Volunteering abroad for a year comes with a lot of travelling around and that travelling needs to be done on a budget. Here are some things I have learned, but also the story of how we went to Dublin while being broke after Christmas and quite successfully managed to travel as a group of six.
Saving on flights
We bought our Ryanair tickets during the Black Friday sale, which is an amazing day to look for cheap anything. We paid ten pounds to fly from Bristol to Dublin and back, I think the Irish luck was already on our side when we bought them. Any other day of the year I would suggest keeping an eye on Ryanair prices, they have a fare finder on their home page, EasyJet has a deals page and I’m sure other low cost airlines have a similar thing. For spontaneous travels azair.eu is also a good page to check out; they have a ‘take me anywhere’ option for those with incurable wanderlust.
Finding a bed
We booked Isaacs hostel in Dublin which we were very happy with; it was located near the centre, had free breakfast, and the beds were quite comfy. While travelling, I prefer to stay in hostels; they are cheap and there is always a possibility to meet some cool travellers to chill with. Hostelworld is a good place to book, but I’m sure any other booking page works equally well. While booking a hostel, always read the reviews first and check that it’s not too far from the places you want to visit. I prefer to choose hostels that include free breakfast and have a common area or even better – a bar! A place to cook your own food is also important. Obviously it’s expensive to eat out every day so try to prepare meals at the hostel (and pack your lunch), and if you travel in a group you can cook and eat all together and save even more money. If there is more than one of you booking Airbnb is a good idea and if you’re travelling in a pair or smaller group Couchsurfing is also an option. I haven’t couchsurfed myself so I can’t give any tips for that. However, I have used Airbnb and for that I’d say the same applies: read what other people have said before booking.
Free stuff is always better
While in Dublin it’s possible to walk everywhere and any museum with the word national in it is free to visit. We did a fables and folklore free tour which was a good twist on the regular walking tour. We heard the myths and legends of Ireland and of the legendary people of Dublin. Anywhere you travel it’s a good idea to first take a free walking tour (they’re not actually free though: you should always tip your guide).It’s a great way to learn about the place, but also you can ask for tips from someone who lives in the area. The most interesting locals we met though were the deer in Phoenix Park which is also totally free to visit and the deer are very friendly, especially if you have some carrots with you.
The best part about Dublin is the pubs, and if you aren’t a fan of Guinness you will learn to love it there. Although, we visited some famous pubs like Temple Bar and the oldest pub The Brazen Head, there are a lot more places to discover in the evenings. All the pubs we went to had live music; the best concert I’d say was in The Celt where they played traditional Irish music. We also attended ‘a session’ in The Cobblestone; anyone can join a session and no one is preforming, everyone is just enjoying music together. Even though the beer is a bit expensive in Dublin, we enjoyed going to pubs every night, and if you don’t drink alcohol the pubs are still a must in Ireland; they are the best way to experience the local culture and feel the Irish spirit.
Post written by Sandra