Irish Trip Planner: How to plan a trip to Ireland (in 9 steps)

Is the Emerald Isle the next on your bucket list and you are on the lookout for an Irish Trip Planner? Look no further than our nine-step guide on how to plan a trip to Ireland.

As someone who is native to Ireland, it can be easy to become accustomed to and take advantage of the stunning natural landscape that our beautiful island possesses. A quick test of the mind and the best of what our country has to offer comes to the fore.

From the famous Cliffs of Moher to the domineering Slieve League cliffs, from the exhaustive landscapes of Connemara and Glenveagh to the top of Errigal, Carountoohil, Croagh Patrick, and the Mournes and to the golden coasts of Donegal, Sligo, Antrim, and Kerry, Ireland has a lot to be proud of.

Not to mention the towering towns of Killarney, Cobh, Carlingford, and Dun Laoghaire, to the bustling cities of Belfast, Galway, Cork, and Dublin, an Irish Trip Planner has all you need for a memorable time abroad.

And with that, it is no surprise the Emerald Isle is the next destination on your bucket list. With so much more to see on top of what we have mentioned, you will not regret your journey to the outskirts of Europe.

But, to make it a success, you will have to plan accordingly. And that’s where we come in. A potentially tricky process is made easy and straightforward with this guide. Here is how to plan a trip to Ireland in nine simple steps.

Step 1 – Have your passport ready

When planning on visiting Ireland, you must have your passport ready.

First: make sure you have your passport! This will apply to the majority of nations around the world. However, if you are from the UK or an EU country, you’re in luck. For the former, any official photo documentation will secure your entry, while the latter, you can also use a national identity card.

Step 2 – Obtain your visa (if required)

You need to obtain a visa if visiting Ireland.

After you have your passport or identification secured, you may need a visa to make your Irish Trip Planner a reality. The Irish Government has an official list of nations whose citizens do not require visas.

This applies to the 27 countries of the EU (such as France, Germany, and Italy) and the countries of Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein (they are part of the European Economic Area). Other countries include the USA, Canada, and Australia, as well as South Africa.

If you are thinking of how to plan a trip to Ireland and your country isn’t on the list, contact your local Irish embassy or consulate to work out the requirements of your entry. They will guide you in the right direction.

Step 3 – Create your Irish Trip Planner itinerary

Be sure to create and Irish Trip Planner itinerary, a must-do for a visit.

Now to the exciting part. Ireland is a small enough country, so with the right time and preparation, you will get a lot done. There are many ways you can get around the country, and your starting point can vary. However, the most accessible airport in the country is in Dublin, so we recommend you start and finish in the capital for convenience (and for the best time).

If it’s city breaks you’re after, you will only need a few days in each. If this is your plan, make sure to check out; Belfast, Derry, Galway, Cork, Limerick, and Dublin. Read our advice on Dublin here if a capital stay is what you want.

If you want a mix of cities and towns, then don’t forget to see the likes of Killarney, Kilkenny, Westport, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Letterkenny, Cobh, Kinsale, Bundoran, Ennis, Carlingford, and Athlone. Check out our article covering the best town from each county.

For those who want to delve a little deeper and explore a little deeper, we would recommend anywhere from two to three weeks to get a sweep of the country. Make sure you have each day planned out, at least in a general sense, so you can tick off the top attractions and perhaps scoop up a few hidden gems on the roads less travelled.

How to plan a trip to Ireland, we've got the perfect guide for you.

You’re looking to see the jewels in Ireland’s crown: the Cliffs of Moher, Errigal Mountain, Croagh Patrick, Connemara National Park, the Burren, Giant’s Causeway, Skellig Islands, Dingle Peninsula, Glenveagh, Powerscourt Gardens, and more.

And if driving around the country is the theme of your Irish Trip Planner, then why not try out the Wild Atlantic Way? It is Ireland’s most scenic coastal drive, starting off in Donegal, and finishing south in Kerry and Cork. You will be shoulder-to-shoulder with the vast Atlantic Ocean, all the while catching a glimpse of the Emerald Isle’s beauty spots. Have a look at our article detailing ten beauty spots along the drive.

If you need any further help to make your Irish Trip Planner, have a look at these articles we’ve compiled of the best things to do:

Step 4 – Make sure you have travel insurance!

Another key element of how to plan a trip to Ireland is to ensure you have travel insurance.

One of the more picky and annoying aspects of travelling is travel insurance. Still, you must be covered in case anything unexpected happens or goes wrong.

For those coming from the UK, Multitrip might be your best and cheapest option. For a more global aspect, Allianz provides good deals for travel insurance and has a presence in around 66 different countries worldwide.

GoCompare, as the title suggests, does the comparing for you, and you can select the best choice from there. Choose single trip or multi-trip options, and ensure your flights, baggage, and other essential items are covered.

Remember, you may need a European Health Insurance Card when travelling to Ireland to ensure that any costs are covered should you fall into medical difficulty or, in the worst-case scenario, an emergency.

Step 5 – Buy your plane tickets

How to plan a trip to Ireland, make sure you buy your plane tickets well in advance.

Now to sorting your transport to and from Ireland. Skyscanner is perhaps the best avenue for booking a flight to Ireland, so start there, enter your starting point and the dates you’d like to visit.

As we said before, flying to Dublin is probably the easiest option, the airport with the most global connections, and with easy access to the city centre, it truly is a great starting point to Ireland. However, you can also start further north in Belfast, having various flight options likewise.

Bus from Dublin Airport to city centre: HERE

Bus from Belfast International Airport to the city centre: HERE

Step 6 – Plan your transport or rent a car

If you're wondering how to plan a trip to Ireland? Make sure you rent or plan your transport.

Now that you have all your documentation sorted, your itinerary gauged, and your flights booked, it’s time to think about your travel around the country, one of the most essential tips for how to plan a trip to Ireland.

Public transport can be the best choice if it is a city break you are after. Dublin offers taxis, buses, the Luas line, the DART, and trams. Ireland is also connected in many places by train, so you can get around the country easily.

However, if you want to travel at your own time and pace, we recommend you rent your own car, motorbike, or motorhome. Both Enterprise and Hertz are your best options for this.

Book for as little as €37 a day straight from Dublin airport, or start from anything as low as €21 a day with Hertz. Just remember, we drive on the left side of the road in Ireland; keep this in mind to avoid any angry drivers or accidents!

Step 7 – Book your hotels or campsites

How to plan a trip to Ireland? Well, you'll need to book accommodation before anything else.
Credit: @cill.i.am / Instagram

Depending upon the time of stay in Ireland, make sure to check out the best prices possible for your hotels or campsites. We have an extensive list of articles covering Ireland’s best hotels. You can see them HERE.

Be sure to keep in mind that some hotels will charge extremely high prices, so make sure to shop around to find the most affordable for you, and don’t hesitate to stay in the top choices if your budget allows. Booking.com is an excellent avenue for assessing your options.

Another popular way of staying in Ireland is via campsites, and again we have prepared an extensive list of articles for you to examine before booking. You can read all of these HERE.  ‘Glamping’ has become very popular in Ireland. It essentially means ‘glamorous camping’, whereby you stay in state-of-the-art tents. 

Step 8 – Plan and refine your travel tours

How to plan a trip to Ireland, make sure your have travel tours planned.

Now that everything is ready to go and your Irish Trip Planner is complete, let’s look at refining your travel itinerary to maximise your stay on the Emerald Isle.

Before we go anywhere, however, keep in mind that Irish weather is often unpredictable, so always make sure you pack for the rainfall. You can read our articles HERE on what to do in Ireland when it rains.

The best season, naturally, to visit is summer. At the same time, autumn in Ireland is a beautiful spectacle, and the Christmas Markets in the likes of Belfast and Galway make it a worthwhile winter trip. Essentially, what we are saying is that Ireland is a great spot to visit 365 days a year. Still, it may be a little frosty at any stage between October and March!

See our articles HERE and HERE to establish the best time to come to Ireland.

And once you do have your stay booked and destination planned, it is essential to spend a bit of time searching the best things to do in each spot. The city articles mentioned above are your perfect starting points. Once you have a detailed grasp of what your destination has to offer, create a bucket list and make sure each point is ticked off before your last day.

Step 9 – Enjoy your trip to Ireland!

Our guide is the only thing you need to know How to plan a trip to Ireland.

In all of the planning, scheduling, and thinking ahead, don’t forget to enjoy your trip to Ireland and have fun. Our website may be biased in Ireland’s favour, but that is only because we love every aspect of the country and honestly believe it is one of the world’s best spots.

That’s because it has it all. From peaking mountains to crystal coastlines, from concealed coves to rugged parklands, from metropolitan cities to charming towns and villages, and from cascading waterfalls to Atlantic islands, there is not a thing you cannot do on the Emerald Isle.

We thank you for visiting our website to plan the trip of a lifetime, and we hope that our Irish Travel Planner has set you on the right path for a memorable journey. We hope you enjoy your time in Ireland and hope to see you back on our website again looking for more ways to explore the unending charm, beauty, and thrill of the Emerald Isle.

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Dan O'Muirigh is a keen travel writer from Belfast, County Antrim. He is a passionate sports man who plays Gaelic football for Naomh Gall GAC. He recently graduated with a degree in Law but instead wants to pursue a career in writing. He loves Ireland and believes the island offers something for everyone. He has immersed himself into the country by playing Irish sports, taking part in the culture and learning the Irish language.