Europe · Travel

The Trip Not Taken: Iceland

If you read last week’s post about the road trip Tori & I are taking next week, then you already know our original plan was to go to Iceland and not Charleston. In order to get to that decision, I had to plan out our whole trip and estimate exactly what it would cost each of us. Even though we won’t be taking a trip to Iceland this year, we will definitely be utilizing the itinerary I put together sometime in the next few years.

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While it may seem counterintuitve to take a spring break trip to Iceland, the reason it was our first choice was  was simple, we wanted to see the Northern Lights. Ever since the 5th grade when I had to do a project on them, which probably set a record for the amount of glitter that could be glued to a poster board, I have wanted to see the aurora borealis. Even on Pinterest, the pin that made me start a Bucketlist board was an article from the Wall Street Journal titled Where to Catch the World’s Best Light Show with a picture of Kakslauttanen’s Igloo Village in Finland. So with that in mind, I began to plan out our potential trip.

My first thought was to check out Icelandair. I had come across their packages in the past, and on first glance they seemed like a pretty good deal. Once I priced it out however, I found that we could stay for 7 days for the same price instead of 5 days if we chose to stay at hotel recommended by a friend. Below, you’ll find the breakdown of the trip we priced out.

5 Day Highlights

Flight Newark to Reykjavik : Icelandair – Leave Monday & Return Saturday

Hotel: Hotel Leifur Eiriksson – Tuesday-Saturday, 4 Nights (breakfast included)

Tours & Activities

  1. Golden Circle & Northern Lights Tour – Visit the Golden Circle, stop at local farms, enjoy a 2-course dinner at a local restaurant & finish the day with the Northern Lights
  2. South Coast & Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon – See the South Coast, Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss Waterfalls, and a Glacial Lagoon
  3. Blue Lagoon – The most famous of Iceland’s geothermal spas
  4. Brewery Tour – Visit Iceland’s Oldest Brewery – Ölgerðin Brewery

Food & Drink

  1. Icelandic Fish & Chips
  2. Hradlestin
  3. Kex 
  4. 3 Frakkar

The grand total for the 5 Days & 4 Nights including meals, tours, & souvenirs was approximately $1600/person for 2 people.

7 Day Highlights

Everything would be the same as the 5 Day trip except you would leave on Saturday, go on an additional tour to see Lava Tubes which includes the trip to the Blue Lagoon, and more time in in Reykjavik to explore.

The grand total for the 7 Days & 6 Nights including meals, tours, & souvenirs was approximately $1900/person for 2 people.

What I learned Along the Way

I spent a lot of time researching this trip and I definitely came across some important things to remember when planning your trip to Iceland. First of all, Icelandair is great because it has direct flights from many east coast cities, but the downside is there is not a flight every day and so if you are trying to save money you may have to be pretty flexible with when you leave & return. Second, expect to spend more for meals in Iceland than you do in the States. I went into planning assuming that I could budget for food like I would for a trip to any US city, but after researching it I found that restaurants in Reykjavik were definitely on the more expensive side. Lastly, you can definitely do the trip planned above much cheaper if you are okay with renting a car and driving yourself. Many of the attractions I listed are free to see, and on the tour you are mostly paying for the guide & transportation. That being said, as two twenty-something girls, I just didn’t feel comfortable renting a car and driving around a foreign country, especially in March when bad weather is still a possibility.

Did all of your favorite sites & restaurants make it onto our itinerary? If not let us know so we don’t miss it when we finally make it there!

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