Grand Tour of Ireland
Know Before You Go
For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make these 9 days ULTIMATE.
Complete Your Checklist
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Verify your passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date. No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen
- Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group as soon as it opens! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
- Request a roommate:: Double check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
- Personalize your trip: Travel Insurance is not available for purchase on tour, and the price of Optional Excursions increases after departure. We suggest logging in to your Online Account now to add these items.
- Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know of your travel plans so you can withdraw cash and use your debit/credit cards abroad. Otherwise, you risk your account being blocked.
Pack Like a Pro
Your airline ticket includes one checked bag but note that years of customer feedback tells us that the lighter you pack, the better. In different cities you may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, and remember that you’ll have the opportunity to do laundry throughout the trip. See more packing tips below that will help you become an international, carry-on-suitcase, jetsetter:
- 1 jacket (light/rain jacket if June – August, thicker/waterproof jacket for all other months)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Waterproof shoes
- 1-2 pairs jeans / shorts
- 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
- 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
- Underwear and socks
- Toiletries, medicine
- Reusable water bottle
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Adapter / Converter – type “G” (three square prongs), or universal
Note: Ireland is an oceanic climate, which means the country gets ample rainfall, but it can change in a matter of seconds. Bring plenty of layers and a good rain jacket.
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. You can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
- If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
- If you slept in and missed your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case…
Note: All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.
Arriving in Ireland
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.
Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers
Your Tour Director will also tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip; they will be with your group from start to finish so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.
Use Your Phone, Internet, and Electronics
We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier. Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars; but it isn’t always as strong as Wi-Fi in the US. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will also need a converter/adapter.
Note: You should use a “G” adapter / converter on this tour (three square prongs). A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
On The Ground
Manage Your Money
Cash and most well-known credit/debit cards are widely accepted in Ireland, but note that, cash is preferred. Budget $80- $100 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities. Tipping is different in Ireland than it is in U.S.; if you see a “Service Charge” listed on your bill, there is no need to leave an additional tip. Otherwise, in restaurants or taxis it’s customary to round up your bill to the nearest Euro. For your Tour Director, however, we recommend tipping $35 - $55 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.
Currencies used: Ireland: Euro (€)
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
On this trip you’ll experience standard rooming, unless you purchased a private room upgrade. Standard rooming is in European hotels or boutique hostels and you’ll room with up to six fellow EF Ultimate Break travelers of the same gender per room. What to expect for standard rooming:
- 4-5 fellow EF Ultimate Break roommates of the same gender
- Small, boutique hotels and hostels
- One private bathroom per room that you’ll share with your roommates
- Limited WiFi connection
- Limited air conditioning – AC is popular in the U.S., but not in Europe!
If you have any questions about your rooming status or want to request a specific roommate, call us at 800-766-2645, or connect with your Tour Director.
Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities are via private motor coach or ferries (if you’ve purchased the Aran Islands excursion) and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. You’ll receive a public transportation pass in Dublin, but prepare to walk between 4-8 miles per day, especially when sightseeing.
Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you for transfer days. Try bringing a novel that’s based in somewhere you’re visiting! We recommend Angela’s Ashes, Brooklyn, or Circle of Friends.
Optimize Your Free Time
If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time. Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add ons.
Live Like a Local
As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs of Ireland and live like a true Irish lad or lass:
- The locals in Ireland are known for being friendly. Spark up conversation in the pubs and you may even find a new friend.
- We said it before and we’ll say it again: The weather changes in an instant. Expect the unexpected.
- It’s tempting to take pictures at every corner or of every pint you purchase, but remember that life in Ireland is all about living in the moment. Enjoy it!
- When at the pubs with a group, it’s common for each person to take turns “buying a round” for the rest of the group. Try it out with your new friends!
- Try new foods, we promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Wine and Dine
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you just must try.
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.
- Irish Stew: Ireland’s most famous dish of meat, potatoes, onions, and more
- The Full Irish: Or, Irish breakfast, usually consists of soda bread, bacon, eggs, fried sausages, mushrooms or tomatoes. Locals get their fuel for the day with this massive feast
- Salmon: Smoked or Irish, Salmon is a treat in Ireland and always fresh! Especially from April – June
- Galway Oysters: The best oysters are found in the West of Ireland, harvested in Clarinbridge.
- Soda Bread: Every Irish family has their own soda bread recipe, but it’s always good with butter, alongside Irish stew, or on its own
- Coddle: A slow cooked combination of sausage, bacon, onions, and potatoes
- Guinness & Guinness Cake: Why not pair a fresh pint o’ Guinness with a cake made from the dark stout? You’re on vacation, after all.
- Boxty: Essentially a mashed and grated potato in dumpling-form. Try it at Dublin’s Temple Bar!
- Black and white pudding: No, not like a Snack Pack. It’s pudding made from blood and fat mixed with barley, pork meat, oatmeal, and suet in one sausage. Trust us, try it.
Speak the Language
Irish folk are known for their slang, so if you want to stay hip, try out some of these popular words and phrases:
- Bang on: Meaning you’re right, accurate; “You are bang on.”
- Black stuff: Guinness; “A pint of the black stuff please!.”
- Brutal: Meaning awful or dreadful; “That was a brutal tackle.”
- Craic: Pronounce like crack; meaning fun, going on’s like “What’s the craic?” “Where’s the craic?”
- Deadly or Savage: Fantastic or great; “That was a deadly joke.”
- Grand: A reply to most questions like how are you, how are you feeling, in response to a statement; “How are you? Grand.” “Meet me here. Grand.”
- Knackered or Shattered: Exhausted
- Langers: Drunk
Health and Safety
- With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight to Athens all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:
- Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
- At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi or Uber, and always have cash on hand.
- Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411
We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.