Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brian - Dublin, Ireland - Fall 2009

Hello all perspective travelers to Europe!! Pay attention to this and learn from my unfortunate experience.

When traveling to Europe, you should think about how much money you’ll need to have in your checking account (credit cards are nice, but debit cards are lifesavers!!). The current exchange rate from USD to EUR is $1.55 to every 1 Euro.

I was only able to save up $1600 during the summer before my traveling (I’m here in Dublin for the fall semester) and I ran out of all of it in a little over a month, what with all the weekend traveling and having to register with the Garda (the Irish police/Immigration force) because I’d be here longer than 3 months. That cost 150 Euro ($232.50).

So, I’d suggest having at least $4,800 at your disposal (i.e. in your checking account) when you travel. More would be better, that way you don’t have to worry about running out of money like I did. If you’re like me, and you run out of money, you have to turn down travel opportunities because you can’t afford it. I’m halfway through my 3 month stay, and basically, my experiences are over. I’ve nothing left I can do except sit in my flat and watch all the American TV I’m missing, on the internet.

If you have to, get a small student loan to help finance your trip. My parents talked me out of doing that, and I severely regret being talked out of it. Do it. Get a couple thousand dollar loan, it doesn’t have to be anything big. But just do it. You don’t want to be like me, who might as well be back in the states right now, going through the motions at Elmhurst College, for all the chance at seeing Europe that I have now…

Oh, and get slip-on shoes. You’ll have to take your shoes off at the airport when going through customs, and you don’t want to be the guy (or gal) holding up the line because you have to tie your shoes whilst putting everything that you had to take out of your bag, back into your bag.

That’s all from me for now. Perhaps there will be more words of advice later.


Anonymous Amie V said...

I know you mentioned that you spent most of your money in a month, but my question is, Did you talk to your bank and bring your banking card? Did you exchange for euro? What was your method for paying for everything? I am going to Australia and finances is something I am parnoid about.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Alexina Valdez said...

A piece of advice to add to Brian´s about traveling--yes, money is HELPFUL--but:

If you are looking to travel around Europe--do it!!!!--check out and Check them on a regular basis because my friends found that flight to Milan for less than 30€ and when I attempted to book the same flight the next day, the price doubled back up to 70€. If you use ryanair, I want you to know that they are amongst the cheapest but also far from accommodating. Make sure you print out your boarding pass before you get to the airport, allow yourself at least two hours to check-in, and pass through security. If you are not checking in any bags (I find it easier to travel like this because I hate lugging around a luggage) MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE RYANAIR DESK SO THEY CAN CONDUCT A VISA CHECK (they just look at your visa to make sure it´s legit) AND STAMP YOUR BOARDING PASS. Trust me. If you don´t go check-in (like we do at most airports, at the place where you weigh and drop off your luggage) and get a printed out boarding pass from them, ryanair WILL NOT LET YOU BOARD THE DAMN FLIGHT without that stamp on your printed out boarding pass.

And they will charge you 100€ to change the flight. I experienced this firsthand and missed my flight to Dublin. It sucked.

Hope this saves someone 100€!

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just put all the money I'd managed to save into my checking account, and brought my credit card, and my debit card (I got it about a week before leaving for Dublin). I've only used my credit card once - the paperwork on the debit card had not yet gone through. When using the debit over here, the conversion is done automatically, so I didn't/don't have to worry about contacting my bank and having them convert all my money. Likewise with using ATMs over here. It's in Euro, so if I were to take out, say, 150 Euro, I'd know that 200-something dollars had just been taken from my account - in the form of Euros of course. So, make sure you have a debit card, and tell your bank that you'll be in Australia and wherever else you might travel to. That's it.

have fun,

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


ryan air sucks. It looks cheap, but they add ridiculous fees that jack up the prices. Also, ryan air has a tendency to say they fly to a city such as Munich, but actually fly to a point about 40 minutes outside munich, causing you to have to get a bus as well. And they don't have any flights to Austria.

- Brian

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey brian,

How hard was it for you to adjust to living in ireland? Was there anything that was really hard to adjust to or was it easy enough for you get used to it there?

3:38 PM  

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