Lauren Underwood

Farmington Hills, MI


Solo travelers, don’t miss this one! Lauren just got back from her Irish road trip in which she traveled on her own. Read about her adventures below:

 

What made you want to travel to Northern Ireland?:

“I’ve always wanted to see the Giant’s Causeway, and I love a beautiful coastal drive.”

Who did you travel with?:
“I traveled alone – and I was REALLY comfortable doing that. This was my first longer trip “all by myself” and Tenon Tours made it a lot easier to organize.”

Where were the top 3 places to visit on your wish list? If you made it to them, what did you think?:
“Wow, only three? Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway and Londonderry for the Bogside tour. Belfast is also worth some time. I loved the scenery at the rope bridge and Giant’s Causeway – from the sheep on the ridge trail at the Causeway to the waves crashing into the shore. There were other people there, but neither place was too crowded. Londonderry is a charming town, a bit of nice shopping, a walk on the walls, and a reminder of Ireland’s deeply divided history – lessons important for us everywhere else in the world today.”


Tough question alert! What was the best part about your vacation?:
“Two things – the sights and the food. I will never forget the windswept coast on the sea and the gorgeous drive on winding roads. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. The food is superb – as good as you will get in a fine restaurant in the states, succulent oysters, meltingly tender salmon, best fish & chips anywhere. The bed & breakfast in Londonderry – Mount Royd – was the best ever, I’d go back to Northern Ireland to stay there.”

What made you want to travel with Tenon Tours? What advantages did you have booking with Tenon Tours?:
“Tenon made the process easy, and they are streamlined in their approach. The itinerary was tailored to the things I like (history, the out-of-doors) and they took into account that I was a woman traveling alone. They are prompt and professional about communicating with clients.”


How was your experience with your Personal Sales Representative(s)?:
“She was nice, professional and helpful. I felt that this tour really met my needs, and that means the staff paid attention to what I wanted.”

Do you wish you prepared better for any specific part of the trip?:
“A map! Just an old-fashioned map. It really helps when you don’t have cell service!”

Do you have any advice to offer up about the weather?:
“Layers, of course. Be prepared for the humidity. This means you will have CRAZY hair for the entire trip!”

Did travel insurance come in handy for you?:
“I didn’t have to use travel insurance, but the more often I travel, I find I like having peace of mind.”


Were you able to meet any friends along your journey?:
“I was treated like a friend by waitstaff, hotel and B&B staff, and even the guys at the tyre store (yes, I had a flat tyre, and lots of people helped me).”

What are your favorite souvenirs you brought home?:
“Photos! Those are always my absolute favorites. I found two really good cookbooks in Belfast (I’m an avid cook and collector of cookbooks, but they have to be good!). I also found a terrific sweater in the shop at the Giant’s Causeway.”

Were there any unplanned parts of your trip that wound up turning into one of your favorite travel stories?:

“Yes, there were two. One was the walled garden and castle I found on my coastal drive – Glenarm Castle. It was lovely, and totally unplanned! The other was my flat tyre! Not used to driving on the left, I hugged the side of the road too much. Bump! Bump! Then I had to make a hairpin turn and THUNK!! Wheeeeeee…. I got help from some nice guys at a manufacturing plant (no cell service to call roadside assistance), ended up backtracking and buying a tyre, and got to see a lot more of the countryside than I planned on. But it all turned out fine and everyone was nice. I got to see local people in their everyday lives. And the tyre store had decent coffee.”


How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?:
“I was, for the most part, just fine. You forget that there is a LOT of car to your left. Most intersections outside of the cities are roundabouts which are super easy to navigate. I would do it again! If you just focus on driving, you will be fine.”

What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?:
“Take a map! Take your time on the road, and think through your turns. It is easier than you will expect.
How did you go about planning your itinerary, picking sights, arranging them and figuring out how long to stay?: I picked a couple of places I was interested in, and the activities I wanted to focus on, and I let Tenon Tours do the rest. The itinerary they proposed was what I was looking for and saved me the time of working out all the details myself.”

Any advice for the “round-abouts” or “circles” while driving?:
“I love roundabouts. I was comfortable with them. Just pay attention to which exit you need to take!”

Is there anything else that you would like to share about your travels?:
“I’ll never forget walking around Belfast at night and seeing the City Hall beautifully lit. It was a treat!”

 

We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed your solo journey Lauren. We hope to assist you again in the future!

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