Ireland: Planning and Packing

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This trip was entirely different than our 2015 Ireland excursion. We had more stuff and the same amount of hands – not to mention we were locked in our room most nights by 7 PM, didn’t get to hear any music in the evenings at pubs and I only had 4 beers the whole time. We tried to be very strategic in our planning with everything from luggage to the weight of the car seat (highly recommend this one) to how many places we visited. Traveling with a toddler is very manageable, but you have to be flexible. Knowing that in the beginning helped us stay calm through the trip and be better prepared each day.

We booked an overnight flight to Ireland from NYC (this is typical). Our flight left at 6:50 PM and landed at 6:50 Ireland time. It was really only about 6 hours of sleep and Liam is used to 11-12 but he rallied pretty well from this – after another quick nap in the taxi, he was up until his normal nap time at 12:30 pm. We rented a standard size car (not the smallest they offer) to fit all of our stuff comfortably. Our flights home were not direct and were during the day – so this obviously worried us. We left Shannon at 8:50 AM and landed in Philadelphia around 1:30 PM. It was about 7.5 hours of flying and Liam only slept for 3 hours of it. He was WILD when we landed in Philly – hungry, tired and needing to stretch his legs. We let him walk through the airport until we found a restaurant for lunch. Our last flight was short but the little guy was not happy about having to get back in his car seat but we survived. We planned to arrive back home before dinner so we could have a normal evening routine. He ended up falling asleep in the car seat and staying asleep until bed time. We flew American Airlines both ways.

In Ireland, we stayed in 3 places for 3 nights each. We wouldn’t have to drive more than 3.5 hours at any given point. We stayed in places that were walkable to the major things in each town/city. We had a rental car for the last 2 destinations but it stayed park while we were in the locations because everything was so walkable. We also knew that we wanted to have time to feel settled and relaxed in each place and not have to pack up to move after 24 hours like we did on our last trip. 3 days felt like the right amount in each place.

Hotels & B&B:

Car Rental:

  • We rented through ‘Payless’ who was associated with Budget. The service was fine and the car was, as well (though old, not washed and had over 100k miles).
  • We knew we wanted a car instead of relying on buses to get us to different towns. We didn’t want to make the other rider’s trips miserable if Liam acted up or be dependent on the schedule of a bus.


Our plan was to have one bag for each adult (both Osprey 46 backpacks), the diaper bag for Liam, one additional carry-on bag with essentials for the plane, the umbrella stroller (this reclined for naps on the go!), the car seat and the pack n’ play (that we were taking to Ireland but not bringing home and we got for $10 from a neighbor). We also ended up adding a roller bag to the equation because traveling with a toddler means you need SO.MUCH.STUFF. It sounds like a lot for two people to handle in an airport but we were able to put Liam in the Ergo, put the car seat on the stroller with 2 bags on top and roll the other bag.

For Liam (16 months), we packed:

Outside of clothes, we also packed:

Luckily, we also last minute packed a handful of puree pouches for Liam. He doesn’t normally eat these as we did baby led weaning and he eats what we eat – but I had a moment of panic “what if he won’t eat Irish food?” and grabbed them. For the first part of the trip, he only ate yogurt and fruit. So we’d give him one or two pouches a day. By the end of the trip, he would eat some sweet potato fries, fish (both salmon and cod) and pancakes. We also accidentally left the pouches in Dublin after the first 3 days, so he was forced to open up to more food.

We grabbed milk for him at local grocery stores (though the hotels and restaurants were great about just filling up a cup for him) and kept it in a freezer bag in our room. Yes, another bag we took but it folded up small and we left it behind. There were only a few occasions where he woke up over night and needed milk, but we sure were glad we had it when that happened.

Landon and I each packed as light as possible with the plan that we would do laundry along the way. Last time we went to Ireland, one of our B&B hosts did our laundry for us. We certainly didn’t expect that, but appreciated it. In Italy, we had to go to a Laundromat and we were prepared to do the same in Ireland if our B&B or hotels couldn’t assist. We finally got our laundry done for 15 euros when we got to Galway. It was unfortunate that it was at the end of our trip but definitely necessary to be done before we headed home!

We each packed:

  • 2 pair of pants (could have used 3)
  • No shorts (would have been nice on the first 4 days when temps were in the upper 70s without a cloud in the sky!)
  • 7 shirts (mix of layers)
  • Sneakers
  • 4 pair of socks
  • Rain jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pajamas
  • Headphones
  • Books
  • iPads

I also packed:

We used these packing cubes to organize our stuff as best as possible. We each got one (and I got two because I packed the most stuff). We used reusable containers for our toiletries. We ended up putting these in a checked bag which eliminated the need to take our stuff out for security. We did get stopped in security at one point because Liam’s boogie wipes threw off the sensors. They swabbed all of our hands and took everything out of my bag but eventually let us go and gave us back the boogie wipes!

Looking back, we could have been much more efficient with our space and packed better. We probably could have used one bigger suitcase and gotten rid of one of the backpacks which were HEAVY. Liam somehow collected more books and cars along the way and we did not need that much crap with us. The books made the diaper bag heavy. Live and learn, right?

Check out our full Ireland Recap here.

This post contains some affiliate links! They help you get to the product faster and give me a teeny, tiny amount for promoting it to you. 🤗

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