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Self-guided Tours by Jeanne
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Jeanne
Unregistered User
(7/7/01 1:09 am)
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Self-guided Tours


Michelle, Do you think that its cheaper to buy a self-guided tour that includes a rental car, airfare (sometimes), B&B vouchers, and meals or to just pay for it all separately? I am planning on visiting Ireland/North Ireland and would like to drive through the country. Do you know of any reliable travel agencies that offer these type of tours? Also, is September a good time to visit? Thanks! Jeanne



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 115
(7/7/01 10:24 pm)
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Re: Self-guided Tours


Hi Jeanne,

That's a very difficult question! It really depends on the deal you are getting since each one is different. The package deals (sometimes called fly/drive packages) usually include airfare, car rental and B&B vouchers. Each one that you look at will be priced differently, depending on when you go, where you fly from and how long you will be staying in Ireland.

You mentioned that you will also be visiting Northern Ireland and that could be a problem if you buy B&B vouchers. Depending on the type of vouchers you have, there may be very few B&B choices in Northern Ireland. Most of the packages concentrate on the Republic of Ireland. Another option would be to buy a fly/drive package that does not include vouchers. But you will want to find out if there are extra charges for the car rental (like insurance, tax, etc.) as these can easily double the price. Also ask whether the car is a manual or automatic. Automatics cost more. There can also be extra charges associated with vouchers so ask lots of questions in advance.

September is generally a very good time to visit and would be my second choice (after May).

I can't personally recommend any good travel agencies but you can find some that specialize in Ireland at the following sites:

www.ireland.travel.ie (click on "Tour Operators")
www.shamrockclub.net/

My best advice is to comparison shop. Once you find a travel agent and have your vacation dates, have them give you prices on packages and separate prices on the airfare and car rental. Then sit down and compare them to see which is a better deal. B&B prices for 2001 should run in the 19-25 pounds per person range (doing it yourself). Please note that if you are a single person occupying a double room there is usually an extra surcharge added.

I hope that starts you in the right direction. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them.

Happy travels,

Michele :)



Jeanne
Unregistered User
(7/8/01 12:43 am)
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Re: Self-guided Tours


Thanks Michelle, Great advice! I guess being an informed consumer works the same with planing a trip to Ireland as with buying anything else. I will check out the links and see what I can come up with in the next few days. Glad to hear you like Sept. I will probably have more questions. So happy to find this site.



george02
Unregistered User
(7/8/01 10:39 am)
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Tour vs. drive


I've been planning a trip to Ireland for months now, and the trend I've seen regarding self-drive vs. package tour is this: Package tours usually end up being cheaper in the long run, but you get what you pay for. You simply can't make up for the benefits of a self-drive with cheap prices.

That said, there are plenty of folks who dig bus tours, and that's fine. But you sound like you might be up for either, in which case I will always recommend a self-drive.

The key to keeping a self-drive inexpensive is doing a little homework. In all honesty, ever hour I've spent online searching and researching and chatting has probably resulted in $30 being knocked off the total price tag for my trip. Get yourself into a mindframe where no matter how cheap a certain flight/B&B/activity is, there IS something comparable out there that costs less. Researching my vacation has yeilded some great bargains for terrific accomodations, and has in itself been something of an education.

Anyway, there's my $.02. Hope everything works out for you!

George



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 121
(7/8/01 4:21 pm)
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Re: Tour vs. drive


Hi George,

Thanks very much for your "two cents worth". I agree totally that researching and planning a trip yourself can be a very worthwhile and rewarding experience. Plus the planning process can be half the fun of going on a trip -- one you will certainly remember as a part of the whole experience. Hope your trip is shaping up nicely and thanks for sharing.

Michele



Jeanne
Unregistered User
(7/10/01 12:36 am)
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Re: Tour vs. drive


Thanks George & Michelle, There are two of us going (my husband and me) and he is leaning toward doing it ourselves, renting a car and driving around. So those are the options I'm exploring now. I've contacted the tourist board and they are sending info about self-drive packages but I think I will heed your advice about the vouchers since we will be spending quite a bit of time in the north. Does your book have info about the north?



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 126
(7/10/01 2:19 am)
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Re: Tour vs. drive


Hi Jeanne,

Yes, my book does have a section on Northern Ireland with recommendations for lodging in the following areas: Downpatrick, Newtownards, Bushmills (near the Giant's Causeway) and Enniskillen. It also has info on day trips and sightseeing in and around those areas, as well as restaurants, pubs, etc.

You and your husband won't regret doing Ireland on your own. That way you can see exactly what you want and design the trip to your needs.

Michele



george02
Unregistered User
(7/10/01 10:08 am)
Reply
self-drive


Look at it this way... You can drive a rental car anywhere a tour bus goes, but there are countless places you can visit in a rental car that a tour bus would never visit.

George

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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