Dublin has long since been on my wishlist and Cheapflights clearly pay attention to my Twitter feed, because a few weeks ago they asked me if I’d like to take part in their #cheapflightschallenge, and book three days, two nights for two in Dublin for under £350.
Even better, Cheapflights sent me the money for the trip, so after she got incredibly excited with me when I found out at work, I invited my work friend Jade to come with me and we started the booking process.
As part of the challenge, we needed to book the flights through the Cheapflights website. It’s a search engine that helps you to find the cheapest flights and I found it really easy to use, after 20 minutes we’d priced up our options from our four closest airports, on the different weekends we were both free. Two holiday forms and five minutes later (we needed to book the Friday off work) and we were pressing confirm on the flight booking. Exciting!
We did look on the Cheapflights site for accommodation too, but with it being the summer months, and a weekend, somewhere to stay would have taken up the rest of my budget. I knew I wanted to pay for SOME things on the trip, so instead we went to Airbnb for our home for the weekend. We booked a room in an apartment in Blackrock, a seaside town a few miles out of the city-as someone who finds the sea calming, I was glad to get some time out of the city too.
Transport in Dublin is cheap, reliable and frequent. I’d been reading other bloggers’ Dublin posts and speaking to a friend of mine who was in the city for a week last year, and they’d all recommended the LEAP Visitor Card-at €19.50 per person for 72 hours unlimited travel on the buses, trams and the dart (the rail system in Dublin) we knew we wouldn’t need to pay for any more transport.
Once we’d arrived in Dublin we realised we had no idea where we were going, and no real plans. We stopped off at a little cafe for a cuppa (Jade’s treat, so my budget was safe!) then got the guide book out. Jade and I had both mentioned Dublin Zoo, and that we fancied going there. As we planned to do lots of free things with the other two days we agreed to spend €17.50 each on tickets. The cost of getting to the Zoo was covered by our LEAP Cards, and we were able to leave our suitcases in lockers which meant no lugging them about all day. We spent about 4 hours in the Zoo and could have easily been longer, but we were tired from the really early start and decided to head back to Dublin for food.
After wandering around a bit and just getting more and more tired, we opted to head back to Blackrock, drop our bags at our apartment and then go into Blackrock for food instead. After a quick bus journey and an introduction to our host, Phil, we walked into Blackrock and went to Wetherspoons for tea, spending around €20 on our meals and a drink each. We also opted to relax with a pitcher of cocktail, but decided this was too extravagant to come out of the budget. Slap on the hand for us!
Food Day 1 €20, Dublin Zoo €17.50
On our second day we got the bus into Dublin, and stopped for breakfast at The Bagel Bar. €15 euros paid for our food, a smoothie and a bottle of water-and the food was SO GOOD. I’ll be writing a ‘what I ate in Dublin’ post soon featuring my amazing breakfast.
I had a list of sights I wanted to see, so we spent a lot of Saturday walking around. We smashed our daily step goal, by a long way, calling at Halfpenny Bridge, Trinity College, some shops, The Leprechaun Museum (another out of budget expense-BAD LAURA) and then heading to the Temple Bar area for tea. Jade had raved about Thunder Road Cafe so we headed there for tea, spending €45 on tea. Granted, we could have had a far cheaper meal, but this did include starters and mains-so it could have been worse. (I treated us both to a couple of cocktails too-from my pocket, rather than the budget. Noticing a theme here yet?)
Food Day 2 €60
Day three started with a walk into Blackrock for breakfast ( €12) and a slow walk back to our apartment to check out. On our bus journey’s to and from Dublin I’d spotted the Oscar Wilde Statue in Merrion Square Park, and I really wanted to go and check him out. So we did, and I spent ages taking photos of the statue, other statues dotted around the park, and plaques full of Oscar Wilde quotes. We then spent a couple of hours sunbathing in the park before heading back to Dublin.
I’d really wanted to try Queen of Hearts for a cup of tea and some cake, so we called in. The food was lovely ( €18 for our two tasty treats, a glass of wine for Jade and a cup of tea for me) and lots of complimentary water. We then went street art hunting (my favourite thing!) around Temple Bar, before setting off to the airport an hour earlier than we need to as it was just so warm and we were so tired.
Food Day 3 €30
The £350 stretched so far! To be quite honest I’m not the best at sticking to a strict budget (I always go a bit over and just have to spend less on my lunches at work when I get home!) but out of that £350/€400 I got:
Flights: £168.94/ €190
Accomodation: £54/ €61
Dublin Zoo: €35
Total spent: €435
Now it doesn’t take a mathematician to realise I went over my budget (surprise surprise, this is ME after all) however I will say I could have easily done the trip for a bit less cash-not doing the Zoo, getting a pasty for breakfast and some chips or a McDonalds for tea, and spending the Friday seeing more of the sights Dublin has to offer. However I just fancied having fun with Jade, we’d both seperately liked the idea of the Zoo and we were happy to add a little into the budget, because we were able to. Dublin is DEFINITELY a city that can be done on a budget. When I go back (which I will, because there’s so much more to see!) I’m going to aim to do a long day for less than £100!
Have you been to Dublin? Ever used Cheapflights before?