Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ireland Travel Tips

For anyone traveling with me on a Hart of Ireland tour, I thought it might be useful to share some of the travel tips I've been collecting over the years, things you might not think of when planning a trip to Ireland. If anybody else has suggestions, please share them!

  • Cash card:  It's cheaper to get Euros from a cashpoint than to bring currency for exchange. I just use my VISA debit card to withdraw cash from my checking account. Works like a charm.

  • Lithium batteries:  Longer-lasting for electronics (like your digital camera, if it runs on regular-sized batteries), and difficult to find most places in Ireland.

  • Artificial sweetener: If you're off sugar, but still need a little sweetness in your tea or coffee, you might want to tuck in some packets of Equal or Splenda or Sweet 'n' Low—many places in Ireland only have real sugar.
  • Good/waterproof walking shoes:  We'll visit some places where the ground is rather uneven, and might have to walk through a pasture or two, so it's good to have sturdy shoes with ankle and arch support. I often bring my wellingtons, because it's good to have waterproof footwear.
  • Outerwear/umbrella:  A lightweight waterproof coat is a great thing to have in Ireland; showers are usually light but frequent. And a travel umbrella will never go amiss.

  • Scarf/hat/shawl/pashmina/headband:  We'll be traveling through some windy places, and it's good to have something to cover your ears. Ireland is considerably cooler this time of year than Minnesota/US in general. (Avg temp is about 60-65 right now.)

  • A 'clootie': We'll be passing by Saint Kieran's Bush, a place where people tie ribbons and rags and mementoes of all kinds as offerings. I'll have some bits of ribbon with me, but if you'd like yours to be more personal, please bring it along.
  • Film:  If you've not gone digital, don't forget extra film for your camera. Film is almost impossible to find in Ireland these days (as everywhere, I suppose.) For those who have gone digital, it's also an excellent idea to have an extra memory card for your camera, just in case you can't stop taking pictures of sheep and run out of memory before a download opportunity...  ;-)
  • Washcloth:  Most of the hotels where we'll be staying cater to American tourists and provide washcloths, but I always carry my own, just in case.
  • A power adapter/converter:  If you're planning to plug anything in... Many items are already dual voltage (and have their own converters—check that blocky thing in the middle of your laptop plug for its voltage specs), but you'll need an adapter to plug them in to the wall in Ireland. Plugs in Ireland look like this:

    Here's some basic info from a discussion of "adapter vs. converter" from amazon.com:

    Laptops and cell phone chargers almost all come with a built-in voltage transformer. You can check on the cord or appliance to verify this (it will say range 110v-240) (laptops it says on the charger unit on the cord). America is 110, many other countries (e.g. all of europe, and I believe India etc) are 240. As for all other appliances, some have transformers but many do not, so check in the manual of the individual appliance.

    Adapter: Anything with this range (110-240) transformer built in, you will need only an adapter for so it fits into the wall. Any good electronic store can tell you which adapter to get for the country you are going to...and the adapter should list the countries it works for as well. You can buy adapters with either 3 prongs or 2 prongs on the 'American side.' I would buy one of each. The 3 prong adapter I need for my laptop plug (this works for 2 & 3 prongs) and I always keep it on. The 2 prong I use for my cell phone charger and always keep it on.

    Often, digital camera re-chargers, radios, mp3 chargers, and the like (electronic, motorized) are around 50 watt devices, and require a 50 watt transformer. Any electronic store should have a 50 watt transformer, and it will list the types of electronics it should be used for (they DO list digital camera re-chargers). 'Enercell' is a common brand you'll find in different watt capabilities.

    The voltage converters (/transformers) are also adapters.

    Devices that heat up, such as curlers, straighteners, blow dryers, irons, and lamps, usually require more watts, 1600-2000 watts. For these get a 1600 or 2000 watt voltage converter, either one works for all those kind of appliances. Those transformers are also easy to find at any electronic store, and the item will list what appliances to use them for.
Hope this helps anyone traveling to Ireland. Please join the discussion if you have experiences or ideas to share!

1 comment:

  1. These tips can really help. I will also use these as a guideline when I will plan my next travel of Ireland. Your post contains some useful facts about Ireland’s travel. I hope the next one will be provided to us soon.