In a few months, we’ll travel to Ireland. Mike and I took a trip there in 2010, but this will be our first trip to the land of green and Guinness with our children, who like the color green but do not appreciate Guinness nearly as much as I do.

One of the most memorable experiences we had from that first trip was a stay at a small castle in Clifden. It was memorable not only for the obvious reasons, but also because the manager thought our room was vacant while we were changing clothes and almost walked in on us. He ran away upon realizing the room was occupied, so naturally I chased him down in the hallway and demanded an answer. He explained that he’d been checking to verify that the room was ready and hadn’t known we’d already checked in. He apologized profusely and genuinely. We received excellent service for the rest of our stay.

AK in IrelandCastle ruins. Not the castle in which we stayed.

Mike suggested we return to the castle for a night’s stay, but when I looked into it, I learned that a night’s stay for our family of four would cost us approximately 8 gajillion dollars.

AK with CastleKylemore Abbey. Also not the castle in which we stayed.

This would be a good time to dispel any rumor that I receive discounts and freebies. Sadly, I am not (yet) that big of a deal, so when a castle charges 8 gajillion dollars, I have to pay it just like everyone else. And I don’t have 8 gajillion dollars.

Because I am not a gajillionaire, we usually try to do home exchanges to negate the expense of accommodations. There are always gaps in between exchanges, sometimes filled with hotels or Airbnb.

In Brazil, we stayed in a series of hostels. The word “hostel” should not make you think of a horror film, just as “motel” shouldn’t bring to mind Psycho. We’ve stayed in hostels with manicured grounds and swimming pools, at places where the proprietors served fresh squeezed orange juice and elaborate breakfasts at which I was not shy.

Some hostels are bare bones, of course. We stayed with our children and my in-laws in this room, which felt like a toaster oven.Toaster Oven Hostel

Staying in a castle again would be amazing, but it’s not in the cards for this upcoming trip. We’ll rely on cheaper accommodations (along with two home exchanges), so that money can be used for other important aspects of the trip. Namely, Guinness.


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