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Fly/drive tours Ireland

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We are looking at the fly/self-drive combinations that many different companies are offering. Information on any companies to avoid or problems with the voucher system for the B&B's would be helpful.

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    we did a fly/self-drive last August. We did not take a "package" as such, simple arranged flight and car through our travel agent, who found the combination that suited us. We actually found the prices she got for us were less than any we saw advertized on the net, even the estimates from rental companies. We landed in Cork, pick up the car at the airport, drove 1500 miles in three weeks, and left from Dublin airport. The car was from Budget. This enabled us to make up our own route, we were not bound to be anywhere at a certain time. Our lodging was usually in the tent we took with us, but when the weather got too cool, we had no trouble finding shelter in inns. These were usually connected with pubs, but there were also lots of B&Bs signposted, and they usually had vacancy signs out.

    We were out to look at the landscape, so drove mainly on the secondary roads.
    The driving was not a real problem, the cars are set up for right hand drive, and as long as the driver in the one in the middle of the road, you should be ok. The roads are narrow though, usually with stone walls where the shoulder should be, and the Irish tend to drive too fast, and in the middle of the road. The road signs don't give much warning of a turnoff, it is usually right at the sign. Not all the signs are reflective at night, and this can cause problems too. The main highways are much like North American roads though. For both budgetary and ease of driving, I would recommend you get the smallest car for your needs. For two adults, with too much luggage, we found the four door Volkwagon Polo (Golf) a good size.
    Enjoy your Irish adventure. A

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    We too just returned from a week in Ireland (we went over Thanksgiving) and had a great time. We agree wholeheartedly with the previous responder, get the smallest car you can. The roads were very narrow, most with no shoulder.

    We flew American using miles (into Shannon, out of Dublin). We rented our car here from Dan Dooley (800-331-9301). We rented a standard shift, "B" class (5-door hatchback), and took ALL the insurance and it was $247 (this beat all the other estimates I got by about $100). And, they were delightful to deal with. We had a flat and ended up having to buy a tire. When we turned in the car, they refunded our purchase without blinking an eye.

    We didn't want to mess with vouchers, as we didn't know how far we would get in a day or when we might want to change directions or stay longer. We paid right at $50/night for en-suite. The Irish Tourist Board will send you great info, including a full-color guide to B&Bs, we used it almost exclusively and had wonderful accommodations.

    We had a great time, be sure to eat in the pubs and visit with the friendly folks.


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    I would second the above posts - do it yourself. However it might be a good idea to book a B&B or Hotel for the first night and after that ask at each place for recommendations for the following night (in some cases they even ring ahead and reserve for you). I had some friends who used the vocuher system and they found it restrictive. I would advise early reservation each day - not leaving until late to find a bed for the night. Finally do hire your car prior to departure - car hire is very expensive in Ireland if you leave it until you arrive. Re Irish driving well I will leave that up to the other posters as I am one of those Irish drviers - at least we are not as crazy as the Italians. If you want any advice or tips on what to see etc post with more details of when you are visiting and your main interests. Finally check out the Irish Tourist Board for brochures etc.

    Good luck

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    We used CIE tours in England and Wales, and I know they offer fly/drive/voucher packages for Ireland as well because our book included them. It worked out well for us. Here are some pro's and cons which may or may not apply to you:

    pro -- price was fixed for each night. We were with my mother, and I would not have wanted to argue every night if a place was too expensive.

    pro -- the B&B's were all pretty nice, nothing luxurious, but comfortable.

    pro -- many of them were in out of the way places, and very small. We had breakfast with the innkeepers, it was really lovely.

    con -- many of them were in out of the way places, and almost none were centrally located. We ended up doing a lot more driving than we expected. The booklet was quite misleading about the distances a B&B was from a specific place.

    con -- none of them were really special. I would have liked to splurge on one or two nights. If I did it again I would have a couple nights off the vouchers when I could stay in a castle!

    con -- in some more crowded areas, they simply didn't give us enough options. Even calling a day or two ahead, we couldn't get a room anywhere in Cardiff.

    I don't know if I would use the voucher system again. I think I would be inclined to book independently so I have more control over where I stay. And I would always book for the most popular areas in advance.

    Hope this offers some food for thought!

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    I have a price of about $700 from sceptre tours for asix night fly drive including air, vouchers and car. Do you all think i could beat tis if i tried to book it separately?

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