All Of Our Bags Are Packed (almost.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways. All opinions are 100% mine.

Well, it's official. We're packing our bags and heading across the pond.

I mentioned previously that Chris and I were itching to get out of town. So, after browsing Groupon Getaways for hours trying to decide which destination we wanted to go on, we finally made our choice. A part of us just wanted to make it a quick trip and go somewhere close for the weekend- like to a cute lake resort in Wisconsin or Michigan. But then we were also wanting to go a bit further- perhaps somewhere abroad.

After a little budgeting and checking the prices of the packages Groupon offered, we decided to do both. 

So, this weekend we're hopping in our car and heading to Green Lake, Wisconsin to relax at a cute lake resort and do Wisconsin-y things (like eat cheese and go cross country skiing, I presume.) I'm looking forward to getting out of the city and just relaxing for a weekend. Here's what I'm packing... snow boots and scarves are also coming along just in case.

It might not be this green at the Wisconsin resort just yet, but you get the idea.
And then two weeks from today we're boarding a plane to go to London and Dublin. Both trips are officially booked and we are set to go. I am so excited!

The booking process was so easy and seamless, I still kind of feel like it's not real. The flights and hotels in London and Dublin were all a part of the Groupon Getaways package, so everything was already done for us. I've never planned such a stress-free vacation before, it's pretty wonderful. We're staying right by Hyde Park in London and in the middle of the city in Dublin. The only thing we have to decide is what we actually want to do once we get there.

I've been to Europe a few times before, but never to London or Dublin so if you have any suggestions, please let me know! Chris is a museum kind of guy and I'm a pub kind of girl, so we are open to absolutely anything. Where should we eat? What should we drink? What should we see? What should we avoid? Tell me anything you know and I will be so grateful!

And most importantly, what should I pack for #mygroupongetaway? 

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  1. Me and my husband went to Ireland on our honeymoon and LOVED it -- the people are the best, and the pubs were better. We really enjoyed the Guinness Museum, and it's right in Dublin. And hit up Temple Bar, which is just a street with a bunch of pubs and little restaurants. It's a little touristy, but so much fun! Drink so much Guinness (I hate beer, but I could stomach it there) ,Eat all the fish and chips, and a Burger! Oh my god, I promise they are better there!

    Also, if you have the time, or the means travel out to the countryside to Cork, or Blarney. The people get nicer the farther from Dublin, and we spent one night drunk off bottles of wine, singing along with an irish family and a bunch of pub goers. Best night we had, hands down.

    I'll end this novel now -- have a great vacation!!

  2. We went to Ireland a couple years ago. I highly recommend the hop on/hop off bus tour in Dublin! If you are renting a car, I also recommend driving out to Blarney as well and spending all afternoon there.

  3. How exciting! I'm going to Ireland in September (first time out of the country!) so I'm excited to hear what you do.

  4. Ooooh I have a suggestion!! If you're in London on 31st March, I'm hosting a supper club!! You should totally come :) It's a 3 course dinner (all my recipes!), a complimentary cocktail, and an awesome goody bag to take home (which may or may not contain a full bottle of wine... ;) ) I'd love to see you there!

  5. I may send you an email regarding Groupon getaways. I've been wanting to do one but wasn't sure how legit it was. I definitely have a few questions but I'll wait till you get back to ask them! :)

  6. Ha too funny. I was just about to ask other bloggers what their thoughts were on Groupon Getaways. My husband is from Wisconsin and I am from IL/IN so we do a lot of midwest trips. Definitely eat a lot of cheese in Wisconsin. Another side trip is Door County. It is about two hours away from Green Lake and is so beautiful! One of my favorite places in Wisconsin. They have some tourist stuff to do there too.

    For our honeymoon we did what we call "A Sampler Tour of Europe". I honestly recommend if you have all the shit you need, register for your honeymoon instead when you get married! We went to Barcelona, (supposed to go to Ankara, Turkey for a friends wedding but, the flight was cancelled), PARIS, Nice, London, Wales, and then Dublin. It was a little exhausting but, we had both never been to Europe and loved the sampler. Our favorites were actually London and Dublin...and Barcelona.

    For London, definitely go on the double decker bus tour. You can quickly see all of the city and get ideas of where you may want to spend more time at later. We stayed right next to the Tower of London and that was pretty cool. I am not much of a museum girl but, it held my interest. As far as London food, fish and chips. It's actually legit. London was by far my favorite place on the trip and I want to go back SOOO bad.

    Dublin is a whole different world than London. The pubs run the town. Temple Bar is the area where most of the bars are. We stayed right in Temple Bar at Arlington Bridge and it was loud. If you are staying near the pubs and don't like all night noise, bring ear plugs. We did a day tour to the Cliffs of Moher from Such an amazing sight and was nice to get away from the city hustle for a bit.

    Some of the best food we ate was in Dublin! Some of the places we liked were F.X Buckley Steakhouse, Carr & O'Connel, and BrassiereSixty6.

    As far as what to pack, a hat for sure, comfortable walking shoes, rain gear for London, and clothes that can be used for both types of weather. We went in June I think and during the day it was hot, then the next day rainy and cold. The weather is so unpredictable there!

    Have fun! Make sure you charge your camera every night and bring a back up one. I almost cried when I realized I forgot to put my battery back in my camera while at the Cliffs of Moher! And now I'm going to go whine to my husband we need to travel again soon. Ha!

  7. Sooo freaking exciting, and swooning over your flats lol!!

  8. Green Lake is so cute!! I'm originally from Wisconsin --- hope you like it!! Enjoy the weekend :-)

    xoxo, Elena Michelle

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  10. Go to Galway for a day trip. The cliffs of mohr are near there and Galway has the cutest little pubs! Have jealous!

  11. Oh how fun! Enjoy your trips. I love Wisconsin, but I have never been abroad. I am looking forward to your recap posts.

  12. Never been to Ireland or London before, but I hear wonderful things! Can't wait to hear about your trip :)

  13. I'm more than a little jealous of your Dublin and London trip! Well Wisconsin too, cause cheese is good. I hope you have a wonderful time on all! I can't wait to hear about them! Drink a beer for me too please.

  14. Which resort are you staying at in Wisconsin? ;)

  15. I agree with others that in Dublin you should hit up the Temple Bar area--- except I will advise solely during the day. At night it is completely a tourist trap which means astronomical prices and no one that lives here actually goes there. You're in the perfect area of Dublin though! I suggest renting a bike (Coke has stands set up and you just pay for the hour or day I think) and exploring as much as you can after you do the regular tourist things (Guiness Brewery, Old Jameson Distillery, Book of Kells in Trinity's Library, Grafton Street). The double decker bus is an absolute must though at the beginning. The tour guides are famous for being tons of fun, and since you can hop on and off it will help you get your bearings the first day.

    The National Gallery is pretty good if you pay for the exhibits, but not so much if you only look at the free stuff. The Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) is pretty interesting too. Or you could catch a play at the Abbey Theatre. They should have on some classics, but also they're going to be doing Death of a Comedian which is a new one done in collaboration with the theatre in Northern Ireland I used to work with. Possibly right up your alley :) Or you could go to the Gate which is where Orson Wells had his acting debut. Sorry, I'm a theatre nerd... had to add those in.

    There are a couple of blogs like Lovin Dublin ( and Life Of Stuff ( to check out for some good spots. The first is mostly about food, and LoS focuses more on giveaways now but if you dig around there are some really cool pub ideas in there.

    If you do a day trip, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher are nice. You get the touristy part for your man and since Galway is a college town there are tons of fun pubs for you. I'd suggest going up to the North Coast though and doing a coastal tour. You'll get Giant's Causeway, the Bushmills Distillery (still in operation as opposed to the Jameson distillery in Dublin), and most tours will stop you by Dunluce Castle which feels a bit more authentic as its mostly in ruins! Plus you could stop in Belfast and see the few sights there, or there are tons of Game of Thrones tours that take you to filming spots and you can do archery and all at Winterfell if that's your jam. Lots of the actors have houses in Belfast too... I passed a very hungover Peter Dinklage once on my way to work.

    Sorry there's no London tips in here, since I live outside of Dublin I know it a bit better. ha. Have a marvellous time!

    1. TWO LAST THINGS-- (yeah, sorry)

      I was just told by my bf that I need to mention that if you get a chance and either of you are into sports at all to try and watch either a Gaelic Football or Hurling match at Croke Park. Gaelic Football is the most popular sport in Ireland, despite the fact that its a completely volunteer based organisation.

      AND-- just remembered one of the servers at Second City (her name is Charlotte) did a study abroad in Dublin so she'd know the pubs far better than I, if you're up there and like awkwardly approaching strangers.

      Ok, I'm done now. I just get super excited when given the chance to share :)

  16. I have been curious about the Groupon getaways for a while now so I'm curious to hear about your experience! As for London and Dublin I am so incredibly jealous. I would have to agree with all of the above recommendations for Dublin. The Temple Bar is the one I suggest most. Before my trip my Papa passed away and I remember having an overwhelming feeling he was in that bar with me. More than that, it's just an incredibly positive environment with amazing music.

    This sounds so silly but pay attention to traffic at all times. The Irish drive fast and have no consideration for you and your confused tourist ways. I can't tell you the amount of times I was almost killed trying to cross the road.

    Beer: Obviously an important topic in the country. Bulmers Cider was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Have one and you will hate all Cider in the US. Drink responsibly or you could come home 12 pounds heavier. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

    London was incredible for me. So much history which is right up my alley. A double decker bus is the way to go, you will learn so much and get a feel for where you want to go and what you would like to see more of. Definitely make it to the Tower of London at some point. I could spend an entire day in there arguing historical facts with the tour guides but a quick trip should do the trick, too.

    Lastly, enjoy the people. Everyone is so friendly and most will say "Hi" to you in passing which is a huge change from where I live in Boston. Have a great time!

  17. I actually just got back from London last weekend. If you can find it, there is a booklet for 2 for 1 activities including pub crawls, London eye passes, etc. We found ours at a train station as we were staying outside of London. This is the website our brochure lists for information: It looks like you need valid train tickets to present so maybe this wont work for you. The other thing I suggest is buying the tour bus tickets. The tour we did as called "The Original Tour: London Sightseeing." The best thing about this is that your ticket is valid for 48 hours allowing you to hop on and hop off at many popular spots. The tours start around 9 and the last bus usually runs around 5:30. They have 3 different tours you can do and I think it is well worth your money. The bus also comes with a free Thames cruise to travel down the river Thames.

    Hope you have fun!

  18. I have a few recommendations for Dublin. My parents are both Irish so we're back for at least a month or two every year and I worked there all last summer. I recommend staying as far away from Temple Bar as possible. It's completely touristy and you won't have an authentic experience at all. Why go all that way and only interact with other tourists? I recommend checking out Neary's (just off Grafton St) for something more traditional and still right downtown. I also love the rooftop bar at the Marker Hotel for something really modern (though it may be closed this time of year). Try the Farm for dinner. I like the location on Upper Leeson St, but there's also one on Dawson St. Take a really quick trip south on the DART to Killiney and climb Killiney hill for one of the best views around. I also really love Powerscourt (it's in Co. Wicklow, so not that far). It's a gorgeous estate which is nice for lunch and a poke around the extensive gardens. Finally, Farmleigh House is nice for a walk if you happen to be up in Phoenix Park. Have a good time!

  19. I was in Dublin around this time last year and had a great time, and studied abroad in Oxford for three months, so went to London on a lot of weekend trips. LOVE LOVE LOVE all of it!! I'll have to e-mail you some recommendations :)

  20. London has a ton of free museums-so definitely take advantage of that! Especially since everything else there is a little pricey, it's always nice to get the chance to do something for free. As far as Ireland, if you get a chance to go to Galway & the Cliffs of Moher I suggest it! I always love stumbling into small little pubs, they seem to have to most character. You'll have so much fun so just enjoy the culture!
    Katelyn // Relatively Offbeat

  21. I am heading to London for the first time on the 18th! I would highly suggest buying a London pass ( they have EVERYTHING you could ever want,and you pay for it all up front. No worrying about lines at some places too! You can even buy it with a travel card so you don't have to worry about transportation around the city. There are a ton of museums available on the site.

  22. You should definitely visit the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I loved it so much we went twice while there. There are SO many wonderful museums. Oh and The Troubadour in Earl's Court! Go there, it's so much fun!

  23. Yay for London and Dublin. I love London its just a beautiful place. I was going to give tips but Id say you have your fair share above haha. Have a blast!

  24. I LOVE London so much. There are a ton of things to do, but I think the must-dos are seeing Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge (there is at least one cute pub right on the other side of the bridge from the Tower of London, too, which is convenient), and Buckingham Palace (which might be pretty close to your hotel).
    If you do a double-decker bus tour soon after you get there, you'll be able to see all the main things and then decide if you want to spend any more time at any of them, so that's cool.
    For museums, I like the one at the Tower of London and the Victoria & Albert. I think Madame Tussaud's is a waste of time, though, and while Kensington Palace and Wimbledon are beautiful in the spring, it's cold there now and they're pretty far from where you're going to be staying.
    I never made it to the Globe theater, but that might be cool. You should also check out Harrod's, just because it's crazy, and maybe see a show! And eat some Indian food. There's a reason that chicken tikka masala is the national dish of the United Kingdom.
    Have a fantastic time!!!

  25. Hello Hello, First time comment:) Well great to see you are heading this way. I live in Ireland, can I just say one thing pack for the weather, it changes daily and i mean from warm to drastic cold overnight. Really is a great place to be, any questions ask away... my partner and I are originally from England, me - Northern England and my partner London, in fact we just got back from a 3 night stay there and if there is one thing I will say is you are going to LOVE it, i love London, so much to do and see for everyone. I have one suggestion and I hope you mange to make it, visit the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, (brown line on the tube) I know its pure 100% geeky but such an enjoyable day, and best of all it is free all day. I wont go in to everything they have there, maybe you could google it and it will give you an idea but I would really say go for it. there are a good few things in London that you can do for free but nothing compares to the IWM. After that head across the park and there is a cute pub just on the corner (you can not miss it). I would say look up the day passes for the tube, as far as i remember a single trip on the tube is £4.80, quite expensive considering you can do up to so many trips daily. They have a day pass which will save you both tons, I can not remember the exact amount we paid but it could be something like £20, that's for unlimited amount of trips, or they do weekly ones etc. The tube is so so handy, you can be anywhere in London in just a few stops, Also if you are in Westminster look out for the Sherlock Holmes pub, so so quaint and cute. One last thing (as there is so much) check out the Jack the Ripper tour, that's if you would like a little fright night..okay sorry for the rant. We have visited London so so many times and just adore it. I knew there was one other thing.. not sure which airport you fly in to, if it is Gatwick, it is a bit further from the City, try not get the train, it is roughly £70 for 2, we figured if you walk out of the terminal there is a line of coaches which take you to the city (okay it is an hour and a half, but still) for just £10 each.. that's it i promise:) xxx You will both have a great time. Ireland is a lovely place, we moved out of Dublin to Meath, the people tend to be nicer, pubs cosier and more laid back i guessx

  26. okay me again... I just had to check, I still had one of the day tickets we got whilst in London for the Tube, the day travel card is £12, if you plan on doing many trips on the tube which I will guess you will:) it will save quite a bit... oh and I realized by saying we moved out of Dublin, it sounds like Dublin is not that great:) I didnt mean that at all, i meant if you have the time maybe you could plan a little day trip out of the city, experience a traditional Irish pub, nice pint of guiness by a warm open firexx