Do I need travel insurance?
Jet Lag Jack Tours highly recommends that you investigate travel insurance and make your own decision (probably "yes"). Check out this Clark Howard article for general information. InsureMyTrip.com will give you a comparison of multiple policies. Top of page
What is the best way to fly to Ireland?
In 1st class.
Oh, that's not what you meant?
Shannon (SNN) and Dublin (DUB) airports both serve the central part of Ireland. Shannon is approximately 1 hour drive from Galway (by bus or taxi) and Dublin is approximate 3 hours from Galway (by bus or train). If you are arriving just before the tour and leaving for home right after the tour, you may want to consider flying into Shannon and departing from Dublin. However, you will find the most flight options into/out of Dublin.
For our Wild Atlantic Way tour, Dublin will be the more convenient airport. Irish rail provides regular service between Dublin and both Westport and Ballina.
Before scheduling a connection through London Heathrow, please check out Jack's blog Heathrow: Two Hours of Purgatory. If you decide to connect through London Heathrow, be sure to schedule a minimum of 2 hours for your layover.
Remember to book your departing flight at least one day before the tour begins, as the flights from North America are typically overnight. Top of page
What about airport transfers?
Public transport from either Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport is available. If you would like us to arrange it for you, please use the "Contact Us" page to let us know after you have arranged your flights. If you prefer to handle it yourself, keep reading!
Public transport from Dublin Airport to Galway City Centre can be arranged by bus or train. Both bus and train arrive in Galway City Centre, walking distance to our hotel. Two bus companies (GoBus and Citylink) provide direct service to Galway from Dublin Terminal 1 for €18-20. Irish Rail departs from Dublin Heuston Station for Galway Ceannt for €20 (advance purchase, prices can be higher at the station.) Transfer to Dublin Heuston Station can run €7 by Dublin Bus or €35 by taxi.
Public transport from Shannon Airport to Galway City Centre is available by Bus Eireann for €10 (advance purchase, prices can be higher at the airport.) Bus Eireann coaches arrive at the Galway Ceannt train station, walking distance to our hotel.
Public transport from Dublin to Westport is available by Irish Rail. Trains depart from Dublin Heuston Station to Westport for €20 (advance purchase, prices can be higher at the station.) Transfer to Dublin Heuston Station can run €7 by Dublin Bus or €35 by taxi.
What do I wear?
The weather in Ireland can vary widely; plan to wear layers and bring rain gear. A light waterproof jacket with a hood is perfect!
Ireland and the tour is relatively informal. "Dressing up" for this tour is a pair of khakis and an Irish sweater or collared shirt along with a better (non-running) pair of shoes. Top of page
Tips for packing?
DO NOT pack a hair dryer. Every hotel or B&B where we stay has or will provide one in the room.
DO pack a washcloth if it is part of your daily hygiene or make-up routine. Not all accommodations include washcloths with their linens.
DO pack light. Each person is limited to one suitcase 50 lbs or less and one daypack/shoulder bag. Keep in mind that you will be handling your own luggage which may involve carrying it up one or more flights of stairs and/or rolling it for 5-10 minutes across uneven sidewalks.
DO bring 2 pair of shoes: your primary walking shoes and an additional pair to double as an emergency backup and a change for the evening. Walking shoes can be running shoes, hiking boots or an upscale comfortable shoe. Our evening meals will not require dress attire, but you may want a change from your hiking shoes.
DO NOT put your prescription or over-the-counter drugs into your checked bag. Put them in your backpack for carry-on.
What about electrical items?
Almost everyone travels with one or more items that require electricity whether it is a hair dryer, cell phone, tablet, computer or camera. What do you need to know for travel to Ireland? The electrical supply in Ireland is 230v and 50hz and uses the 3-prong UK type plugs. If you are bringing items from the U.S., there are a couple of things to consider.
The first thing you need is a plug adapter. When shopping, look for a "UK" or "Type G" adapter. The least expensive will adapt your U.S. plug into a UK outlet. If other countries are in your travel future, you may want to consider a universal travel adapter. One unit will adapt to US, UK, Europe and more. Many of the universal adapters also include 2 USB slots so you can charge multiple electronics at once. Adapters are readily available from electronic stores, hardware stores, luggage stores and Amazon.
The second concern is a voltage converter. Check your appliance for a label indicating its power input. If the label indicates "100-240V" and "50/60Hz", the appliance is ready to go with only a plug adapter. If the label only indicates 100/110V and 60Hz, it will not function properly (and could be severely damaged) on Ireland power. In this case, you would need a travel voltage converter. Again, check your electronic stores, hardware stores, luggage stores and Amazon. Most cell phone chargers, computers, tablets and camera battery chargers operate on 100-240V. Hair dryers usually do not!!
One last tip to file away for your arrival: all Ireland outlets are switched. If your electronics aren't working or charging when they are plugged in, make sure you can see the red on the outlet that indicates it is "on". Top of page
How much does it rain in Ireland?
An Irishman would have you believe it rains every day. Our experience is that we see sun virtually every day. The summer months are typically less rainy than the winter months, but there is a VERY HIGH probability you will see some rain some time during your visit. Please come prepared with a rain jacket, (preferably hooded as wind often renders umbrellas useless.) Top of page
What cash should I bring?
The official currency of Ireland is the Euro (€) and purchasing some in advance is not necessary. ATMs are available in the airport when you arrive. Check your Debit/ATM card and verify that it is in the Cirrus or PLUS network. Check with your bank for foreign transaction fees, exchange rates and ATM fees so that no major surprises are awaiting you upon your return. If you want to bring some US (or Canadian) cash for in-transit expenses, that should be sufficient. If you bring USD or CAD for use in Ireland, go to a local bank upon arrival to exchange it for Euros. The airport exchange rates are not favorable and retailers generally do not accept foreign currency. Top of page
What about credit cards?
Mastercard and Visa credit cards are widely accepted. Let your bank know that you are traveling internationally to avoid your card being denied as suspected fraud. Check with your bank regarding foreign transaction fees and exchange rates. Some banks charge a premium on the exchange rate, others charge a foreign transaction fee while others do both. A "good" credit card should not charge more than 2% above the wholesale rate (what the banks pay) while we have seen some "bad" cards charge as much as 5%. You can check the current wholesale exchange rate here. Top of page
How much additional money do I need?
You know the first answer to this question …. IT DEPENDS ;-)
You will need additional money (in cash/Debit Card/Credit Card) for all lunches, dinners that are not included, pub time, occasional snacks, entry fees during free time, and souvenirs. Also your needs will go up if you extend your trip before or after the tour.
Lunches on average will be €10. The meal would include a sandwich, crisps/chips and tea/coffee or it could be chowder, Irish brown soda bread and tea/coffee.
Evening Meals will vary around €15-35. A good fish-n-chips or a Guinness Stew at a pub will run about €12-15. If you want a hearty lamb shank, steak or baked salmon, it will be closer to €20-25. After you add a starter and a pint or a glass of wine, add another €10.
Pub expenses are very individual. Pints of beer or cider are €4-6. Glasses of wine are €6-10. Soft drinks in a pub come in 6 oz bottles and are generally €2 each. A shot of standard whiskey is €4-5. (Note: you pay for both parts of a "Jameson and ginger": €4-5 for the Jameson plus €2 for the ginger ale.) There are some very nice top shelf Irish whiskeys for under €12 but you can always go up to €25 for Midleton. Most people can plan for €15 per day.
Occasional snacks are also individual, but here are some prices: coffee (€2-3 per cup, no refills); bottled water (€1.50-2.50); 10-oz soft drinks (€1.50-2.50); scone or pastry (€3-7).
Entry fees are included for all the sights mentioned in the tour description. If you want to visit Guinness Storehouse, admission (including a complimentary pint) is €20 per person. Jameson Distillery is €20 per person for a tour and includes a single drink. A tour and tasting can be purchased for €40 and includes a flight tasting.
Hotel transfers to and from Dublin Airport can be purchased in advance from Jet Lag Jack Tours. If you prefer to do it yourself, bus transfer from Dublin Airport to Galway City Centre (1 block from the hotel) is €20 per person and transfer back to Dublin Airport from Dublin City Centre is €7 by bus or €25 by taxi.
Is Baggage/Valet service provided?
We do NOT provide baggage service. You should expect to carry your suitcase to your room (possibly one or two flights of stairs). You will also need to be able to transport your own suitcase on uneven pavement for about 10 minutes. Top of page
How much walking is involved?
The longest and toughest walk is from the visitors center to Dun Aengus, about 3/4 mile up a moderate incline. The walk provides plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Dublin will provide additional urban walks of about 1 mile.
Optional walks of 1-2 hours will be provided at different points along the tour. Top of page
Where do we meet?
Our group will meet at our starting hotel for a walking tour the afternoon of Day 1. You will receive hotel details as well as directions in a packet approximately 4 weeks prior to the tour. Top of page