5 Things Americans Must Know Before Traveling to Ireland | Europe Travel
Updated: Oct 20
You can watch VLOGs and read travel blogs about Ireland, but there are things that nobody tells you that you won't find out until you get there. I'm here to ease the burden on you and let you in on 5 important things you will want to know before traveling overseas to Ireland.
The Red Eye
More likely than not, you will be flying over to Ireland on a red eye. This was hard for me to swallow because I am not somebody who can just sleep anywhere. I was so afraid that this would start our trip off on the wrong foot. If you land in Ireland at 6am their time and you never slept...that is ROUGH.
Unfortunately I only got about 2 hours of sleep on my red eye, but I'm here to tell you some tips that might have helped me get a few more hours of shut eye.
Invest in a good neck pillow. I purchased these from Amazon and I felt like they were very comfortable.
Bring an eye mask! I didn't even think about this! When the flight is in the air the cabin lights will be turned off, but there are still lots of people watching movies on their screens. The flickering bright lights kept me from sleeping.
Get a good pair of ear plugs. I use these. They are so comfortable I can sleep in them.
Take something. I'm obviously not a doctor and I am able to give exactly zero medical advice but melatonin works well for me.
Rental Car GPS
If your rental car company offers you a GPS, definitely take it. Our GPS really saved us, especially for the first few days because there was something going on with our phones that wouldn't allow us to activate service in Ireland for a good 24 hours. Being in Ireland sometimes feels like a time machine, going back 10 years or so and using a GPS again feels strange but trust me...take it.
How to Dial an Irish Number On Your Phone
We had such a hard time figuring this one out for some reason. We had to call and confirm check in times at Bed & Breakfasts as well as our transfer to the airport. Sometimes randomly the call would go through but other times it wouldn't. Make sure that you dial 011 first to start an international call and then the country number, which for Ireland is 353.
Arrive at Dublin Airport 3+ Hours Early
There is Pre-Screening Customs at the Dublin Airport, which I was not aware of. This means that instead of going to customs once you arrive in America, you go through customs BEFORE your flight. My husband and I arrived at the airport 2 hours before our flight and it was definitely cutting it super close. We barely made our flight with absolutely no time to spare. It made that morning quite the stressful situation!
Have Some Cash On Hand
Not all of Ireland is accepting credit cards, so be sure to have some cash on hand. You can easily exchange some money at the airport when you arrive. This will be super useful if you want to pop into a museum site on the Dingle Peninsula, or want to rent a bike on Innis Oir, or if you want to tip for amazing bartender!
This might be a bit of a blanket statement but...we Americans are obsessed with iced coffee. We are BIG fans of cold brew in this house. Unfortunately we didn't run into any coffee places that offered cold brew. I'm sure its coming to Ireland soon! In Europe the closest thing to our iced coffee is an iced Americano with the milk of your choosing. You could really jazz it up and get an iced Latte too. The difference is an Americano is hot water with a shot of espresso and a Latte is hot milk with a shot of espresso. You'll need lots of coffee getting used to the 5 hour time difference!
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