The agent I worked with recommended I go ahead and make reservations for the air fare. Booking way in advance will often get you some good air fares and lock in the price. I am traveling from Cincinnati which does not have direct flights ot Dublin so a connection was inevitable. It takes tie to do this to get the best flights and the lowest fares so planning is important. I finally settles on a flight from Cincinnati to Washington Dulles and with a relatively short 1 and a half hour layover hopping an overnight flight to Dublin getting in at 9:30 am on Monday morning. A little over night rest and should be able to do some things on Monday. The return was set for a week later on Monday traveling from Shannon Ireland to Newark International. I am from New Jersey and thought I could always make a short trip to my home on the Jersey shore and visit my brother.
Once the reservations were made and the span of the trip defined I could now fill in the details with the agent who had some excellent suggestions. This was being planned five months in advance so there was plenty of time to make the auto and B&B reservations which is what I wanted instead of hotels. The trip was to be in April and wanted the whole trip ironed out by Christmas. Next would be the lodging and auto.
I have wanted to travel in Europe for a long time now. I decided that now was the time. I am 64 years old and its no telling how many years I have left to travel on long journeys. Hopefully for a long time. I have traveled to the Caribbean and Mexico pretty extensively but Europe has eluded me. I decided that my first trip would be to Ireland. There were several reasons why I chose Ireland. First its an English speaking country and although I speak Spanish and Italian I thought that Ireland would be a beautiful country to go to. Another reason is that traveling to Great Britain who be relatively economical compared to some other European countries. The third reason for Ireland is that I have some family history associated with Ireland. This of course is of special interest for me. Once I decided I was going to go it was then a matter of figuring out when and where I wanted to go in Ireland and just how I was going to accomplish that.
My first thought was that a tour group might be good but personally I like to have some freedom and I enjoy the thrill of being on my own and explore as I see fit. As I read through group tours it was becoming clear to me that the restrictive nature of many of the group tours just was not for me. Yet I knew I needed some guidance and I might need to have some pointers to set this trip up yet what I wanted was the ability to have a certain degree of flexibility. I spent the better part of a month reading web sites and tour guides books like Rick Steve’s book on Ireland. I like his guide books. He travels like I would like to travel and often do. His books and advise he gives allows you to experience the culture but in a way that will probably keep you out of trouble.
Eventually I settled on getting help from a tour company that specializes in setting up travel arrangements the way you want to do it. With the help of a really great agent I was able to set up the whole trip in about two weeks and I have pretty much got it set up exactly how I wanted it. What I wanted was to fly to Dublin spend a couple of days in Dublin then driving to several cities in Ireland which are highly recommended in most guide books and by my agent.
What I am going to do is outline how this process went. Keep in mind I have not yet gone to Ireland so I have no idea how this will work out but I am happy with how this went and the plan is sound. If you are planning a trip there are many ways to do it. Talk to people who have gone through the process of building a trip and the various ways it can be done. Read! Read all you can get your hands on.
Riding in the truck is an exciting treat for my dog.
I like to travel with my rescue dog Wile E Canine. He is an excellent truck rider and generally is a good dog when we are staying overnight. Unfortunately, finding the time to get away and take him with me has been difficult. One of the things that I always try to do in take him to places where we can get out and do things. He is part husky and needs the physical activity. Many breeds require considerable activity. Know your dog and know the breed.
Food is always a concern and in my opinion it is best to bring the food that you normally feed your pet. While on the road you may not be able find the food you normally feed them which could be a problem and if your pet is finicky like mine is substituting food brands is just not an option. Changing food brands if you need to could cause some digestive problems for the pet. I make sure I have a sufficient amount of his food and treats that I use at home and often try to bring those that are his favorites. A happy pet will be a better companion while you are away on the trip.
One thing you should know when traveling with your pet. Many hotels and motels that accept pets may require you to have a crate for your pet for use while you are not directly monitoring them. For example if you go out to dinner and leave the pet behind in the room they may require you to have a crate for that purpose. When I travel with Wile E I always take his with me. I have a truck so it is easy for me to place it in the bed of the truck.
When I can’t take Wile E with me I have to leave him with a kennel. For me it is very important to have one that I can trust and is reputable. There were certain considerations which were of utmost importance.
1. They must love the dogs and treat them with respect and love, using positive training procedures
2. The dogs must get adequate activity everyday with both human attention and dog social time.
3. Kennel conditions are clean and sanitary.
4. Food is controlled and in accordance to my wishes.
5. The dogs get frequent “potty” breaks and their kennels are always clean.
Fortunately I have one that meets all these expectations and then some. I never worry about him and he always has a good time while I am away.
Wile E Canine after a long day of hiking. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Photo: Canon T3i manual settings no flash
Canon T3i Auto settings
I was in Hocking Hills a week or two later than I usually am but I did catch some of the trees that turn a little later. It was still really nice and I was able to catch some good color especially around the lake. I missed a good shot on a Blue Heron on the banks of the lake. Taught me to least carry my little Nikon L28.
Pet Friendly Liberty Cabin near Logan, Ohio
This is my pet friendly cabin to rent in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. Its small but big enough for a two people and their pets. What has made this place such a good place for me is that there is a great trail which runs along the ridge next to the cabin for a about 3/4 of a mile or so. I have never been to the end of it because it gets hard to follow. It is also very secluded or at least it seems that way. There are houses nearby but they are hidden from view by lines of trees or hills. Nearby are many hiking trails many of which are pet friendly.