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Ireland Packing Checklist

May 19, 2009
Queenstown Story Luggage, Cobh, originally uploaded by fhwrdh.
liam says…

I leave for Ireland this week, and I thought I’d share my pre-Ireland trip checklist.

CARRY ON LUGGAGE

  • Passport – be sure to check the expiration date
  • Drivers License – check the date on that too – required only if you plan to drive in Ireland
  • Credit Cards & Enough US Dollars to Cover Two Nights Lodging – beyond that, I use ATM’s (remember to call each ATM & credit card company and tell them you are traveling overseas…otherwise, your card might be suspended for “suspicious activity”)
  • Medicines & Prescriptions – stored in original, labeled containers
  • Tickets - printout from Internet confirmation email is usually fine too
  • Glasses/Contact Lenses
  • Copies of Car Rental and Accommodation Reservations
  • Camera & Memory Cards
  • Light Jacket or Sweater - in case it’s cold on the plane
  • Travel Socks – for improved circulation
  • iPhone – with my international calling AND data plan activated
  • Travel Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Mouthwash
  • 1-Quart Ziploc Bag – for liquids…they’re charging for Ziploc bags at Dublin Airport now
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Distractions – this is where books and music come in handy
  • Granola Bar, Nuts, an Apple and Water Bottle – FYI, any liquids will not be allowed beyond security…except in checked bags
  • Emergency List – includes US & Irish contact numbers, credit card numbers with customer service contact numbers, copies of passport and important documents – one copy is kept with me and another with a trustworthy person back home
  • Duty Free Purchases – alcohol is cheaper in Duty Free than in Irish stores, so I often buy a few liters before leaving the US – airline personnel tend to overlook when Duty Free purchases slightly exceed carry on restrictions
  • Laptop, Charger & Adapter - I don’t recommend bringing your laptop. I’m there for a couple months, and use it for business, but for most travelers it will be more of a burden and there is a risk of damage or theft.
  • Ear Plugs or Noise-Canceling Headphones

CHECKED LUGGAGE

  • Camera Charger & Plug Adapter
  • Hooded Weather-Proof Jacket
  • Spare Set of Comfy Shoes
  • Laundry Tote – folds to the size of a deck of cards
  • Gifts for the Relatives
  • Clothing – I don’t travel with much because I keep clothes at the cottage

THINGS I DO NOT TRAVEL WITH

  • Wellies/Galoshes – although there are a few times they would come in handy, I don’t travel with a set. One pair of my shoes, however, is weatherproof (one-step below waterproof)
  • Travelers Checks – the abundance of ATMs in Ireland has made Travelers Checks unnecessary for me
  • Shorts – okay, there are about five days a year when shorts would be nice in Ireland, but the chances of them happening while I’m there is usually pretty slim
  • Umbrella (Bumbershoot) – the wind has trashed so many of my umbrellas in Ireland I count on my weatherproof, hooded jacket to keep me dry
  • Hairdryer – it’s easier to buy one in Ireland than packing one and then trying balance the plug converter in the socket…many accommodations provide hairdryers too
  • Shampoo – ever since I had a bottle of shampoo explode in my luggage, I just use what is available at my accommodations or buy some when I arrive.
  • International Drivers License – If your license is printed in English, there is no benefit to getting an International version when visiting Ireland.
  • Expensive Jewelry or Hard-to-Replace Items – It just makes sense to leave these at home…you don’t want to lose them, and you don’t want to make yourself a target for thieves.
  • If my computer wasn’t required for the work I do, I’d leave it home too.

I’ve found there are only FOUR things that you absolutely can’t travel without: Passport, Credit Cards, Drivers License and Medicines & Prescriptions. If you have these things, you’ll be able to work out alternatives to anything else you may have left behind. So DOUBLE, TRIPLE and QUADRUPLE CHECK for these items!

MORE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU PACK FOR IRELAND

OTHER IRISH TRAVEL INFORMATION

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Thomas G. Byrne permalink
    May 20, 2009 10:12 AM

    Great lists!

    Some more suggestions for carry-on luggage:
    o Book or other reading material – in case I can’t sleep on the plane or the movies are of no interest.
    o Gum or decongestant – if your ears are sensitive to pressure changes on the plane
    o Sunglasses – keep the rain away
    o Change of clothes (at minimum, underwear) – just in case luggage is waylaid
    o Washcloth – since many Irish hotels don’t provide them

  2. May 20, 2009 10:21 AM

    Excellent suggestions! Thanks for adding to the list.

  3. May 20, 2009 2:12 PM

    Thanks for the list!! I will be heading back over in July so I will be sure to print this off :)

  4. Judy permalink
    May 20, 2009 10:18 PM

    Great list, Liam! But just like a man to put “clothing.” Those of us of the Female Gland (to quote Col. Potter) would expand on that just a bit.

  5. Judy permalink
    May 20, 2009 10:19 PM

    Or maybe it was “Feminine Gland.” My rememberer isn’t as young as it used to be….

  6. Liam permalink
    May 21, 2009 4:55 AM

    Kat – Hope it helps.

    Judy – Ha! My defense is that “Wearables” deserve their own post :P

    Thanks for the comments everybody!

    Liam

  7. May 21, 2009 8:49 AM

    BRILLIANT post, and i stumbled it. i am so excited that you’re going! i don’t pack a lot for myself, but our 6yo needs as much as my husband and i put together. crazy, eh?

  8. Lisa permalink
    May 21, 2009 8:49 AM

    I usually bring one or two of my guidebooks on Ireland on the plane as I usually have lots of time with nothing to do. Reading about and planning my trip helps make the time go faster and motivates me to put up with the long flight.

  9. Pearl permalink
    May 21, 2009 11:58 AM

    So , what about the women who go to Ireland. I travel light and would like to know ,more about what clothing to pack. Cashmere wool, cotton,short sleeve, long sleeve, dressy, not
    dressy?!

  10. May 21, 2009 12:55 PM

    Judy & Pearl – the “MORE RESOURCES” section touches on your questions about what to wear. The http://www.IrelandExpert.com and http://www.IrelandYes.com forums are a great spot to get advice from other female travelers who have been there (there are some existing posts on the topic in the archives on both).

    Unless you’re planning to stick to luxury accommodations and restaurants, you can keep your wardrobe quite casual. Many women suggest a colorful scarf and other accessories to “dress up” an outfit (even nice restaurants do not have strict dress codes…they may require a jacket for men, but don’t usually require a tie).

    Otherwise, dress in layers…a short sleeve shirt, with a light sweater/sweatshirt/jumper (that’s an Irish term for pullover top) and a light jacket should work well for summer…a heavier jacket for winter. If the temperatures drop to require gloves and scarves, I’d purchase them there.

    Comfortable shoes are a must…and remember, wet grass and sidewalks are common, so be careful of anything that might get ruined easily by water…same holds true for other clothing.

    Other clothing choices will depend on the type of trip you have planned…serious hikes vs. in-town shopping, rustic sites vs. major tourist stops.

    I hope this helps…maybe we can convince Fireside contributor to write us a more detailed post on the topic.

    • Lisa permalink
      May 21, 2009 1:42 PM

      I agree with these suggestions and will add a few of my own. I always take a scarf to dress up my outfit and sometimes even take a string of pearls (inexpensive, not my grandmother’s) as pearls will dress any outfit up. One thing I wish I had on my 4 trips is a jacket with a hood. Since umbrellas don’t really work, I lose them and they’re not convenient to carry around, a hood would be a brilliant choice, especially when you just get a bit of a “mizzle.”

      I used to be a road warrior for work, so I have lots of clothes for traveling. I usually stick to basic black, since it goes with everything. But, be sure to bring some bright colors with you, especially if you’re traveling in the fall or winter (which are very nice times to be in Ireland).

      Remember to pack as light as you can, so each piece I pack must justify its use of luggage real estate and should be able to be worn with several other pieces.

  11. Michael Boyle permalink
    May 21, 2009 1:40 PM

    Your check list looks great!

    • Patricia Boyle-Wight permalink
      May 30, 2009 11:21 AM

      Hello there, Michael Boyle! I know you, don’t I? This list looks good. I am trying to bring as little as possible…but 1/2 my trip is very casual (living in community, doing chores together…for a week)…and the other 1/2 is a bit less casual (tourist stuff). I’ll have to think creatively.

  12. Lisa permalink
    May 21, 2009 2:06 PM

    Also, I bring my ipod loaded with podcasts and videos for the plane, especially the Irish Fireside!

  13. Judy permalink
    May 22, 2009 10:51 AM

    My choices are Land’s End sport knit cotton pants in black, navy or dark brown,and colorful tee-type shirts , lightweight cotton zip jacket, and a fuchsia hooded waterproof foldable jacket (can always be located in a crowd with that color). Depending on time of year, if it promises to be cool I take a cotton cable cardigan. No need for dressy things on the trips I take. For a week, three pairs of pants, including the one I wear on the plane, clean shirt, socks and undies for each day, and a spare pair of comfy shoes (Reebok Princess in black leather is my current fave). Warm jammies and simple slippers.

    I use space bags (the kind you roll up by hand) for used clothing.

    One thing we do and so far it has been safe is to leave most of our stuff in the boot of the car and just pack a small duffle to take into the B&B with tonight and tomorrow’s necessities. When we stay more than one night we take everything in to repack and reorganize. Somehow we always manage to end up at the top of at least one flight of stairs.

  14. Pearl permalink
    May 22, 2009 3:17 PM

    Thank you all for the tips. I live in Hawaii, so cold to me is 65 F so I think I need to take warmer clothes. A blk Cashmere, jeans, couple of short sleeve and a couple of long sleeve knits. If it is real cold I have silkies, and warm scarf. I don’t go anywhere without my I pod. I’m taking blk leather lace up tennis shoes, blk walking sandals, and a pair of loafers. Instead of the loafers I might take an extra pair of tennis shoes. When the weather says 30% chance of rain, does that mean drizzles, or hard rain and who knows?
    Pearl

  15. Judy permalink
    May 22, 2009 10:03 PM

    Well, Pearl, I live in far south Texas so my blood is fairly thin also. But at my, ahem, time of life, I find that I now welcome the cool weather. When I was much younger, and thinner, I once had a friend remark that my mother must have been frightened by an ice cube while carrying me.

    30% chance of rain is hard to pin down. Could be any of the above. You will almost certainly encounter soft weather on any given day. That said, I received one of the worst sunburns of my life in May of ’97 on the day we arrived. As our hostess remarked in horror, I was “boilt.” Another B&B hostess once reminded me that the sun is always shining in Ireland; it’s just that sometimes it is shining behind the clouds. What time of year are you traveling? That can make a difference in temps and chance of rain.

  16. May 22, 2009 10:21 PM

    Thanks for all the excellent tips.

    Pearl, you sound like you’re one the right track. Time of year will be a factor. If necessary, you can always pick up more clothes while you are in Ireland.

    Downpours in Ireland are for the most part infrequent, but drizzle is commonplace.

  17. Judy permalink
    May 22, 2009 10:22 PM

    In carryon, I take Brushups for freshening my mouth after napping and after meals. I think they are no longer made, but I snagged some on eBay.
    Very small calculator
    Travel journal and pen
    Bra wallet (probably wear on the plane)
    My green expanding thingy with a pocket marked for each
    day with driving directions, info on accommodations,
    each day’s itinerary, etc. and a pocket for airline info,
    one for trip insurance, one for rental car info
    For this next trip, notarized permission to take my minor
    grandsons out of the country, and permission to seek
    medical care for them.
    Bubble wrap for the jams I will purchase from my nun friend
    Things I am taking to my nun friend
    Imodium, aspirin or Tylenol, and a small first aid kit.
    Very small flashlight (Ireland is DARK at night)
    A multipurpose tool (Leatherman) came in handy on our
    last trip, but don’t accidentally leave it in your carryon
    coming home or it might be confiscated (learn from me)

  18. Aileen permalink
    May 23, 2009 10:39 AM

    I am from Kentucky and my sister is from South Carolina. We are going to Ireland the last week of June. All the hints about what to take is fabulous. We have been planning this for about a year and are very excited. Through family research we have found that we have distant relatives in Shannon, so we plan on going there to look them up. Thanks for all the advice.
    Aileen

  19. Mizz Lizz permalink
    May 24, 2009 10:24 PM

    Great place to travel to….I may suggest……please be advised that in Feb we ran into a situation with American Dollars…they need be printed 2004 and later…due to an influx of counterfit….they won’t even take them at banks so if you are going with cash be aware…

  20. May 25, 2009 5:15 AM

    Mizz Lizz – Was the problem you had with US Dollars specifically $100 bills or was it all bills before 2004?

    In our Money Matters podcast episode (http://www.irishfireside.com/05money.htm) we mention that many banks are refusing any $100 bills that are not in the new design (some banks are refusing $100 bills altogether).

    This is an important details for people traveling over with cash instead of ATM Cards or Travelers Checks.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Corey

    • Mizz Lizz permalink
      August 19, 2009 7:37 PM

      It was with all bills before 2004~~!!

  21. Pearl permalink
    May 30, 2009 11:31 AM

    In my research I have found some things that are a little different then Castles. Irish Lights Show at the Arlington Hotel in Dublin, A tour of a famine ship in Wexford Cty. The National Stud Farm near Kilkenny and a cruise on the Corrib Lough in Galway. You all may want to check these out.

  22. daisycottage permalink
    August 5, 2009 1:01 PM

    I live here so am used to the weather but one thing I have gleaned from friends from the us and canada re clothing is to think ‘layers’. In one day in Ireland we can have sunshine, gales, rain, and maybe even snow during the winter/spring months so clothes brought need to be packed with this in mind.

    For younger people who might be clubbing ID showing your date of birth is important (other than your passport which you might not want to carry with you on a night out clubbing) as many places if they don’t believe you are over 18, will not allow you in.

    Don’t bother bringing umbrellas. For one, it might be too windy to use it and for two, they cost next to nothing in 2€ shops.

    For people with kidney problems and needing dialysis, many hospitals who give it need notice of requirements quite a while prior to your arrival here so check that carefully.

    And if you pack incorrectly or the weather you were expecting didn’t materialise, charity shops here are packed with very good clothing that you could buy (for very little) to carry you over and then give back at the end of your stay (washed and dried of course).

    For gifts. Rather than being scared of the excess you might be charged, why not buy all your gifts for the folks back home and just before you leave, get a cardboard box from any supermarket here, pack the gifts inside with newspaper/bubble wrap or whatever, and post the box home to yourself. Saves you the bother of carting all the bits and pieces and they will all be home within a day or two of your arrival to hand out to the recepients.

    And to the poster, Judy, maybe we could promote the weather in Ireland as being ideal for ladies at a certain time of life :-)

    And finally, remember take only memories, leave only footprints :-)

  23. Joanne Nakaya permalink
    September 13, 2009 2:18 PM

    I just got back from 10 days in Ireland. You’re list is great! I’d add a hat and scarf, sleeveless thermal shirt, reading light and I liked the kid-sized pillow/blanket combo. I got my converter/adapter there, wish I hadn’t taken my laptop and packed too many clothes. Kept my money, passport, id’s in a waist money carrier and a few Euro/Pounds in my pocket. Next time a carry-on will suffice! I agree with the four essentials! Also, packed a little backpack for short day trips and liked the zip lock bags to keep all organized!

  24. February 18, 2010 2:20 PM

    We’ve found that picking up a good road atlas of Ireland and marking places (with highlighter) you’d like to visit ahead of time makes for easier travel. You’ll see the spots as you travel nearby and you’ll already be familiar with the atlas layout.
    We still use the same atlas from our first trip, but it may have had its final trip. It survived four, but the last was five weeks.
    We pick up area specific maps locally. We found the Burren map in Clare to be very helpful in finding more obscure sites.

  25. Carole Spiller permalink
    August 14, 2010 11:42 PM

    My husband and I are going to Ireland in late October this year, and would like to know what we have to do to have our cell phones work overseas. I also need to figure out how to catch up on my email a few times, but don’t want to carry my computer. Anyone have any suggestions???

    • August 15, 2010 6:49 AM

      Carole,

      Talk directly to your mobile phone provider about international plans and whether or not your phone is compatible overseas. If your phone will work, you may also choose to purchase an Irish SIM card for your phone and set up a pay-as-you-go plan, or you can buy a phone in Ireland.

      Another good option is renting a phone; you’ll find a reliable company listed on this page http://irelandexpert.com/pats_bargain_page.html.

      As for email, internet shops and libraries offer access. Check with your accommodations to see if they offer computer and internet access.

      Have a wonderful trip.

  26. August 15, 2010 5:44 AM

    Hi Carole

    Regarding the cell phone, for ringing numbers within Ireland (restaurants, hotels, etc.) you would be cheaper to just buy a cheap pay as you go cell here. You buy top up credits in many shops, garages, etc. and especially if you envisage people here calling you back as you will be charged for that call.

    Using the internet is no problem as most towns have internet cafes where you just pay a small fee to browse or do emails etc. Many hotels too have internet areas in reception where you pay to use it (although it will usually be more expensive to access the net here as opposed to an internet cafe).

    Have a great holiday!

    Catherine

  27. Janny Smith permalink
    December 29, 2012 4:31 PM

    I’m going with family who’ve been there before (my first trip). All of this information has been very helpful, both for me and them. Looking forward to the whole experience. We’ll be going in late spring. Layering is essential and I liked the thermal idea and all of your other wise suggestions.

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