The best ways to combat J1 FOMO


Poll na bPeist, Inis Mór. Photo credit: Rob Hurson on Flickr

We are nearly half way through our final semester, and summer already seems so close. People have their holidays planned out with half of the university going on a J1 and the remainder jetting off to Canada. Is all this talk starting to make your summer job at home in Ireland sound even more miserable than it already is? Well don’t give up hope just yet because there are plenty of cheap weekend breaks that won’t break your bank and will make your summer of 2018 memorable.

Inter-railing has grown more and more popular over the years. It appears to be a cheap way of rushing around Europe to see as many countries as you can in two weeks. However, all of the travelling can leave you tired and feeling frantic, trying to see all you can in a limited amount of time. Rather than stressing out, try jetting off on a cheap flight to one place in Europe for a few days. It’s possible to get cheap flights when booked in advance and you could find yourself in Italy, France, Germany or wherever you have been dreaming of going to. You can also easily avoid over-crowded tourist spots and have an authentic, cultural experience as Ryanair fly to 33 different locations. Airbnb gives you a home away from home and works out really cheap if you’re travelling with others.

Staying in Ireland all summer can sometimes seem daunting, especially when it’s lashing rain 24/7, but we often take for granted the beautiful scenery surrounding us that tourists come from all over the world to embrace. Kerry is a county full of breath-taking landscapes. Whether you opt to see the famous Skellig Michael or take a visit to Dingle, you won’t be bored here, especially on a lovely summer’s day. Take a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry and you’ll be blown away.

Instead of doing a road trip, travel by boat to somewhere exotic and embrace the Irish culture like never before. Go to Connemara and get a boat across to the Aran Islands where the Irish language and culture is truly alive. Each of the islands are truly unique; you can spend the day by the beach, hiking or relaxing on a horse and carriage. Simply sitting in a pub and practicing your Gaeilge will be a true summer adventure. And if you’re brave enough you can pitch a tent for a bit of “glamping” on Inis Mór.

Ireland also has a wide range of festivals on all summer long. Popular music festivals with big line ups that won’t disappoint include Indiependence in Cork, Electric Picnic in Laois, or Sea Sessions in Donegal. If you’re looking for something different and cheaper than your typical summer festival, head over to the home of traditional music in Co Clare. In the first week of July, the annual Willie Clancy festival will be in full swing in Miltown Malbay with people from all over Ireland pitching tents by the beach. This is a beautiful rural area with many beaches nearby, including Spanish Point and Lahinch. You can enjoy the music at night and drive to famous landscapes during the day including the famous Cliffs of Moher or Loop Head.

Whether you stay in Galway all summer, head north to the hills of Donegal or east to the lively city of Dublin, there is so much happening around Ireland all summer long. If you want a trip abroad, book a cheap flight in advance and enjoy a few days away for a much cheaper cost than a J1. With a bit of planning, you won’t feel like you’re missing out by not sitting on that swing in San Fran for the ‘gram!

By Saoirse Rafferty

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