The last three weeks (1, 2, 3) I was telling you about my trip to Iceland. The week before that I told you about my love for Iceland. This week I’ll tell you how to cut corners and see Iceland on a budget.
Let me start off by saying I am a woman and I do have a friend in Iceland. So because of these two facts I did have some drinks bought for me as well as some meals. But even if I added in those drinks and meals that were paid for by others I am sure I would still be under $1,000.
It all started in late September, early October when I was attempting to do classwork and realized I was terribly bored as I found myself looking at flights instead. I noticed a flight that was during Thanksgiving break and coming back the following week from Boston to Iceland for $263.39 (All prices will be in USD). I have never flown from Boston. But I decided to look into how one would get to the Boston airport. I was able to get two one way megabus tickets that were 20.50 and 6.50. This is cheaper than my train and subway to the New York airports.
Before I knew it my credit card info was in the Wow! Air site as well as the Megabus site and I had booked a flight and RT travel to and from the airport. I was going to Iceland.
Iceland had been on my bucketlist for quite some time, but I had gone to Europe in May and had just gotten back in September. The last thing I needed to do was go on another trip to Europe so soon. But what’s done is done, so now it was time to plan on how to not spend a ton of money as I didn’t have it to spend.
I immediately jumped on hostelworld and checked out what options there were. I found one that looked to be right near downtown and had a female only dorm. I paid $35.23 in a hostel deposit and felt safer I knew where I would be laying my head each night.
The final important thing to get done was getting my transport to and from the airport in Iceland. I did a search for city buses, trains, etc and realized taking a shuttle bus was the best option. I booked my Reykjavik Excursions bus to take me to and from the airport. My shuttle bus cost $37.95.
Everything I could take care of ahead of time was taken care of. In total I had spent $363.57 on my trip thus far.
Fast forward to getting ready to leave for my trip.
I didn’t pay for extra baggage on my Wow! Air flight so I was only allowed to bring 11 pounds. 11 pounds! That’s not much at all. So I made sure to buy a scale so I could weight my bag prior to my journey. I knew it would be cold so I would need to bring heavy layers with me. Heavy layers = more weight. I thought this could be a problem.
So I packed 2 pairs of jeans (I wore a 3rd pair), packed 2 shirts (wore a third), packed a blazer, my HeatTech under layers, a pair of flip flops, enough undies and socks for the trip. I also packed a little cloth shoulder bag that folded down flat and a few snacks. I weighed and I came in just under 11 pounds. Success!
But what about winter boots, coats, scarves, gloves, toiletries, makeup, camera, chargers, adapters, etc?
Well I had never flown with this airline before, but I figured if it was like any other airline when you go to check in, they’ll weight your bag. So I was banking on that being the case.
I opted to wear my snow boots, I could kick them off during the flight, I also decided to wear my winter coats (puffy vest, puffy coat, waterproof shell). I’d be hot for the short moments when I had to have them all on at the airport but otherwise I could stop them in the overhead bin and be done with it. I also carried my gloves, scarf, and tundra hat. From there since I had so many coats on it was time to fill those pockets with my heavy items. My adapter in one, my liquid items in another, my locks (for my bag) in another, my camera in another, etc. I was weighed down, but again it wouldn’t have to last long.
I went up to the ticket counter to check in. I was carrying my outer layers by this point. She took my bag alone and weighed it. And it was still just under 11 pounds. I got my ticket went through security and then went out re-packing my bag. I had enough room left in my bag to empty out my pockets which I set forth doing. Once boarding the plane I threw my coats in the bags, took out the small fold up bag and place in it my charger, eye mask, melatonin, and other things I would need during the flight and threw the bag on top of my coats. All had worked out perfectly.
Upon arrival at my hostel I was told if I bought a hostel international card I would get a discount on my stay. The price of the card and the amount of my discount worked out so that even with paying for the card I was paying less for the room than if I didn’t buy the card at all. So I bought it. It’s good for a year and I get discounts at any other hostel international locations I stay at within the year. My hostel and the price of the card came out to $212.25.
My hostel had free food in the kitchen. There was cereal and than any things let over from when people left. So I opted to have cereal each morning, which would require milk. Then I decided I would have pasta each night. So I went out and checked out the local markets to compare prices. I then picked up a carton of milk, a box of pasta, and a can of sauce. I usually eat much healthier but having to be on a budget due to not working much and having to get a new car the month before, my car insurance going up due to said car, and having to pay my union dues, I knew I had to be careful. Over the course of the trip this and a packet of ramen noodles and a yogurt would be all that I would buy to cook. I had a few snack bars I had taken with me, those became my lunch.
There re many companies that do northern lights tours. I myself chose Gray Line much because of the price point $45.97.
I don’t have a breakdown of the prices for everything here, but I do know everything else that was bought:
During my time there or at the airport (to or from) I bought 4 sandwiches, 3 hot dogs, 2 bottled water, and a partridge in a pair tree. (I’m kidding about the partridge.) … (and the pear tree) I also bought a burger and friends with two beers ($27.04), 1 vodka tonic ($10.55), 2 vodka tonics ($11.31 each) , a double vodka tonic ($18.86), 1 kleinur, a piece of candy, a beer for a friend,
I also ended up having to buy razors and toothpaste while away. I went to a pool so I brought admission and rented a suit and towel. I went to two museums (paid the student price for both), took home a shot glass, Christmas ornament, and 2 kids plates.
Finally I took the T train to and from the airport from the bus terminal in Boston and a taxi ($42.62).
Just in case you were wondering for free during my trip I had be bought: 4 beers, 2 shots, 1 vodka tonic, a smirnoff ice, brunch, pizza, pasta, and a cupcake. Also my friends family drove me outside of Reykjavik one day and a friend paid for my bus fare on another occasion.
If we don’t include the flybus or hostel I spent $280.75 on the ground. If we don’t include the taxi ride to visit a friend (as it wasn’t necessarily a tourist “thing”) on the ground I spent a total of $238.13. If we include flights, megabuses, deposits on the hotel, etc I spent a total of $856.57 on my trip to Iceland for 8 nights.
So if you want to do it, you can. You need to watch your money and cut some corners, but it’s possible to stay on a very low budget in the very expensive country of Iceland. In February I am off to Oslo (another expensive one) and it looks like due to some personal things here in the states I will be low on cash once again. I’ll of course fill you in all about Oslo!