The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com’s resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She’s always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
Emily writes, “I love to travel and since my little sister was about six years old, I have been promising her a trip out of the country as a high school graduation present. I thought, ‘Hey, I’ll be 30 by then so of course I will be able to afford a trip for both of us!’ Fast forward eleven years and my smart-pants, straight-A sister hasn’t forgotten that promise. My budget is pretty strained but I would really like to keep my promise and take a trip this summer before she heads off to college. I would appreciate any ideas and suggestions!”
This question allows for so many answers, I can’t help but think of Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” Children’s literature aside, however, I’ll suggest Ireland, where you can still get out of the country in the summer—one of the more expensive times to travel—for an affordable price without a language barrier to stand in your way.
We need to start by getting you across the Pond. I found airfare from New York to Dublin on [[Aer Lingus | Aer Lingus]] starting at $595 (including taxes and fees) per person in June. There’s no limit to the things you can do in Dublin, but you can also tour the countryside by renting a car for seven days with Hertz starting at €116 (about $158 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates).
Once you decide where you want to go, you’ll have to decide where to stay. You can save money and experience the local culture by staying in B&Bs along your way. Rooms at B&Bs booked through a website like Town and Country Homes Association can cost up to €40 per person per night, or €480 (about $648) for two people for six nights. The total cost for airfare, car, and lodging booked separately would cost just under $1,000 per person, or $1,996 for two.
Though it may cost a bit more, a bundled package might be worth the extra cost for the ease of booking. I found a seven-day package through EuropeASAP that starts at $1,559 (without taxes and fees) per person, and includes round-trip airfare from New York City to Dublin, a rental car, six-nights of B&B vouchers, and full breakfast each day. You must book by January 19 for travel from June 20 through August 30. The package allows you to tour the country at your own pace. The vouchers are also a fun way to keep things spontaneous, as you can pick most places to stay two days before you arrive. The total for two would be $3,118 (without taxes and fees).
Whichever way you choose to book, I have no doubt your sister will love Ireland and you will feel good about keeping your promise without breaking your bank account.
For my other readers, I ask you to help Emily with suggestions on places to go, things to see, and ways to save. Plus, please share your own tales of traveling in Ireland.
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All prices, dates, and booking details listed here were valid at the time of publication. Some information may have changed since that time.