Iceland for a Day
Let’s get something out of the way here - Iceland is very close to the East coast (approx. 5 and a half hours) and there are a ton of airlines that fly straight out of NYC directly to Keflavik. I flew on a budget airline called WOW Air - and let me tell you, they are a budget airline for a reason. This trip was the cheapest flight I have ever purchased. I’ve bought more expensive tickets to Florida before.
My round trip flight from Newark to Keflavik was $400! Yeah you heard that right. But with this insane price comes the other hidden costs. They call it WOW air because it stands for “WOW, look at all these extra ridiculous fees.” I normally fly with Delta airlines (favorite) but I’m a frugal person and will try to find the best deal possible! My carry on is a tiny little thing that I some how managed to fit all of my crap in and I still had to pay for it to fly with me. In the WOW air ticket, they state that the price includes one carry on bag that is 42x32x25 CENTIMETERS that is. Being the extra planner I am, I measured my bag… 4 times and reread their regulations another 10 times.
When I went to check in, I had to pay an extra $50 because my bag counted as a “large” carry on. TIP: If you fly with this airline, use a soft case bag. They will physically make you put your baggage into the measurer. Another TIP:I found a loop hole - Keep the tag they put on your bag when you fly back home because they do not check the size if it’s already been tagged (from my experience. Don’t quote me on this) This saved me another $50 for my flight back to Newark. :)
The seats on this flight are also another extra fee they get you with that’s not included in the initial flight price. It’s not too bad if you just want a basic seat - I’m tiny so I can manage to fit anywhere lol. TIP: For any flight, the best seat in economy is behind exit row seat next to the window. More leg room and it’s a window seat.
Getting around in Iceland
Personally, I think the best way to get around in Iceland is with a rental car if it’s not during the really bad winter months. It’s super easy to get around and my rental car only cost me $240 for 2 days. Trust me, that’s a good deal. Plus, they give you a pocket Wifi device with allowed me to use my phone while I was in Iceland. WIN WIN! No need for an extra international cell phone plan. You can carry it in your backpack or pocket and use your phone’s wifi for GPS and uploading pictures to FB and Instagram of course :p Age to rent a car in Iceland is 21 years old and this allows you to explore the beauties of Iceland without a tour bus. TIP: Drive south of Reykjavik if you have time. It’s beyond beautiful with black sand beaches and waterfalls. AND that’s where Justin Beiber filmed his “I’ll Show You” music video.
If you choose to not rent a car or if you are traveling during the brutal winter months, I recommend buying a bus pass, although keep in mind the bus takes a lot longer than traveling by car. If you do choose to go this route, I also recommend booking an Airbnb or hotel in their main city, Reykjavik.
Hotel or Airbnb?
I usually always book a hotel - but that’s just my preference. There are a ton of Airbnb’s that you can rent for way cheaper per night than a hotel. I recommend going with Airbnb if you are staying longer than a weekend.
I stayed at an Airport hotel because it was super cheap and close to the airport. This worked for me since I was only in Iceland for one night.
Everything in Iceland is expensive simply because it’s essentially an island. Think about it, they have to import a majority of things. I decided to have dinner in Reykjavik because I was traveling for over 20 hours at this point and was starving. The tour bus I took dropped us off in Reykjavik and I spent about $45 on one entree and a coffee. Yeah, ouch. Did I mention I’m super frugal?
Eating is going to be expensive but it’s just something you have to deal with while traveling to isolated countries such as Iceland. TIP: They have a famous hotdog stand in Reykjavik called Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, that claims to be THE BEST hotdogs in the world. Yeah I’m not much of a hotdog person but it does the job and it’s a cheap lunch!
To Tour Bus or To Not Tour Bus
I don’t normally recommend doing extremely touristy actives because 1. It’s crowded full of tourists - obviously. 2. It’s cliche and very main stream. But for places such as Iceland, you kind of have to unless you know someone who can take you around. The tour bus is great because they can take you to places such as ice caves or the golden circle without needing to know much about the location. Places such as the wonders of Icelandic ice caves are also very dangerous to explore on your own. Of course, be knowledgeable and read reviews/blogs about these tours before booking. I was able to find a Northern Lights tour for only $45 that guaranteed a refund if you were not able to see them. - Which I was unfortunate to not be able to catch them while I was there :( One Day!
Iceland is a easy quick trip from the East Coast and even better stopover location when traveling in and out of Europe. Most people who I met on my trip were coming back from Europe and had a layover in Iceland. It’s quick, easy, and cheap, even during the peak months of Spring/Summer. I highly recommend and plus, I’ve taken crazier weekend trips so this was a breeze! Do your research, just like you should for any other country and create a game plan. I have written past blog posts about weekend getaways on my page under the “Travel” tab. :)