There are loads of ways to holiday in Ireland, the most popular probably sitting on a coach with a group of people you don’t know and being taken from place to place. Ireland is an incredible country with so much to offer if you do it a slightly different way.
Here’s our top 10 reasons to ditch the tour bus!
1. Travel at your own pace: Coach tours have to follow a strict itinerary and timing schedule. Drivers are only allowed by law to drive for a certain number of hours per day which means that if you want to do a little extra shopping, get a cup of tea, stop at a stunning view or spend a little long than planned somewhere, you can’t! On a self-drive holiday there are no such limitations, you can take the tour as fast or as gently as you choose!
2. Choose your own dates: Scheduled tours run to specific pre-booked dates so you can only start and end your tours on these days and can only tour for as long as the company decide. What’s worse is that you may find if the places are not all booked up your tour could be cancelled or moved all together! With a self-drive holiday there are no such concerns, you can take the tour to the dates that suit you.
3. See the places you want to see: One major advantage to a self-drive tour is visiting only the places that interest you. On a pre-scheduled tour you will most certainly be taken to places that you wouldn’t otherwise have visited and drive straight past places you would have loved. In addition to that, you may have friends or family or ancestry in Ireland that you would love to visit during your tour. On a coach, this isn’t possible!
4. Visit the hidden gems: Most coach companies are running the same scheduled tours again and again and as such, certain attractions have deals with the tour companies which means that often you’re not visiting what is necessarily the best attraction in the area, but the one with best incentives for the tour company. A self-drive tour enables you to visit the attractions the coaches miss and MyDiscoverIreland shows you each attraction as you drive close to it.
5. Take stunning routes the coaches can’t reach: Many roads in Ireland – especially short-cuts are narrow and unsuitable for large buses. A small car will enable you to drive with ease around some of the most stunning coastal roads in the world with the added advantage that you can stop and take in the views at any point you choose.
6. Don’t share your holiday with strangers: An obvious plus for self-drive holidays is the privacy factor. There’s nothing worse than having to share your holiday with annoying fellow tour group members. Entering an attraction or sitting down to a meal with a big group also means that waiting times can be longer and menu choices are often limited.
7. Stress free planning: Although traditionally self-drive tours are much harder to organise and plan for, companies such as Great Irish Trips are a fantastic way to take a stress-free self-drive holiday. You can choose as many or as few of the elements of the holiday as you like including dates, destinations, attractions, car size, even specific hotels if you like, and Great Irish Trips use their knowledge and expertise to plan a free itinerary for your tour. When you’re ready to book, everything is done for you. You simply turn up to Ireland, collect your car and detailed information pack and off you go. All the elements you asked for will be arranged for you and the rest is up to you! And, in case something goes wrong, you have a 24 hour emergency contact right there to help you out.
8. Pop out for food in the evening: With a coach tour your evenings are often limited and hotels are often far away from easily accessible restaurants forcing you to eat at the hotel. With a self-drive tour you can pop into the car at any time and head out to a local restaurant that suits your individual taste and pocket.
9. Stay at your choice of hotel: Tour Operators are often tied into deals with particular hotel chains or accommodation providers. Whilst that may be good for price, it’s not always good for quality or location. A self-drive tour enables you to stay in a place that’s most appropriate for your needs, budget and route. With a Great Irish Trips tour they will select the most appropriate accommodation for your needs but if you’re unhappy with the choice, it can easily be changed before you book.
10. Empty roads: Last but not least, the roads. Many people are put off self-drive holidays through fear of driving on the ‘wrong side’ of the road or busy highways with bad traffic. Ireland is probably one of the easiest countries to drive in. Despite driving on the left, roads are incredibly quiet and even in towns and cities they are relatively small and easy to navigate. The pace of life in Ireland is laid back and relaxed and the driving tends to reflect this so if you’re a half decent driver, give it a chance!
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