Lots of reading through blogs and TripAdvisor suggestions had us feeling prepared to visit a new destination, but let's face it, there's always things you have to learn yourself. Next time, these are the things we'll be more prepared for:
1. Sales tax is both included and refundableI quickly noticed when purchasing souvenirs that the amount charged to me matched exactly the combined amount on the price tags.
"No sales tax?" I asked. "It's included," the cashier assured me "do you have a card yet? Non-EU members can get some of it refunded." What!?
Ask the cashier any time you spend money. Some stores swipe a card, some give you a form, and some are just clueless, but you can get a portion of your sales tax back. We were ill prepared and had to sift through a mess of receipts and work everything out when we got back to the states (our only devices were our phones and the card must be registered online). If you're prepared, keep up with it during your trip and you can get your refund at the airport before coming home!
2. Some tolls require immediate offsite paymentMost of Ireland's toll roads have traditional tool booths, but some roads have nothing but a sign telling you to pay online before 8 PM the next day. Yikes! Again, we only brought our cell phones, which isn't the most secure or convenient for making unfamiliar payments. In future trips a tablet or, even better, a laptop will definitely be helpful to take care of such things. We had to remember how many times we'd driven on the road and remember (and hurry) to pay. I'm sure for locals, it's easy enough to prepay, but as newbies, this was just one more detail to worry about remembering.
3. You really do get used to driving on the other side of the road
|With roads this narrow, there's really only one "side" anyway|
4. Top sheets aren't a thing
|Quite possibly my favorite room of our stay — Loch Eske Castle|
5. Stew is a lunchtime deal
|No stew procured here. Just happiness at finding multiple establishments bearing Sean's name.|
6. Duty free really is better
|I mean, really...how could I not take this picture?|
7. A week isn't nearly enough time
|One of our many destinations in the great outdoors|
What have you run into on your international travels that you wish you'd been prepared for?