Travelling abroad: general tips
Travelling abroad can be a very worthwhile and rewarding experience. Whether it's your first time to leave Ireland or you are a seasoned traveller, there are a number of things you need to consider when you are preparing for travel abroad.
Our document COVID-19: Travel and your consumer rights’ has updated information on your rights if your travel plans have been disrupted by COVID-19. Check the latest travel advice before travelling abroad.
Before you travelBefore you travel, familiarise yourself with your destination. Do you require a visa to travel there? What is the local currency? Is there a time difference between your destination and Ireland? You can get information from your travel agent or from the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Irish citizens travelling abroad should register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs, particularly if they are travelling to remote destinations or locations where they may be at risk.
It is important to check that you have a valid passport before you travel.
With the exception of travel to the UK, Irish citizens need a valid passport to travel to every destination. However, your airline or ferry company will probably require you to have a valid passport.
Irish citizens travelling to destinations outside the EU are subject to the specific passport controls and requirements of those countries. This means, for example, when travelling outside the EU, your passport may need to be valid for a certain period.
Irish passport holders require an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) before boarding their flight to the US.
Whether or not you will need a visa when travelling abroad depends on your destination. You can find out if a visa is needed on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
A little time spent checking out the following information before your trip will also ensure you are well prepared.
- What local conditions do I need to be aware of?
- Do I need vaccines to prevent illness or health risks?
- Which authorities do I contact in the event of an accident or incident?
- Do I need any additional medical prescriptions before I travel?
- What blood group am I?
- Do I need a dental/optical/health check-up before I travel?
You may need to get vaccinations and immunisations to travel to certain countries around the world. Give yourself plenty of time for this at least 8 weeks. Your family doctor (GP) or travel health clinic can advise on your options. You can get more information about travel abroad and vaccinations.
If you are travelling to a destination within the EU, you can get emergency medical treatment on the same basis as a national of that country. You must have your European Health Insurance Card with you.
If you will be travelling outside the EU/EEA, you are strongly advised to seek specific holiday or health insurance before you travel. Insurance rates in Ireland can vary significantly, so shop around for the best value before your trip.
Ireland and Australia have a reciprocal health agreement. This means that Irish visitors to Australia will receive emergency services and assistance towards the cost of prescribed drugs and medicines on the same basis as persons ordinarily resident in Australia.
Irish people travelling in the UK are entitled to access healthcare through the Common Travel Area.
Generally speaking, international credit cards and debit cards are the safest way to carry funds when travelling abroad. In more remote areas, however, you may not be able to use them. Again, check with your travel agent prior to departure about the best way to carry funds. It is advisable always to carry a small amount of local currency to pay bus or taxi fares or make small purchases or telephone calls.
Before you leave Ireland, make a note of the 24-hour emergency number of the bank that issued your credit card/debit card so you can cancel it in the event it is stolen.
Electrical plugs and sockets in other countries will be different from those in use in Ireland. You may need special adapters to enable you to use electrical appliances you bring from Ireland (such as hair dryers, shavers, etc.). You can purchase these adapters at airports and in many stores here in Ireland.
Mobile phone customers are charged the same price for calls, texts and data when travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA), which include all European Union countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. You should be aware that you may still be charged roaming rates for international travel outside the EEA. Check with your service provider to confirm your data allowance before travelling.
Driving abroadIf you intend to drive while abroad, make sure that your Irish driving licence is valid and that you bring it with you. Some countries outside the European Economic Area (the member states of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) may require you to hold an International Driving Permit in addition to your Irish driving licence.
Always make sure you are properly insured for driving while overseas.
While you are abroadMake a note of the address, telephone number and opening hours of the Irish Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting. In countries where there is no Irish diplomatic or consular representation, you may seek emergency assistance from embassies or consulates of other European Union countries.
It's always advisable when travelling outside Ireland to plan your travels in advance. This will save considerable time when you get there and will help make your time abroad a positive experience. Remember to let family and friends in Ireland know where you are and when they can expect to hear from you. This will mean that they can also contact you in case there is an emergency.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland provide travel advice to Irish people planning a trip overseas.
The HSE has information on preventing illness and infection while abroad.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre provides advice for travellers on how to avoid illness on its website.
The World Health Organization has information and advice regarding health and international travel.