Like many travel destinations, the best time to visit Ireland or Britain is during the summer months when the weather is warmer and drier and there is more daylight. However, if you have a choice of dates, it is worth bearing in mind that the prices of our coach tours are lower in the spring and fall – up to 40% over summer departures. Also airfares cost less and there are fewer people on vacation so popular attractions are less crowded.
Ireland and Britain have an unpredictable climate with many people saying that all four seasons can be experienced in one day! The climate tends to be moderate – never blisteringly hot in summer and never bitterly cold in winter. Average summer temperatures range from 60 – 75°F, spring and fall temperatures are in the 50s°F and winter averages 30 – 40°F with no huge day/night differences. Temperatures in Ireland and Britain are given in centigrade so don’t be surprised when you see low numbers!
Many of our coach tours are ideally suited for combining and we offer a discount on the second tour. If you want a self-drive vacation, consider taking a short coach tour first to familiarize yourself with Ireland and driving ‘on the other side of the road’.
On average our tours have around 35 passengers but our coaches hold a maximum of 48 passengers.
Most of our coaches are equipped with emergency restrooms. However, for safety reasons they cannot be used when the coach is in motion. The coach makes frequent rest/bathroom stops, at 2-hour intervals or less, for the comfort of all passengers.
Children over the age of 8 years old are permitted to travel on coach tours – under 8s are not allowed. Those aged between 8 and 18 are charged 90% of the full adult rate.
After the stress of organizing a wedding, many newly-married couples choose our programs as they are happy to have their honeymoon planned for them and not have to worry about booking hotels, planning itineraries or finding places to eat.
Our coaches are not handicap accessible so you must be able to get on and off the coach unaided by Book Irish Tours staff and be able to rotate seats on the coach. If you need extra walking assistance, you may bring a light-weight foldable wheelchair which can be stowed in the luggage compartment. You must advise us when booking a tour that you will be using a wheelchair or other medical equipment.
Book Irish Tours uses three classes of hotels – these are first class (3 star), superior first class (4 star, which include castle properties) or deluxe (5 star, which include castle properties). First class hotels (3 star) feature a dining room, lounge, bar and comfortable guest rooms. Many have leisure facilities. Superior first class hotels (4 star) offer the same amenities with higher standards and many have leisure and spa facilities. Deluxe hotels (5 star) offer luxurious features and are often in unique settings. We choose hotels either in central locations or scenic regions, depending on location, and we name all hotels we use on each tour. Our website contains photos and detailed descriptions for all featured hotels.
European hotel rooms generally tend to be smaller than North American hotel rooms. For your hotel room you can choose to have a Twin (2 separate single beds) or a Double (usually Queen size). Hotel bedding options – Twin or Double Please note that bedding is subject to each hotel’s discretion and availability. If there are three people sharing a room then a triple room will usually have a double and one twin bed (total 2 beds). Please note there is no reduction in cost for a third person sharing a room with two others. For comfort, we suggest that three adults take two separate rooms. No more than three people can share a hotel room on our escorted tours.
To ensure the comfort of all our passengers, we do not offer the option of sharing service for solo traveling passengers. We do, however, offer a single supplement whereby you will have the privacy of your own room. Our single supplements can be found at the bottom of the list of dates and pricing on each tour page on the Book Irish Tours website and brochure. We often have special departures where this supplement is reduced. Visit our solo traveler page for more information.
Due to the cooler climate in Ireland and Britain, most hotels do not have or need air-conditioning.
It’s a 4- or 5-course meal dinner with a choice of appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts. Most hotels feature a good assortment of red and white meats, fish and vegetarian foods. If you have certain tastes or dietary restrictions, you can advise us at time of booking or at the restaurant.
Hotels throughout Ireland and Britain offer a wide variety of foods. When making your reservation please notify us of your specific requests, especially for low-salt or celiac diets. We cannot guarantee all requests and it is a good idea to double check once you are in your tour hotels.
All of our tours offer included sightseeing every day to maximize your time. If you want to take a day out to play golf, ride or simply relax and browse around, you may choose not to travel on a day tour when you are staying in the same hotel for two nights.
As most components of your Ireland and/or Britain tour have been prepaid, you will only need money for lunch each day and dinners when you have an evening at leisure. If you are an avid shopper, or enjoy a cocktail in the evening these costs are incurred at your own expense. Also, it is customary to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour (please see the question on tipping guidelines for more information). Use credit cards and ATMs to avoid carrying large sums of cash. $100 bills are not readily accepted for exchange, even in banks, so it is better to carry smaller denominations. Currency – Euro and Pounds Sterling US dollars are not accepted in Ireland or the UK. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro (Û), while in Britain and Northern Ireland the Pound Sterling (£) is used. The two currencies are not interchangeable. In Ireland there are seven euro notes in denominations of Û5 to Û500 and eight euro coins including a one euro and two euro coin. The rate is generally around Û1 = $1.10 – this rate can fluctuate. View the latest exchange rate here. In Britain and Northern Ireland sterling pound notes are issued in denominations of £5 to £100 with eight coins including £1 and £2. The rate is generally around £1 = $1.50 – this rate can fluctuate.
If you are an American or Canadian citizen travelling to Ireland or Britain, the only travel document you need is a valid passport. Check that yours is valid, preferably until six months past your travel date and with blank pages so that officials can stamp entry/exit details. Other nationalities should check visa requirements with their nearest Irish or British embassy or consulate. For information U.S. citizens may visit the U.S. Department of State website – travel.state.gov while Canadian citizens may visit www.cic.gc.ca.
We usually ship documents by UPS ground service approximately 21 days prior to your tour departure date provided that full payment has been received. If you require documents earlier, we need sufficient notice to arrange for early delivery by regular service.
Documents include vouchers for coach tour and other services, an itinerary, hotel list, deluxe backpack, Get Ready Get Set Go booklet, document wallets, luggage straps and tags.
You have paid for tour vouchers so treat them as you would money as they are non-refundable. You will need to present the relevant voucher in return for services such as hop-on, hop-off bus tours.
Generally the dress code for our tours is very comfortable and casual. Our supreme tours will require that men wear a dinner jacket, however this will not be required for any other tours. Dressing in layers provides most comfort as you can shed and add items when the temperatures fluctuate. Consider packing the following items:
Comfortable walking shoes
An all-weather coat with removable lining
Comfortable clothing that can be easily layered
Our Get Ready Get Set Go booklet will contain more advice and suggestions on what to pack. This booklet is sent with your travel documents before your departure.
On coach tours, you are permitted one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag per person. Porterage between the coach and your hotel room is included. Self-drive clients need to consider the limited trunk capacity, and that soft-sided luggage is easier to stow. Airlines have their own regulations and some carriers charge for checked baggage.
Major credit cards are widely accepted and we recommend you use them to avoid carrying cash. ATMs are widely available and will accept appropriate US cards and dispense cash in the local currency. Additional fees may be charged so please check with your financial institution before you travel. It’s also a good idea to inform your bank that you are traveling overseas to ensure that they don’t block your ATM / credit cards.
Tips are not included within the price of your tour but are customary to show gratitude to your tour director or driver for satisfactory service. Tipping for restaurant/bar staff is usually discretionary but some restaurants do add a 10% – 15% service charge so be sure to check your bill first.
Our tipping guidelines are as follows:
Recommended minimum amount Per person per day
Driver/Guide (1 person crew) $8
Tour Director (part of 2 person crew) $5
Driver (part of 2 person crew) $5
Guide for walking or city tour $2
Driver for chauffeur vehicle $20
A 3-prong adapter for use in both Ireland and Britain can be purchased in most North American homeware stores. Hotels provide a shaver outlet in the bathroom and most hotels have a hair dryer and iron in the room or will supply them on request. More information can be found in your Get Ready Get Set Go booklet which is sent with your travel documents.
Check-in time varies between 12:00 noon and 3:00pm depending on the individual hotel. As transatlantic flights generally arrive in Britain or Ireland in the early part of the day, this can mean a wait at the hotel. Many hotels offer a left luggage area so you may enjoy this time by taking a walk, having a snack or doing some exploring.
We want you to see as much of the country you are visiting as possible, without spending all your time on the coach. We generally incorporate a sightseeing feature each morning and afternoon. There are breaks at two hour intervals or less so that you get a chance to stretch your legs, purchase a snack or lunch, take photos, have a cigarette or use a restroom.
On all tours, seats are rotated on a daily basis to allow all passengers an opportunity to sit towards the front of the coach. The tour director assigns seats for all clients. Seats belts must be worn when the coach is in motion. If you suffer from motion sickness bring medication with you.
Morning departure time depends on the itinerary to be covered on any particular day. In Britain the tour day begins between 8.00am to 8.30am, while in Ireland the day usually begins between 8.30am and 9.00am. Arrival back to the hotel/ or at the next hotel is usually between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.
Our coaches make frequent stops for sightseeing, smoking, lunches, snacks and bathroom breaks. You will have breaks at least every two hours or less.
Many of our tours incorporate walking tours in interesting places such as Derry, Cobh, York and Edinburgh; these are leisurely paced guided walks. You will have free time when you arrive at a hotel in the afternoon, so you may like to take a walk on your own or use the hotel’s leisure or spa facilities. Pack comfortable shoes with non-slip soles as many historic places have uneven paving.
Most of the hotels on your tour have wonderful leisure facilities and spas. You have some free time most days and may like to enjoy some relaxation and spa serenity, so be sure to pack a swimsuit and workout clothes.
Most hotels feature laundry and dry cleaning services and can be used when you stay in the same property for two nights. However, they do not offer self-service facilities. Check with the hotels to see exactly what services they offer.
Many hotels in Ireland and Britain do not provide washcloths so it is a good idea to bring some with you. Guest rooms have TVs and hairdryers; some also offer an iron and ironing board. Hotels also provide a shaver outlet in the bathroom. For exact information please check the hotel’s website.
Most small medical devices, for example C-PAP machines are permitted on tour. If you travel with a C-PAP machine, be aware that distilled water is not as readily available in stores as in North America. Some, but not all, pharmacies stock supplies. Bring distilled water with you or contact one of the hotels and arrange this directly with them.
If you need to bring insulin please be sure to bring a box to store it in together with freezable ice packs. Hotels can store the insulin for you and can freeze the icepacks to keep it cold when traveling on the coach. If you take prescription drugs, ensure that you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip and always keep them with you. Any medication must be in its labelled container when going through airport security and customs.
Book Irish Tours could not exist without our great locally employed tour directors – they are the envy of the travel industry. From the moment you land in Ireland or Britain, your tour director is there to welcome you, handle your luggage, drive you from place to place and give you daily commentaries. Tour directors make history and culture come alive and create a superb experience with daily doses of humor, information and assistance.
Once you meet your tour director, you don’t have to handle your luggage! At every hotel your suitcase is delivered to your bedroom door and collected before departure. However, luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one piece of carry-on baggage per person.
If you have access to phone or internet, please contact our office. Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org and advise us of approximately when you will be arriving. We will alert our personnel in Ireland or Britain to ensure they are aware.
If you are scheduled to take our group transfer and you miss it, we recommend that you take a cab from the airport to the first hotel where you will meet the tour.
If you are delayed longer than a day, you should make your way to the relevant hotel on the tour. A cab or public transport may be most suitable method of getting to the next hotel which may be a distance from your arrival airport.
Any additional expenses for transportation or accommodation to catch up with the tour will be at your own expense. We regret that we cannot issue any refunds or credits for any missed portions of the tour. Therefore, we recommend that you purchase our Travel Protection Plan.
If you become ill on tour or have an emergency situation at home, advise your tour director immediately. In the case of illness, have the front desk call a doctor or direct you to a medical facility. If you need to fly home immediately, our personnel in Ireland or Britain will assist you in making the best possible arrangements.
Free WI-FI aboard coaches enables you to keep in contact, browse and share your travels with friends and family back home. Most hotels will offer internet services, some in guest rooms and some in lobby only. As some hotels charge for WI-FI, you should check rates with the front desk in your hotel.
If you carry a cell phone, check usage rates with your provider before departing and remember to switch off roaming. In Ireland and Britain, pre-paid calling cards offer excellent rates and are on sale in many stores. You can also buy a simple cell phone with pre-paid minutes. In some parts of Ireland and Britain you may experience poor cell phone signals.
International call prefixes when you call the US and Canada from Ireland or Britain:
USA: 001Canada: 001
VAT (Value Added Tax) is included in the selling price of all goods in Ireland and Britain. As a non-European Union resident purchasing goods to take home with you, you may claim a VAT refund for goods of a certain value once the relevant forms have been completed at time of purchase. This can save you up to 20%, depending on products purchased. There are a number of different VAT refund companies for Ireland and Britain. For Ireland, we recommend using the Horizon card, which we have included with your documents. Click here for information on how to claim tax refunds with the Horizon card.
US Immigration & Customs Pre-Clearance at Dublin and Shannon Airports
Passengers traveling to the US from Dublin or Shannon can now avoid long lines by clearing both passport control and customs & excise in Ireland prior to boarding their flight to the US. Currently Ireland is the only country outside the North America Region to offer such a service. The border pre-clearance facilities are operated and staffed by US Customs and Border and complete the same procedures as you would in the US. Pre-clearing US Immigration and Customs means arriving earlier at Dublin or Shannon airports for check-in so that all customs and immigration details can be completed in a timely fashion.
This will mean that upon arriving in the US, passengers flying from Ireland will be treated similarly to domestic passengers. On exiting the plane and collecting your baggage you can walk straight out speeding up the process considerably. The first queue you hit will probably be for the cab outside the terminal.