From its impossibly green countryside to its lively pubs, Ireland is always a good choice for an international trip. The country is popular with inexperienced travelers who love the cheap international flights to it, and who enjoy the way they can get around there with relative ease. And a visit is just a quick hop across the pond, as they say, if you’re traveling from the U.S. Making a jaunt to Ireland however still comes with its own set of planning rules. To have the best possible time, be sure you keep these dos and don’ts in mind when planning your trip to the Emerald Isle.

Do Purchase a Heritage Card If You Plan on Sightseeing

How to Plan Trip to Ireland

Your trip to Ireland can quickly eat up the savings you got on one of the cheap international flights there and then some with each stop to sight see. As entrance fees can add up quickly, if you plan on sightseeing your heart out while in the country, you’ll want to purchase a Heritage Card. Offered by Heritage Ireland, this sightseeing pass will grant you admission to all of the fee-paying state managed OPW Heritage Sites. You can purchase the card at one of the accepted sites for 40 Euros for an adult, 30 Euros for a senior, and 10 Euros for a student or child. Family passes are also available for 90 Euros. The card grants you admission to a lengthy list of sites including loads of castles, abbeys and national parks. Even several popular Dublin attractions make the list like the Dublin Castle and Kilmainham Gaol. If you plan on visiting three or four of the sites covered, the card has usually already paid for itself.

Don’t Assume Your Credit Card Will Cover Your Car Rental Insurance

How to Plan Trip to Ireland

Renting a car in Ireland is one of the best ways to see the country on your own terms. However, it can be met with speed bumps if you don’t prepare in advance, namely when it comes to car rental insurance. Most credit cards issued in the U.S. won’t cover collision and theft insurance while in Ireland. Before you book a car rental without insurance, you need to check to see if your credit card will cover you. If it does, most car rental companies will want to see written proof from your credit card company when you pick up the vehicle. If you decline coverage altogether, you could face a pricey hold on your credit card.

Do Pack for Rain

How to Plan Trip to Ireland

Rain and Ireland go hand in hand no matter when you visit. You might have beautiful sunny days but you will always need to plan for the rain. Pack a rain and wind coat, waterproof shoes and an umbrella no matter what time of year you plan on visiting. Ireland’s weather is unpredictable, meaning you will need to be able to adapt. Travelers should stick to packing in layers for Ireland’s temperate oceanic climate.

Don’t Just Stay in Dublin

How to Plan Trip to Ireland

Ireland’s capital is certainly worth a visit but it shouldn’t be the only stop on your itinerary. The verdant green countryside holds some of Ireland’s great treasures. Staying just in Dublin won’t expose you to the rural areas that fill with natural stunners from the Wicklow Mountains to the Dingle Peninsula to the Cliffs of Moher. There are also smaller cities that are worth a gander beyond the confines of Dublin like Kilkenny and Sligo.

Do Plan for Jet Lag

How to Plan a Trip to Ireland

Many of the flights from the U.S. to Ireland arrive in the early morning hours, usually about 5 AM to 6 AM. While Ireland can be appealing for its short flight times from the U.S., this can also be a great problem for jet lag. Not having enough time to try to sleep on a plane and those early arrivals to the country can translate into some of the worst cases of jet lag. For your first day in Ireland, don’t plan on doing too much driving that will have you fighting your eyelids. Instead, try to get to your first destination quickly, somewhere where you can do some walking around for most of the day so that the dreaded jet lag nap at noon for several hours doesn’t hit.

Don’t Make Classic Cultural Mistakes

How to Plan a Trip to Ireland

Just as can be the case with any country, many visitors can make classic cultural quips in Ireland and quickly be met with some not so friendly locals. In general, leprechauns and pots of gold shouldn’t make it into your conversations with locals. There are also certain terms you should never order in Ireland like an “Irish car bomb” or a “Black and Tan.” Other cultural no-nos include saying that Hollywood created, “Top of the morning to you,” or the dreaded “St Patty’s Day.”

Planning a trip to Ireland comes with its own set of rules to keep in mind, but once you do, you’ll be cruising that lush green countryside and discovering just how magical the country can be.

If you’ll be visiting the country for about a week, check out our guide on “How to See Ireland in Just 7 Days.”

Have you planned a trip to Ireland? What other dos and don’ts would you add to the list?

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About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at