One of the best options for budget travel in Ireland is to walk. Think about it. Renting a car can cost a minimum $100 US per week; over $200 if you want an automatic. Then gas, at the time of this article, is another 1.17 Euros/liter. That translates to about $4.78 US per gallon. You also get off the beaten track, seeing some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. It’s safe and you don’t have to be an athlete to handle the terrain.
If your a little timid about walking by yourself in the a foreign country, there are at last count, thirty two walking tour operators. These tour companies deliver, safe, manageable walks with knowledgeable guide. These guides are some of the most “enthusiastic” in the world. They will happily tell you the history and archeology of the countryside, along with the legends and characters in their folklore. Do not attempt these trips on a tight schedule! Your guides are blessed with the gift of gab. Enjoy it!
If you are a more adventurous or you’re traveling with friends, you can easily plan your own walking tour. Ireland’s tourist offices publish maps specifically for walking. Trails are well marked. People are friendly and helpful. If you plan a long, multi-day walk, you can easily arrange for reasonably priced accommodations. Budget travel in Ireland depends on places like these for huge savings. At $40 to $60 US per night, they can cut your hotel costs by more than half.
Of course, you’ll want to be prepared when you go. You can’t just throw on a pair of sneakers and go running all over the Irish countryside! Here are some must haves for you walk:
- First, and most obviously, you need good walking boots. They should have good ankle support.
- Good, thick socks. And spare pairs.
- Clothing that you can layer. Depending on when you’re there, the climate can vary.
- Waterproof and windproof jackets and pants.
- Sun protection (sun glasses, sun screen)
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent.
- A day pack with a liner to carry food and extra clothing.
Also, be aware that these trails sometimes go through private property. While most property owners are aware of this and welcome you to cross their land, some are less agreeable if you don’t respect their property. Always close gates after you! This is a must. There is something called the, “Countryside Code.” It’s a set of common sense rules to use while on your walks. Know it well.
I always enjoy walking on my trips, but especially in Ireland. Either in it beautiful countryside, or in the cities. With or without a guide. I see much more, I hear much more, and I have many more memories to bring back with me. Plus for budget travel, Ireland on foot is one of the best options I’ve found. I’ve been able to slash my costs while having a tremendous vacation. If you get the chance to go to Ireland, seriously consider a walking vacation; it will be unforgettable.