and you're more likely to use it. If not a tripod, consider a monopod.

Ireland is fairly wired and a laptop can serve as memory card storage and communication with home via email and Skype. Just consider the weight, you don't want to carry it around all day. The new crop of netbooks are a great option.

Lens cloth for cleaning water off glasses and camera lens
Ireland is wet, rain, ocean spray and misc. other sources will get your glasses, sunglasses and camera lens wet. These clean and dry the lens. Take several.

Coffee (pre ground)
Irish coffee isn’t great and neither are the other brands in the stores. If you are a serious coffee drinker, consider bringing your own and a plastic French press.

Reusable Shopping Bags
Most stores in Ireland will charge you for bags. If you’re doing grocery shopping, bring your own and save money. We carry 3-4 small collapsible zip bags for this purpose and leave them in the rental car.

Irish Phrase Book that includes road signs
Irish road signs are often in Irish and sometimes no English. You can guess, but knowing a bit of Irish can help as well as make your trip more enjoyable by learning a bit of the language.

Euro coins (about €10 in single Euro coins)
Luggage carts at the airports will require a one or two Euro coin. Take a bit of change and it will make your arrival easier.

Irish Travel Books
Don’t take all your travel books. Copy important pages and just take the best book or books. It is extra weight your will come to regret if you take to many.

Gloves are nice if you are out in the weather a lot. Cameras can get cold and touching rock or metal can quickly take the heat out of your hands. Light weight gloves will not take up much room, but will make you much happier when you need them.


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Last Updated on Monday, February 28, 2011