Travel Tips  

WEATHER
The weather is a constant discussion in Ireland and Scotland generally.  The fascination with the weather and the reason it enters into almost every conversation is its variability.  The saying goes - if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes! However in the months from May through September, it is usually warm and the hours of daylight in the summer months range from 530am to 1030pm.

For a more detailed look at the weather forecast you may visit these sites:
Ireland -www.met.ie
Scotland -www.scotsman.com/weather
For Fahrenheit/Celcius conversions:www.fc.kahi.cz

CURRENCY
Since January 2002, the unit of currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro. Prior to this, the unit of currency was the Irish Pound. The official currency in Northern Ireland and Scotland remains the British Pound (Sterling) as the United Kingdom have not joined the common currency of the E.U. but some places do accept the Euro. Scotland prints its own bank notes: notes printed by the Bank of Scotland or the Royal Bank of Scotland have the same value as those printed by the Bank of England.

To find out the most up to date currency conversions for USD = Euro and Sterling,  visit www.xe.com/ucc/

BUREAU DE CHANGE / BANKS / ATMíS
In relation to exchanging currency, banks usually give the best exchange rate for foreign currency and most banks offer this service. It is also possible to change money in airports and some larger hotels (if you are a resident). You can withdraw cash from ATM machines across the country. Located in most banks and larger shopping centres, the ATM machines accept most credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, as well as PLUS and Cirrus debit cards.

TRAVEL INSURANCE
This is the best way to protect yourself against financial loss and is highly recommended. Without insurance, you will lose all or most of your money if you cancel your trip or have to cut it short, regardless of the reason. Default insurance covers you if your tour operator, airline, or cruise line goes out of business. Trip-delay covers unforeseen expenses that you may incur due to bad weather or mechanical delays. The most useful plan is a comprehensive policy that includes coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, default, trip delay, and medical expenses.

DRIVING IN IRELAND AND SCOTLAND
Before beginning your first journey on the roads of Ireland and Scotland, it is imperative that you understand there are some significant differences in the rules. Driving is on the left hand-side of the road & therefore upon approaching roundabouts, the drivers on the right hand Ė side have precedence. Even though, the network of motorways is increasing & is excellent, most of the time your journey will include travel on less than excellent roads & therefore a good map is a must to ensure safe arrival at your destination. The Speed Limit has changed over the past year & Speed is now measured in Kilometres per hour (kmph) over Miles per hour (MPH) Upon collecting your Rental Car, you will be advised of all this information. Please ensure that you have a valid drivers license with you before you arrive.

CREDIT CARDS
Most large shops, stores, hotels and restaurants will accept the majority of credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners etc.). However, it is advisable to carry some cash in case of difficulty, as many smaller accommodations along with pubs, restaurants and small shops are unlikely to accept any form of credit card.

PASSPORTS & VISAS
A Valid Passport is required when traveling to Ireland from any country other than the United Kingdom but it is always important to check the passportís expiry date before traveling. In the event that you misplace your passport during your trip, it is advised to make copies before leaving your home in order to make the replacement of such easier. In relation to Visaís, Citizens from such countries as the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and China or Japan do not require visas when entering Ireland.

ETIQUETTE
Most restaurants you visit have no problem with smart casual but in some of the 5 Star Hotelís, a Jacket & Tie may be required for the dining room. If golfing, while polo shirts, light trousers and in some cases, shorts are acceptable; it is essential to have adequate rain gear due to any unforeseen weather which you may encounter on your golfing travels.

PUBS & RESTAURANTS
The Pubs & Restaurants have become world renowned & play a huge role in making Ireland and Scotland great destinations to visit. Restaurants, including those in hotels, usually open from 12:00 noon to 2:30pm for lunch and from 6:00pm to about 11:00pm for dinner, although these times do vary. Many restaurants and pubs remain open throughout the day for Food & Drink. In relation to the closing hours in pubs, these tend to vary. The official closing time for Pubs is 11.30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 12.30 a.m. Friday & Saturday & 11.00 a.m. on Sundays. However, some country pubís forget to look at the clock at closing time & therefore an extra hour is not a surprise.

ELECTRICITY & VOLTAGE
The standard voltage in is 220V 50Hz. Most shaving sockets also support 110V with the 2-pin international shaving plug. Many hotel rooms provide hair dryers. A lot of bathrooms have two-pin 110V to 120V plugs for shavers and if adapters are needed, they can be purchased in electrical shops, borrowed from hotel reception or purchased from a shop at your departure airport.

TIPPING / GRATUITIES
It is not customary to tip but if you feel that you have got good value for your money along with a good service, then feel free to leave a tip. Tipping in a pub is not necessary, unless your drinks are served to you away from the bar, in which case a small tip is sufficient. In relation to caddies, the standard cost for a caddy at most clubs is between $35 & $50 per bag. Gratuity varies depending on the performance of the caddy but a tip of between $10 and $25 is recommended. The caddy rates vary from course to course depending on experience and seniority and can be checked with the caddy master at the course on the day of play. Tipping for coach drivers if applicable is usually $5.00 per person per day of coach usage and presented to the driver on the last day of the service.
Additional helpful information:
DINING
Ireland - www.adlib.ie
Scotland - www.taste-of-scotland.com
INTERNATIONAL CELL PHONE RENTALwww.cellhire.com