Ireland is not the cheapest place to visit but nor is it the most expensive. Most businesses here are not trying to rip off our visitors ~ our taxes are very high and added to that all employers must pay at least a minimum wage as set by the government, plus insurance etc.
The taxes we pay include a VAT (value added tax) charge which is currently 21% so that means that 21% of anything you buy here or pay for is made up of this tax. Unlike in places like, say, America where the tax is clearly shown restaurants, bars and so on do not show that 21% goes to the government.
After that tax the businesses will have to pay up to 48% tax to the government on any profit made. Add into the mix the very high rents that many businesses pay and you see where a lot of the money you spend here goes. Most people in businesses here try to keep their prices as low as they can but in fairness to them they do have an awful lot of outlay, as outlined here, before they make a penny. Or a cent as it is now.
All that said, we now move on to ways you can save money whilst holidaying here. If you have any more ideas on saving money whilst holidaying in Ireland, please let us know by sending them via our CONTACT page.
ACCOMMODATION When telephoning/emailing to book your accommodation, particularly if booking out of season, always ask if there is any discount available ~ especially if you are staying for more than one night. You should also check that you are emailing the hotel directly as many are registered with booking sites who make a page which looks like it is the actual hotel site but is actually the booking agents site. Obviously the booking agent has fees included in the price (or the hotel has the agents fees included). Email via that site, get a price then find the actual hotel site and ask the price for the period you want (also asking about any discounts available), compare the prices and go with the best price.
If you are travelling alone you will find that many places charge a 'single supplement'. Try to negotiate out of this extra charge or at the very least, get it reduced.
If you are booking room in a hotel and you will have a hire car with you be sure to check when booking if there is extra charges for parking. Many of the hotels in our cities do not have their own carpark and you will be parking in a nearby public carpark who will have their own charges. Make sure you get the 'overnight' charge so you are not paying an hourly charge and check too the time the 'overnight' charge expires because if you are late picking up your car you will be paying the hourly rate from the time the 'overnight' charge ends for each hour or part of an hour. Many of the hotels have an arrangement with these carparks and you should check when booking.
INTERNET ACCESS. If you have a laptop with you check the price of using the hotels internet access ~ some can be very expensive but most offer access prices either per hour or a 12 or 24 hour period which works out much less if you will be using the net for any length of time.
NIGHT/MIN BAR. See under the 'DRINKING' section below why you should not use these.
SELF CATERING If booking self catering accommodation always check prior to booking what the rental fee includes. Some may charge extra for bed linen, towels, electricity, oil and so forth. Also note that some may not supply towels at all and this would add massively to your luggage charges if you had to take your own with you ~ not to mention the inconvenience. If you can't find another house in your chosen are who supplies towels and you really want to book the house you have chosen despite their not supplying towels, then we would suggest you purchase the towels once you arrive here. You can get very inexpensive towels in some of the big retailers like Dunnes Stores or Pennys.
CAR HIRE Obviously you should compare rental prices prior to agreeing to take a car from any particular company. Check what your fee includes (insurance etc.). We suggest you search some of the sites such as tripadvisor.com to read hints and tips from people who have rented here. Check too if you have to leave the car back with a full tank of petrol/gas. In relation to hire charges, you will probably be told that the company has a sum of excess. This means that if the car is damaged whilst in your custody you will be charged the excess amount up to the figure quoted.
If you are staying in a city it might be better not to hire a car at all because in cities there is always good transport choices available. In Dublin we have the DART and the LUAS, buses, taxies etc. Added to that parking is difficult to find and once found is very expensive.
PETROL/GAS. Prices around the country vary and it has to be said that car fuel in Ireland is expensive and currently petrol is more expensive than diesel. You can check the best prices for any paticular area in Ireland on a site called pumps.ie
CINEMA/MOVIES Check if the cinema runs afternoon shows as these will probably be cheaper than evening viewings. The soft drinks and food sold in cinemas can be very expensive so if possible bring your own popcorn and drinks bought in any local shop. Note though that some cinemas don't allow you to bring your own food/drinks.
EATING OUT Check for restaurants who offer an 'Early Bird' menu. The 'Early Bird' menu is to encourage diners in earlier in the evening and will be considerably cheaper than the later evening menu and usually runs from 5.30/6pm until around 7.30pm (check times with restaurant).
Restaurants in Ireland must by law display their menu and prices outside their premises, so take the time to wander around the town you are staying in the find a place that suits best your taste and pocket. But remember too that a good restaurant is more than just their prices ~ you could go to an expensive restaurant that serves food which might disappoint and likewise you could go to an inexpensive restaurant that serves excellent food.
WATER. If you are ordering water in restaurants/cafes many will automatically serve you bottled water, which can be expensive. It is not necessary to drink bottled water in Ireland as our tap water is mostly perfect and in fact tastes very well. So if it is just tap water you want simply ask for a jug/glass of iced tap water.
WINE. Check our the price of the house wine. Many places serve perfectly good house wine which will usually be less expensive than other wines on their list. If you are going to have more than one glass of wine (for two people or more) then buying a bottle will be much less expensive than buying by the glass (or snipe as is usually sold now. A snipe is a mini bottle of wine which holds around a glass and a half).
CHAMPAGNE. If you decide to treat yourself with a bottle of champagne in a restaurant ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the price before ordering. Some places charge extortionate prices for the most basic champagne. Better ususally to save this expense and buy a bottle in a supermarket/off-licence and drink it in your hotel room.
SERVICE CHARGE. When paying your bill in a restaurant always check whether a service charge is included. This should be stated at the bottom of your menu when ordering or if not, should certainly show up on your bill. If you are unsure ~ ask. If the service charge is included there is no need to leave a tip but if it is not you can leave a tip if you have had good service. We would suggest you give the tip in cash directly to the person who served you to avoid unscupulous owners from keeping it themselves. On the subject of paying NEVER let your credit card out of your sight as there have been cases where the card has been copied.
DRINKING Prices vary hugely around Ireland. For instance the price of a pint of Guinness in Dublin may be nearly twice what you would pay for a pint in, say, Donegal. All bars must by law display their prices (inside the premises) so have a quick look before ordering to make sure you haven't landed in a pub/bar which charges over the odds. Note too that hotel bars may be more expensive than individual pubs/bars and nightclubs will definately be more expensive ~ some actually put the prices UP after midnight. In hotels we suggest you NEVER buy drinks from the little fridge in the room as these prices can be outrageous. We suggest you don't even open the fridge as many hotels automatically debit your bill if you remove any drink from the fridge, even though you might only have taken it out to look at it. Much better to buy a drink at the hotel bar and carry it to your room.
EXCHANGING CURRENCY Always check out the different exchanges being given by the different exchange units (banks, post offices, bureau de change, tourist offices etc.) before changing your money as exchange rates can vary. Try to check on line prior to changing money to see what the rate is (we suggest xe.com).
HAIRDRESSERS Many hairdressing salons offer discounts to seniors. These discounts will usually apply to certains days of the week so check places out. Also, many salons now offer reduced fees during the early part of the week for all customers and you should check these out too to get the best prices.
INTERNET It is generally less expensive to use the internet in appointed cafes and the like than using hotel internet access.
PETROL/GAS Prices around the country vary and it has to be said that car fuel in Ireland is expensive and currently petrol is more expensive than diesel. You can check the best prices for any paticular area in Ireland on a site called pumps.ie
PURCHASES If you are making purchases of gifts to take home and are buying a number of things in one shop ask if there is any discount if you pay in cash as opposed to credit cards. Some shops don't give discounts (the larger chain stores for instance) but some independent retailers might if asked. Jewellers, for instance, will usually give a discount if you are purchasing more than one item or expensive items. Ask with a smile and you never know! Remember too that visitors from outside Europe are entitled to get the VAT (tax) back so make sure you tell the store and get your appropriate receipts/documents.
SMOKING Whislt smoking is banned in all public places in Ireland, you are still allowed to smoke in allocated areas or outside and in some hotel/guest houses/B&Bs if the owner allows it. Cigarettes are extremely expensive in Ireland (high taxes) so if you do smoke it is probably best to purchase them in the duty free on your way here.
TAXIS ALWAYS check the cost of your journey before getting into the taxi. At most airports there will be a list of charges on a board inside the airport and you should find this so you have some idea of what the fee will be but still always double check the price before getting into the taxi. If you are staying in a hotel beside an airport on your arrival day or day of departure you should check if they run a bus to the airport. Many do and there is normally no charge for the trip.
TELEPHONES Often in hotels you will be charged very high rates per minute on your calls therefore it would be best to avoid making any calls on your hotel phone. You can still find telephone boxes, though not as many since many people in Ireland use mobile/cell phones. Alternatively you can always buy a cheap mobile/cell phone and credit for it. Should you need to ring one of the directory enquiry numbers here remember that some of these charge high prices and NEVER say yes to them when you are asked if you wish to be put through. It might sound like a nice idea but believe us, it is not as there is an outrageous charge per minute for these calls and they are way higher than if you dialled it yourself. If you are going to be ringing home regularly during your stay here it would be best to set up SKYPE with your home phone and then you can call from here using SKYPE too (where available).
Don't forget, if you have any other money saving trips which would be useful to visitors to Ireland just CONTACT us.