Engaging Ireland News

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Packing Tips for Your Trip to Ireland (Part I)

Only bring minimal luggage, especially if you're using public transportation.

Ireland doesn’t tend to be a dressy, fussy place where you’ll need lots of clothes and accessories and extra shoes to have a great time. Jeans and casual shirt or khakis and a sweater will do you just fine in most instances. We like that about Ireland!

Bring as little luggage as you possibly can. We generally only travel with a carry-on convertible bag (as we showed you in our last blog post) and a smaller messenger bag or tote. If you’re planning to use public transportation at any time when you’ll have all of your luggage with you – even if it’s only for the train ride from the airport to your hotel in Dublin – you will want to have a little baggage as possible. Plus, if you follow our tip to get the smallest vehicle you can fit in, you won’t have a whole lot of room for luggage in the boot, and you’ll want to put your bags in the boot. If you’re traveling from town to town with all of your belongings each day (or every few days), you may be stopping to have lunch or visit a site on the way, and you don’t want your luggage in the back seat announcing the fact that you are a tourist with all of your stuff. There may not be as much crime in Ireland as there is where you’re from, but it does happen. Don’t help thieves target you; it’ll ruin your holiday.

But let’s just take a moment right now to talk about the elephant in the room: it rains in Ireland, sometimes a lot. You need to be prepared for everything from light drizzle to torrential downpours with mighty winds. Though thunderstorms are rare in Ireland, they are not completely unheard of. To prepare for the rain, we have purchased good quality rain coats that work as windbreakers as well. We also have rain hats that have fairly wide brims to keep the dripping water off our faces and necks.

For several reasons, we generally do not travel with an umbrella. We like to have our hands free to use our cameras and video equipment (or to hang on to a railing). There’s no point in taking a cheap umbrella to Ireland, and a good quality umbrella takes up more room in our luggage than we are willing to sacrifice. The wind can render your umbrella useless anyway. To sum up, if it’s only a soft day (not raining hard), we wouldn’t really need an umbrella, and if it’s raining and blowing too hard, the umbrella is useless at best and broken at worst.

There were several times on our first couple of trips to Ireland that I was wishing I had a pair of gloves to keep my hands warmer. I now take along a pair of those little stretchy gloves that don’t cost much and don’t take up much room in the suitcase. Even if they get wet, my hands are warmer!

So, what should you wear? Even during the summer months, the weather can fluctuate a great deal, including the temperature. Days will generally start out cool and can get quite warm by the afternoon. Dress in layers that you can peel off and put on as the weather dictates. Due to the fact that the ground is quite uneven in many places, you should not plan to wear to high heels or shoes with narrow heels. Wear good walking shoes, hiking boots, or supportive sandals as appropriate. And, when wearing walking shoes or hiking boots, be sure to have good socks made for walking. It does make a difference to your poor, tired feet at the end of the day! Also, if you can waterproof your shoes or boots, do so before you travel. In the United States, you can purchase spray-on products that do a good job of helping keep water out of your shoes (unless you’re walking through deep puddles or it’s raining buckets).

Next time, we’ll give you some more tips for packing for your trip. Until then, slán go fóill!

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 9:26 am.

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Why Travel Light?

We each take one of these carry-on bags. We can pack for about 10 days in this one bag.

In these days of baggage fees and lost luggage, we still see people at the airport checking three bags or more for two people. Unless you are traveling with specialized equipment (e.g. you’re a professional photographer or a professional musician in a band), you can pack for a week or more with one carry-on bag.

Unless you’re traveling to a place that has few places to purchase supplies, you can leave out many of those liquids that people carry. Since you’re only going to be bringing a carry-on bag, you’ll have to fit all of your liquids into that one quart-sized bag that you are allowed. Why not leave the shampoo, hairspray, and toothpaste at home and buy those things when you arrive at your destination? This will lighten your load a bit and allow you to buy and use what the locals use.

What are some advantages of traveling light? One of the more obvious benefits is monetary. With the exception of a few discount airlines (Ryanair and Spirit Airlines come to mind), you’ll save money by not checking bags. You could save upwards of $100 for two people on a round-trip fare, even if you only check one bag per person each way.

If you don’t check your luggage, it stays under your control; therefore, it is extremely unlikely that you’ll have items lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. This is a huge bonus, in our opinion. We feel that, if airlines are going to charge for checking luggage, they should be almost perfect in getting the luggage to where it is supposed to end up. This is not the case, however, and until they become almost perfect, we’re not of a mind to take the gamble (plus lose the money we paid to have the luggage transported to somewhere other than where we are).

Straps convert our carry-on bags to backpacks. There's also a strap that can go around your waist.

It is much easier to use public transportation when you arrive at your destination if you are not lugging around several suitcases. Our carry-on bags have straps that convert the bag to a backpack for ease of carrying. This is so nice if you have to carry your bags for any distance or to get from one airport, bus, or train terminal to another when traveling.

One of the things we really dislike doing when we’re traveling is waiting for our luggage to arrive at baggage claim. If we don’t have any bags checked, we don’t have to waste our time. Standing at the baggage carousel and jostling with other travelers to get a spot along the belt so you can wait for your luggage is not the stress-free start to a great vacation.

If you are not planning to use public transportation or will, at some point in your trip, be renting a vehicle to drive yourself, the less luggage you have, the smaller the vehicle you can hire. A smaller vehicle gets better gas mileage (so it’s greener to operate and will save you money on fuel) and is easier to maneuver and park. It’s a very good idea to keep all of your luggage in the trunk/boot of your vehicle out of sight, so potential thieves will not be so easily enticed to select your vehicle as a target.

Reducing the amount of “stuff” you take with you on your trips will help you reduce the stress and hassles involved in trying to take everything with you. For us, that’s a huge pay-off!

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 1:59 pm.

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