St. Paddy's Day in Galway
Know Before You Go
For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make these 9 days ULTIMATE.
Complete Your Checklist
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
- Visa: U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or less.
- Travel Insurance: While travel insurance is not required, we strongly encourage all travelers to obtain coverage before departure. Check out cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers, here.
- Talk with your doctor: It is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
- Traveling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
- Request a roommate: Double-check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
- Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
- Wi-Fi will be in hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
- Wi-Fi is not available on the bus.
- Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.
- If your flight is canceled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time.
- If you sleep in and miss your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case.
Arriving in Ireland
Welcome to Ireland! Once you land, grab your luggage and pass through customs and immigration.
Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!
If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.
Getting from A to B
You’re traveling through Ireland, and since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, it takes time to get to each destination. All transfers between cities are via private motor coach can take anywhere between 2-6 hours.
It’s a good idea to download a few movies or shows to watch sans Wi-Fi/ Cellular Data, bring a great book with you to read, or listen to music to pass the time.
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:
- Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon siesta, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially after spending all day in the sun!
- Be Prepared: The most prepared travelers will bring a small first aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
- Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
- Insight Timer: Meditation apps are very in right now. This one is especially amazing because there are 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
- What’s Up: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, What’s Up can help you manage these feelings with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
- Talkspace: No need to make appointments or commute to a therapist’s office. Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:
- Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
- Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
- At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi and always have cash on hand.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411.
For weight and size restrictions please refer to your airline’s website. Flight information will be available 30 days prior to departure in your online account. Below you'll find some critical packing information and suggestions.
- The most important piece of advice we can give you: Pack light! Your international airline ticket does include a checked bag, but years of customer feedback tells us a carry-on is the way to go. You may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, so make sure you are comfortable carrying everything you bring yourself.
- You've probably heard the hacks about rolling clothes and using packing cubes a million times, but there's a reason for that! It really does help.
- If you choose to pack all of your toiletries, don't bring your regular-sized bottles from home. Offload some of that into travel-sized containers.
- Choose your luggage wisely. We recommend a roller carry-on bag and a backpack as your personal item.
- Choose shoes carefully as well. They're some of the bulkiest items you can pack, so we recommend a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of climate-appropriate shoes (boots or sandals depending on the destination and time of year). We also recommend a pair of closed-toe water shoes if your itinerary has any water activities.
- Make a packing list of must-haves and stick to it. If you have a little extra space in your bags once all your must-haves are packed, then consider adding in a few nice extras.
- Unfortunately, luggage can get lost. It’s a painful situation no matter what, but here are tips to ease some of the hassle:
- DO NOT put important medications in a checked bag. If your luggage is lost, this could become a dangerous issue.
- Even if you put most of your clothes in a checked bag, put a couple outfits in your carry-on along with your toiletries.
- If you are forced to check you carry-on at the gate, be sure to remove essentials and valuables before handing it over.
- Carefully review TSA restrictions when packing. There are a number of items not allowed in your carry-on and liquids have certain restrictions.
- Check out the local weather; we haven't figured out how to control the weather yet so best to be prepared and plan accordingly.
- Don't forget: Outlets overseas can differ from the US, so be sure to pack the right power adapters/converters!
We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.
In Ireland you’ll use the Euro, and we recommend budgeting 80-100 Euro per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities.
Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour
- Currencies used: Euro (€)
- When exchanging money for this trip, better rates are usually found overseas, but it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.
- You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks, but be wary of fees.
- Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
- Tour Director: $36 - $54 at the end of the trip
- Local guides: $1-$2 at the end of each experience
- Taxis: Round up to the nearest dollar
- Restaurants: 10-15% (check your bill that gratuity isn't already included)
Originally, St. Patrick’s Day was a day to observe the death of St. Patrick. Today, the holiday is a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking and all the green you can imagine! You should note that celebrating a holiday in the place of its origin can almost guarantee one thing: Crowds. Prepare to party with crowds of people from all over the world. Read on for more tips to stay safe and make the most of your time in Ireland:
- Your belongings: Wear a cross-body bag to deter pick-pocketing, and keep each other accountable for your things. Remember the big three: Phone, (hotel) key, wallet!
- Lines: Big crowds typically mean big lines. Be prepared to wait in line for the bar, the bathroom, the bus, a taxi, and more. Use your wait time to get to know fellow travelers and compare each other’s green garb!
- Money: We recommend carrying only as much cash as you plan to spend during the party, and one credit/debit card. Leave backup cash and cards in the hotel for safekeeping.
- Buddy system: Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other. No one gets left behind!
- Phone: Bring a portable charger with you, or fully charge your phone before the day begins as you’ll likely be away from the hotel for the whole day!
- Clothing: Wear comfortable shoes, layers, and don’t forget the green! People go all out with beads, face paint, and more on St. Patrick’s Day so don’t be afraid to get creative!
- Pace yourself: St. Patrick’s Day is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself as you partake in the festivities, and remember that you’ll be happier you made the most of your holiday in Ireland, rather than forget the whole thing.
Irish folk are known for their slang, so if you want to stay hip, try out some of these popular words and phrases:
- Bang on: Meaning you’re right, accurate; “You are bang on.”
- Black stuff: Guinness; “A pint of the black stuff please!.”
- Brutal: Meaning awful or dreadful; “That was a brutal tackle.”
- Craic: Pronounce like crack; meaning fun, going on’s like “What’s the craic?” “Where’s the craic?”
- Deadly or Savage: Fantastic or great; “That was a deadly joke.”
- Grand: A reply to most questions like how are you, how are you feeling, in response to a statement; “How are you? Grand.” “Meet me here. Grand.”
- Knackered or Shattered: Exhausted
- Langers: Drunk
- The locals in Ireland are known for being friendly. Spark up conversation in the pubs and you may even find a new friend.
- We said it before and we’ll say it again: The weather changes in an instant. Expect the unexpected.
- It’s tempting to take pictures at every corner or of every pint you purchase, but remember that life in Ireland is all about living in the moment. Enjoy it!
- When at the pubs with a group, it’s common for each person to take turns “buying a round” for the rest of the group. Try it out with your new friends!
- Try new foods, we promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you just must try.
- Irish Stew: Ireland’s most famous dish of meat, potatoes, onions, and more
- The Full Irish: Or, Irish breakfast, usually consists of soda bread, bacon, eggs, fried sausages, mushrooms or tomatoes. Locals get their fuel for the day with this massive feast
- Salmon: Smoked or Irish, Salmon is a treat in Ireland and always fresh! Especially from April – June
- Galway Oysters: The best oysters are found in the West of Ireland, harvested in Clarinbridge.
- Soda Bread: Every Irish family has their own soda bread recipe, but it’s always good with butter, alongside Irish stew, or on its own
- Coddle: A slow cooked combination of sausage, bacon, onions, and potatoes
- Guinness & Guinness Cake: Why not pair a fresh pint o’ Guinness with a cake made from the dark stout? You’re on vacation, after all.
- Boxty: Essentially a mashed and grated potato in dumpling-form. Try it at Dublin’s Temple Bar!
- Black and white pudding: No, not like a Snack Pack. It’s pudding made from blood and fat mixed with barley, pork meat, oatmeal, and suet in one sausage. Trust us, try it.
As you prepare to spend time in a new culture, start to think about how you can make the most of your time, and live like a true Irish lad or lass! If you did not purchase an EF Ultimate Break optional excursion and like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time.
- If you did not purchase one of the optional excursions before the trip, log into your Online Account and you can purchase there, or, talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can enroll you.
- Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour.
We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.