Hello dear readers!
We are officially less than one month until take off! I would like the record to show that I am currently listening to Irish pub songs in preparation because I want to learn ALL THE SONGS. ALL OF THEM.
As promised, this post I am switching focus back to my upcoming travel plans. Thus, I shall discuss in a little more detail how I plan to save some money the land of emerald-green (since my budget is pretty tight).
- Roof over my head and a bed to sleep in.
First, let’s discuss lodgings. I have booked a private room with en suite bathroom at Avalon House. I stand by the statement that I got a killer deal. My entire stay is less than 500 Euro. Granted, I am staying in a hostel, not a hotel, but I will be in the heart of downtown Dublin and within walking distance of all the major attractions without being in Temple Bar (which is the tourist and party capital… not really my scene). In addition, they have laundry facilities on site, as well as free breakfast and free walking tours. BOOM.
2. Activities and miscellaneous purchases
For entertainment whilst in Dublin, the wonderful and oh so grand Andrew purchased me a Dublin Pass. This bad boy grants you access to over 25 attractions including a hop on hop off bus tour, gets you discounts at restaurants and on day tours, and includes a shuttle from the airport to your hotel. It also includes a guide book detailing all of the benefits (see below). The Dublin Pass is almost always on sale online (20%-30% off normally), so it only set me back about $110 (including shipping) – which is a steal if you add up the cost of all the admission fees to the included locations. You can purchase these upon arrive in Dublin, but I obviously couldn’t wait.
I also signed up (not really sure if that’s the appropriate term, but we’ll go with it) for the FEXCO shopping card. I promise, it’s not what it sounds like. As some of you may know, many countries in the EU have a VAT tax (value added tax) tacked on to some purchases such as lodging, food, ect. If you’re a tourist, you get the VAT taxes you paid back upon departure. The FEXCO card keeps track of all of your purchases that have a VAT tax added, so you don’t have to save the receipts. It also allows you to file for your refund much faster at the airport. If all of that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a downloadable discount book.
Between the Dublin Pass and the FEXCO card, I can purchase pretty much any and all souvenirs with some kind of discount. Honestly, I won’t be purchasing too many since I am carrying on all of my luggage (see my post about packing here). That was by design, otherwise I would come home with the entire island in my bag.
3. My Arch Nemesis.
Food is probably gonna be the hardest. As much as I would like to believe I will be able to stick to a budget, the reality is I probably won’t. I’ve done tons of research on average costs of pub lunches and dinners, pints at a bar, coffee and tea – you name it, I’ve looked for it. I know roughly how much I should be spending on food… but we shall see.
As previously stated, I get free breakfast at my hostel; so that’s one meal a day completely taken care of. But they are so sneaky. Avalon House also has a coffee shop not only attached, but accessible through the main common area. It’s like they want me to spend all of the money on specialty coffee! They know my weakness!
Anyway, if I can somehow resist purchasing coffee everyday, breakfast will be free. I plan on getting some snack foods from the markets or grocery stores to keep me nourished throughout the day, therefore only eating out once a day for lunch/dinner (or linner) around 4 or 5 pm. Through my extensive research and advise from the lovely Mrs. Frank, I have found that there are usually early bird specials around that time. Consequently, I can get a full meal with drink included about 30% less than the dinner menu price.
If all goes well, the aforementioned techniques should save me least a few hundred dollars. I will be sure to crunch the numbers when I return to see how well I really did.
4.MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY! MUNAH!
Originally, my plan was to withdraw all the cash I had saved upon arrival. You tend to get a better exchange rate from an ATM, and if you have a card with no international fees, it’s the closest you can get to an even exchange. However, since the future value of the dollar is looking a little wishy-washy, I already got my WAM (walking around money). For additional purchases, I will use my Venture Card. There are no international fees, and I earn points to use for future travel. What’s not to love?
That’s it for today! I will be back next week with details on the various day tours I have planned.