So how much does it cost to go to Ireland?
I tallied EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. that we spent on our most recent trip (May 2019). Every dinner, every toll, every attraction, every souvenir.
Let me tell you. It can be hard keeping track of a toddler, an infant and receipts (the receipts were harder than the kiddos at times).
I am laying it all out for you to read here, and I’ll be up front with you. This post is lonnnnggggg.
I am not going to just give you our numbers.
I am going to tell you what we spent, and I am going to tell you how much it costs for two people to travel to Ireland for 10 days (whoop, whoop!).
TLDR version-grab the Ireland Budget Template below to see every penny we spent (and help you create a budget too).
How much does it cost to go to Ireland?
Now, I am going to give you an average here. This isn’t a “castle stay, driver, Michelin Star dinner” kind of budget.
Instead, it is a “nice B&B, automatic rental car with all the insurances and pub dinners” kind of budget.
You can spend wayyy more, but you could also spend a lot less. Take this as a middle of the road estimate. Feel free to splurge where it’s important to you. Save where it’s not.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through an affiliate link, you won’t pay a penny more, but I will get a small referral fee. I have not been given any free products, services or anything else by these companies in exchange for mentioning them on Infinite Ireland and if they make the cut to get a referral link on here ya know they’re good!
Let’s get to it:
We spent $682.47 on two adults, one child, one lap baby.
We primarily used points to pay for our four flights. I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card (affiliate) that we put every purchase we can on throughout the year.
Between trips, we rack up quite a few points and turn them into real airfare tickets through a Chase airline partner.
This time we redeemed them for three Avios/Aer Lingus flights. In the past we’ve also used our Chase points for United Airlines and even Air France tickets.
Avios/Aer Lingus is notorious for having high taxes and fees, but it still worked out to be the cheapest option this time for our little family ($682.47).
(As a comparison, in the past we’ve used our Chase points to purchase two round-trip United Airlines tickets to Ireland for less than $100.)
I am sure this goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway… While I love my Chase card, credit cards aren’t for everyone. We don’t charge anything that we couldn’t pay for right then and there in cash. We pay off the card automatically in full every month.
Best advice: Don’t use credit cards if you can’t do the same. ☺️
How much should you budget for airfare to Ireland?
I find the average flight to Ireland from the US costs about $800.
You can find some great sales especially if you fly through hub cities like Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia.
Smaller airports can often be a couple hundred more.
We spent $2194.65 for 13 nights.
Six nights were spent in County Wicklow ($389.77) and seven nights were spent in in Dublin city ($1804.88).
Big difference right? While Dublin is almost always going to be more expensive than other places in Ireland, we snagged a great place in Wicklow at an amazing price.
Our Wicklow accommodations were an absolute steal!
I scoured AirBnB and several other sites for family-friendly self-catering properties, looking for places that truly catered to children.
We wanted two rooms, toys, a travel cot (a.k.a. a Pack-n-Play), kids utensils, etc. There were a few available, but the one we landed on had such great reviews.
Not gonna lie. I was a little hesitant to stay there. It was an incredibly inexpensive mobile home with dated furniture.
At this stage in my life, I’m definitely no longer interested in roughing it for the sake of saving a few bucks.
But the reviews sold me, and luckily, they were spot on.
The hostess, Margaret is just the sweetest woman who gave us all sorts of goodies, tips, and local suggestions.
When we had trouble with our rental car at the end of our stay, her hubby checked it out for us and waited while we called AA. He boiled a pot of tea and a sat with us for a chat while we waited for the mechanic (and gave Alexander all sorts of new toys to play with).
The space was perfect, even if it was a little dated. It had everything we needed, and it was kind of cozy to be in a smaller space with the little ones.
Just ten minutes from Wicklow town (a very underrated town in my humble opinion), ten minutes from the beach and about half hour from Glendalough, I loved the location.
We quickly came into a rhythm here and were beyond sad to leave it.
For those of you astute readers checking out the spreadsheet: We paid for six nights but only actually slept five nights there. By booking the night before our flight landed in Ireland, we were able to check-in immediately when we arrived, rest, and get cleaned up before enjoying the rest of the day (beach time on the first day!).
We usually spend 100% of our time in the Irish countryside, because…well…we love it there.
But this year, we opted to stay in Dublin for a bit. It had been years since we had spent any amount of time in the big city.
With two kiddos in tow, I figured it might be nice for us to do the Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park and the “Dead Museum” (Museum of Natural History).
I figured it’d be even nicer for Joe and I to swap the kiddos and each have a day in the city child-free (no shame in my game!).
With Dublin accommodation comes a much higher price tag and I was, again, looking for something very specific. It was harder to find than I had thought it would be.
Mostly that was my fault. While we booked our airfare in January, we didn’t choose our accommodations until April for travel in May.
I am usually way ahead of the game when it comes to booking things, but alas, two kiddos, a business, and too long hemming and hawing about where exactly we wanted to spend our time, I missed out on a few great places.
We ended up paying a bit more than I wanted, but we got all the things we needed and then some. Baby gates, strollers, high chairs…lots and lots of toys and books for Alexander and even a few for Hugo.
We also selected a place right across the entrance to Phoenix Park with a lovely little playground that Alexander was happy to take advantage of.
The bus service was super efficient and cabs were always available using the Free Now app.
However, if I were to do it again, I think I’d still like to be a bit closer to the center of town. I always recommend the St. Stephen’s Green area or around Iveagh Gardens.
Phoenix Park was great and certainly made us feel like we were livin’ local, but you can’t beat walking out of your apartment to multiple pubs, sites and hustle of the city.
We used AirBnB for both our stays in Ireland this year. Largely because the site makes it so easy to search for specific places that are family friendly and for items you may need like a crib or baby gates. But also because we had a bit of AirBnB credit to use.
If you haven’t signed up for AirBnB yet, check it out here with up to $30 credit on your first stay. If you sign up through this link I get a little credit for referring you as a thank you (I’m not in any way special…after you sign up you get a referral link too. Hooray!).
One thing to note: the landscape for short-term rentals in Ireland is changing (particularly in Dublin) with new laws requiring owners to register their accommodations and limit the number of nights available.
I haven’t noticed too much of a dip in availability yet, but I do expect it to decrease if they can figure out a way to enforce the new regulations (so don’t wait around if you find one you like!).
How much should you budget for accommodations in Ireland?
You can expect to pay €45-50 per person sharing (€55-60 for a single) for one night at a bed and breakfast.
Even though we didn’t stay in any B&Bs this time, my preferred accommodation in Ireland is absolutely the Irish Bed and Breakfast. Be sure to include at least one during your trip. You won’t regret it.
In Dublin, plan for €200 per night in a city-center hotel.
There are a few B&B’s in Dublin, but most are on the outskirts. Here AirBnB’s are great (sometimes you can nab a great deal) or, of course, hotels are plentiful.
We paid $534.61.
We rented a standard size, automatic car with full Super Collision Damage Waiver and windshield/tire insurance and an extra driver from Budget.ie for seven days. Picking up and dropping off at the Dublin Airport.
How much should you budget for a car rental in Ireland?
Budget approximately €70 per day for an automatic, full insurance, economy car.
Those that book ahead can usually get a much better deal than this. Here’s my method for finding the best way to book your Ireland car rental (and another handy-dandy spreadsheet you can copy).
We paid $304.63 total for our car seats and public transportation in Dublin.
Car Seats. Ugh. Such a necessary and life-saving pain in the bum for a little family.
Last time we traveled to Ireland, we brought our own car seat. This worked out well since we rented our vehicle for the entire trip and only had one kiddo.
This time, we opted to rent our car seats (€110) for Alexander (2.5 years old) and Hugo (six months old) from the Stork Exchange, an all-things-baby rental place at the Dublin airport.
I loved this service! They met us at our parking space when we picked up our car rental, installed the car seats for us, gave us directions on their use, and picked them back up when we returned the car.
Be sure to actually buckle your little one in while the Stork Exchange folks are there to make sure the seat is adjusted properly and ask lots of questions. It took us a few tries to adjust them properly.
The seats were in great shape (something I was a little worried about). They might have been right out of the box, they were so clean.
Renting from the Stork Exchange ended up being a last minute decision. I was all prepared to bring along our own seats, but as time drew closer and the reality of lugging two car seats through the airport with two kids, and all of our carry-on essentials actually hit me, I decided to leave them home.
We didn’t need the car while we were in the city, but did need transport to the Dublin Airport at the very end of our trip. We pre-ordered a taxi with two car seats using Child Friendly Taxi (€40).
Child Friendly Taxi worked out perfectly. They picked us up right on time and had the car seats installed and ready to take us (sadly) back to the airport to fly home.
When we traveled with the boys in the city, we always took the bus (€24.90). The buses were almost always on time, super clean, cheap, and a very efficient way of getting around.
Alexander and Hugo didn’t need a car seat for the bus and kiddos five years and under are free with a paying adult.
When Joe and I were each on our kid-free adventure days, we mostly took taxis (€97.50) just to get to and from each place the tiniest bit faster. In the end, I don’t think the taxi’s saved us much time at all.
If you take a look at Ireland Budget Template (enter your email below) with all of our expenses itemized, you’ll notice I neglected to actually budget for public transport in my original pre-trip budget (oops!).
I blame it on having a newborn leading up to the trip… But, I made up for it by not spending in other areas (hooray!).
How much should you budget for public transportation in Ireland?
A cab from one end of the city to the other cost about ten-twelve euros. Assuming you don’t plan to take cabs everywhere zigzagging your way through the city…
You should budget €20 per person per day in Dublin for public transportation.
If you’re going to be in Dublin longer than two days, and not staying in the city center, I highly recommend getting the visitor Leap Card for the bus system. Buy it online and have it mailed to you in advance and you’ll be able to use it as soon as you land.
Don’t fret. Ireland’s public transportation system is surprisingly easy to use. Do it once and you’ll have the hang of it.
Had we purchsed LEAP cards before we arrived, I know we would have saved quite a bit of money.
We paid $66.70 for gas, parking and tolls.
Since we only had a vehicle for 6 days, I knew this category wouldn’t be overly expensive.
Petrol (€46.14): Only topped off our vehicle just before dropping it back off at the airport.
Parking (€9): Paid for city parking in Trim, beach parking at Brittas Bay, and site parking at Glendalough.
Tolls (€4.50): Tolls going in and out of Dublin (eflow.ie).
How much should you budget for petrol, parking and tolls in Ireland?
Plan about €100 for every week you’re in Ireland.
This should more than cover the cost for petrol for a couple of fill ups and parking etc. throughout your trip. At the time of publishing, the current price of fuel in Ireland is €1.405 per liter (or $5.319 per gallon).
We spent $685.61 on yummy things to fill our bellies.
Since we were traveling as a family this time, we opted to stock up on food for breakfasts, lunches and a few dinners.
We popped in to the local Tesco in Dublin and Wicklow to grab fruit, veggies, eggs, milk, bread, lunch meat, cheese, etc.
Hugo, our six month old, also needed diapers so we got those too (thank goodness Alexander is potty trained!).
Eating Out (€362.60):
It’s funny. After having Hugo in November, Joe and I never even took the boys out to eat before going to Ireland.
But once we were landed, there was no way I was missing out on veg soup and fish and chips. We were man-to-man, but we managed to have some amazing meals.
Our Favorite Meals:
The Coffee Shop in Wicklow (Fitzwilliam Rd, Wicklow): Great food for breakfast, lunch and tea. The scones are particularly scrumptious. We popped in here once and came back for lunch later in the trip it was so good.
The Wicklow Brewery: Gastro Pub food with a fabulous atmosphere in the middle of a tiny village 15 minutes from Wicklow town. They were even a few families about in the early dinner time which made me feel less anxious about my hungry baby crying!
Jack Whites Inn Pub and Restaurant: Great restaurant, simple menu. Their menu is prixe fixe, three or five courses. You can order a la carte, but the courses are the best deal…and who doesn’t want a piece of sticky toffee pudding at the end??
Avoca, Suffolk Street, Dublin: THIS BREAKFAST WAS SO GOOD. Since we had been cooking breakfast for ourselves, it was such a treat to have someone else do the cooking one morning. It reminded me why I love the Irish B&B so much—the food! We both felt energized for the whole day so much more than we had the entire rest of the trip.
El Patron: Guys, Mexican in Ireland. I know, I know. It sounds strange, but it was, oh, so good! When we arrived in our flat in Dublin, Joe had to return the car to the airport right around dinner time. The thought of taking two hungry littles out to the grocery store by myself did not appeal to me in the least.
I took a gander at all the take out menus in the kitchen of our AirBnB. Mexican is one of our favorites and they delivered so I thought why not?
Such a good idea!!! We even ordered it again on the last night before we left.
Joe and I aren’t typically big drinkers. Joe will occasionally have a beer. I like hard cider, but this trip? We didn’t have much of anything.
Joe had a glass of cider with dinner a couple of times. I think he ordered cider so I could steel a few sips (if that isn’t love…).
For those of you curious though, according to Guindex (a fun site that finds the cheapest and most expensive Guinness in Ireland), the average pint of Guinness is about €5 across Ireland and closer to €6 euros in Downtown Dublin.
How much should you budget for food and drinks in Ireland?
If you’re planning on staying in B&B’s throughout your trip (which I absolutely recommend), you can anticipate a very large meal to start your day. The added bonus here is, you don’t need to pay for a separate breakfast.
Since you can really fill up at your B&B, you can often skip lunch or have a late lunch/midday snack to hold you over until dinner.
Set aside about €15 for lunch. Plan for €25 for dinner and €10 for miscellaneous snacks/drinks per person (€50 per person per day).
Feel free to bump up the miscellaneous amount if you plan on have more than one drink a day.
We spent $155.45 on paid experiences, but my most favorite experiences in Ireland are almost always free.
The scenic drive. The beach picnic. The chat at the breakfast table. The walk in the countryside.
I find ourselves spending less and less on attractions every year. Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t see things that cost money (you should!). But I find when I place a little less emphasis on what I “have to see” and a little more on the experiences I want to have, I have a much more memorable trip and I am surprisingly not spending as much.
The majority of the attractions we paid money for were in Dublin on the solo days that Joe and I individually explored the city.
Joe weaved in and out of book shops and cathedrals and treated himself to a hot shave and haircut (I would add…a complete necessity at this point since he was beginning to resemble Sasquatch).
Haircuts have become a little tradition for Joe and always such a fun local experience.
I opted to visit a couple of new museums and wander my way through the streets of the Creative Quarter (Irish craft galore!).
The time we spent as a family we didn’t participate in too many organized activities, opting for beaches, walks and playground time instead.
Alexander absolutely loved the beach in Wicklow. Who knew throwing rocks in the water could entertain you for hours?
He also loved the Phoenix Park playground in Dublin, which is conveniently next to a small stream with ducks (even better when new friends have bread!).
We managed to get to the zoo, and the Museum of Natural History. Both were a big hits with #1. Number 2 happily tagged along anywhere as long as mama and his food weren’t too far away (which is why infants are the best travel companions).
How much should you budget for attractions in Ireland?
Budget about €15 euros per person per day for activities in Ireland.
You may spend a little more on some days, and less on others.
If you intend to spend more than a couple days in Dublin, feel free to bump this up a bit.
We spent $269.48 on souvenirs.
Joe likes books. I like Irish craft and design (and chocolate). These are always our souvenirs in a nutshell (but the chocolate rarely makes it home).
Whenever we travel, Joe usually gets books that he wouldn’t be able to find easily anywhere else.
I like to get craft pieces that will remind me of the place or the experience of each trip. Things that I can use every day or something to display around the house without it being easily discarded or too trinket-y.
This time around Joe purchased several used books. I grabbed a couple of prints, an Aran hot water bottle warmer, and some Skelligs Chocolates I was surprised to find ad Avoca in Dublin.
We bought Alexander and Hugo a couple of books too.
How much should you budget for souvenirs in Ireland?
Budget €100 per person on souvenirs or special purchases.
If you have lots of people you are buying gifts for back home, bump it up. If you’re on budget, you can easily get away with half of that or even less.
WIFI Hot Spot
The hot spot allowed us to make local Irish calls with Skype, chat with family at home with WhatsApp, use Google Maps whenever we wanted, and stay connected with each other.
That last one was especially useful when one of us was with the kids and the other was gallivanting about Dublin Brave Heart style (FREEDDOOMMM)).
I have the oldest iPhone ever and so I was glad I also added on the power up pack. It kept my usually almost-always-dead battery fully charged the whole trip.
It couldn’t have been easier to use or to return. Pop in the prepaid envelope, give to your B&B/hotel or drop it back in a green An Post (Irish Mail) box.
We’ve also used Travel WIFI to rent a hot spot with no issues either, and they perfect for traveling to Northern Ireland (wifi Candy only covers the Republic of Ireland).
How much should you budget for wifi in Ireland?
There are lots of options when it comes to accessing data in Ireland. I love our hot spot, but some choose to use their current phone’s international plan. Others buy a local sim card or even simply use free wifi at cafes or accommodations.
If you go the hot spot route, plan for about €100 for a ten day trip.
There are always a few expenses that don’t seem to fit anywhere else in the budget or that I don’t anticipate.
This time, we only had two purchases that came in this category: our electricity/heat from our rental unit in Wicklow, and a breast pump rental.
You’ll find electricity and/or heat is charged by the meter in many self-catering homes or AirBnB’s in Ireland.
This should be clearly stated in your rental agreement, but it never hurts to ask if it is included just to be on the safe side.
To pay for our electricity, all we needed to do was add a couple euros to the meter outside each evening. Easy peasy. Just remember to have euro coins on hand each night.
Breast Pump Rental
The breast pump rental was a whole other story. For those of you who don’t want to hear about the woes of breastfeeding and pumping while you travel, you can just skip to the next section. ☺️
If you’ve ever been a nursing mom (or a spouse to one…), you know the struggle.
My little Hugo baby is a great eater and a champ at sleeping through the night (hooray!). This means I need to pump before I go to sleep to keep up my supply.
I brought along a little hand pump that did well enough on a trial run at home, but I forgot how much travel takes a toll on my supply.
Not drinking enough water, lack of sleep and the time change all piled up to basically me not producing much milk at all.
After a couple of nights, I was in panic mode.
Then, it dawned on me. There had to be a breast pump rental place somewhere in Ireland.
Good ol’ Google lead me to BreastisBest.ie and jackpot! There was a rental available at the Wicklow Pharmacy just down the road. I called them up the next morning and rented it for the remaining time we were in Ireland.
It was a lifesaver!! The people at the pharmacy and Breast is Best could not have been more helpful (even making a special trip to Wicklow from Dublin just so I would have the right return label when I was done <3).
If you need to pump–I’d highly recommend contacting Breast is Best (awful name, but great company) to arrange a delivery or pickup the day you arrive.
I wish I would have thought of this before we left.
How much should you budget for miscellaneous expenses in Ireland?
Budget €200 per trip for miscellaneous expenses. You may not even spend a penny of this or you might need it all.
I find it best to have just a little set aside for “just in case” expenses (think flat tires, doctor visits, medicine…).
Dun Da Dun….How much does it cost to go to Ireland?… $5216.46
Could we have spent less? Absolutely. Could we have spent more? Easily.
It’s all about choices.
We chose to stay in the city, where housing is much more expensive as are meals and attractions. If we had stayed in the countryside, I am certain we would have spent less, but I am 100% ok with that.
You can sift through it all our spending habits on the below Ireland Budget Template (I’d say I did pretty good not having a “chocolate” tab this time…hah!).