Months ago, I decided that turning 30 merited more than the requisite dinner and crying in my room. This called for adventure! And after saving up my pennies, I decided to take a gamble on one of the most magical places on earth: Ireland.
Read on as I explain how I pulled off the trip of a lifetime, in style and on budget.
Before I'd get to see this, I needed a plan. I waited six weeks—the best time to buy airfare—then booked a roundtrip flight to Dublin for only $700.
Knowing I didn't want to stay in a hostel six days, I researched bed & breakfasts on TripAdvisor.com to find the best value. I also set a budget—no more than 40 euros per night—so I could splurge on what mattered. For a four night stay at the Flyover B&B in Dublin, I spent $217.
The budgeting didn't stop there. I also told myself I wouldn't spend more than $500 (380 euros) over the course of the week.
For meals, I limited my spending to $20 (15 euros) a day. Finding excellent food wasn't hard to do in Dublin, a city whose restaurant scene rivals New York's.
Determined to make the most of each day—most Dublin stores close early at 5 and 6 p.m—I took several trips outside of the city.
Visitors can climb a trail encircling the village and catch a glimpse of Ireland's Eye, the offshore island pictured in the first slide.
This ancient passage tomb, or cairn, was built to measure time and commend the dead. Check out the engravings on the standing stone.
On Day 4, I hopped a roundtrip bus ride to Galway ($25/29 euros), a beautiful city on Ireland's west coast. For 30 euros a night, I stayed at a B&B just steps from this jaw-dropping landscape.
The second day in Galway, I paid $38 (29 euros) for a bus ride and ferry to visit one of Ireland's three Aran Islands, Inis Mor. Here I am standing beside my dinky chariot for the day. The bike cost $13 (10 euro).
And then I turned 30! I capped it off with a splurge ($18/14 euros) on the finest cuisine that side of the pond.
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