Ireland is one of those destinations that travelers keep coming back to once they visit it for the first time. Most come for the famous sights and the historic monuments. They end up coming back for its people, food, culture, and overall friendly and warm ambiance.

It’s best to make certain preparations when visiting for the first time. These will make your visit more comfortable and better organized. That way you can focus on exploring your destination and soak in the environment without having to worry about mundane details that always burden a traveler.

There are Two Currencies

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland use two different currencies. Even though Northern Ireland is a part of Great Britain and therefore no longer in the EU, it’s simple enough to cross the border and many tourists do it every day.

The major difference to be aware of is that Northern Ireland uses the pound while Ireland uses Euro as its currency. It’s best to have a bit of both in cash, so you can tip and pay in small pubs that won’t accept cards, as well as to be aware of the exchange rate.

Rent Your Own Car

The best way to explore Ireland’s beautiful landscapes is to travel in your own car and set up your own itinerary. In order to do that you’ll need an International driver’s license for Ireland. It’s an easy enough document to obtain. There are no tests and it’s based on your national driving license.

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The international permit is only valid if you also carry a national license with you and it lasts for a year before you need to renew, which is more than enough for a tourist.

The Weather Can be Difficult to Get Used To

The weather in Ireland can be somewhat challenging for someone visiting the first time. It’s not that it’s too cold or that the rain is too harsh, but the changes can be rather abrupt. The best way to go is to plan for the change and to pack accordingly.

This is especially true if you plan to go hiking, which is something you should do if you love the outdoors and have the time. An umbrella, a good pair of boots, and a rain jacket need to be on your packing list when visiting Ireland.

Guided Tours Are Well Worth Your Time

Some tourists tend to shy away from guided tours and prefer to explore on their own. There are some advantages to that as well, but Ireland has some of the best-guided tours for history and art enthusiasts and you’ll be missing out if you skip them.

There’s a difference in price points for some of these tours and for the most part, you’ll get what you paid for. However, even the more expensive tours are affordable and you shouldn’t hesitate in setting one up, especially if you’re visiting Cliffs of Moher.

Tipping Culture

Tipping is always somewhat awkward when visiting a new country since the rules are different depending on the cultural preference. In Ireland, it’s commonplace to tip at restaurants but not in bars and taxies. You can tip if you feel that the service deserves it, but it’s not necessary to do so.

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The most common amount to tip is about 10 percent of the bill. Again, there are no rules and you can go over that amount if you’re satisfied with the service. It’s usually considered bad manners to tip less than that.

It’s a Laid Back Place

Ireland is very laid back in its approach to time and appointments, as well as to stress in general. That’s what attracts so many tourists and admirers to it, so make sure to adopt some of that stance while staying in the country.

By taking the time and slowing down you’ll get to experience it better as well. If you’re able to try not to have set dates for your trip and departure and if you find a place you like, stay in it for a while, until you’re truly ready to leave. 

That way you’ll see the country as the locals do, at least for a while.  Everyone has their own reason for loving Ireland and if you have one, try to plan your trip around it. That way you can further explore your interest and set a loose itinerary around it. You’ll be surprised as to how much more there is to Ireland than you’ve first thought.