"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Looking back with the benefit of hindsight on all my trip planning for Ireland, I’ve learned a few things. I thought I should post them here so I’ll be more likely to remember for next time – and you all can feel free to get a good laugh at my expense if you like (see #6):
  1. I didn’t budget enough money! I tried to make a good budget for our trip, but I stretched us TOO thin. Then, when the exchange rate changed for the worse, it definitely put us back. Thankfully, Doug had a back up fund. It would’ve been better for us not to use it, but at least it was there to catch us!
  2. I didn’t budget for entrance fees. It costs to get into EVERYTHING in Ireland. We bought a Heritage card, which is a pass into state maintained sites, but it turned out that only covered about half the places we were going. What sounds not so bad at 6 Euros is much worse when you realize that actually means about $10 per person. It can add up quick.
  3. It’s TOO hard to try and be conservative on buying gifts for the kids! I need to plan more money and more space for bringing home gifts. I could’ve done a lot of birthday, Christmas and souvenir shopping if I had more time and money.
  4. It would be nice to research ahead of time places to eat – especially in the big cities. If you’re going to be spending all that money going out to eat every day, it would be nice to know of places to go that you are likely to enjoy the food. We landed pretty well on the whole. But it would be nice when we’re traveling to have a couple of choices in each major stop so that if we happen to be in the right spot at dinner time, we can go somewhere reputable.
  5. I didn’t want to spend money on international cell phones, but I realized after I got there that it would’ve been smart to bring our family camp walkie-talkies. Then, when we needed to split up or got separated for one reason or another at some site in Ireland, we could’ve easily kept in touch or found one another. When we were in Killarney, I had to jump out and arrange our pony-trap trip and Doug had to find parking. Well, Doug had a terrible time parking and wasn’t sure if he was supposed to park now or after I arranged the tour. It would’ve been really nice to be able to stay in touch, even from just a few blocks away, on that day!
  6. Liquor is liquid. Just thought I should remind myself of that. Let’s just say our Irish whiskey turned out to be really expensive by the time we got pulled out of security for putting it in our carry-on bags and paid to check an extra bag. :( When I decided to be dumb, I do it up big. Ugh.
  7. Don’t plan to be up and at it before 10am. If you’re going to be traveling for nearly 3 weeks, you have to rest some time. Also, because we were staying mostly at B&B’s, you have to wait to finish breakfast before you leave. We were usually on the road by 9:30am or 10:00am, so I should keep that in mind when deciding how many things to do in a day and when the first thing starts.  

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