Preparing for our Ireland Group Tour

Meandering Mandy
4 min readNov 16, 2023

I was wanting to visit Ireland with my husband, but I was wary of traveling there on our own. Why? People drive on the left side of the road in Ireland! I would have been so nervous if David was driving in an unfamiliar country with unfamiliar laws on an unfamiliar side of the road. I decided it would be best to try to find a travel company that could take us around the country, so we would not have to drive ourselves.

Saint Audoen’s Church in Dublin

I started looking into bus tours and group travel companies. I am not sure how exactly I stumbled upon EF Ultimate Break, but I think it was because a co-worker of David’s had used them to go to Germany, and they highly recommended them. This company is a branch of the EF company, which stands for Education First. Each branch focuses on a different segment of the population. One focuses on students studying abroad, another focuses on people who just want to travel, and EF Ultimate Break focuses on young adults up to the age of 35. I would be 35 at the time of traveling, and this company offered a grand tour of Ireland, which would take us all around the country to see the highlights, such as Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher.

River Liffey in Dublin

It sounded like a good deal — the company would book our flights, hotels, in-country travel, some meals, and some excursions. We would also travel with people of similar ages as us, so I was excited about the prospect of possibly making new friends. I was a bit worried we would be the only married couple in the group, but of the about 30 people on the tour, they were at least three other couples in addition to my husband and I.

Christ Church in Dublin

We booked the trip for over Memorial Day weekend in 2023. I was really impressed with the information provided to us from the company. A month or two before the trip, we received our flight details. We would be flying with United starting in Indianapolis, flying to Washington D.C., and then flying in to Dublin. I was not happy with getting stuck with United, but at least I did not have to deal with booking the flights. I did go on to the United website and paid extra for us to have extra leg room on the flights between Washington D.C. and Dublin since it would be a seven hour flight. I also selected where our seats would be on each flight.

River Liffey in Dublin

Even though an itinerary was set up for us, they were blocks of time where we would have free time. So my husband and I researched each city we would be in to see what we could see and do to maximize our time. I found several options of things to do and restaurants to eat at depending on our energy level, weather, proximately to our hotel, etc. I took these options along with the provided itinerary to type up our master itinerary. We were then added to a group chat in WhatsApp, which is a messaging app on our phone, where we introduced ourselves to each other and got to meet our group leader, Julia. This is when we found out that we were not the only couple in the group.

Kilkenny Castle

Coming closer to the trip, I was feeling excited and a bit nervous about having to talk to strangers and being with a group where I could not do my own thing if I wanted to. I also hoped that our travel mates would be nice, polite, and on time! In addition, I had to figure out how to work my phone’s international plan so I could always access WhatsApp so I could be able to communicate with our group leader, travel mates, and our family members in case there was an emergency. Thankfully, I figured it out successfully as there was an emergency during our trip. Stay tuned to learn more about it!

--

--

Meandering Mandy

Hello! I am a young woman living in Indiana who loves to travel and share my stories with the world!