Travel on a Budget - Irish edition

May 10, 2018

RO: Inainte sa plec in Dublin, chiar citisem ca Irlanda este printre cele mai scumpe tari din Uniunea Europeana, mai scumpa si decat Suedia, iar preturile din Suedia cu siguranta m-au speriat. In cele din urma, insa, excursia in Dublin nu a fost nici pe departe asa de scumpa precum ma asteptasem pentru ca am apelat la niste trucuri "secrete", care, ei bine, nu vor mai fi atat de secrete pentru ca ti le voi spune si tie.

 

ENG: Before going to Dublin, I had read that Ireland is among the most expensive countries in the European Union, even more expensive than Sweden, and prices in Sweden definitely scared me when I went there. In the end, the trip to Dublin wasn't nearly as expensive as I expected because I used some "secret" tricks, which, well, won't be so secret anymore once I tell them to you.

 

 

RO: 1. Drumul

 

In general, cand mergi intr-o excursie, cele mai mari probleme legate de cheltuieli ti le fac drumul si cazarea, nu-i asa? In ceea ce priveste transportul, trucul consta in gasirea escalelor cele mai ieftine. Intra pe www.skyscanner.com, introdu orasul de plecare, destinatia si datele calatoriei si te vei convinge. Vei fi suprins sa vezi ca un zbor poate fi mult mai ieftin cu o escala intr-o tara in care nici nu te gandeai sa te opresti, decat poate un zbor direct. Pentru Dublin aveam de ales dintre o escala in Bucuresti (Iasi-Bucuresti -Dublin) sau o escala in Londra (Iasi-Londra-Dublin). Desi multi s-ar repezi sa aleaga prima varianta, gandidu-se ca e prea complicat sa se mai opresca in UK, atata timp cat exista deja un zbor direct din tara de plecare, noi nu am stat prea mult pe ganduri. Cea de-a doua varianta era mai ieftina, iar escala de 14 ore ne permitea sa vizitam si cele mai importante atractii londoneze (ca un bonus, din Londra erau zboruri spre Dublin aproape din ora in ora, toate la acelasi pret de 80 lei, deci daca ne-am fi dorit sa nu mai vizitam Londra si sa ajungem mai repede in Dublin, asta nu ar fi fost o problema). Si in plus... daca tot era vorba sa facem o escala undeva, avand in vedere ca nu exitau zboruri directe din Iasi spre Dublin, de ce sa o facem in Bucuresti, unde mai fusesem de nenumarate ori, cand o putea face in capitala britanica?!

 

*Truc extra: daca alegi companiile Blue Air / Wizz Air asteapta pana la perioada reucerilor (15-20 % OFF) pentru a cumpara biletele - in general sunt cam o data la 3-4 saptamani. 

 

ENG 1. Getting there

 

In general, when you go on a trip, the biggest financial problems are caused by the journey itself and the accommodation, right? When it comes to means of transport, the trick lies in finding the cheapest stopovers. Go on www.skyscanner.com, type in your city, your destination and the dates of stay and you will be convinced by this. You will be surprised to see that a flight can be much cheaper with a stopover in a country you didn't even consider stopping in than with a direct flight. For Dublin, we had a choice between a stopover in Bucharest (Iasi-Bucharest-Dublin) or a stopover in London (Iasi-London-Dublin). Although many would rush to choose the first option, thinking it's too complicated to stop in the UK as long as there is a flight directly from the country of origin, we didn't hesitate much. The second option was cheaper, and a 14-hour stopover allowed us to visit the most important tourist attractions in London (as a bonus, there were hourly flights from London to Dublin, all at the same price of 80 lei, so if we had wanted not to visit London and get to Dublin more quickly, it wouldn't have been a problem). Moreover... since we had to make a stopover somewhere anyway, considering there were no direct flights from Iasi to Dublin, why do it in Bucharest which I had visited before countless times, when we could do it in the British capital.

 

*Extra trick: if you choose airlines such as Blue Air/ Wizz Air, wait until discount season (15-20% off) to buy tickets - usually it takes place once every 3-4 weeks.

 

RO: La ora 5:00 A.M. ne-am intalnit cu totii in fata aeroportului - eram un grup de 8 - , am trecut de securitate si controlul pasapoartelor, ne-am luat pe fuga o cafea si ne-am urcat adormiti in avion. La 6:00 deja decolam. Mergand spre vest, spre o zona cu fusul orar cu 2 ore inapoi fata de Romania, aproape tot drumul am vazut un rasarit prelungit care nu se mai termina. Mereu imi place, cand sunt suspendata in avion si merg spre vest, sa ma gandesc ca am puteri supranaturale si pot sa opresc timpul! In jur de 7:30 A.M. am aterizat in aeroportul Luton, am luat un tren spre Londra, iar la ora 9:00 ne incepeam deja aventura londoneza. Escala noastra nu a avut doar avantajul pretului, ci si al faptului ca eu si Alexandra ne-am indeplinit un vechi vis comun. Inca din liceu ne doream sa calatorim impreuna, dar in special sa vedem New York si Londra. Asa ca, pe data de 14 februarie 2018, s-a intamplat ca in scurta mea escala, sa o gasesc si pe Alexandra, care ajunsese deja cu 2 zile inainte, in acelasi loc. Stiam de mult ca va fi si ea in Londra, nu a fot chiar atat de magic momentul incat sa ne intalnim intamplator pe strada, dar oricum, chiar si asa, a fost de necrezut!

 

EN: We all met in front of the airport at 5:00 AM - we were 8 people in the group - got past the security check and passport control, grabbed a coffee in a hurry and got on a plane in a sleepy state. At 6:00 we already took off. Going west, to a time zone that was two hours behind Romania, I saw a prolonged sunset that never ended. Whenever I'm up in the air and I'm going west, I like to think that I have superpowers and I can stop time! Around 7:30 AM we landed at Luton Airport, took a train to London, and at 9:00 we already began our London adventure. Our stopover had not only the benefit of the price, but also of the fact that Alexandra and I fulfilled an old wish we both had. Ever since high school we had wanted to travel together and especially to visit New York and London. So, on 14 February 2018, it happened that during my short stopover I found Alexandra in the same place, having arrived there two days earlier. I knew a long time before that she would be in London, so the moment wasn't as magical as it would have been if we had met on the street by chance, but it was still unbelievable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  RO: 2. Cazarea

 

Asa cum am mai spus si in alte articole, momentul in care costul excursiilor mele a scazut vizibil a fost acum 3 ani, cand am descoperit Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/), un site pentru inchiriat case, apartamente sau doar camere in intreaga lume. Preturile pe Airbnb sunt cu mult mai mici fata de cele de la hotel, iar conditiile pot fi de multe ori mai bune. Imi amintesc amuzata cum am stat acum vreo 6-7 ani, in Londra, la un hotel de 2-3 stele. Pe langa faptul ca holul avea maxim 1 m latime, iar o persoana mai corpolenta de abia incapea, acoperisul avea crapaturi deasupra patului, iar noaptea ne picura apa fix in cap... Ah, si intr-o noapte am auzit un chitait din dulap, care semana cu un zgomot facut de soareci.

 

*Truc extra: Pentru o reducere de 100 lei /20 euro pe Airbnb, intra pe linkul www.airbnb.com/c/ninad925 , fa-ti un cont nou si gata! 100 lei reducere la prima excursie mai scumpa de 280 lei.

 

Cazarea noastra din Dublin a fost cred ca una dintre cele mai bune de pana acum. Mi-ar fi placut sa raman acolo impreuna cu ceilalti colegi si Alex. Am locuit impreuna toti 8, pentru 4 nopti, intr-o vila uriasa, la vreo 20 minute cu autobuzul de castelul din centrul orasului. La parter era un dormitor pentru doua persoane, o baie, sufrageria (cu semineu! chiar imi pare rau a nu am reusit sa gasim lemne sa il aprindem intr-o seara) si bucataria, din care puteam sa iesim direct in curtea din spate, la primul etaj erau alte 3 dormitoare duble si o baie mai mare, iar la mansarda era un singur dormitor, unde am stat am stat eu si Alex. Pentru toate cele 4 nopti am platit aroximativ 100 euro de persoana (apasa aici pentru a vedea cazarea). Inainte sa platim chiria pentru aceasta vila am deschis si Booking.com sa ma conving totusi ca fac alegerea cea mai buna, dar l-am inchis repede. Majoritatea camerelor la hotel costau 100 euro/noapte, cat am platit noi pentru intreaga sedere.

 

ENG: 2. Accommodation

 

Like I've said before in other posts, the moment the cost of my trips dropped visibly was 3 years ago when I discovered Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/), a site for renting homes, apartments or just rooms in the entire world. Prices on Airbnb are much smaller compared to hotels, and the facilities can often be much better. I remember with amusement how 6-7 years ago I stayed in a 2 or 3 star hotel in London. Besides the fact that the hallway was 1m wide, and a larger person could barely fit, the roof had cracks above the bed and during nighttime water would drip on our head... Oh, and one night I heard a squeak in the cupboard, which seemed like a noise made by mice.

 

* Extra trick: for a 100 lei/20 euro discount on Airbnb, go to www.airbnb.com/c/ninad925, create a new account and that's it! You have a 20 EURO discount on your first trip costing more than 280 lei.

 

I think our accommodation in Dublin was one of the best we've had so far. I would have liked to stay there with my classmates and Alex. All 8 of us lived together for 4 nights in a huge villa, a 20-minute trip by bus from the castle in the city centre. At the ground floor there was a bedroom for two people, a bathroom, the living room, (with a fireplace! I'm really sorry we didn't manage to find wood and get it to work one night) and the kitchen, from which we could go out directly in the backyard; on the first floor there were 3 other double bedrooms and a bigger bathroom and on the second floor, which was more of an attic, there was only one bedroom. This is where I stayed with Alex. We paid around 100 euro per person for 4 nights (click here to see the accommodation). Before paying the rent for this villa I also checked booking.com in order to make sure I was making the best decision, but I quickly closed it. Most hotel rooms cost 100 euro/night, the price we paid for the entire stay.

 

 

 

 

 

RO: 3. Grupul

 

Numarul de persoane cu care mergi chiar poate sa faca o mare diferenta la pret. Atat numarul de persoane, cat si numarul de camere pe care vrei sa le inchiriezi. Un prim gand ar fi ca o excursie este cu atat mai ieftina cu cat sunt mai multe persoane in grup, pentru ca se imparte costul cazarii la un numar mai mare, dar nu este chiar asa. Cele mai avantajoase sunt chiriile pentru 4 persoane, poate 5 maxim, asa ca daca sunteti un grup mai mare, de 8-9, o solutie ar fi sa inchiriati doua apartamente. Am vrut si noi sa facem asta in prima faza, chiar gasisem doua apartamente bune la 5 minute unul de celalalt, dar pana ne-am decis noi, unul dintre ele deja nu mai era disponibil. De fapt, pana ne-am hotarat noi sa platim efectiv cazarea, am ratat vreo 3-4 oferte foarte bune, si a trebuit in final sa luam ce mai ramasese si nu neaparat cea mai buna varianta. O alternativa, daca vreti neaparat sa stati toti impreuna si sunteti mai multi este sa dormiti 4-5 intr-o camera: apartamente cu 2 camere cvadruple.

 

ENG: 3. The group

 

The number of people you go with can really make a difference when it comes to the price. Actually, both the number of people and the number of rooms you want to rent. You may think the more people go on a trip with you, the less expensive it is, because everyone splits the cost of the accommodation; however, the reality is different. The ones with the best price are the 4, maximum 5 people rents, so if you are a bigger group of 8-9 people, a solution would be renting two apartments. At first we wanted to do this as well, we had even found two apartments at a 5 minute distance from one another, but until we made up our minds, one of them was no longer available. Actually, until we effectively decided to pay for the accommodation, we missed out about 3-4 good offers, and we finally had to settle for what was left, which wasn't necessarily the best option. If you really want to stay together and there are more of you, an alternative would be for 4-5 people to sleep in the same room: apartments with 2 quadruple rooms.

 

 

RO: 4. Deplasarile


Odata ajunsi in Dublin, a venit, inevitabil, necesitatea de a ne transporta din loc in loc. Necunoscand foarte bine optiunile pe care le aveam, ne-am repezit la prima varianta pe care am gasit-o: abonamentul saptamanal pe toate liniile de tramvai, cu reducere de student. Abia peste doua zile, dupa ce m-a verificat controlorul, am aflat ca de fapt nu era valabil pentru cei ce nu erau studenti la universitatile din Dublin, deci teoretic merseseram ilegal in tot acel timp. Puteam la fel de bine sa mergem fara bilet. De abia spre finalul excursiei am aflat secretul. Daca sunteti un grup mare de 6-8 persoane este ideal sa optati pentru taxiurile dube. Desi in Romania, cel putin in Iasi, nu sunt atat de frecvente aceste tipuri de taxiuri (pentru 8 persoane), in Dublin erau peste tot. Iar daca la final imparteai suma la 8 pasageri, iesea chiar mai ieftin decat un bilet de autobuz. In ultima zi, pentru drumul spre aeroport, am inchiriat o astfel de duba si am platit doar 5 euro/persoana, in timp ce autobuzul din centru pana acolo ar fi fost 10 euro. Ah... si in Dublin biletele de tramvai/autobuz costa diferit in functie de numarul de statii parcurse. Cu cat vrei sa mergi mai mult, cu atat platesti mai mult. Acelasi principiu ca la taxiuri, de altfel. Doar ca taxiurile te lasa chiar la destinatie (si cum spuneam, sunt mai ieftine daca sunteti un grup mare).  Prima data cand ne-am urcat intr-o astfel de masina eram atat de entuziasmata. Ma simteam fix ca in Scooby Doo. Ne mai lipsea un caine.

 

ENG: 4. Transportation

 

Once we got to Dublin, we inevitably had to find a method of transportation. Not knowing very well what options we had, we rushed to choose the first option we found: a weekly pass for all tram lines, with student discount. Only two days later, after a conductor checked my ticket, I found out it wasn't available for those who weren't students at Dublin universities, so in theory we had travelled illegally all that time. We might as well not have had a ticket at all. Only towards the end of the trip did I discover the secret. If you are a group of 6-8 people you should ideally go for large taxis. Although in Romania (at least in Iasi) these types of taxis for 8 people are not so frequent, in Dublin they were everywhere. In the end, if you split the cost between the 8 passengers, it was even cheaper than a bus ticket. On the last day, we rented one of these taxis to go to the airport and we paid only 5 euro/person, while a trip by bus from the city centre to the airport cost 10 euro. Oh... and in Dublin the tramway/bus tickets have different prices depending on the number of stations. The more you go, the more you pay. The same principle as for taxis. Only taxis leave you right at your destination (and as I mentioned, they are much cheaper if you are a larger group). The first time we got into such a car I was so excited. I felt just like in Scooby Doo. The only thing missing was the dog with a big appetite.

 

 

 

RO: 5. Atractii gratis

 

Ca si in Londra, in Dublin muzeele principale sunt gratis. National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art sau Natural History Museum sunt doar cateva dintre atractiile pentru care nu trebuie sa platesti niciun cent la intrare.  Iar dupa o vizita la unul dintre aceste muzee, o alta optiune gratuita este o plimbare in unul dintre numeroasele parcuri ale Dublin-ului, precum Phoenix Park sau Gradina Botanica Nationala. Ce poate fi mai relaxant, dupa ce ai alergat pe la toate muzeele, decat sa te intinzi pe iarba rece dintr-un parc, sa privesti cerul si sa simti vantul cum iti flutura parul?

 

* Truc extra: Daca vrei sa vizitezi si muzee a caror intrare costa, este ideal sa iti cumperi biletul online cu ceva timp inainte pentru ca, nu numai ca obtii o reducere, dar nici nu mai stai la coada la intrare.

 

ENG: 5. Free attractions

 

Like in London, the main museums in Dublin are free. National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art or Natural History Museum are just some of the attractions for which you don't have to pay a cent. And after a visit to one of these museums, another free option is to go for a walk in one of the many parks of Dublin, like Phoenix Park or National Botanic Garden. What can be more relaxing, after having seen all the museums, than lying on the cold grass in a park, watching the sky and feeling the wind blow through your hair?

 

* Extra trick: If you also want to visit paid museums, ideally you should buy your ticket online some time in advance because not only do you get a discount, but you also don't have to queue at the entrance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  TRANSLATED BY MATHEW B.

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list,

NINA

 

 

 

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