Ireland Vacation Planning FAQ's

How much advance notice do you need to plan my trip?

Ireland Vacation Planning

Ireland vacation planning depends on what time of the year you are going and how flexible the itinerary can be.

For trips in high season, the more notice the better. For a low stress Ireland vacation planning process, 1-3 months is ideal.

If you are willing to be flexible, it can be done much more quickly.

How about if I want to make changes to the itinerary?

Don’t worry about the changes, we will work together until it’s perfect.

Do you have Ireland vacation tips and ideas for trips with the kids?

I have friends and family who have small children and have traveled with them, so yes I have lots of suggestions and tips for traveling with kids in Ireland.

What influences Ireland trip planning more than anything else is how you travel with kids: some people want a kid-oriented vacation, so move from water park to playground to children’s museum and so on. Others want to do the same things they’d normally do, but move at a slower pace and are back to the hotel in the middle of the day for nap time. We’ll customize it based on your needs.

What’s the difference between a travel agent and a travel consultant?

The straight forward answer is the business model. With an Ireland vacation deal the travel agents receive commissions for services they book for you, like packages, hotels, cruises, flights and tours. From a business perspective, they must spend their time booking things that give them commission, or they won’t be in business for very long.

As a travel consultant, I charge for my time, and very little of my total Ireland vacation planning time is spent on commission bookings. I think it’s important to spend time with the client up front working through the ideal overall itinerary, flow, and balance with an optimal amount of Ireland vacation tips. 

It means I can discuss the options for getting from A to B within Ireland, find the best fit for the client, and make bookings, buy tickets and so on. It means I can recommend restaurants, pubs, castles, attractions, festivals, local markets, hidden gems and much more that are a good fit for my clients.

It means I am not limited to a hotel inventory, and can book the best hotel, B&B, castle, hostel, camping park, cottage, apartment, monastery, lighthouse, r.v, house boat or other accommodation that fits the needs of the client.

It means I use small, local Ireland insider guides and services (who are not set up to pay commissions). It means that for trip planning clients, I create a written itinerary which includes not only bookings, addresses, phone numbers, and maps, but everything that is pre-paid, partially paid, or remaining to be paid, including how you’ll need to pay it.

It means that while we are working together, I am available to answer any questions my clients have: surrounding Ireland travel and culture, cell phone usage, how to get money, driving, travel insurance, the Irish language and many more.

Basically, it means I can get to know my clients, and design an Ireland travel itinerary that’s perfectly suited to them.

Can you get me discounts on hotels and guides?

Sometimes. I’ll always ask for the “net” rate which means the price without commissions. Many hotels cannot do this, and many of the guides I use already give me a discounted rate.  More importantly, when you work with me, you can be assured that all recommendations I make are best value for the money. You get what you pay for, and when it’s worth paying more, I’ll let you know.

Does the written itinerary I’ll get replace a guidebook?

No, you’ll still need the guidebook. The written itinerary is an outline of activities, contact information, and a daily route map, and will be about 1 or 2 pages per day. If you would like guidebook suggestions and tips we are happy to provide them.

For Platinum level itineraries, I will include links to all trip highlights, so while on your trip, you’ll pull out the relevant printout, about, say the ancient castle ruin you’re looking at. Then when you’re done you can recycle it in Ireland and lose the weight.

At $150 or $250 per trip day, what’s the return on my investment?

Return on your investment is in 2 parts:

Ireland Vacation Planner, Kylmore Abbey, Connemara, Galway

1) Time saved during the Ireland vacation planning process:

To organize a trip to Ireland with the level of organization and detail provided by Ireland Insider Guide, plan on spending about 8 hours per travel day if you are going to do it yourself.

A 10-day trip would therefore take about 80 hours for an average person to plan (including internet and guidebook research, time spent on the phone to Ireland, booking time, and double-checking everything).

By contrast, plan on 2-3 hours spent via phone or email with Ireland Insider Guide. For a 10-day trip, that’s about 77 hours of time saved. How much is your time worth per hour?

2) I've worked with the Irish tourism, leisure and hospitality industry in Ireland, leading a concierge and guest relations team for visitors to Ireland. The benefits to you are that I know how to find Ireland's hidden treasures, outdoor and indoor activities; I can recommend lots of great hotels and out of the way places and unique experiences; I have detailed knowledge of all the regions of Ireland. And probably most importantly, I understand Ireland's “wow” factor and can ensure you have it on your trip.

Let’s say your 10-day trip to Ireland works out to cost $300/day, including everything. Let’s say you have 12 hours per day of “out and about time”, to enjoy, explore, and relax. Each Ireland vacation hour essentially costs $25. A 10-day vacation has 120 vacation hours. Therefore being able to do 20% more because of a well-planned vacation equals 24 hours during the vacation which are spent relaxing and enjoying Ireland rather than spent stressed and problem-solving in a foreign country. To put a dollar value on it, those 24 hours x $25 per hour is $600 worth of time that can be used to enjoy Ireland instead of lost due to planning mistakes.

Put your own numbers in to the examples above in 1) and 2) (and take into account that part 2 can be multiplied by number of people traveling together) to calculate how much you will actually save by having Ireland Insider Guide plan your Ireland vacation!

We don’t want to miss any of Ireland’s main sights. Will you plan an Ireland Insider Guide trip for us?

Sure. Ireland’s main sights are famous for good reason. Sometimes “Insider Guide” means the way you travel, not what you see. So maybe you want to see the main sights with a 2 year old in tow, or maybe you want to avoid crowds as much as possible.

I've been looking at working with a travel agent or another travel consultant. Why should I work with you?

Ok here’s where I am going to toot my own horn. Nine reasons you should work with me:

  • I've lived in Ireland for twenty eight years. The benefits to you are that I know how things work, including the little things, and how to navigate them. I know what can go wrong, and how to fix it.
  • I speak a local Ireland dialect. The benefits to you are that while I work on your Irish trip, I do my research from a local Ireland insider, so I can access many more reports, tips, reviews and different perspectives and just lots of information that would be hard to access if you are an outsider. It also means that there is no misunderstandings when I make reservations or bookings, and that I have relationships with Irish guides and service providers.
  • I spent 10 years in travel, tourism and hospitality. The benefits to you are that I am a process person, I can manage a project and a budget. Nobody can keep on top of every deal, hotel, attraction, restaurant and guide in Ireland, but I rely on my processes and my methods to make the best possible recommendations for your specific Irish trip. I can juggle quite a few clients at a time and ensure that each one has a personalized, high-quality and unique trip. And, for gold and platinum clients, I can manage your budget.
  • I've traveled to lots of countries. The benefits to you are that I know what it’s like to feel like a foreigner in a foreign land. I have Ireland travel tips about travel insurance, luggage, cell phone usage, driving, language and dialect, deals and much more. 
  • I understand customer service. The benefits to you are that you get a North American level of customer service from me, and I can act as the bridge between cultures, setting expectations on both sides, because sometimes the words “customer service” don’t mean quite the same thing in Ireland.
  • I have traveled all around Ireland, on my own, with kids, teenagers, family and friends. The benefits to those of you with kids, teenagers, alone or with friends are that I know how to travel with all types of people. I understand what it’s like to travel in a group or with family and friends…. and am happy to help make sure your trip is fun for the whole family.
  • I've worked organizing 90 minute tours to groups in both an art gallery and an ancient Irish fort. The benefits to you are that I know how to choose good guides. I work with guides who are engaging, informative, and provide the context you need, whether that be good for the kids; a focus on celtic history; or an emphasis on food and drink.
  • I work on fees rather than commissions because I decided that a major part of an Ireland vacation planning trip involves spending time on things that do not involve commissions, like transportation, food, festivals, and overall flow and balance of your itinerary. The benefits to you are that I’m not recommending hotels or activities or guides based on who is paying commissions; I’m recommending what I think is the best fit for you. 
  • And, I’m able to spend time on all those things above, all the Ireland vacation planner details that will make your entire trip flow smoothly. 

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