While purchasing tickets for our trip home to England last October, we found that it would actually be cheaper to fly into Dublin for a night than flying directly to London.
We jumped on the opportunity as we had never been to Ireland together, and although very jet-lagged we had a fantastic couple of days exploring this historical and charming city.
A few tips to enjoy a great day in Dublin on a very tight budget:
No.1 Transportation: If you are planning to spend all of your time in Dublin city center there is no need to rent a car. Car rentals are sky high, the city has a confusing one-way system. Public transportation is readily available, and most things are in walking distance.
We traveled into the city from the airport via Air Coach. Right now you can purchase a round trip ticket from the airport to city center plus a day bus sightseeing tour (see below) for only 24 euros.
No. 2 Lodging: The most economical hotel I came across was the D4 Hotels, there are 3 hotels in this chain, all with different stars. Although we stayed at the most expensive one, I couldn’t see there was much difference between the 3, as they all share the same amenities.
They’re priced at around 50 euros a night, and their location is very convenient as it’s one of the stopping points for the Air Coach as well as some of the day tour buses. The walk into town was about 30 minutes, and the bus ride about 8 minutes at about 2 euros per person.
No.3 Sightseeing: We were so tired from the flights, that driving around on the open-roofed double-decker bus was a nice relief to walking, as well as the perfect way to keep us awake with the brisk Irish chill in the air. We got to see the whole city and the outskirts such as Phoenix Park that we otherwise would not have seen. The audio commentary is ideal to get a brief and broad insight to the history of the city.
As it is hop on and off, first we did the full tour and then the second time around we decided where we wanted to stop off. You’ll want to see Dublin Castle and Trinity College for sure, but keep in mind most places close between 4-5pm, including the buses so make sure to check times. For more about the sightseeing tour bus, look HERE.
No. 4 Food: On a tight schedule, it’s smart to travel with granola bars so you always have a little something if your hungry. They’re perfect with a hot drink in the morning so you can just get up and go.
For lunch we stopped by our favorite UK grocery store, Marks & Spencer on Grafton Street. It took us at least half an hour to weigh up all of our favorites. Perfect for lunch with little tables and chairs to sit down and take a bite; a sandwich, drink and chips is about 4 euros.
For dinner, it’s nice to taste some of the local food, we had some gluten-free fish and chips at the local ‘chippy'; don’t forget to check your brochures from tours and hotels, as they frequently have coupons; for example we got free cokes with our fish and chips, which saved us about 3 euros each.
Our favorite world-wide pit stops for the loo and a drink are of course Starbucks and McDonald’s, both reliable in those times of need!
No. 5 Shopping: Shopping around Grafton Street is the best, and has most high-street chains worth seeing, we love River Island and Top shop; as well as shops unique to Dublin like Kilkenny’s, this was our favorite for Irish products, plus they ship to the US for a flat rate of 20 euros. Holler!
For two days + one night in Dublin, we spent around 75 euro’s each, which was still cheaper than flying direct to London. Bottom line: spend money on a good tour and one good meal a day, other than that eat on the cheaps and see what’s free. Do you guys have any money saving tips you use on trips? We’d love to hear them.
HAPPY ST. PADDY’S DAY EVERYONE!