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Flights to Ireland Plus a Car for a Week for Just $599! How Is It Possible?

Frommer’s has been around since 1957, so we’ve seen quite a few things change in travel—and not all of them for the better. (Can we just admit that airline deregulation did not deliver on its promises?)

But now and then, we find a straggler from travel’s easier, more affordable days. And on those occasions, it pays to pause and shine our spotlight on money-saving strategies that have somehow persisted from your parents’ time. 

Today’s brilliant money-saving holdover travel strategy is the good old “air-drive” package.

Back when reading daily newspapers was a thing, the travel section would be full of ads from airlines and other packagers who would buy so many vacations in bulk that they were able to chop prices down to near-wholesale rates and pass the savings on to you, as the saying used to go.

Ireland is a country where tradition looms large, and the same is true for how the country markets vacation experiences. Aer Lingus, the national flag carrier of Ireland, has for many decades supported a side business selling discount-priced arrangements for vacations on the Emerald Isle.

Just as in your daddy’s day, Aer Lingus still sells its own air tickets bundled with a deeply discounted car rental. You tell the airline which city you want to leave from, and Aer Lingus flies you from there and gives you a 6-day car rental when you arrive, all at one low price. 

How low? Right now, you can buy a week’s vacation in Ireland with airfare and a car for just $599, including the airfare taxes. 

That’s out of New York City or Boston in April. Aer Lingus also prices flights out of Chicago ($849); Hartford, Connecticut ($899); Los Angeles ($999); Washington, D.C. ($649); and, thanks to partner airlines, airports in any other major city you could name, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Toronto. 

If you search for airfare alone from NYC in April, you’ll find prices closer to $635 round trip. That means the $599 deal from Aer Lingus gets you airfare plus a rental car for less than what you’d pay if you bought flights on your own.

The air-drive package price is per person based on two people traveling together for 6 days, although you can make your trip as long as 14 days. Prices tend to be higher the farther you have to fly, but chances are they’ll still be better than airfare by itself at this time of year. If you fly during the peak of summer, the rates will, naturally, be higher overall.

To drive legally in Ireland, a North American needs only an existing driver’s license (note that cars drive on the left side of the road in Ireland).

The default rental cars with these packages are stick shift, but automatic transmissions are available with a surcharge. You can choose to fly into either Shannon or Dublin; you’ll find more flight choices to Dublin. 

You’ll get unlimited mileage on the car, too—something you couldn’t always count on just 20 years ago. So it might be possible to say that air-drive packages have gotten even better over time.

The prices quoted above are valid at least until February 19, 2024, but even after that they’re not likely to go higher by much. This is just one of those (thankfully) perennial great deals in the world of travel—one we think you should always have on your radar.

For Aer Lingus Vacations’ fly-drive packages to Dublin, click here.

For Aer Lingus Vacations’ fly-drive packages to Shannon, click here.

You can also reach Aer Lingus Vacations by calling 800/495-1632, but calls are subject to a $25 booking fee.

Pictured at top: the town of Cobh in County Cork, Ireland