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travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

Pennsylvania
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3 posts
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travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

Hi! I'm planning a trip to Ireland in October for 14 nights. We're debating whether to go with a travel agent's package deal with B&B vouchers or to do it ourselves. Concerns include choices of B&B, price, if DIY, carrying so much cash as many places don't take credit cards, having reservations planned or taking a chance, car rentals, etc.

We're planning to fly into Shannon and go clockwise around spending one or two nights each time we stop. We'll spend our last days & nights visiting the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.

Advice, suggestions, warnings, please!!

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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1. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

"Concerns include choices of B&B, price, if DIY, carrying so much cash as many places don't take credit cards, having reservations planned or taking a chance, car rentals, etc. "

Let me try to address your concerns:

Choice of B&B: You will be limited by choosing vouchers. More choice if you book on your own. Which is easily done via email, there is a ton of information on the Internet for B&Bs in Ireland, including recommendations here on the Forum.

Price: No way of knowing without knowing what price you're being charged by the agent.

Carrying Cash: There is no need to carry a large amount of cash. Ireland has ATMs like in the States. And many B&Bs take credit cards, although they prefer cash in most.

Reservations: Vouchers don't give you a reservation. You would still need to make one. Or you can "wing it" and just show up, but you'd again be limited to just those places taking your vouchers if that's what you go with.

Car Rentals: All of the car companies have web sites where reservations can be made. See which size car is being included from your package deal, it's often the smallest model.

The only "plus" I see for going with a package is if you're saving a large amount of money. For me, it would have to be a "large" amount.

Ventry, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle Peninsula
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2. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

From what I have seen reading postings here, B&B vouchers don't seem to have any real advantage. I would suggest that you book your B&Bs in advance, as October is late enough in the season and some may be closed, particularly in more remote areas.

October is a lovely time to visit Kerry, you will have the scenic routes pretty much to yourselves, but the towns are still lively.

I'd suggest you post an intinerary and await suggestions for accommodation and sites worth seeing

Co. Kildare
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for Ireland
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3. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

For what it's worth - go with the self-planned tour. You'll be much more independent. And the posters here on this forum will be glad to help and advise.

As IrishFan said, you will have to compare costs of a guided tour with planning your own flight tickets and accommodation and car hire.

Posters have reported problems with B&B vouchers, others have had no problems. I don't know, I just prefer to make my own arrangements and know that my room will be ready for me.

Another consideration: in October some B&Bs will begin to shut down, some will remain open for winter. With vouchers you will be restricted to those that are open. With a self-guided tour you can choose where to stay and won't necessarily have to book ahead.

If you like to have everything worked out for you then go with the guided tour and the B&B vouchers.

If you're up to planning for yourselves then go with plotting your own itinerary (with a little help from TA).

Good luck!

St. Louis, MO
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4. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

We also had the same questions awhile back. We chose DIY. We bought a huge map of Ireland, did some research, picked the places we wanted to see, placed stickers on the map, chose the few towns that were within driving distances to "our spots" , picked many B&Bs from websites and looked them up on TA for the best reviews and made our own reservations. (via e-mails). I know it sounds a tad difficult but we learned more about our destinations, more of Ireland itself, and had a blast doing it !!! If you dont have the time, then by all means, let someone else plan your trip......I think it was a better trip for having planned everything ourselves.

The only thing I would do different would be to stay a couple nights at one place rather than a different place every night. What a hassle!!! it was to pack then unload the car, only to repack the next morning before you could go anywhere, then sight- see with all your stuff stashed in the trunk. Pick a few places and take day trips.

sammi

Pennsylvania
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5. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

Here's our basic itinerary -

We're planning to fly into Shannon and then:

2 nights in the West - likely County Clare

2 nights in the Northwest - County Mayo or Sligo

2 nights in the North - County Donegal

(Possibly 1 night in Antrim)

1 night in the Midlands - County Meath or Kildare

2 nights in the Southeast - County Wicklow or Wexford

2 nights in the South - County Kilkenny or Cork

2 nights in the Southwest - County Kerry

1 night in County Limerick or Clare

Fly home from Shannon

We're planning to stay in each area 2 nights and explore the surrounding towns and countryside during the day at a leisurely pace.

St. Louis, MO
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60 posts
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6. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

WOW!! That's alot of driving! You know that the roads in Ireland are not like here in the U.S. They are not lit up at night like ours, and OMG do they twist and turn. I totally understand wanting to get in every sight you can while you're there, but that seems a tad much. Have you thought about just picking North or South? That would give you so much more time to actually see and enjoy things. There were a few places that I wish we would have spent more time at. I think once you start investigating and reading about certain areas, you're going to find that, well..... you need to stay in one place longer than you thought.

And just another hint....make sure you have everything you need for the day in the car. DO NOT open the trunk when it's packed full. You really dont want people to know that you're a tourist, and every belonging you have is in one, easy to get to spot. (trunk)

sammi

7. Re: travel agent self guided tour package vs DIY

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