A trip to Ireland has always been on your bucket list? But you just don’t have the right person to go with? Maybe this is your sign to just take a leap and go for it. On a solo adventure!
Both, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, are extremely traveler friendly countries and the Irish are known to be warm and welcoming. Even if this is your first ever solo trip abroad, you won’t regret it!
One option to explore the island is with the help of a tour operator
. Group tours can be the perfect solution if you want to explore some of the highlights the island has to offer, while also meeting fellow travelers at the same time. You could book an entire holiday package or just certain parts of your trip, and be sure that someone has figured out all the logistics for you.
However, this post covers the joys of fully exploring the island by yourself, and I share my favorite tips for solo travel in Ireland:Preparation
As with any type of individual travel, preparation is key to having a more relaxed time when you are finally at your destination. One of the first questions that will come up is how you want to get around the island. While this is hugely a matter of personal preference, using public transport
over renting a car can make things a lot easier.
Once you have your bus or train tickets sorted and know where to go, you can simply lean back and enjoy the ride. The Irish are very sociable, and next thing you know, your seat neighbor might be giving you some great travel recommendations or share their favorite pub with you.
Another way to make your trip a little bit smoother, is to have your accommodation
booked upfront. Sure, you will give up some of your flexibility, but in return you will have more time to explore the cities and towns you’ll be staying in, rather than having to search for accommodation at the end of a long travel day. The type of accommodation depends on your personal preference and your budget. While hostels
can be great for meeting other travelers, B&Bs
can give you a little bit more privacy if you’re looking forward to unwind after an adventurous travel day. Many B&Bs are privately owned and more often than not you will have a friendly and knowledgeable host who is happy to share some local recommendations with you.
One more thing I have learned over the years of solo travel is to pack light
! Not only does it save you from lugging around heavy bags, but it also means that in certain situations you won’t have to ask a stranger to look after your belongings if you don’t want to, but you can simply keep everything with you at all times. Remember to bring a few breathable layers
to be prepared for anything the Irish weather has to offer. Meeting people
Now you’re done with all the travel logistics, let’s get to the fun part of solo travel: meeting people!
Sometimes it can be quite a step out of your comfort zone to approach strangers. One easy way to make you feel more at ease would be to join group activities that match your hobbies at home. It’s a win-win situation: you get to engage in an activity that you already know you’ll enjoy, while making new friends in an entirely new setting.
If you stay in a hostel during your trip, you will almost automatically meet new people and many hostels even offer a range of group activities. Having your breakfast in the community area of your accommodation is a great way to start the day, find travel companions and make some exciting travel plans for the day. Eating out alone can seem very daunting at first. I encourage you to leave your smartphone (and the temptation to message your friends at home while having dinner) in your bag and bring a book instead. You will have some entertainment while you’re waiting for your dinner, and when it’s time to eat, you can fully enjoy the flavors of the local cuisine
What would be a trip to Ireland without a visit to the pub? And let me tell you, it is one of the best ways to meet people! Have a pint, enjoy the live music and join the craic. You will soon feel that even the language barrier drops when you are having a fun night out with your new friends in the local pub.Safety
Ireland is a great destination for solo travel, but of course you should always use a healthy amount of common sense to make sure that you are safe throughout your trip. It is good practice to check in with someone at home. I recommend having one person at home who you are checking in with, rather than a whole group of people. If you are going on an outdoor adventure also let the hosts of your accommodation know when you are planning to be back. Just like you would at home, use your judgment and keep your wits about you as you would anywhere you travel.
With all these travel hacks for solo travelers you will be well prepared for your adventure. Now the most difficult thing for you to do is to pick the places that you would like to visit… What’s your best advice for solo traveling the Emerald Isle?