Yes, a rental car costs a lot more than taking a tour bus or using public transportation. BUT I cannot begin to explain the amazing places we have found because we had the freedom of our own vehicle.
I don’t think Ireland would have the place in my heart that it does if my sister and I would’nt have explored on our own accord with a car.
Yes, driving on the left side of the road is incredibly terrifying for the first timers. But I promise after you have round about panic attacks and mini strokes from the tour buses barreling towards you around tiny one lane bends you will become a total pro. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry my fair share of tears. I pulled over once and swore I would not drive another mile. But now I zip around those Irish backroads like one of the lads yelling at the tourists to moveeeeee.
Almost all of Ireland’s coast is a part of the Wild Atlantic Way, which is jaw dropping beautiful and you could miss some seriously incredible places without your own car.
There really is no reason not to rent a car, not only the first time you visit but every time. Around every overgrown green corner is another piece of magic to pull over and explore. Which leads me to the next thing I need you to think about: my post on why you should never try to visit the entire Emerald Isle in one trip. Honestly just don’t, you will miss so much.
We always pay for the full CDW waivers and insurance that way there is no deductible for an accident, theft, windscreen damage, tire issues, collisions, scratches, mirror ripped off from the narrow roads, whatever happens we are covered. It is quite a bit extra but I would rather pay $3-400 extra than $1500 if one of the above were to occur. You can trust yourself all you want but what if somebody else hits you or smashes your mirror while you’re parked on a cobblestone street?
We’ve rented cars with Sixt once and Avis twice but I think our upcoming trip we are going to try out Europcar. They seem to be a lot cheaper, their cost with CDW Super coverage is about half the cost as the other companies. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Now if you have littles a car seat from the rental company can cost $15/day, which adds up since you’re hopefully staying a minimum of ten days. I considered being one of those people lugging a toddler’s giant car seat through the airport and then waiting for it on the baggage carousel. But then, I found the ride safer vest. If your baby is over three years old and taller than 30 inches he or she can use the vest safely and without taking up any precious packing space. I threw Presleys flat in between the two sides of my Away carry on and slipped it out when we checked in at the rental car company.
It really does work and it really is safety rated for our sweet little babies that we spend so much of our time trying to protect. Presley fell asleep on our long drive from Dublin to Kerry so we tried to use our belongings to prop her up on each side and she felt like such a big kid that she didn’t mind being a bit uncomfortable. She kept assuring us along the way “I am comfy”. It’s also great for jumping into taxis or Ubers! I ordered a used one from eBay because they are a bit pricey. But I promise the ease of not dragging a car seat around is worth it and if you take more than one trip in a year it will pay for itself compared to car seat rentals!
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