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.
Before you travel abroad
Before 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 obtain all this information from your travel agent or the embassy of the country concerned in advance. Alternatively, you can also search for this information online. Irish citizens travelling abroad should register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, particularly if they are travelling to remote destinations or locations where they may be at risk.
With the exception of travel to the UK, Irish citizens require a valid passport in order to travel to every destination. However, your airline or ferry company will probably require you to have a valid passport.
All EU citizens have the right to enter and reside in the territory of any other member state of the European Union for a period of up to three months simply by presenting a valid passport or national identity card; no other formality is required. Member states cannot set additional conditions concerning the minimum validity of duration of the identity card or 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. Remember, you can renew your Irish passport at any time - you don't have to wait until your passport is about to expire to do so. Read more information on applying for a passport in our document on applying for an Irish passport.
Irish passport holders require an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) before boarding their flight to the US.
Whether or not you will require a visa when travelling abroad depends on your destination. Your travel agent or the embassy of the country you will be visiting can advise on this.
If you are travelling to a destination within the EU, you are entitled to receive 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 abroad for an extended period, you should consider consulting your doctor to discuss known or possible health risks. This is particularly important if you have an existing medical condition or are visiting a tropical area where the conditions exist for the spread of infectious diseases. There is more information in our document on health issues when travelling abroad.
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.
If 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.
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.
If you are taking a mobile telephone with you, check in advance that it will work in the country to which you are travelling. Roaming charges can be very high and this can make the cost of using an Irish mobile phone abroad very expensive. A price limit called a Eurotariff places a cap on the price you can be charged for using your mobile phone while travelling in the EU. Contact your service provider for more information on the costs of making and receiving calls abroad.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland provide travel advice to Irish people planning a trip overseas. This advice reflects a considered assessment of the risks involved for Irish citizens travelling to individual countries.
While you are abroad
Make 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.
On its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides advice on what to do to stay safe while abroad and what to do in an emergency. The Department has also developed a free smartphone app called TravelWise which has travel advice and consular information on 200 countries. The app is available from the Apple and Android stores.