All you need to travel is a sense of adventure and a passport. True, but there is one more component that is key for traveling: Money. The truth is that no matter where you go, traveling can be expensive. I was faced with this reality the moment I stepped off the plane in Ireland and was greeted with the price of a cup of coffee. This may sound daunting and you may be feeling uneasy about traveling abroad, but no need to fear, here are five easy ways to save money while in Ireland:
1. Book ahead
I cannot stress this enough. Ireland is a very in-demand destination. Not only is there a constant influx of one time tourists, but there are also tons of events going on constantly. I cannot count the number of weddings I have seen take place in Ireland during the span of 2 months. This is why it is essential to book ahead, whether it is touring, Airbnb’s, or just the bus to get to a location. Ireland has an amazing bus system that can take you literally anywhere in Ireland, however, some buses have strict restrictions and price increases if you book your bus on the day of travel.
I learned the importance of booking accommodations ahead of time after planning a last-minute trip to Galway. Searching for accommodations for five people during a festival season is a challenge you do not want to take on. We managed to find decent accommodations but my pocketbook definitely lost a few pounds. So, keep your checkbook full and happy, and plan your trips in advance when you can.
2. Avoid the food blues
Food. Everyone’s favorite thing. The food in Ireland is amazing and most of the cafes I’ve been to make a mean mocha like I’ve never tasted before. Walking down the streets of Dublin, it is easy to follow your heart’s desire and grab a hearty Irish meal at the nearest pub (or every pub). Even if you are in the habit of making meals at home, you may be tempted to buy groceries every day or buy an excessive amount of food. Of course, the best part of living in Dublin is experiencing the culture which includes the food, however, it is important to be strategic in order to get the best food and save money.
One thing that has helped me is making a meal plan. My meal plan isn’t super detailed but simply outlines what I could be eating during the week. It provides me options for meals so that when I’m starving after a long day of work, I am not scavenging for food or falling into the trap of eating out every night. It is also useful to plan out when and where you are going to eat out. A few of my fellow interns developed the idea of Thursday Food Truck day in Merrion Square. Dublin is known for the Merrion Square Market which takes place on Thursdays, so using Thursday as an excuse to spend a little extra on lunch at the market is a great way to experience the multinational tastes of Ireland, while also supporting local shops.
3. Walk where you can
Personally, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to do this. Dublin is a compact city so it’s easy to get virtually anywhere by walking. It also gives you the opportunity to witness the city and explore the nooks and crannies you wouldn’t usually get the chance to see when using public transport.
Taking a stroll or cycle in the late evening is a magical sight. The city is always bubbling with sound, the streets are crowded with people laughing and there is live music on almost every corner. Lots of music events aren’t advertised online, so scouting the streets via cycling or walking can help you choose the perfect music venue. And guess what? You get exercise AND save money while in Ireland. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
4. Bring a portal charger (and bring it with you when you go out)
Google Maps is your best friend when traveling, but google maps also can drain your battery quite quickly. There are not a lot of places in Dublin where you are free to sit down without purchasing something first. While charging your phone in a café or restaurant may seem fine, you may find yourself spending more money than expected. So be proactive and charge on the go. This is a great way to save money while in Ireland.
5. Spend money on experiences
Clothes tear, food gets eaten, bikes get stolen– but memories last a lifetime. The greatest experience you will have in Ireland are the interactions you have with new friends and new people. The best thing is that experiences don’t have to be expensive. From listening to live music at your local pub to hiking at Howth outside of Dublin, some of the most magical moments you will have in Ireland can be free.
One of the best moments I’ve had in Ireland was walking along the Salthill Promenade in Galway with some friends I just met. Not only did I get the opportunity to interact with new people, but I also got the opportunity to take in the natural beauty of Ireland that people often forget about in the busyness and liveliness of the city. Conversations are priceless and community is something you can take with you when you go home. So, invest time with the people and environment around you. It is one of the only investments you can cash in after you end your internship in Ireland.
Now that you know how to save money while in Ireland as an intern abroad, what’s stopping you? Apply now
Photo 1 by Samantha Ricardo