Travel abroad for the ultimate concert experience

Ailbhe Daly

We all know the feeling – a band you’re crazy about announces a European tour and they leave our little green island out of it. It can be frustrating but once the feelings of saltiness subside, it is possible to look at attending a show just across the water in the UK.

Your college years are the perfect time to treat yourself before you have bigger responsibilities on your shoulders. There are few things in life more enjoyable than singing along to a song you love with hundreds of other like-minded people and it is definitely something that you should try to do in a different location at least a couple of times.

Even if you leave the currently questionable Ryanair out of the picture, Aer Lingus offer flights multiple times a day to smaller UK airports like Leeds Bradford, Glasgow and Birmingham. Ryanair is definitely the cheaper option however, and if you book wisely it is not unheard of to get flights at less than a tenner one way. While going to a gig in the sprawling city of London may initially appear to be the most appealing choice, accommodation and travel can be pricey so looking at other cities is a good option. However, if you are smart about booking, it is very easy to do a quick jaunt abroad for a very reasonable price.

Take for example, a trip to Glasgow to attend a concert in the SSE Hydro, a large venue akin to the 3Arena. Ticket prices clock in around the £50 mark and if you book flights at the right time, it is not unusual to get return flights with Ryanair for under €25. A hotel can range from a cheap hostel stay for £15-20 a night to a nicer hotel room for a little more. If you are splitting with a friend the step up to a hotel close to the centre is more than worth it because you will not have to pay for transport around the city. It seems simple, but so many people do not realise just how easy it is to take a trip abroad for a gig.

Compare to a trip within Ireland, for example. A student return train ticket to Galway will run you €23 while one to Belfast will set you back almost €40. The chances are you probably have a mate’s couch to crash on in but if you don’t, a hotel is going to cost you pretty much the same as it would in a city in the UK. Keeping that in mind, a trip up North to see one of your favourite bands play does not seem so luxurious.

A good deal at the moment is travelling to Glasgow to see Dua Lipa next April. Many Irish fans were disappointed when her show in the Olympia Theatre sold out so quickly but tickets to see her in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro are just £25? As well as this, return flights with Ryanair are currently £50 for those dates but if you were patient enough to wait for a sale, these could be grabbed for much lower. Split a hotel room with a friend and you have a very budget friendly trip. Once you have your gig tickets, flights and hotel booked, you can do the remainder on a very small budget if needs be. It is definitely something to take into consideration next time you miss out on tickets for a gig here.

Another benefit of attending a show in the UK is that the band may be in a different sized venue to where you would see them here meaning either you get a nice, intimate show in a smaller venue or you have a better chance of grabbing tickets for gigs in a bigger venue.

Even if you fancy going further afield to Europe, many bands and artists will play in multiple cities that can be flown to from Dublin easily, many of which boast a very budget friendly environment. With apps like Trip Advisor available offline you can get the lowdown on the city you are visiting and pick places to eat and spend your time that suit a budget. With the new EU ‘roam like home’ rules in place, you will have access to Google Maps to help you navigate the streets of a new city as well as tip you off on places to visit.

At the end of the day, life is all about living. It is nice to have a healthy padding in your bank account but as cliché as it is, it is the memories that you make by jumping out of your comfort zone that you will remember more. So buy those tickets and enjoy yourself, carpe diem.

Ailbhe Daly