How and Why to Travel FIT in Ireland
Written by: Sydney M Crago on December 11, 2019
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sydney M Crago, and I am a copywriter on the Marketing Team here at KHM Travel Group. Like many of us who work in travel, I’ve got a serious case of the travel bug. I’m always adding to my list of places to visit, and for the last couple of years, traveling FIT in Ireland has been in the number one spot.
So, this year, I decided to go! Armed with my new travel agent skills, I booked a FIT (foreign independent tour) vacation for myself and a few of my family members to experience the Emerald Isle. That means getting a little creative with my itinerary and travel arrangements, so I thought I’d share how I did it.
What’s on the Itinerary?
While there are many fantastic tour companies take travelers around Ireland, I’m the type of traveler who has read the whole guide book and knows exactly what I do and do not want to see. So, for me, FIT is the way to go! But I also knew that neither I nor anyone I was traveling with wanted to drive in Ireland. That left us with one big question: how would we get around?
I chose to have us fly in and out of Dublin and take a train across the country to Galway in the middle of the trip. Using Dublin and Galway as anchor points, I booked day tours to allow us to see some locations outside of the cities while still having plenty of time to explore the cities themselves. Here’s what the final itinerary looked like:
|Travel Day||Fly Overnight to Dublin|
| Day 1 |
|Land in Dublin, explore area around hotel, and visit Dublin Writers Museum|
| Day 2 |
|Day Tour North of Dublin (Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, Celtic Crosses)|
| Day 3 |
|Trinity College Library, Walk Grafton Street/Temple Bar, Guinness Storehouse|
| Day 4 |
(Travel to Galway)
|Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin), Train to Galway, Explore Galway|
| Day 5 |
|Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher with stop in Doolin and a cave|
| Day 6 |
|Free Day: Explore Galway|
| Day 7 |
(Travel back to Dublin)
|Morning in Galway, Train to Dublin, Whitefriar’s Church, Evening in Temple Bar Area|
|Day 8 |
|Morning Tour to Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough, Afternoon in Teeling Distillery|
|Travel Day||Fly Home|
Taxis, Trams, and Trains
Whenever I tell someone in the travel agent community that I planned travel in Ireland without renting a car, they always seemed surprised. I admit that if you are planning to circumnavigate the island on a FIT trip, this is probably not the way to go, but for our plan, it was a fantastic choice.
Public Transportation in Dublin is accessible almost everywhere in the city with the LUAS tram system, expansive bus network, and hop-on hop-off bus options. Along with public transportation, I found taking a taxi to be well worth the fare, especially splitting the cost among four travelers. It seemed every taxi driver had stories, recommendations, and thoughts on being Irish that they were more than happy to share. My dad also loved the chance to sit in the passenger seat and experience the other side of the road view without being behind the wheel.
As for our journey to and from Galway, we took the Irish Rail. While this system is not quite as high speed as some train lines on the European continent, it still had us all the way across the country in two and a half hours, and most importantly, it was easy! The train was precisely on time, had plenty of space overhead and in luggage areas to fit our suitcases, and the seats were much roomier than on a plane. For less than 20 euros one way, it was an affordable and simple travel option that I would definitely use again.
What I Learned Traveling FIT in Ireland
It actually is possible to see Ireland without renting a car or going on a guided tour. However, before you recommend this to a client, it’s important to understand their level of comfort with public transportation and navigating travel. From some, hopping a bus, a tram, or a train may be outside of their comfort zone and add unnecessary stress to their vacation.
If you plan to travel by bus, using the Route Planner website or app will help you navigate an unfamiliar system. Riders pay with coins when they get on the bus or with their Leap Cards. If you plan to be in Dublin for three days, the Leap Visitor Card may be a good option. This card is active for 72 hours from first use to ride both the city buses and the LUAS tram.
While Dublin is full of must-visit landmarks and incredible sights, there’s so much more to Ireland. For me, a visit to Ireland would not have been complete without seeing the Old Library at Trinity College and trying to pour the perfect Guinness, but some of the best experiences I had were outside of the city. Galway was a welcome change and made me feel at home from the second I stepped off the train. I also found that the day tour options were convenient and allowed us to see locations we would have otherwise skipped. Having a local guide on these tours was a highlight of taking them.
For me, experiencing Ireland on an FIT trip was exciting and exactly what I was looking for in a European trip. It did involve research and some creative planning, but we know that for travel agents, that’s half of the fun!
If you love planning trips and researching destinations, becoming a travel agent might be for you. To learn more about how to become a travel agent and how KHM Travel Group can help fill out the form to the right or give our team a call at 1-888-611-1220.