Using B&B Vouchers in Ireland

Old Oct 27th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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Using B&B Vouchers in Ireland

We have booked a ten-day fly-drive trip to Ireland in February through a travel agency for our honeymoon and will be given Bed & Breakfasts vouchers. Has anyone ever had any problems using these? How far in advance do you have to reserve a B&B or can you just show up in off-season? I don't want to be rude and just knock on their door.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Not every B&B accept vouchers. Some do not even accept credit cards.
Have a look at
www.bedandbreakfastireland.net and you will see who accepts what.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 12:31 PM
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Well - you really don't need vouchers at all. But since you've already booked them - not to worry. (The vouchers don't guarantee a room - only that if a room is available it is pre-paid)

In Feb you don't need to make reservations - BUT many B&Bs are closed in Feb so your choices will be more limited. However, if there are specific B&Bs you want, you should pre-book.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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rockslide: we used vouchers in the summer- it was good for a first trip, but I won't use them again. I think you wind up paying more in the long run.

Are your vouchers Town & Country? If they are, check the website

http://www.townandcountry.ie/

to see what is open in February & try to book ahead. Some of the best places accept them, but fill up early.

Have fun!!

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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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Our first trip to Ireland we had vouchers. The first place we stayed we asked "Do you take vouchers?" They said yes, but when we checked out, it happened to be a farm house B&B, and they had separate vouchers from the ones we had. They took the vouchers, but were not happy because evidently they had to exchange them with someone else.

Since then, we found it was better to do it on our own.

If you can get out of using the vouchers, you would be better off. For example, one night you might want to stay in a nice hotel, guesthouse, or upscale B&B, but you are stuck with pre-paid vouchers.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 05:08 PM
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Find out which organization your vouchers are with - such as Town and Country. Even though you have vouchers you will want to book in advance if possible to make sure the B and B is operating at that time. We had some trouble in October booking a place last minute on a Sunday night because - we were told - hosts diid not want to bother doing up a room on a Sunday night. Otherwise the vouchers will be fine and you will have a good range of options.
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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One recommendation (IMO)for accommodations in Ireland, with or without vouchers: Decide ahead of time whether or not you'd like to stay the night "in town" or "out of town." If you plan to enjoy the pubs at night, then you'd probably be better to stay within walking distance of those pubs. Guinness and Ireland's dark, narrow country road don't mix. We made a HUGE mistake in having a travel agent book with vouchers all of our B&B's. Every one of them was out in the middle of nowhere, requiring a designated driver. That's no way to visit Ireland IMO. Also, because of weather we missed our flight and our first night's stay; prepaid vouchers meant we simply lost that money.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on the use of B&B vouchers in Ireland.

Mkdiebold, did the travel agent pre-book the B&Bs for you or did you do the booking yourself? Our B&B vouchers are through Town and Country and we were planning to book accomodations ourselves once we were over there. Since we have never been to Ireland and it will be our honeymoon, we didn't want to be locked in to places as we visited the island.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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Hello,
I used Town & Country vouchers last month and had no problems whatsoever.

I simply e-mailed the B&B's I planned to stay at and let them know in that first e-mail that I had vouchers. They did require a credit card to hold the reservation, but no problems at all.

Have a great honeymoon!
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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We used vouchers both times we were in Ireland. Most towns have tourist information offices and if you don't want to book all your vouchers ahead of time, they will make the calls for you for a fee. If you are there during a Bank Holiday however, I would suggest booking those days ahead. Check the B&B book to see whether they will take vouchers.
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 12:32 AM
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I don't understand the advantage of using vouchers over just paying for it - especially if you are not pre-booking B&Bs but just going with the flow. Do they get you a discount or something?
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 04:00 AM
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When we went to Ireland this summer (with vouchers) we felt the advantage was not having to carry so much cash with us- these were pre-paid in the US, nothing to worry about.

As I stated previously in my trip report, I do feel that the vouchers must be a bit of a hassle for B&B owners. We seemed to get less-desirable rooms than non-vouchered guests in at least one location.

In the future, we will just pre-book with B&Bs ( I want to be able to stay where I want!) and avoid the vouchers.

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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 09:31 AM
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I've used vouchers once, in the UK, and found that in almost every place that we stayed, we would have paid less booking as we went. It also greatly reduced our options. In Ireland, land of the B&B, there are plenty of options when using vouchers so that isn't a problen, but I have rarely seen a deal that made it cheaper to use vouchers. That may be the case in February as that is off season. The problem you may have in February is that many B&Bs are closed in the off season.

The vouchers are a costly option for the B&Bs and there are some don't accept them during high season becuase they figure they will fill the place with "full fare" paying customers.

I would reserve 1st and last night and call from your B&B for your next one. If you know where you are going to be each night, reserve them before you leave.

Bill
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Hubby and I are lucky enough to have use of a cell phone when we go to Ireland so we often will call up a B&B the day we arrive in town (or an area) of the place we want to stay - even during the summer months. Often, if the B&B is full the owners will have contacts of someone comparable nearby they can hook you up with. The exception is, as others have stated, if you are looking to get into a specific place you will want to call ahead. You can do the same call-as-you-go without a cell phone easily just by buying a prepaid phone card and stopping at payphones to call B&Bs out of your T&C book. The book will say which ones are open while you are there but a phone call is always appreciated to let your hosts know that you are really on your way. You actually can just knock on people's doors, just be sure to do it early enough in the day so you have your place are set before it gets late. (We try to arrange our place between noon and, at the latest, 6pm.)

Your biggest issue, as others have also said, is that many B&Bs will be closed during that off Off Season month of February. B&Bs closer to larger towns will be the ones you will most often find open. That works for you guys, too, as you will be close to pubs and restaurants for those early mid-afternoon evenings that are wintertime in Ireland.

Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and honeymoon!

Safe travels,

Wendy
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 09:17 PM
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rockslide: Knocking on B&B doors is not rude, it is a necessity. This web site will give you all T&C B&Bs that accept vouchers: http://www.tandctrade.com/ Many times even if the B&B indicates on their listing that they are open all year, they may not be. The owners may be on vacation or renovating. The only way to really know is to contact them by email, phone or by knocking on their door.

Nona1: Vouchers do not give you a discount for B&Bs. They are sold as part of a fly/drive/voucher package by travel agents. They may be a good bargain or they may not. Depends on how much the whole thing costs.

KatyaNY: You say that it seems that vouchers are a lot of hassle for B&B owners. You don't know the half of it. B&Bs do not get the face value of the voucher. They get a percentage that is very low -- anywhere from 60 to 80% of their actual price. The travel agent gets some of it. T&C gets some of it. Then the vouchers must be mailed in and B&Bs can wait anywhere from a week to many months to get their actual money. Sometimes the travel agencies go out of business and they never get anything for the vouchers. To say it is a hassle for the owners of B&Bs is putting it mildly. They like them well enough in the off season when tourists are not plentiful but during the season they would prefer to get full price for B&B.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2005, 10:31 PM
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Can't speak to the vouchers issues. But I can say that while calling ahead day to day is a good idea, it's not necessary.

During a trip in late-March and early April of 2003, we did nothing but knock on doors due to a seat-of-our-pants style trip. We had no problem at all -- except on what turned out to be Mother's Day in Ireland.

It was a lot of fun stumbling upon these great little places (one had a tree full of teapots hanging from the branches in the front yard. The owners showed us their scrapbook of their village's glory year back in the '70s when it won a Tidy Town award - lots of fun).

Do heed the in-town versus out-of-town advice from mkdiebold. Not only is distance from the pubs an issue, you might want some dinner ;-D
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 10:21 PM
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We're going to be there in late March. Are we going to run into a problem with B&B's being closed?

When my husband and I went 25 years ago, we used vouchers and were quite pleased with them. This time we're going with my brothers, two of their friends and our two kids (16 & 20 years old). We're only going to be there 5 nights. We'll be all together 2 or 3 nights, split (my husband, myself and our kids only) the other nights. Are we likely to have a problem finding rooms for all of us in the same B&B? Do many B&B's have family rooms that will accomodate 4 people?

My brother is leaning toward vouchers so that we don't have to worry about carrying so much cash (as we know that not all B&B's take credit cards). I agree with him on that. And I know that, last time, we got a listing of all the places that took the vouchers. That's also a help.

But, since we'll be there off-season, will the vouchers be too limiting? And are we likely to pay a lot more than we would booking directly? Can we even get vouchers for only 5 nights?

I have to say also that what I've read in this thread about the inconvenience of vouchers for the B&B concerns me. Is Town & Country a better company to go with as far as the B&B is concerned? Or is there another company that's preferable?

A lot of questions, I know! Thanks for any feedback.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 10:43 PM
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Sorry, but one more question....I'm wondering whether the fact that there are four of us makes vouchers more of a problem for us. If no B&Bs have rooms that will accomodate four, then obviously we would need two vouchers for each night. But what if some do have large rooms and some don't? How do we know how many vouchers we'll need? I guess knowing exactly where we want to stay each night and pre-booking would work. But we were hoping for more flexibility than that.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 11:47 PM
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I'd forget about vouchers altogether. They are really of no benefit in your situation. And you don't have to carry lots of cash. Many B&Bs take credit cards, and there are ATM machines everywhere to get cash for any that don't.

By March most B&Bs will have re-opened for the season so that's not really a problem. For the nights you are all stying together If I count right there will be 8 of you. That is a lot of people for one small B&B. Many only have 2 or 3 rooms to rent. So you might want to look for larger guest houses and small hotels.

When it is just the 4 of you you won't have any problems either w/ 2 rooms or a family room.
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Old Jan 6th, 2006, 11:49 PM
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OH - just to clarify, my last post should have been addressed to CAPH52 . . .
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