Ah, the infamous words of a study abroad student trying to save money. Upon our arrival to Dublin, my friends and I began planning trips, both domestically and internationally, in a frenzy. We wanted to get as many weekends booked as we could to make the most of our study abroad experience. We hit the ground running and toured Ireland for our first few weekends, staying in spacious airbnbs in both Cork and Galway.
When initially looking at accommodation options, it is only natural that a college student’s eyes gravitate towards those with the lowest prices. However, with lower costs comes a greater distance. This may sound great at first because after all, you are saving money, right? Well, not exactly.
We quickly learned that though nicer accommodations existed further outside city centers at a reasonable price, we would pay the price in transportation fees. Even though we could use our leap cards in other Irish cities besides Dublin, we found that bus stops outside other city centers were not as prominent, not to mention they do not always run at the most convenient times. We ended up calling several taxis because, of course, we wanted to be in the city center during the day and then once again at night. Though we had four people to split fares, our methods of transportation ended up being much pricier than we expected.
In retrospect, paying the extra ten or twenty euro to stay closer to city centers is DEFINITELY worth it. For what we ended up spending in both taxi and bus fares to and from our accommodations, we could have stayed in a location much closer, and saved a lot of stress running back and forth. Though we will continue to look for ways to save money, location is one thing we have come to splurge a little more on when traveling. A walk to restaurants and pubs is a much better option than pre-booking taxis and trying to schedule bus routes – save yourself the trouble (and money)!
Despite our slight travel frustrations, we had wonderful weekends in both Cork and Galway. Cork had many more shopping options, but nothing beats the cobblestone streets of Galway strung with lights in every direction, not to mention its proximity to the Cliffs of Moher. My friends and I were incredibly lucky on our visit to the cliffs, as it was one of the sunniest days I have yet to see in Ireland. The bar has been set pretty high!