Engaging Ireland News

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Packing Tips for Your Trip to Ireland (Part III)

Your most important document.

In this final installment of packing tips, we’ll take a look at some of the more dreary and tedious aspects of preparing for travel and gathering in some of the loose ends and tidbits of information that we missed in the first two parts of the series.

The first item of business may seem completely obvious, but it’s something you need to remember to do: Make copies of the confirmations for any of the reservations you have made related to this trip (flight information, accommodation confirmations, rental car, etc.). Be certain that you have contact phone numbers for all of these places, including the airline(s) you’ll be flying. If you miss a flight or a flight is cancelled, it is sometimes easier and faster to call the airline to re-book than it is to stand in line with everyone else who are trying to do the same thing. If you have purchased travel insurance and/or international medical coverage, be sure to take that information with you as well. We generally take an envelope or a folder that contains all of these copies and information.  Some people have said that they take photographs of the documents with their cell phones, and that’s fine, but we think you should have hard copies of the documents as well.

In addition to taking copies of documents with you, you should make a couple of extra color copies of your passport. Leave one at home with someone you would be able to get in touch with easily should you lose your passport. If you are traveling with other people, exchange copies with them.

We’ve seen packing lists where the author suggests you take your address book; however, this is can prove a bit cumbersome. If you’re taking a cell phone with you on your trip, you can generally add the address information to your “Contacts” list, but we’re going to suggest something a little different. If you’re planning to send postcards or packages from Ireland, make address labels with your printer at home and take those with you. We use the labels to save time when writing postcards or sending items home ahead of us. It saves precious vacation time when you’re on the road.

If you take prescription medications, leave the medications in their original pharmacy packaging/bottles with the labels on them. Be aware that some medications that are legal by prescription in the United States are illegal to possess at any time in other countries. Be sure to check consular information sheets for the countries you’re planning to visit before you attempt to get on the plane. Don’t plan to have a prescription from your personal physician filled by a pharmacy in Ireland. You would have to get one from an Irish physician, so be sure to bring enough medication for your entire stay.

Speaking of medications, if you have any issues with motion sickness, you should bring something to help with that. There are over-the-counter products available in Ireland, but we generally suggest that people bring ginger pills (which are much less expensive and don’t make you tired), which you should take about 30 minutes ahead of any activity which might potentially cause you problems (flights, boat trips, etc.).  In the United States, you can generally purchase ginger pills at stores that sell dietary supplements. Travis has had some fairly severe problems with motion sickness in the past, but he does really well with the ginger, even on a boat in open seas when the weather is a bit dicey.

Make photocopies of any credit cards that you are taking with you as well. You can leave those and your passport copy with your trusted person at home. If you should lose a card or have your cards stolen, you will have all the contact information and card numbers in one place, so you can quickly notify all of the appropriate people. You can keep those numbers stored in your cell phone, but if your phone is stolen along with your cards – say your day pack is stolen, you won’t be able to easily get the information from overseas.

If you are planning to take your cell phone with you to Ireland, you will want to do a few things in preparation. First, check to make sure your cell phone is unlocked for use in Ireland.  We realize that most people are already savvy to this, but we just want to remind you! Second, if you have a smartphone, you will want to check with your provider about getting an international data plan. Unless you leave the phone in “Airplane” mode (in which case you can’t make or receive phone calls) or keep it turned off, your phone will be continuously hitting the satellite or nearest wireless and an exchange of data will be made. You could find yourself with a hefty phone bill  (to the tune of several hundreds of dollars) after you get home! If you need a phone while you’re in Ireland, but you don’t need to be available at your normal phone number for people at home to contact you, you can purchase a relatively cheap pay-as-you-go phone once you get to Ireland. Some people prefer this method to taking their own phone, but some people don’t want to have a different phone number while they’re traveling.

A note about travelers’ checks: You can take them with you to Ireland, but you will need to cash them at a bank, and you will be charged a fee for that service. Many places in Ireland no longer accept travelers’ checks. And, as there are ATMs all over the country, there really isn’t any need to have the checks, in our opinion. You can get cash as needed via a debit card, and many of your costs related to lodging, eating, and entertainment may be paid for with credit or debit cards (generally accepted are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). When asked if you want your charge done in euros or dollars, do not let them charge in dollars, as you will get a very poor exchange rate on top of the fee that you’re assessed for the privilege!

The last item we will mention in our packing tips is guide books. This is a very personal decision, we feel, so we won’t tell you which one you should take. Go to a bookstore or look at an online bookstore and select the travel guide that you feel will provide you with the information that is most applicable to your personal tastes and that provides good information about the places you want to travel. Even at that, you don’t necessarily have to drag the whole book with you to Ireland. If you want to you, you can buy the books you like and then photocopy or tear out the pages that pertain to your itinerary.

Good planning ahead of time will make for a more enjoyable and relaxing trip. Until next time, we leave you with this well-known Irish blessing. Slán abhaile!

May the road rise to meet you...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 4:19 pm.

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