Self-drive tours save in Ireland


The Smart Traveler

November 19, 2006|By SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

While researching a trip to Ireland, I noticed that self-drive tours are a lot less expensive than escorted tours. Is there a benefit to driving myself? Or would I get lost and ramble around the country for the next five years?

Don't worry about getting lost. As Ruth Moran, a spokeswoman for the Irish Tourist Board, told us, "All of our towns' signposts are in English. Many years ago, a lot of them were in Gaelic, and that may have been confusing to people. But we've worked hard not to lose any of our visitors, unless it was their choice."

Self-drive tours have two benefits: They're cheaper than escorted tours, and you can travel at your own pace, stopping when you want to stop, enjoying leisurely lunches or taking long walks in the countryside. And you don't have to worry about being herded back on a bus when it's time to leave.

You can find deals on self-drive tours at the Irish Tourist Board's Web site, discover Click on "Vacation Offers," then "Self-Drive Offers." You can also get help planning an itinerary by calling 800-223-6470 and speaking to a tourism representative in Ireland.

A number of tour companies, such as, also have driving itineraries and can arrange for your lodging, including vouchers for the bed-and-breakfast of your choice.

I am an American citizen who would like to visit Mauritius after a trip to India. Is there a visa requirement?

No visa is required for stays of 90 days or less. But you may be asked to show a confirmation of your stay from your hotel, a return airline ticket and sufficient funds for your visit.

For longer stays, you'll have to apply for a visa at least one month in advance. You can download the application form at There is no fee.

For more information, contact the Mauritius Embassy in Washington at 202-244-1491.

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