I’m back from Iceland and slightly devastated about it. Before I dive into blog posts filled with images of the unbelievable landscape, what it was like to go to a music festival abroad or any entertaining stories – I want to share the cost of Iceland. If you research anything about Iceland, you’ll read about how expensive it is. However, few people actually share what their definition of expensive is or how much you will realistically spend.
While you may consider yourself more of a budget traveler than me or possibly a luxury traveler in comparison, I like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t mind “roughing it” here and there, but I am known to justify purchases with a #treatyoself attitude. This was my first completely solo trip, as in I wasn’t traveling for work, or staying with a friend or relative. I had zero financial help besides the below:
My mom took me on a mini shopping trip for a thermal base layer, gloves, rainproof pants and a beanie. Since I live in Texas, I was very unprepared for cold weather and my mom took pity on me. Although, do note that this was supposedly an early Christmas gift. I say ‘supposedly’ because she has a habit of buying people things early in the name of Christmas, but doesn’t actually deduct it from the gifts I’ll receive on Christmas day. Love you mom!
I booked one day tour in advance, as well as reached out on Girls Love Travel to see if there was anyone with a car willing to let me join for a day. It just so happened that Michelle of One Small World planned to do the Golden Circle on a day that I had free, so I bummed a ride and bought her lunch. Luckily, we hit it off and had an amazing day together. This saved from having to pay ~$100 for a day tour around the Golden Circle and I was able to call the tour company I had initially booked with (When In Iceland) and switch it to a South Coast tour for $9 more dollars. This way, I wasn’t seeing the same thing twice!
I also received a free ride around the Western Peninsula from a friend of a friend who again, happened to be there while I was and was willing to let a stranger ride in his car for the entire day. Luckily, we hit it off and had an amazing day together. I paid for half a tank of gas and blessed him with my company in return. For those planning to drive, please note that gas is a bit over $7 a gallon.
The lesson here: ask and you shall receive! I was not banking on either of these things happening, but making connections and putting your request out into the world often has its own way of working out. I can confidently say that I not only saved money by networking, but I also gained two new friends along the way! Alas, onto the financials.
The highlighted cells refer to amounts I paid before arriving in Iceland. That totaled to $1,430.16, which I began paying in August when I initially bought my flights. By the time I left in November, that portion of the trip was paid off. The $909.24 is currently on my credit card and I will now work to pay this off. I am sharing this not to talk about my personal finances, but to give people an exact idea of what travel costs so that they too can make the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. I can only speak to what those sacrifices are for me and must mention that I am always saving in order to travel more. What I mean is that I had money in my savings specifically for this trip. My last trip to New York City and Boston were basically free because I not only used miles for my flights, but I stayed with family and friends. I ate their groceries and took advantage of their hospitality and offered the same if they ever visit Austin.
I am very proud of myself for not letting the cost of Iceland deter me from going. I am also proud that I didn’t plan every single aspect or I wouldn’t have had those great days with Michelle or Travis. I’m beginning to realize that it takes a combination of planning and a bit of a ‘just go for it’ attitude to make these things happen. I welcome any questions about what I spent and am happy to give advice on how to make it cheaper (don’t drink).