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Ireland or Bust! How We’re Saving Money Along The Way

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By the time you read this (you all read these posts at 1am, right?), I’ll have officially arrived in Ireland! To give you picture of the beauty I’m surrounded by, I’m in the same area the movie PS I Love You was filmed in. Now all you gentlemen finally have an excuse to watch that chick flick so you can see where I’ll be for the next week & a half. Why did we choose to vacation in Ireland? My sister-in-law is marrying an Irish lad! Is lad the word they use?

My sister-in-law studied abroad in Ireland, met her soon-to-be hubs, and they are tying the knot August 1st (apparently you can pick any day of the week to get married there). They were engaged for a little over a year so it gave us plenty of time to save up. Our situation is a little different since we know people who live in Ireland and know the place, but I’m still proud of how we saved a couple bucks on this trip.

Plane Tickets

My husband Dave & I scoured online for months trying to figure out when the best time to buy tickets would be since we knew they’d contribute to a big chunk of the vacation fund. Since we live in Southeast Michigan, we thought we would fly out of Detroit. That was until we saw the tickets for $1,400 a pop. Fortunately, Dave was asked to be a groomsman in a friend’s wedding in Indianapolis the day before we flew out. Tickets out of Indy were $1,200 each. Not as bad, but still a hefty amount.

 The final plan went a little like this: We drove four hours to Indianapolis for the wedding, drove another four hours to Chicago after the already-late reception to pass out for a few hours at a friend’s before they drove us to the airport so we didn’t have to pay to park our car anywhere. Total cost: $950/ticket.

Snacks (Pre-Ireland)

I know how tempting it is to turn down a deal like $2 for 2 hot dogs at the gas station, but I wanted to avoid vending machines, drive thrus, and overly-priced airport food. We packed some bottles of water, homemade granola bars, beef jerky, rice cakes & peanut butter, baby carrots, apples, and a few tear-open pouches of tuna to go with our Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits. I wanted to have plenty of non-perishable food to last for layovers and the drive home after we returned to Chicago. Total cost for everything: roughly $20. My $5 subway card I was awarded for getting “Employee of the Month” at work came in handy as well. “That’s all you got?” you’re wondering. Of course not- I also got my own special parking spot for the entire month 🙂

Our “Hotel”

We’re staying in an old seminary dorm that was turned into a hotel. Since the hotel is often used to host students who study abroad, there are already many accommodations: towels, sheets, laundry room, adapters, hair electronics, and a large dining room and kitchen complete with whatever cooking utensils we may need. This definitely saves a few bucks since we won’t have to eat out for every meal and try to find a place that will seat 10-12 people. Normally hotels run about 70 euros per night ($85) but my sister-in-law knows the owners, so they gave us a deal for 40 euros ($63) per night. The only downfall is that Dave and I will have to push our two twin beds together, but I can live with that.

Getting around Ireland

One of the guys from the church my sister-in-law attends graciously volunteered to be our driver for the week and the church is letting us use their giant van. The only cost for traveling will be for the bus that takes us from the airport to the hotel and a train ride for a day trip to Dublin. We saved up a total of $1,000 to spend in Ireland, bringing our grand total of savings to about $3,000 total for the 10-day trip. My other sister-in-law has already been there for a month and she said she hasn’t spent more than $150 a week, so we might end up bringing some extra cash home!

What are the best tactics you’ve used to save money on a vacation?

Unfortunately I own a dumb phone and didn’t take a laptop with me so I won’t be able to respond to comments until I get back next week but I look forward to hearing your frugal vacation tips!

This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

14 Comments

  1. Sounds like you put a lot of smart planning into the trip. I hope it pays off and you have a fantastic time!

  2. It’s good to be thorough to save money. More importantly have a great time.

  3. I’m planning my trip to Orlando, FL and will be taking a train there and flying back. I tracked the ever changing air fare for about a month to find the best deal and wound up jumping on it when I found an average savings of $50, the train ticket never fluctuated so I turned to the internet and found a coupon code that saved 15%. Although I didn’t save a TON, it just means I have about $75 more to spend when I get there!

  4. Sounds like fun! In this case driving seems to be worth it but make sure you analyze travel cost to different airports instead of solely using the ticket price as the determining factor of which plane ticket you buy!

  5. Wow, planning ahead was the way to go as you guys are saving a lot of money on your trip! Have an awesome time in Ireland and don’t forget to share some pictures when you’re back :).

  6. I think you did a good job. I usually use frequent flier miles for the tickets when I go overseas.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. Ireland is beautiful and my sister-in-law’s wedding last night was so much fun. I’m trying to get used to the lack of schedule everyone has here; no one is ever on time and are all so laid back. I will be putting up plenty of pictures once I get home. We did save quite a bit of money by driving instead of flying out of a closer airport (less than $200 in gas versus an extra $650 to fly out of Detroit instead of Chicago). I’m off to visit Dublin for the day!

  8. Hope you guys are having lots of fun! I’ll be joining y’all in about 3 weeks!

    What kinda food do Irish folks eat? I hear their butter and biscuits are yummy.

    S

  9. I got some Irish beef stew last night with a side of salmon & prawn bisque. Both were awesome. The hubs got bangers and mash (sausages & mashed potatoes). Have you set up where you’ll be staying and going? If not feel free to email me and I’ll give you some great suggestions!

  10. Having a kitchen is definitely key. We did a timeshare exchange when we went to England, and being able to make our own meals and shop at a grocery store certainly saved us money.

  11. It saved a TON of money. We chipped in 100 euro toward groceries and all helped to make large batches of meals like chili and breakfasts.

  12. Smart planning, right up my alley! Hope you had a great trip Jessica!

  13. Thanks, Andrea. It was a an awesome trip! I wrote how our spending went along with 300+ pictures on the post from 8/13/12 if you want to see the beauty for yourself!


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