We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
26 posts
71 reviews
Save Topic
Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

First of all is anybody familiar with Irishtourism.com's tours? Two of us were going to do a fully escorted tour through an American company we used in Europe before, but we've changed our minds. I'm really interested in doing a self guided tour. Irishtourism.com has a tour w/the car hire & b&b included and the price seems fair. I can't find any negative reviews by googling.Anyway, I'd like to hear any tips on the self guided tours, we'll be going up to 8 days 7 nights and as low as 6 days and five nights.

I was also considering taking a ferry to Scotland...has anybody done this?

The main reason we're switching is because we might save $1,000 and get to see more of Ireland. I have been through the entire country before, but my traveling companion has not and the tour we were to take was mainly Dublin and Meath(e), and I think we should cover more ground. Thanks.

SANDEMANs NEW Europe - Dublin
City Tours, Bar, Club & Pub Tours, Walking Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Wild Rover Tours
Cultural Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Day Trips
Collins Day Tours
Historical & Heritage Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Bus Tours
Irish Day Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours
england
Level Contributor
5,438 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

Its obviously your choice, but personally I would do the lot myself, I dont like the idea of seeing someone else's choice of what is interesting.

Book flights, BandBs, hotels and a car and off you go.

We all use the same language (roughly!), I cant see the problem.

Be aware that the B andB vouchers are very limiting on your choice as not everyone takes them.

And yes, thousands of people take the ferry to Scotland, but this is not so simple as you might think, as the ferry goes from Northern Ireland (U.K.),

taking a rental car from the Republic might prove diffiicult, without seeing your whole itinerary we cant advise on this.

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
26 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

Hey! Thanks for the quick reply. Please forgive me if I repeat myself.

I don't think I'd be using vouchers on this tour. There IS a voucher option through a go-as-you-please plan, but I'd like my accommodations booked ahead of time, and I want to stick to those accommodations.

I did some research on the ferry, and did realize it leaves from Northern Ireland, which I didn't think would be a problem, but would you elaborate on that? Is it simply because it's leaving from another country, or are you concerned about the distance? I appreciate your expertise and opinion.

I'm partial to flying from Ireland to Scotland, because I actually hate boats, but I've done several ferries before and survived, so I'll look into flying.

Were you saying taking a rental care from the Republic to Northern Ireland might be an issue? That's good to know now.

The reason I was interested in the escorted tour was because I did on in Europe previously and it was super relaxing. I actually really enjoy planning travel, almost like a super geeky hobby, and part of me missed that and the other part thought it was nice to have everything set up for once. I know the itinerary ahead for this escorted tour and the focus was "haunted Ireland" which seemed fun, but the entire week seems to be in Louth, Meath and Dublin and I feel like there is so much more to see in a week since the country is so small. I've been all over, but my friend has never been to Ireland and I'd hate to have her only tour three counties. I'm okay with doing a few hours driving per day to get someplace new and see the beautiful scenery along the way.

Do you recommend going to Northern Ireland at all?

Have you been to Scotland and England?

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
14,873 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

i agree with fuchsiagirl...plan it yourself...beware of good deals that include car and b&bs....sometimes those bargains turn out to be a shocker when you arrive to pickup the rental car and discover you have to either buy "super" cdw insurance or have a large hold put on your credit card until you return the car undamaged....some quotes may include regular cdw, theft, etc., but may not, and that too would make it more expensive.....also, the fact that you would be taking the car from one country to another may be an issue....you need to check with the rental company and see what the charge is, if any, to do that just in case, heaven forbid, you are involved in an accident or have a mechanical breakdown and they have to retrieve their vehicle......

since you have been all over ireland, you realize that small though it may be, driving times can be very slow so with only a week, more than 3 counties, whichever you chose will be keeping you in the car a lot.....

also, with such a short time i would highly suggest you skip scotland this time....

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
26 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

Hello. The rental charge is fine, it's common to have the hold put on credit cards here in the U.S for the amount of the rental until it's returned. Also we're not taking the car into any other countries.

I disagree, I've driven around the U.S in one week and done covered quite a bit in two to three states and some days that driving time was 5 or 8 hours and it was no biggie. We're not doing every county in Ireland so a few days should enough for our plan. We're going to do Scotland for a day and England for another we already decided.

england
Level Contributor
5,438 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

I'm still not sure if you intend to take the car to Scotland on the ferry or if you mean to leave it in Northern Ireland and pick it up again later, there is no problem hiring a car in the Republic and driving it in the North so long as you return it to the country you hired it in, and taking it on the ferry is expensive (even if allowed) and quite pointless for a day. Do you mean you are going to Scotland and back one day, and England and back another day? Or taking three days, one to travel to Scotland from Ireland, one to travel from Scotland and England and one to get back to Ireland? By ferry or fly?

Driving here is not like driving in the U.S., we are small congested islands, roads are smaller, twistier, it takes a lot longer to ger around than you would think, looking at a map.

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
14,873 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

the hold on the card won't be the amount of the rental...it will be between 1500-2000 euro, todays conversion price $2001.14-$2668.70....

when anyone of ta gives you advice it's not to discourage you from having a good time....it's because they have all been there, most have had repeated trips, or live there....so if you want to spend your time in the rental moving from place to place to place so you can say you were here, here, and here, instead of soaking up a few places and getting to know the beautiful irish people, you are good to go.....

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
26 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

I don't know why you're talking about discouraging advice?

Ventry, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle Peninsula
Level Contributor
7,774 posts
147 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

I take it then that you are not taking your car to Scotland. That's where the problem lies. The vast majority of rental companies allow travel to Northern Ireland from the Republic, but not onwards to mainland UK

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
26 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

No, no car to Scotland. A did some mock ticket purchases and some of the ferries wouldn't let me un-check the box for bringing a car on. We're looking at flying. Prices will probably change by the time we buy them but right now it's around 465-100 bucks before taxes to fly. I have not looked into it more specifically, except that it's Ryanair.

I did find a few blogs where the writer talked about road trips from Northern Ireland south into Ireland and how there was basically no customs or a real border, but we don't plan on taking the car anyway. Why have you done this?

It says you're a Dingle Peninsula expert:) What do you think?

If you want me to be super specific I can into detail about the plans. Thanks for replying.

england
Level Contributor
5,438 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Switching from fully escort tour to self-drive

No, there is no 'border' as such between the Republic and Northern Ireland but they are separate countries, with different laws and currency, there is no problem renting a car in either country and driving all over the island, so long as you take it back to the original country of hire, there will be an excess insurance charge to pay, dont think 'I just wont tell them' as you will not be insured. If the ferry will not let you un check the car box it is possible they do not take foot passengers.

Ryanair is certainly cheap to fly anywhere in the British Isles but do read their terms and conditions very carefully, one cabin bag means ONE cabin bag, not one bag and a purse, weights and sizes are rigorously adhered to.