Ireland Stopover: The West Coast in Two Days

We landed on Dublin, rented a car with the driving wheel on the wrong side of the cab, and started driving our way toward what Bono may be referring to when he sings

I've been thinking about the West Coast 
Not the one that everyone knows 

on the wrong side of the road, all the way.

I spent an extraordinary amount of time preparing for our two days in Ireland. But we, perhaps persuaded by Bono, thought the West Coast was going to be best for our first quick trip to the Emerald Isle.

(I don’t want to downplay the amount of analysis paralysis you can get from deciding where to go for your trip. Just remember to have fun planning. You won’t go wrong if you go north, northwest, southwest, or south. The only wrong move is to stay in the airport.)

As first time drivers in Ireland, we opted for the deluxe car insurance. It wasn’t ridiculous from a cost perspective, but, it felt ridiculous as I was adding the fees together online. I rented direct from from Dan Dooley online (instead of my usual Priceline), and I got the “Excess Waiver” package for insurance. The insurance costs far more than the rental of the car itself. And that’s why it felt ridiculous.

I chatted with a Dan Dooley agent online to confirm I wouldn’t be surprised by any other fees at the rental car. She said, “Nope. You’ll only be asked about pre-paying for gas.”

Mostly true, except for one more change to buy more insurance once we got to the counter.

“I see you have the excess waiver. That doesn’t include coverage for wipers and tires. Do you want the wipers and tires insurance for $10 a day?”

And I never pre-pay for fuel. I’ve done the math and, for me, it seems too costly. (Even more costly than wipers and tires insurance.) So I skipped that one.

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So, we put our rental car on autopilot (figuratively) directly from the airport and headed straight to the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced “more”) in Liscannor.

We stayed one night at an AirBnb in Liscannor. Here’s the view from our room.

 The Cliffs of Moher (pronounced “more”) were a few minute’s drive from our AirBnb. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

The Cliffs of Moher (pronounced “more”) were a few minute’s drive from our AirBnb. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

 All around the world, monks often have the best views of natural beauty. But, if I were guessing, soldiers often did, too. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

All around the world, monks often have the best views of natural beauty. But, if I were guessing, soldiers often did, too. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

 It’s often majestic simply to see ruins. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

It’s often majestic simply to see ruins. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

 Along the southern side of Dingle Peninsula — following Slea Head Drive. This is  Slea Head Beach . (Get directions by clicking the image.)

Along the southern side of Dingle Peninsula — following Slea Head Drive. This is Slea Head Beach. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

 This is the view of “Devil’s Horns” from Slea Head Beach. Rock on. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

This is the view of “Devil’s Horns” from Slea Head Beach. Rock on. (Get directions by clicking the image.)

After taxes and fees, our one-way flight from Chicago costed $149.99 (before luggage, each big bag we had cost $64.99). If you could figure a way to travel without a gob of luggage, you can see how affordably you can travel to Ireland.

You can live large on budget travel.

Ask any question you have below in the comments. Or email me if you want help planning your own quick stopover in Ireland.





44 cents saved is 44 cents earned

I don't use Expedia very often. Maybe just a couple times. It's normally Priceline.

I got an email today with an update on my Expedia account.

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I generally don't use the same travel companies enough to get travel rewards. Instead, I just use a cash back Visa, and use those points for travel. I use a Chase Sapphire and a Chase Freedom. Neither have annual fees and the points which accrue can be used for anything.

How my wife and I mostly use them for travel would be to simply pay down our bill with the points. That way, we don't have to store-up a few points on Expedia, or hotwire, or Hotel.com or elsewhere. We don't have to be tied to a specific airline because of frequent flier miles. Even if you tried to start collecting frequent flier miles on a budget airline like Allegiant, Allegiant isn't always going to be the cheapest option for your travel. 

Instead, I generally recommend relying on your credit card to give you the best return for your travel buck — but NOT a card that only rewards you with flyer miles. It's gotta have a cashback. #protip

   

Travel #painpoints

Some people don't like to travel because of fears. Some are small fears and some big (i.e. what if I get lost, what if the airline loses my luggage). 

This is a feature about how to address some of the small fears. I'll call them #painpoints. 

I haven't been anywhere on a trip where I've not been approached by someone wanting money, or a cigarette.

LOTS of stories!

While waiting for the Blue line (you catch the Blue line subway — at the Clinton station — two blocks away from Union Station if you're arriving to Chicago on Amtrak) to take my wife and I to O'hare, a gal approached my wife and I and asked if she could have our Ventra tickets. She said the cards had another ride credit on them, and we wouldn't need to use them again between Clinton an the airport. I declined a couple of times and she got visibly frustrated. She decided to act on her frustration. She reached up for the the scarf wrapped around her neck. She hooked onto it with a couple fingers and pulled the scarf down to reveal a small cross tattoo. She said, with great intensity, "you think I'd be tryin' to take advantage of you if I'm walkin' around with one of these?!"

#painpoint People asking you for money.

One way to help soften the #painpoint of being asked for money while traveling is to decide, ahead of time, what you're going to do when people approach. If it's money, make sure you have a several dollar bills you can easily pull out. Or plan on having a few quarters. 

The Stoics might recommend "practicing" the things you fear. By planning ahead (planning = practicing) you just might find you can use the exercise to — even — become more compassionate. And to remove a #painpoint keeping you from getting out there.

In the comments below, I'd love to hear about any common #painpoints you've run into while traveling — or painpoints that keep you from getting out there. 

Cheers.

Ireland — one way for $150?

My bride and I flew from Chicago to Dublin, Ireland for $150 a piece.

Luggage was $50 more per passenger (Ireland was the starting point of our 16 day trip in Europe).

The only thing I really regret from the trip is not figuring how to travel lighter.

My wife and I each had suitcases weighing 44lbs/20kg. Ugh. It was a #painpoint. 

Even if we were supposed to dress up for dinner each night on our cruise. Even if there were two "gala nights" — where you dress even fancier. There's got to be a better way to budget travel and still have clothes to wear. 

With our four flights during the trip, we each paid $230 to transport luggage.  

Meanwhile, I'm scheming ways to travel lighter (i.e. ship clothes, buy clothes in country, go nude).

Any ideas? Leave a comment below.