Article Contributed by: Susie Cowley

There is no better feeling than strapping on your backpack and heading out across a brand new country with no idea what exciting things you might see and who you might meet. Due to its recent economic downturn, prices have decreased dramatically across Ireland: bad news for local businesses, but great news for backpackers and budget travelers! Ireland is a beautiful country with so much to offer visitors, no matter what their age or budget. Thinking about spending your next holiday back packing across Ireland? Here are a few hints and tips:

Where to Stay

Because it relies so heavily on its tourism industry, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Ireland. Youth hostels and hostels aimed specifically at backpackers are reasonably prevalent in the country’s major cities. When you’re travelling in smaller or more remote parts of the country budget hotels are another great affordable option. If you’d like to meet local people and gain a wealth of local knowledge though, the best kind of accommodation in rural Ireland is the humble bed and breakfast. You’ll find a list of Failte approved bed and breakfasts on the Discover Ireland website: Failte approved accommodation has been checked and vetted by the National Tourism Development Authority so you can rest assured you’re booking and staying in accommodation of a good standard. Ireland regularly tops lists for being one of the best countries in the world to travel alone. If you’re traveling alone then hostels and bed and breakfasts will be your best accommodation options, as they will give you great opportunities to meet and socialize with like-minded people.

Getting Around

During its boom years the Irish Government invested heavily in its infrastructure: improving the bus and rail network and focusing on road condition and improving motorway quality. This makes Ireland surprisingly easy to navigate without too much prior planning. If you want to visit Ireland’s major cities such as Dublin, Cork, and Galway, therefore, you won’t need anything more than a rail ticket and your backpack. If you want to see some of the more remote and scenic parts of the country then you may wish to consider hiring a car for a couple of days. Some parts of the country are only accessible by car, and hiring one is much easier than you might think: you’ll find car hire shops in all of the major cities and inside most airports too. If you do choose to consider driving during your time in Ireland then it’s important to remember to take your valid international driving license with you. You’ll also need to ensure you have an appropriate level of Car insurance NI, and remember to drive on the left side of the road!

Take Advantage of Local Discounts

Travelling in Ireland can be much more affordable than you might think, making it the ideal destination for budget travellers. The vast majority of museums and galleries in the country, for example, have no entry charge. The National Museum of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Archeology are all world renowned museums in Dublin where entry is completely free. They also all offer late night opening on Thursday nights, giving you extra time to explore the history of Ireland. If you are a student then apply for an International Student Identity Card before you embark on your trip: you’ll be amazed at how much money it will save you! You’ll get special student rates on bus and train journeys, discounts in restaurants and most fashion outlets (usually between 10-15%) and even in some bars and clubs simply by presenting your student card before you pay. Dublin is famous for its nightlife: it is, after all, the birthplace of Guinness. You can even tour the Guinness factory and enjoy a pint of the black stuff within its hallowed walls! If you want to enjoy more tourist specific activities such as this then make sure you shop around for your entry tickets: there are significant discounts to be had if you book online in advance, rather than simply pay the retail price when you turn up on the day.

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