International travel has changed a lot in the past 20 odd years and I was woefully out of practice. Where to start? The internet, of course!
Happily, I had been subscribing to Scott’s Cheap Fares which is a site that gives alerts when there are really cheap airfares to be had. There are very few direct flights to Europe from Denver and they tend to be costly. I kept my eyes peeled and one day a $500 fare to Ireland popped up. I had also read that low cost fares from Dublin, Ireland to Lisbon were easy to come by on Ryan Air, an Irish airline that services Portugal. So, I booked the flight from Denver to Dublin by way of Toronto Canada. Fares from Dublin to Lisbon ranged from $75-$100. With not too much effort I scored a round trip fare from Denver to Lisbon for about $600. Wow, that was easy!
Not so fast. Here’s something to keep in mind when you are travelling Cheapo, Cheapo Productions Presents International Travel: EVERYTHING is extra. Our trip was booked through Go To Gate and I had a typo in my middle name. I called them up to fix it and was told that it would be $50 to fix one letter in my middle name! Now, I was freaking out a little, had I just dropped $1,200 on a bogus air travel operation? I hung up. I decided to go with the incorrect middle name and hope that no one noticed.
We flew Air Canada from Denver to Dublin and they were great. One complimentary checked bag (unheard of on domestic airlines these days), and they fed us on the trip. I am glad to report that the name misprint on my tickets did not cause any trouble throughout our travels. Would I fly Ryan Air again? Not unless I had to. Carry on bag, extra, checked bag, extra, coffee on the plane, three Euros and the seats do not recline. Uncomfortable and half the flight they are trying to sell you everything under the sun. Great logo though, they have a harp on all their insignia and planes.
The best part of this route was that we got to spend the better part of a day coming and going in Dublin. My husband Joe is a great fan of the Guinness so, on the way out we toured the Guinness Storehouse. This is one of the best drink tours in the business. Guinness is an epic operation and it is awesome. If you are ever in Dublin, plan a day to visit Guinness. It is a fun and informative tour. The product is magically delicious as is the food in the restaurants on site. We had fresh oysters and Guinness which is a classic pairing and rightfully so! Word to the wise: book your Guinness tour on Expedia before you go. That way you get to skip the line, enter the tour straightaway and save a few bucks. And it’s true: Guinness is best on its home turf. Best ever at the source. So, get over there and get some!
Meanwhile, back at saving a few bucks, six letters: Airbnb. This is the greatest thing in lodging since sliced bread. Booking is easy and inexpensive and all the places in which we stayed ranged from passable to very nice. $50-$78 per night for mostly entire apartments. We booked one leg of our stay on Expedia, which worked fine, but Airbnb was much more user friendly. Next stop, Lisbon!