How much should I budget for Ireland? Or is it expensive to travel to Ireland?
They are common questions when you’re first planning a trip.
I always hesitate to answer this.
Expensive is relative. What is expensive to one person may seem like pennies to another.
The reality is that my budget will probably look nothing like your budget.
You may not even have to budget at all.
But I have never met anyone who wants to spend more money than they have to. Even the most affluent of travelers aren’t usually willing to throw money away just because they can.
Whether your a high roller or pinching pennies, I am guessing you’ll want a rough guide of how much a trip to Ireland is going to cost you so you can save or at least know what you’re going to spend.
But a budget can do so much more than tell you how much to save or how much you’re going to spend.
The Surprising Benefit of Creating a Budget for Ireland
Creating a budget for Ireland not only helps you figure out how much your trip might cost but it does worlds in helping you identify your priorities and keeping you organized.
A budget gives you permission to spend money on the things that matter the most to you and save on those that don’t.
Joe and I are very happy to spend our money on having comfortable accommodations, eating great food, and having a few special experiences.
I am going to spend money for spending money’s sake?
Spend on what is important to you. Save on what isn’t.
I spend money on what is important to me.
As I decide what experiences are going to be the most meaningful, I make sure I have enough money for those things. Of course, this helps me save money, but, what’s more is that I can enjoy those experiences without a second thought to the cost.
I want you to be able to do the same, which is why your budget might look vastly different from mine.
If your priority is simply to get to Ireland with as few dollars as possible–you can spend way less than what’s below.
If your priority is castle stays, luxury spa experiences, or golfing the best courses–you’re going to spend more.
Another option could be to simply blind save.
But blind saving isn’t going to help you plan and it might not even give you an accurate estimate of what you might spend.
How do you create a budget that is actually reflective of your priorities and is going to give you an accurate estimate of your trip?
First, create a baseline budget for Ireland.
I tried to make this part easy for you.
Below is a rough guide of average daily expenses for a trip to Ireland. Remember this is average. It may not be your budget and that’s ok. It’s just a starting point.
*Note the exchange rate can greatly affect the final cost of your trip. In the table below I used the average US-Euro exchange rate over the last ten years (.842). To put it simply, historically US citizens have spent roughly $0.20 more for every euro. You can check the current exchange rate on XE.com.
Most often quotes for accommodations, experiences, etc. are in euros. In my budget, I always have a column for euros and a column for US dollars. I convert my euro quote to US dollars using the highest likely exchange rate (again about 20 or so cents more). If the exchange rate is less when I am in Ireland, hurrah!
A Sample Budget for Ireland
|Expense item||Average cost per day in €||Average cost per day in US $||Total Cost for 10 days per person (US)||Total Cost for 10 days for 2 people (US)|
|Rental Car 3||€85||$102||$816||$816 4|
|Food & Drink 6||€55||$66||$660||$1320|
|Attraction Entry fees||€20||$24||$240||$480|
1 Airfare: The average flight to Ireland varies significantly depending on where you are flying from. It is not uncommon to find flights from the east coast or hub airports from $450-$600. Smaller airports and those in the mid-west/west may find flights much more expensive.
2 The average cost of a B&B is €45-55 per person per night. If you are traveling solo, you can anticipate a single supplement of about 10 euros per night. Hotel accommodations in Dublin city center will cost €175-200 per room per night.
3 Rental car was calculated based upon renting an automatic, intermediate car with full Super Collision Damage Waiver insurance.
4-5 Total trip cost for a rental car and petrol/tolls/parking includes only eight days, assuming you will spend two days (arrival day, plus one full day) in Dublin.
6 Food and drink can vary widely. If you plan to eat out most days anticipate approximately €15 for lunch, €25 for dinner, €10 for snacks, and €5 per pint. I have not included breakfast as most accommodations/B&Bs will include a very large breakfast.
Decide What Your Priorities Are and Figure Out How Much They Cost
Now that you have a baseline, you have to think about how your trip will be different from the average.
This requires a little research and definitely makes you begin thinking about your travel style and your wants for the trip.
It might be hard to think of your priorities right off the bat, so I put together a budget template for you. Just enter you email in the box below to get access.
It not only provides the starting budget above but also lists examples of additional items to consider and their approximate costs. Curious about how much a pint costs? Or perhaps a round of golf? Maybe a castle stay? Horseback riding on the beach? Or even a private driver? All here in the sample budget, friends.
When you think about your priorities for your trip, go back to what I said in the first post of this series about creating an itinerary for your trip–plan your trip around pillar experiences that are going to be the most meaningful to you. I know deciding what to do in Ireland can feel monumental, but looking at your budget will help you get some clarity. Because when you put a dollar amount on something, you can see in black and white what you are willing to spend your money on.
Perhaps on your first trip, you have a priority to meet with a genealogist. Or maybe your dying for a five-star castle stay. You may just want days of unscripted freedom to seek out the random and the beautiful (highly recommended).
Don’t be afraid to email small businesses, guides, or B&B’s to ask for quotes even a year to two in advance. While you might not be able to officially make a reservation yet, you’ll get a good idea of the cost and may even get great tips and information along the way.
My priorities when budgeting for Ireland
I’ll be honest, Joe and I are not usually big spenders. I usually find the most meaning in the little things– the conversations with neighbors, the wind in my hair, the salt on my lips. The moments where I feel a sense of belonging to Ireland, its people, its landscapes.
You create that kind of trip with the right itinerary planning and white space in your trip, not necessarily by how much money you spend.
For example, I love seeking out hidden beaches for picnics by the sea. Joe always wants to fit in a hill walk or two. I adore lingering among ruins, thinking about the lives of the people that lived in great castles or worshipped in remote monasteries. And sitting next to the musicians in a pub, chatting between songs–I am not sure there is anything better.
That’s not to say that we don’t splurge on special experiences. Sometimes, we will stay at a gorgeous country estate. More recently we’ve been selecting great family-friendly accommodations.
We have at times set aside money for unique souvenirs like our canvas print from the National Gallery of Ireland or my treasured necklace with my son’s name engraved in Ogham (an early form of Irish writing).
Your priorities may even change as you continue to research (or heck, even as you travel). That’s totally ok. In fact, I hope they do. It means you’re learning and creating the kind of trip that will ultimately be the perfect one for you.
How to put your priorities into a spreadsheet
Now that you’re starting to get an idea of what makes your trip meaningful, you can add new rows to your spreadsheet–much more specific rows that name exactly the things you want or need to spend money on.
If you are using Google Sheets or Excel–just right-click on the number row adjacent to where you want your new row to be and select “Insert 1 above” or “Insert 1 below”.
To keep me organized, I will use additional tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet to curate possible expense items for different categories (accommodations, transportation, experiences, etc.). I will write down an endless number of possibilities, add, delete and shuffle the rows around to help me prioritize.
For example under the accommodations tab, I like to make a new column for the date and a new line for each night of my stay. Something like: “Accommodation Night 1” and enter an estimate. This way, once I know the location I will be staying, I have a line item that I can rename and enter its final cost. I’ll tally up the total cost on this page and enter that in my master budget tab.
The potential numbers in your budget for Ireland may add up quickly and surprise you. That’s ok.
Again, the budget is here to help you set your priorities and know how much you’ll want to have on hand. Once you have dollar signs staring you in the face, you may you willing to sacrifice one thing for another.
Your budget for Ireland will 100% help you determine how much to save your trip, but it will also help you seek out more meaningful experiences. Start with the average budget for Ireland, and then fill in what you know.
As you firm up your travel plans, your route, your dates, your flights, your accommodations, special experiences, etc., your initial estimations become more concrete, and voila! You’ve got a very accurate budget for your trip to Ireland. Hooray!!
Don’t forget to grab the Budget for Ireland Template below. I have no doubt it will make a huge difference in the way you plan your trip.
So tell me, what meaningful experiences are you looking forward to for your trip to Ireland? I’d love to know!!