Ireland is a beautiful country known for its perfect scenery, accommodating locals and their famous pubs. How expensive is a vacation in Ireland? We’ll answer that question, and give you tips on how to save big time on your travel, accommodation, and attractions.
If you visit Dublin, It will cost about $2,077 to travel and explore the city for 2 weeks. This breaks down to $970 for travel fares, $560 for a $40 a night hostel, $266 for food on a budget of $19 a day, transportation using a 7-day tram pass at $26.80. And if you get a Dublin pass you'll have access to a bunch of attractions for just $114, and that covers you for 5 days!
In this article, we will focus on Dublin as it is considered one of the more expensive cities to visit in Ireland. So if you’re traveling to other parts of Ireland you can probably enjoy the sights for less than what we describe here.
Travel Visa Costs
Before you even step foot on the plane, you’ll need to get your Travel Visas sorted.
U.S. citizens rejoice – you can enter Ireland Visa free for 90 days for either tourism or business. If you’re from outside the U.S. though, here is the cost for visas:
- Single transit through Ireland: $34
- Single journey into Ireland: $81
- Working holiday visa: $339
On top of that, you can have your visa delivered to you for an extra $10 to $20.
Air Ticket Costs
Flight costs depend on where you’re traveling from, which airline you take and when you travel. As at the time of writing, a flight from Los Angeles to Dublin costs $1,185 per person.
Thankfully, air tickets can be even cheaper than that. Here are a few tips to save on your travel costs:
Travel during off-peak seasons. The best month to travel for cheap fares is March. It’s after the holiday season and the weather’s not quite warm enough to attract visitors. If you travel in March, your fares could be as low as $465!
Months to avoid? April to October – this covers the warmer months and is when Ireland attracts the most visitors.
Use platforms like Skyscanner to quickly compare prices. Comparison flight platforms can be a godsend when looking and comparing for cheap flights. You just need to enter basic information such as your departure and arrival dates and you’ll get dozens of options to compare.
Go for budget flights. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might have a budget carrier to Ireland that departs from your destination. If not, you can always take a budget airline for part of the journey. These are some budget airlines that depart from Heathrow airport, for example, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, etc.
Be prepared for a longer layover. To mix and match your flights for the cheapest prices, you might have to accept longer layovers at airports that you’re transiting at. This certainly isn’t for everyone as it could involve catching red-eye flights or sleeping in the terminal.
Accommodation is something you'll have to pay for every day, so choosing a place to lay your head is a very important decision as it can dramatically affect the price of your trip. Here’s an illustration – if you stay at a place that is $20 cheaper, then you’re saving $280 over a 14 day period!
This is probably the most expensive of accommodations. Of course, you get what you pay for. Room service, free buffet breakfast, security, and privacy come with staying at a hotel.
Within hotels, you can save a bundle by choosing the right location. For example, a 14-night stay in the Dublin City Centre would start from $2,600 and can go all the way up to $8,000!
However, something like the Gate Hotel, which is further from the city center only costs about $103 per night.
Next on the list in terms of comfort are apartments. While you may not enjoy luxuries like room service or free breakfast, you certainly save on accommodation costs.
So if you don’t need the extra frills, then go for an apartment. This will cost around $1,636 for 14 days. That's almost $1,000 cheaper than the cheapest hotel!
Bed and Breakfast
B&Bs can provide a more homely feel and can be very comfortable.
The only catch is that you’ll likely be further away from the city center. B&Bs make the most sense for couples or families. Prices range from $88 for a family room with an ensuite. Prices can also go up to $200 for two people sharing a room.
You’re not going to find a lot of your creature comforts here. Hostels usually provide you with a bed, but you’ll have to share the kitchen, amenities, bathrooms, etc.
This usually isn’t a problem for people who aren’t too particular about privacy, and it can be a great way to meet other travelers.
Staying at a backpackers will set you back about $40 a night.
Airbnb hits the sweet spot between comfort and price. Many listings on Airbnb are run by individuals renting out a room or holiday home.
Prices start at about $64 up to $450 to dollars for two people a night. Sure, it may not have all the bells and whistles, but you can be assured of a homely feel.
Food and Drink
Meals in Ireland are not cheap with lunch prices ranging from $17 to $28. Restaurants with a three-course meal and some drinks cost between $19 and $33. One main course at a pub will usually cost around $20.
Of course, if you're on a budget, then you can be kinder to your wallet by buying groceries and preparing sandwiches to take around with you while you are out exploring.
If you’d like a nice hot meal, then choose an accommodation with a kitchen so you can buy groceries and cook for your meals.
Transportation is probably the cheapest thing about traveling in Ireland thanks to the numerous passes that you can take around town.
As soon as you step off the plane at the airport you'll be faced with a choice: what type of transport to take to the city center?
Your first option is to take a taxi that costs about €20 to €35. Not too bad perhaps.
That’s until you learn that you can take the Airlink Express bus as part of a 7-Day bus pass, called the Leap Card. You can use it on Dublin numerous bus services such as Airlink, Nitelink, Xpresso DART, Commuter Rail and more. And all it costs is €40! Certainly a no brainer if you’re planning to get around town by bus.
However, if you like going around on foot and plan to keep public transport to a minimum, then a single City Center ticket isn’t too expensive either – just €0.60 or $0.67.
If you'd like a more rustic and classic form of transportation, go for the 7-Day tram pass which costs about €24. If you want to ride a tram just for the novelty factor, and you can get a one day pass for €6.80.
Probably the best deal for tourists is the Freedom Pass which gives you 3 days of unlimited travel on the Dublin bus. It beats the Leap Card in that it also gives you 48-hours on the Dublin hop-on hop-off tour. All that for €39.50!
Things to do in Dublin
There are plenty of things to do in Dublin even for the budget-conscious traveler. Because Dublin is home to a rich culture, there are many landmarks and places you can visit for free. What follows is just some of the best free/cheap things you can do in Dublin.
For example, Saint Stephen's Green is a 22-acre public park in Dublin’s city center. This would be perfect if you are traveling in the summer months.
Another great place to visit is Grafton Street which is home to the famous Trinity College.
If you'd like to see the home of one of the most famous Stout Brands, you can visit the Guinness storehouse. While not exactly free, the entrance fee of $21 for adults, $18 for children from 13 to 17, and free entry for children under 13 certainly make it a very affordable attraction to visit.
There’s plenty to see in the day, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to see at night! Cap your day off with a visit to the Temple bar, which is the center of Dublin’s nightlife. If you have some pre-drinks beforehand, you can get a good buzz without having to spend on alcohol at the pub! The Temple Bar is free so you can soak up the good music and enjoy the company of other travelers without spending a thing!
Cost Saving Hack #1: Get The Dublin Pass
Here’s a godsend for tourists to Dublin: The Dublin Pass.
What does it do?
It grants you free access to over 30 top attractions, museums, and monuments, including the famous Dublin Castle, the Dublin hop-on hop-off bus tour, the Irish emigration Museum and many more!
While you can get the one-day Dublin pass at a very affordable $74 a day, you'll be better off getting the five days pass as it only costs $114.
To see how amazing the Dublin pass is considered this: typically, visiting 10 attractions like the ones we mentioned above will cost you about €146 or $163. But with the Dublin Pass, you can visit all of these attractions and more at your flat rate of $114 for five days!
A nice bonus is that there are some attractions that give Dublin pass holders fast track access so you can skip the queues and see more sights in the same amount of time!
Cost Saving Hack #2: Package Tours
Instead of splitting up the cost of travel, accommodation, food, etc, go for a package tour. A package tour is where a tour operator packages all the things we mentioned above into an itinerary for you. All you have to do is to pay the money and go on the trip!
Many a time, package tours work out cheaper than each individual part combined because the tour operators are able to secure bulk pricing with hotels, airlines and more. Then they get to pass on those savings to you!
For example, the lowest tour package that Expedia has gets you 14 nights for two people at around $3,500. That's including round-trip flights, taxes and fees, and a hotel stay!
Ireland is a wonderful place to visit. And if you do your homework beforehand then you can save a lot of money!
What we suggest is to get a bus pass (in particular the Leap Pass) which will get you on the Airlink bus from the airport for about €40, and that will cover your transport for seven whole days.
Then, choose to stay at an Airbnb which works out to be really affordable if you go with your family or some friends.
Lastly, make an itinerary of wonderful free places to visit, and for those that cost a bit of money, you can always use the Dublin Pass which will make it very cheap to visit these places.
Have you ever visited Ireland? Did you discover any hidden gems that you can share with the rest of us? Please share it in the comments below!