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Authored by Claire Lovesti

Most people avoid traveling — not because they don’t want to see the world, but because they seem to think all travel must be expensive, and they fear they simply can’t afford it. So they take their trips close to home to cut down costs, and they miss out on some truly great cities around the world that are just waiting to be explored. How to travel on a budget in Dublin?

Of course there are some obvious areas where you can focus in order to save money while traveling, like hunting for cheap plane tickets and traveling in the off season (the “high season” in Ireland is June – August and St. Patrick’s Day on March 17), though some of the best money-saving tips may not be the ones you immediately think of when planning a trip. Save money in Dublin. 

Dublin is one of the most beautiful and culturally-rich cities in both Ireland and the world, and while it can be an expensive place to visit if you let it, there are a few ways you can cut some corners and save some cash. Travel Ireland cheap. 

Following these simple tips will have you exploring the best this Irish city has to offer with enough cash left over for a round of pints at the pub.

Ireland on a Budget: How to Save Up To $1,000 in Dublin

Opt for a Hostel Instead of a Hotel

Ireland hostel

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a cheap hotel anywhere within the city of Dublin. If you don’t mind making new friends, a hostel may be a better place to rest your head at night. How to travel on a budget in Dublin?

Dublin hostels are so much more than a crash pad for 20 somethings visiting for the Guinness. Most Irish hostels have a selection of both dorms and private rooms, and many often come with the same additional perks and accommodations that you may enjoy at a nicer hotel (like a bar or an airport shuttle service), for a fraction of the price or for no cost at all.

Hostels in Ireland are famously clean and comfortable, and if you’re traveling with a group of people the cheaper the cost of the room.

Another great choice when finding a place to stay is to look around at an AirBnB rental. They offer everything from a single bedroom in a house to an entire apartment to yourself, and you can easily search for places within your price range. How expensive is travel to Ireland? Budget travel Ireland. 

Budget for Memorable Experiences

Instead of trying to see all the main tourist attractions, pick one or two that will create the type of trip you want to have and plan your budget accordingly. If you’ve fallen in love with the outdoor scenery, then opt for an adventure like zip-lining through some nearby forests for both the blood rush and the spectacular view. Cheap things to do in Dublin. 

If Ireland’s history is more your thing, you can take advantage of the Dublin Pass, which grants you access to more than 30 major tourist attractions for a fraction of the price. Passes like this are typically valid for a certain increment of days, giving you plenty of flexibility for a pass that meets your budget and schedule. Cheap things to do in Ireland. 

Pack Your Lunch

Poland food kebab RF

It may be tempting to stop for a pint or six at one of Dublin’s many pubs each night after a dinner of Irish stew, but it’s not the most friendly on your wallet.

Eating meals out can add up quickly, so if you’re able to store food overnight in your room, try instead to buy some groceries and make lunches at the room.

Not only will it save you money, but a packed lunch is the perfect excuse to explore the city and find your favorite sidewalk bench or patch of green space. If you do choose to eat out while in Ireland, many restaurants will have an “early bird” special with deals on meals from around 5-8pm.

Avoid Temple Bar. The food and drinks are incredibly overpriced and it exists mainly for tourists.

Avoid Taxis

Taking a taxi in Ireland is extremely expensive, and there is no reason to catch a cab when the system of public transport is so effective.

Buses will have you anywhere within Dublin for less than 5 Euros, and the Irish are kind and welcoming so don’t be afraid to take the bus because it’s safe, cheap, and efficient. You can also rent bikes easily from various locations throughout the city (as long as you have a credit card), and if you return the bike to a station within 30 minutes then it’s free!

A great excursion via bike is a ride to Phoenix Park which is one of the biggest city parks in Europe.

Focus on Dublin For Free

Dublin Ireland RF

When I was traveling in Paris, one of my best days there was spent picnicking under the Eiffel Tower and wandering the city streets with no real destination in mind. Ireland is famous for its sights and scenery, and getting out to enjoy the daily life happening all around you can really make you feel like part of the culture. Free things to do in Dublin.

Dublin is full of fantastic freebies like gardens, parks, museums & galleries! The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA,) is free, and there is a lovely garden at their site in Kilmainham, too. The National Gallery, The National Museums of Ireland and the RHA gallery are also free. See Dublin for free. 

Free walking tours are being run throughout the city everyday, and there is also a fantastic street art scene. Free things to do in Ireland. 

Stop by the Visitors Center for extensive listings on free things to do around the city. You could even try an app like Ventoura to meet some local people and see the city the way the natives do. Cheap travel guide to Dublin. 

Don’t Waste Money on an International Phone Plan

If you’re from Europe (or really most of the world for that matter), your phone will probably operate on a GSM network, but certain carriers in North America use a CDMA network instead. That’s just a fancy way of mentioning two different radio systems cell phones use — but the problem is that CDMA phones don’t work in areas that only use GSM, and even GSM phones can incur insanely high roaming charges in other countries.

With as much as we all rely on our phones these days, that last thing you want to come home to is a sky-high phone bill. The easiest way to avoid these fees is by switching to a local SIM card during your trip.

Local SIM’s are relatively easy to come by, and all you have to do is unlock your phone, install the chip and you’re done! Alternatively, when you travel, switch your phone to flight mode and stay connected with the world via free public WiFi instead. Most accommodation providers and cafes offer internet access now. Best travel deals for budget travel to Dublin Ireland. 

Temple Bar Dublin

These money-saving tips can help make a getaway to this original Viking settlement affordable to travelers on any budget.

So buy a ticket, pack your bag, lace up your walking shoes and enjoy all the history and beauty Dublin has to offer!


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Claire is a self-confessed travel nut. She has been travelling around the world since her mum farewelled her in a teary goodbye and hasn’t looked back since.

You can read all about her adventures through 3 continents, 16 countries, and 38 cities on her blog

Photo credits (+previous credits): Featured photo by David Dennis. Pinterest Images by Nico Kaiser & Giuseppe Milo. Hostel photos by Barnacles Budget Accom. Rosy in the Garden by Seán Ó Domhnaill. Street art & graffiti by William Murphy. Sunrise in Bailey Lighthouse by Giuseppe Milo. Temple Bar by Daniel Dudek-Corrigan.


  1. Great tips for people on a tight budget who want to see the world. I used to do all the things you list here when I was younger and traveled with children. I still shop for cheap airfares, but I wouldn’t like to stay in hostels anymore…

    • Hostels are definitely something which you either can or can’t do, and I do think you grow out of them eventually. Especially if you’re traveling with children though something like Airbnb may be more appropriate if looking to save money on a hotel :)

    • As a kid, from the age of 10-16 my mother took my brother and me on roadtrips through Europe once a year. We stayed only in hostels, packed lunches and never dined out: and we didnt care. We had a great time and saw some amazing sites together.So some of the hostels were a bit dirty, so what? If we had used that money to stay in a hotel and eat out every night we would have barely made a week. This way we say loads of sights and traveled for almost 3 weeks every Summer.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Monika! Sounds like a really memorable trip :) And that’s what it does come down to – whether you prioritize seeing more and spending less or seeing less and spending more.

      I usually now try and aim for a balance between the two, but you can absolutely travel cheaply if you’re willing to cut down on the costs of things like accommodation and food. I think a lot of the time it’s not that people don’t have the money to travel the world, they just don’t have the money they think they need to travel the world. You can always do it on less!

  2. Great, practical tips for anywhere! Ireland was my first solo trip, and staying in a hostel and splurging (back then) on a pub crawl to make friends.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Cat – Ireland is such a fabulous country, it was one of my first solo destinations too. Such wonderful memories from pub crawls and Karaoke!

  3. Very insightful. Savvy travel ideas. Thanks for the info!

    • Happy to help! Hope you can travel through Ireland soon :)

  4. Oooh, I love this because I love Ireland! Here’s another lodging tip: if you area traveling to Dublin over the summer, you can stay very cheaply in one of the dorm rooms at Trinity College. This only applies when school’s on holiday of course, but, my partner and I did this. After a nine hour flight+ in coach, the bed even seemed to be as comfortable as one ina luxury hotel. :)

    • Amazing tip, thanks Jennifer! I had no idea but that’s a fantastic way to go if you’re there over school holidays. Noted for our next trip back :)

  5. This is an amazing article for people looking to travel Ireland cheaply—we’re definitely keeping it handy for the future! It’s good to know all of these simple little things; thank you for sharing. :)

    • Happy to help! Glad you enjoyed the post Dariece :) Hope you manage a trip to Ireland soon.

  6. Great post and very useful tips for those who loves traveling! Dublin is fantastic, hope to visit it one day:)

    • Glad you enjoyed it Julia! I do hope you can get to Dublin soon :) One of the liveliest and most upbeat cities on earth – the atmosphere is infectious!

  7. Great tips on saving money when traveling in Dublin. Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome Gagan :)

  8. Great tips for traveling in Dublin and not coming home broke! We’re big fans of saving money with picnic lunches especially if you can find park to sit a spell.

    • Absolutely – and it’s so much fun to people watch at the same time and take in the city from a different perspective :)

  9. Fantastic tips. I just love Ireland so much. And we really love shopping at grocery stores for picnics. Great new foods to try!

    • Glad you loved Ireland too Jessie! Shopping locally for fresh food is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a new destination, and it feels like much more of an immersive experience when you do :)

  10. Useful advice, and much of it would work for other cities and countries, too!

    • Absolutely Lillie – this can be applied to many cities throughout the world too :)

  11. Good information provided..

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Deepshikha :)

  12. Great tips!!
    I lived in Dublin for two years, and while I was earning in Euros I never realize how expensive the city was. But now, that I´m Thailand (very cheap), every time I go back to Ireland feel my pockets empty. But as you said there are plenty of ways to explore the city and save money. All the parks are free, take away food is affordable, and if the weather is good you will find tourist and Irish people doing picnic on weekends and also weekdays. I personally love St. Stephen’s Green park!

    • Thanks Natalie! It’s definitely a bit of a shock once you become used to living in a much cheaper destination and then return home! I’ve found that recently after having come home to Australia from abroad!

      But there are always ways to experience and enjoy a city on the cheap. I feel like people overlook city parks when they deserve so much more credit!

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