Terry Flynn, owner of Terry Flynn Tours based in Waterford,
Ireland, with offices in Lake Elmo, Minn., is wary of budget
programs that cut corners. In his experience, he says, U.S.
travelers who skimp on programming or accommodations often tell him
after returning home that if they had known certain "extras" or
experiences were available they would have preferred to have paid
the money and had them included.
Still, there are ways travelers can save money in Ireland.
Following are a few tips.Mix and match. Agents can have clients experience castle
lodgings or luxury country house accommodations without blowing
their budgets by booking a program that allows them to mix and
match accommodations.Shop bed and breakfast programs carefully. Some operators offer
extras such as discounts on attractions.Suggest a self-catering facility. Especially popular with
families and small groups, self-catering vacations offer
considerable savings on accommodations and dining and greater
opportunities to mix with local people.Advise clients to eat wisely. Restaurants that have a "tourist
menu" sign in the window generally offer three-course dinners at
reduced rates.Save on taxes. To obtain a refund of the VAT or value-added
tax, clients should ask for a Europe Tax-Free Shopping form with
each purchase. The forms can be redeemed at the airport before
leaving the country or stamped by customs and mailed in once
home.Use credit cards for purchases. You can count on getting a good
currency exchange rate. However, be aware that the currency
conversion may occur several days after purchase which can effect
the exchange rate. (Agents may want to remind clients that the
Discover card is not widely accepted in Ireland.)Avoid CDW charges. Clients booking self-drive programs with a
gold or platinum credit card may find that their credit card
company will cover collision damage waiver insurance, providing a
savings of as much as $16 daily.
READ THE FINE PRINT
To price their products as low as possible, operators often
feature bed and breakfast accommodations that do not include
private, or en suite, bathrooms. John Murray, president of ETM
Travel Group in Westport, Conn., urges agents to make sure that
private bathrooms are included in the price they are quoted.
ETM Travel Group has responded to that demand by including en
suite accommodations in even the lowest-end properties in its bed
and breakfast program.