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sdonovan27 Oct 31st, 2014 10:57 AM

Prebook B&Bs
I am planning my second trip to Ireland, and we are planning on visiting the Republic, as well as NI.

Our first trip we stayed in hotels, as that was the package we bought. However, this time, we would like to stay in B&Bs. We do plan on booking hotels in Dublin, Belfast and Galway. As for the rest of the trip, we would like to "fly off the cuff." For this reason, I was wondering if we really needed to book B&Bs in advance?

We will not be traveling during the high season and don't mind staying off the beaten path. When we were there the last time (Oct. 2011), it seemed like there were B&Bs everywhere.

I need to also keep in mind that there might be anywhere from 2-5 travelers, so 1-2 rooms/stay.

My final question is...would it be better/less expensive/less hassle to either go through a company (CIE?) who has that style of travel or just book everything myself?

Thank you in advance!

MmePerdu Oct 31st, 2014 11:13 AM

Book them yourself. I almost always travel off season and in Ireland I book the first place I plan to stay and the rest as I go. You should have no problem doing something similar. Take the time to compile a list for yourself from various sources, places that are well reviewed and call a day or 2 in advance to book. If there are places you want very much to stay then I'd book those as soon as is practical and build your trip around them. Otherwise, as you go.

On my first trip to Ireland the TIC offices in towns of any size were good sources for rooms on arrival. But my last experience taught me that, in the internet age, except in an emergency, they are no longer very useful. The people in the offices can't recommend so you may end up with less nice than you'd like. Doing your homework ahead of a trip is the best way, I've found, to successful booking as you go.

nytraveler Oct 31st, 2014 11:22 AM

I'm sure there would be no problem in finding A B&B in any town any given night (unless there is a local festival on - do check). But you need 2 rooms - one a triple which will cut down your options. If you have a strict budget and/or other specific requirements the options could be cut back even further.

So if you want to find place as you go I would go with a list of possible places to stay that you know meet your requirements and contact them before you leave the previous town to make sure you will get what you want/need.

janisj Oct 31st, 2014 12:17 PM

IF you end up 5 then you almost have to pre book everywhere. Many B&Bs (most even) will have rooms but whether you can find a double and triple (where you want to stay) will be tougher. If you end up 2 or 3 -- then you can wing it most places.

azzure Nov 4th, 2014 01:25 PM

I like to read reviews and pre-book the B&B's I find most appealing...don't like to wing it, but that's just me. Don't like to cut into any of my valuable sightseeing time by having to look for a place to stay.

TPAYT Nov 4th, 2014 01:41 PM

i have to agree with azzure. I wouldn't want to spend time every few days looking for a place to stay.
Yes, there are many B&B's in Ireland but for us part of the fun of planning a trip is looking at the reviews and choosing where we would like to stay. Winging it may be fun for some but we'd rather take our time getting to a new town, stopping along the way taking our time, knowing our next B&B is waiting.

jaja Nov 4th, 2014 03:36 PM

I've done it both ways and I now pre-book. Just easier for me.

MmePerdu Nov 4th, 2014 08:20 PM

If you sure of your itinerary, prebook. If not sure, and have done your homework and have a list, making a phone call doesn't exactly cut into your travel time. If the place you call is booked, the owner/manager will know of another comparable place. Don't lock yourself into a schedule just to avoid making a phone call. In fact, the places you stay will always be happy to call ahead for you. But only if you value that kind of freedom and sponteneity, otherwise no point.

sdonovan27 Nov 7th, 2014 06:36 AM

Thanks again!

Our first trip was highly scheduled, which I am fine with as I am Type A. However, we did run into a few problems which kind of threw me off and made us re-evaluate what we were doing.

My husband is much more laid back and doesn't want to schedule everything. This is why I was trying to allow for some freedom.

I know I want to spend two days in Dublin, Belfast and Galway, but I am going to book hotel stays for those days. We will be driving the Causeway, so I think we will end up staying in Co. Donegal one night. Then we will begin our journey to Galway through Sligo and Mayo with a stop in Clifden. Stay there?

I definitely want to visit the Cliffs again as it was hurricane-like weather when we were there the last time. I would also like to visit Dingle, Skellig Michael and the coast of Cork before shooting up to and staying in Cashel. I want to do a stop in Kilkenny before heading to Dublin for one more night before flying out.

I know this will be about a 12-14 day trip. Any suggestions are appreciated.

wrenwood Nov 28th, 2014 04:35 PM

I would say definitely pre-book. In some places you will see lots of B&Bs, in other places there will be a sign at the end of the road...and the B&B may be a long way down the road.

You could spend a lot of time at the end of a day looking for a B&B that had availability, was a place you liked, and has multiple rooms available if you need them.

And if you arrive hungry, does the B&B serve dinner? (most don't) How far back down a road for dinner?

There were times in the past where we didn't book ahead of time. I remember looking for a place to stay for 2 hours one time. Not fun, a waste of vacation time.

You have a lot of places on your list, looks like too much to me, maybe some others can help.

We stayed in Dingle for a few nights, it's a great area.

Frances Nov 29th, 2014 09:10 AM

We came really unstuck on our second visit to the Republic. We decided not to book ahead as on our first visit we had seen just how many B&Bs there were.
We were heading from Dublin towards Galway and totally failed to find anywhere. Eventually at about 10pm we found ourselves in the shop in a village where a festival was taking place.A woman behind heard us asking for accomodation and offered to let us stay in her house. The woman running the shop had said that we would find it difficult to find anywhere else. having come as far as we had without luck.
We took up the offer and it was a bad idea.However it was all that was available.
I won't do it again.

Tony2phones Nov 29th, 2014 11:09 AM

Standard answer... As a Couple with no preconceived requirements above a clean bed and a good Breakfast then it's fine to wing it a little

Winging it the t2p way. or how we tour

Book the 1st and last nights. Pin a Michelin 712 map on an empty wall. Decide any must see places and pin them. work out some stepping stones(towns) on a rough route.

Compile a list of 3 guest houses and 1 hotel for these potential places. email the hotels and ask if there are (1) any events or festivals locally on your possible dates. (2) if the hotel is doing any special offers on your possible dates.

Talk to your host and ask in the local pub what's worth seeing. Phone ahead at breakfast for the evening accommodation. Only book one night at once, if the place is good or there's things to do and see within a 30mile radius book an extra night.

Tourist Information Bureau are great and will always find you a bed for the night. Provided there is one available and of course provided they are open! not much fun knocking on doors at 6pm.

Of course you don't have to visit every place on your list but having a few numbers is better than knocking on doors ..

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