1. The Adventure Begins

Published on 23 April 2023 at 02:46

Dear fellow adventurers,

I am beyond excited. In a few hours I‘ll be winging my way across the Atlantic from Portland - on KLM via Amsterdam - to meet up with Rachael at Dublin airport. 

Rachael has spent the past 4 months studying abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While she has been adventuring without me, I’ve been holding down the fort on our horse farm in Oregon.  I love our life here on the farm, but I'm definitely ready for another Roadtrippin adventure! 

Ireland is a fantastic road tripping destination for a number of reasons. Firstly, flights to Dublin are fairly cheap (I paid $946 for a return ticket) and so is car rental ($300 for an economy car with Hertz for 2 weeks). Secondly, the country is small enough to drive around in a couple of weeks. And last but not least, there are some insanely beautiful scenic drives - including the Wild Atlantic Way, an epic 1,500-mile-long scenic coastal route that stretches the length of the West coast of Ireland, from Kinsale in the south to Malin Head in the north. 

We'll be renting a car in Dublin and exploring both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in just 16 days. As we travel, I'll be posting a blog on here at the end of each day, so you will be able to follow along on our journey in real time. We'll also upload vlogs on our YouTube channel a couple of times a week.

You can subscribe at https://youtube.com/@rachontheroad and check the bell to receive notifications.  You can also catch live updates if you follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/vorster.the.vagabond/ . And if you would like to see a step by step breakdown of our itinerary you can check out our guidebook at https://wanderlog.com/view/jdqhlzprpx/ireland-guide/shared

On my last two international flights the airline left my baggage behind and I ended up spending the first three days of my trip without my clothes. This time I'm not taking any chances and have packed everything into a carry on. As you can see in my packing list below I've included plenty of layers, ending with a waterproof outer shell and waterproof shoes. This is because I have been warned that the Irish weather can be very unpredictable with three seasons in one day. I am also taking a small lightweight backpack for daily excursions (and as extra packing space for all those souvenirs I know I'll end up buying!).

Here is a complete packing list for my 3 week trip:

5 Pants - 2 quick dry hiking pants, 1 leggings, 2 jeans

10 Tops - 5 quick dry hiking tops, 5 dressier tops 

1 Sweat shirt

1 Light weight puffy

1 Rain Jacket and 1 Waterproof shell pants

3 Shoes - 1 waterproof hiking boots, 1 waterproof walking shoes, 1 pair slip on sneakers (dry comfy shoes for end of day)


Toiletries - including a small body wash and shampoo as not all B&B accommodations include these

I've also included some less common items including:

Single laundry soap powder packets - Since I am packing light, I will probably need to do laundry at least once while I am there. There are washing machines at many of the gas stations which is a lot cheaper than using a hotel laundry services or, for smaller items, I'll just use the sink in our room.

Plug adapter for Ireland and chargers, including a car charger

Map book - GPS and cell service is spotty in remote areas, so be sure to have a physical map if you are driving (recommend the Official Road Atlas Ireland). Once we arrive I'll pick up a learner driver sticker from an auto shop. This is a great tip as driving on the left side along Irelands narrow winding roads can be challenging. The sticker will warn other drivers to give you space. 

Letter from Credit Card - If you don't want to pay for extra car insurance (very expensive) be sure to get a letter from your credit card to say that you are covered by their insurance. The rental will charge a security deposit on your card which will be removed when you return the car. This can be a substantial amount (Hertz is charging us $5,000), so make sure that your card limit allows for this.

Heritage card - I ordered this online. It's like a National Parks pass in the States. It costs $40, but it offers free entrance into 98 heritage sites, and since entry into most sites cost $10 to $15 it is well worth it. 

3 Cards - Main credit card used for reservations, back up credit card, and an ATM card (make sure all 3 have a pin and that you have notified the credit card companies at you will be traveling).

I opened a Revolut card to use as my ATM card and deposited my daily spending allowance into it in the months preceding my trip. The befits of the Revolut card is that it is easy to use in any European country, has no withdrawal or conversion fees, and tracks your spending.

Gas and eating out in Ireland are expensive and we are driving a lot of miles, so I have budgeted $100 per day to cover these expenses (all of our accommodation costs, car hire, and activities have been pre-booked and paid for). We will try to keep our daily spending down by skipping lunch (breakfast is included in many of our Airbnb stays) or buying food at grocery stores to picnic rather than eating out, but when it comes to travel expenses I feel it is always wiser to overestimate rather than underestimate.  

Wish us luck on our journey,

Bon voyage!


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