With vaccination numbers only going up and cases going down, the hope is that by summer we will be out of lockdown and onto staycations.

Last year, still during the pandemic, people could travel to countries that were on the ‘Green List’, i.e., they had low cases and so the government said we could travel to them. However, many people also opted to remain in Ireland and instead have a “staycation.”

This is a trend that took off due to Covid-19, where you holiday in your home country. And if done right, it can be cheaper that an international holiday also.

We are all quite lucky by virtue of the fact that we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. One of the most easily accessible and gorgeous parts of Ireland is the Wild Atlantic way.

For a cheap and easy staycation, grab a group of friends, a tent and enough petrol money and drive from Cork to Donegal. Or from Donegal to Cork, whichever takes your fancy.

Ireland.com has a ‘Camping and Caravanning’ page with lists of spots to pitch your tent, and other feature to help plan your trip.

If camping isn’t your style, there is also a list of hostels available on that site. As well as that, there are plenty of Airbnbs along the route, easy to access and book through the Airbnb website by putting in the location you’ll be staying in and the date you’ll be there.

Stop off in the Curraghduff Alpaca farm in Oughterard Galway, where you can walk with alpacas for €25 per person. Or just surf your way up the coast, stopping at the beautiful beach and prime surf locations of Ballybunion, Lahinch and Bundoran.

Moving to the midlands and keeping moving, following the River Shannon up the country is also a cheap-enough and fun staycation idea. Or choosing one of the towns along the river overlooking the water-front to remain in: like Ballina/Killaloe, Termonbarry or, of course, Athlone.

Not only does the latter town have the oldest pub in Ireland to attend with your age-appropriate friends, it also has Baysports, the inflatable waterpark on Hodson Bay, charging €22.50 per adult.

On the East coast, head to Wexford, where there’s not only the sunny spot of Rosslare, there are countless gorgeous beaches to attend, like Curracloe and Morriscastle Beach, to provide you and your friends with a quieter and more chill staycation.

And if you can’t drive, one of the most obvious things is to head to the epicentre of transport links in Ireland and just go from there: Dublin City. All roads may lead to Rome, but all Bus Éireann and Irish Rail links will most likely go back to Dublin.

Stay around the cities capital and go to the range of museums, galleries and monuments that define modern Irish culture. Or visit the shop, from high-street to vintage, pubs, cafes and restaurants that will hopefully be open by the time the middle of summer rolls around.

And if you get bored, hop on a train or bus to the next destination on your staycation.