Cork city on a budget – 10 tips for the independent traveller!

Best Price Reservations!

Top tips for budget travel in Cork City

So you’re planning a trip of a lifetime to the city of Cork? Make sure to check out our guide of Things to do in Cork. Our walking tour is 5 star rated. Also, check out our Summer Beds list for value for money, centrally located and comfortable student accommodation uninhabited during the summer months.

You might have heard about the friendly people, the easy-going pace of life and the outstanding attractions in the city.

While it’s certainly possible to do Cork city on a budget and have a great time. There are a few things you’ll need to know. With a little careful planning and doing some homework before you arrive, you’ll find that experiencing Cork city on a budget is both worthwhile and easy.

Check out the following 10 budgeting tips, which will save you a load of cash on your travels in the city. And while saving money is wonderful, you’ll also want to experience everything the city has to offer.

10 Budget travel tips for Cork City

Check out the following tips to make the most of your time in Cork city…

  1. Travel light:

    Always travel light. You don’t have to go all hard-core backpacker and pack only 3 changes of clothes. However, you should be aware – the more you pack, the more you spend.

    And the more you pack the more difficulty you’ll have getting around. Which means more taxis, car hire and parking charges and more expensive accommodation closer to airports, train stations in the city center. Generally, you’ll get less bang for your buck!

    You’ll also be paying more of your precious cash for excess baggage charges on your flight to Ireland.

    Moral of the story: pack as light as possible.

  2. Shop for food at local supermarkets:

    Cork city is a great walking city. It’s small, compact and has everything you’ll need within walking distance of the city centre. Our local supermarkets sell an abundance of cheap, nutritious food, including sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and sometimes hot meats eg. chicken, turkey and hamburgers etc.

    Ask a local to point you in the direction of Tesco on Paul Street in the city center. Any Aldi, Lidl or Dunnes Stores store will also do.

  3. Stock up your carry bag:

    You’re travelling light, right? Well, you can leave your bags at your accommodation. However, you’ll want to stock your carry backpack or bag with healthy, nutritious food from the supermarket for when you get hungry.

    Make sure to purchase a large bottle of water along with foods high in protein to keep you fuller, longer eg. cheese, protein bars, chicken slices along with fruit for snacks.

  4. Choose your transport carefully:

    Only you’ll know which mode of transport suits you best. You can check out our blog post on everything you’ll need to know about renting a car in Ireland for more info on renting a car.

    You should definitely consider public transport for travelling between cities and around city centres. You can find more info on Ireland’s public transport websites here. It might be possible to see everything on your list using trains, planes and car-sharing or taxi automobiles.

  5. Visit free attractions in Cork city:

    There are tons of free things to do in Cork city, including stunning cathedrals, harry-potter-like university buildings, ancient churches, modern museums and parks with outstanding scenery and museums.

    All of the above attractions are either free or cost very little. All are within walking or cycling distance of the city centre. Don’t miss out on these outstanding attractions. For more info check out our blog post on outstanding things to do in Cork city.

  6. Save on accommodation:

    One simple way to save on accommodation is to stay in a local hostel. Advantages include kitchen facilities included in the price and reasonable rates.

    Many people might not be comfortable staying in a dorm, though. And some hostels aren’t very quiet at night. On the other hand, you’ll get to meet and share tips with fellow travellers, which can be invaluable for saving money and getting the most out of your journey.

  7. Don’t scrimp on insurance:

    Travel insurance can seem like a luxury to those on a tight budget. The reality is however that travellers get caught out all the time eg. cancelled flights, medical bills, stolen bags etc.

    We’d recommend purchasing travel insurance before leaving your home.

  8. Alcohol and drinking budget:

    If you’re a drinker, then you’re probably planning on having a few pints in a local Irish bar at some stage. This experience is highly recommended and is a great way of soaking up some local culture. The only downside if you’re drinking all night long is – it can be expensive.

    There are many off-licences in Cork city center which sell cans of beer and bottles of wine. Drinking on the street is discouraged though. If you’re short on funds and feel like drinking in a bar, then you could always consider the Linenweaver on Paul Street.

    There are tons of great authentic Irish bars in the city. Check out Sin É for live Irish trad. (traditional music), Mutton Lane Inn for the quintessential local pub atmosphere in the city centre and if you are into clubs and live music, check out the Crane Lane.

  9. Write down your expenses:

    Some travellers find that writing down all their daily expenses is a great way of keeping track of where you are spending your cash. If you don’t have the time or inclination to write down your purchases, then consider reviewing your banking app a few times a day and/or keeping your receipts for the day.

  10. Don’t overdo it:

    Our last tip is more of a piece of advice than a money-saving tip. The whole point of saving money on food, drink and accommodation is that you get to spend more of your budget on the things that’ll make your experience in Ireland memorable.

    Don’t forget to experience everything the wonderful city of Cork has to offer on your visit.

The more you save, the further you go!

This particular phrase can be useful for travellers to remember. While you should plan to go over budget on your Irish trip. You don’t have to break the bank either. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll have an enjoyable, once-in-a-lifetime, memorable trip to Ireland.

You might also wish to take a rebel walking tour of Cork city using some of the money you’ve saved with the tips in this article.


Dara Burke is a local storyteller and True. Cork. Rebel. When he’s not helping guests experience the real ‘Rebel City’ on his Rebel City Tour of Cork, featuring local food, local drink, and exciting Rebel tales, he’s creating guides of things to do in Cork. Join him on his exciting Cork walking tour to immerse yourself in real Cork culture and make the most of your time in the city.

Leave a Comment