Back in October I was in Ireland, experiencing Gaelic culture, learning about the island’s rich history, and road tripping through the beautiful western countryside. The 18 days that I spent in the country made for a quick trip and an attempt to pack in as much as possible. You may be able to experience Ireland for cheaper, but here is my honest and realistic 18-day expense report for my first time in Ireland.

All prices have been converted from their original currency into Canadian dollars. Dollar amounts quoted are for one person while traveling for most of the trip in a group of two, so some costs would be higher for a solo traveler. Scroll down to the bottom to download my detailed expense report in spreadsheet form.Fog at the cliffs of Moher

Flight – $909.23

After watching flights from Ottawa to Dublin for about a month, the ~$900 that I paid was about $100 lower than the standard price for a return flight. There are no direct flights from Ottawa so I flew Aer Lingus with a connection in Boston.

Food – $617.08

The food in Ireland is nothing to write home about and it comes with a typical western price tag. I managed to sustain myself mostly on pub grub for an average of $34 a day.

Transport – $218.83

When we weren’t road tripping on the west coast (costs calculated separately) we took buses and trains all over the country. From Dublin to Belfast, up to the north coast and back again, and westward bound to Galway, Cork, and back to Dublin came out to approximately $200. Not too bad considering the number of hours we spent on the bus.

Accommodation – $542.86

Other than a couple of nights where it was necessary to stay in bed and breakfasts, we spent the entire duration of the trip staying in hostels with an average cost of $30 a night.

Phone – $96.10

This is the first time I’ve purchased a local sim card while traveling abroad and I’ll never go back to being phoneless. I own a Nexus 4, which is unlocked and quad-band, so I can purchase a sim on just about any network in the world and have it up and running within a few minutes. I found having a phone with data especially useful for finding my way around a city with maps and GPS.

I will admit that I probably spent too much money on this for 18 days of travel. This is due to two factors – purchasing sim cards for two countries (Ireland and the UK/Northern Ireland) and not purchasing enough data early on requiring a more costly top-up half way through the trip.

Ruins of an Irish castleAlcohol – $144.57

Alcohol is cheap and plentiful on the Emerald Isle. Of course when I travel with friends I indulge a little more than if I were alone, but at a price of less than $10 a day this wasn’t a huge expense.

Car Rental and Gasoline – $294.75

The car rental and gasoline added a significant cost to the trip, but seeing the gorgeous Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, and Dingle Peninsula without being constrained to a tour bus made these few dollars easy to part with.

Other costs – $168.75

The occasional taxi and entrance fees for castles and historic sites make up the remainder of the cost breakdown for this trip. Since much of the trip was spent on a self-guided road trip tour, this was kept low.

Total Cost – $2082.95 before flight, $2992.18 including flight

At $115.72/day on average excluding flight, Ireland was quite the expensive country to visit. Considering all of the experiences that we managed to pack into those 18 days, the price is not unexpected. I could have cut down my expenses in a few places, most notably the alcohol, phone and car rental costs, but then I wouldn’t have had all of the wonderful experiences and memories that I did. For a quick trip to Ireland I wouldn’t have it any other way.

BWSB Ireland Cost Breakdown – October 2013.xlsx