Overplanning for a Day in Dublin

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Wound up being much harder than I thought and really exemplified how nerdy about travel I can get. Have you ever created a spreadsheet timeline to map out your day hour by hour? This wound up being a first for me.

When I first bought the ticket, I figured I’d see a few things, probably eat dinner at my hotel and just take it easy. But after seeing all the interesting suggestions people offered, I was more excited than I thought I’d be, and also a little overwhelmed.

My flight was arriving at 10AM instead of the usual 7AM European arrival which shortened the day. I was also going during the winter season when everything closed at 5. That meant, if I was lucky, I would have 7 hours to get from the airport to the downtown, check in to my hotel, and cram in as much as possible before things closed.

I also had a list of over 10 things I wanted to see and I’d be lucky to fit in more than half. AND I had really great restaurant recommendations that had me wanting to do nothing but eat all day.

Usually I just jot down rough times on a piece of paper to figure it. This time I wound up creating a spreadsheet with columns for worst case, likely case, and best case scenario to determine timing. I started with when I was likely to land, how long it would take me to get through immigration and to my hotel, how long it would take me to check in (if I even could), etc.

Then I looked into opening times. Fortunately the place that closed first –St. Michan’s Crypt — was the nearest to my hotel. With that as my starting point I worked out the best order to see everything, using Google Maps to piece together where everything was and what order made the most sense.

Dublin Walking Tour

Then I started assigning times. How long would I spend at each place and how long would it take me to walk to the next one. “If it takes me 15 minutes to walk from St. Michan’s to the Guinness Experience, and I spend an hour and a half there, then I *might* have time to see the Castle…”

spreadsheet timeline

I wound up with a spreadsheet that let me know what sites I would need to cut if I was running late and which ones I could add if I got ahead of schedule. And a map with step by step walking directions just in case I got turned around.

Whew. I finally stopped with a clear conscience, knowing I couldn’t possibly cram more into my schedule. I dislike traveling under pressure, but sometimes the stress is worth making sure you see everything. Trip reports coming shortly!


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  1. DaninSTL

    February 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Wow that’s hard core tourism. Rick Steve’s would throw a fit 🙂

    Nothing like hitting the ground running. The only danger I can see is being so rigidly planned and then something goes wrong. Can you roll with the punches it not it could cause stress.

  2. Ben L

    February 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I actually do this for every trip I take for pleasure. But, I’ve learned to be realistic and allow myself extra time for any thing/event that I want to see. That way I’m not overly stressed about running from one place to another.

    I enjoy the visual of having a spread sheet (and Google Maps MyMaps) so that I can maximize my time and not end up visiting two sites on different days that are right next to each other when I could have easily seen them on the same day.

  3. ArizonaGuy

    February 25, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    The Guinness Experience is such a tourist trap. It’s a free pint of Guinness with a view for something like €18. Why anyone continues to keep this on the top of the list is beyond me. I didn’t go until my 4th or 5th trip to Ireland. Having been to many breweries and distilleries in the world, I must say that was one of the most disappointing. If I could have just gone straight to the Gravity Bar for less money I’d have been thrilled.

    O’Neill’s. Great, affordable pub to eat at. Right in the city centre, outside of Temple Bar.

    • Tiff

      February 26, 2014 at 2:37 am

      One of our friend’s met Bono at the Guinness Experience before; so it’s probably not a waste of time every time. =)

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