Budget Travel Ideas in Dublin

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Although Dublin is ranked as one of the most expensive cities in Europe, it's not impossible to have a rich experience while sticking to your budget.

Sightseeing

Walking tours are a great way to soak up Dublin’s rich and varied history. There are many companies that charge for guided walking tours, but it is possible to find free versions of similar tours such as SANDEMANs. Podcast tours are another great option for those interested in a guided introduction to the city.  

Visitors seeking a rowdy nightlife experience should head to Temple Bar. Even if you don’t drink, the streets in Temple Bar teem are filled with revelers and street performers sure to entertain.

Lodging

Because Dublin is such a popular destination, it's possible to find budget lodging. Hostels are always a great choice for those traveling alone and/or on a budget. You'll find several hostel options in many parts of the city. Bed and Breakfasts or small inns can be good for budget conscious travelers, but beware that costs per night are listed per person, not per room. Websites that specialize in last minute travel will often have weekend deals.

Eating

Staying on a budget while eating out in Dublin takes some creative maneuvering.  Even at tourist havens such as Temple Bar, reasonably priced lunches can be found, if you know where to look.  Dinner is the meal that “breaks the bank”, so to speak.  Many restaurants have prix fixe “early bird” or pre-theater menus for diners that conclude their meals before 7 or 8. The average price is 20 euro for two to three courses and an alcoholic beverage. Those looking for cheaper alternatives may consider looking in grocery stores or convenience stores for “ready to eat” meals.  The British supermarket giants Tesco or Marks and Spencer both have multiple outlets in Dublin.

Drinking

Beer is not cheap in Ireland; a pint of Guinness will typically run 4.50 euro or more.  However, beer is a much more budget-friendly option than cocktails or hard liquor. In many pubs, mixers are charged separately. Specialty cocktails in Dublin’s pubs and bars can run as high as 15 euro each. It's also a standard that pubs use measured alcohol dispensers, so your cocktail will contain exactly one shot. This is not common practice in the United States, where tipping the bartender guarantees more booze for your buck. Some pubs in the university area offer deals on pitchers of beer or buckets of beer bottles during the week.

Transportation

Trains in Ireland are more expensive than in other European countries; travelers on a budget should plan to travel by bus. Alternatively, the low-cost air carrier Ryan Air originated in Ireland, and offers domestic flights far cheaper than the price for trains. However, the budget airline option is only advised for travelers with light carry-on luggage (less than 10 kilo). The fees to check bags often cost more than the flights themselves. 

For transit in the local Dublin area, those on a budget should note that the city bus drivers do not give change. Instead, riders that have overpaid are given a receipt for the amount in question that can be redeemed only at city transportation offices. To avoid this hassle, make sure to have exact change for your bus fare. 

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