Getting Ready for Iceland, Little by Little

March 9, 2015
This summer, Rachael and I will be going to Iceland for two weeks. Since it's not like I'm rolling in cash on a teacher's salary, I have to prepare for our journey step-by-step in order to spread out the financial burden of the trip.

Step 1: Book the flights.  A trip never feels "real" to me until I have my flight confirmation numbers! Rachael and I will be actually be flying from Cleveland to NYC so that we can go to the BlogHer conference first.

Both of us searched flights from various cities since we were a bit flexible with our trip's starting point. In order to find the best deal, I looked at flights from Savannah/Hilton Head International airport and also at flights from Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio since I want to go back and visit my parents over the summer, anyway. The tool that helped us find the cheapest flight was Skyscanner. We originally wanted to fly from NYC to Reykjavik and it was going to be roughly $900.  Once I used Skyscanner, I saw that Boston had flights directly to Reykjavik for hundreds less thanks to Wow Air, an Icelandic budget airline.  Rachael and I discussed it and thought it would be worth it to save the money and just buy a bus ticket from NYC to Boston.  As an added bonus, we decided that we might as well tour Boston on our way back since both of us have never gone before. This wasn't something that we planned on at all, but since we have the summer off and don't have to be back at work right away, we were able to add this little trip on! Truthfully, some of my best trips were just ones that I stumbled onto! When I flew back from South Korea, I saw that I had a layover in San Francisco.  I just extended the layover and spent a few days with my friend before flying back to Ohio.  The same thing happened when I flew from Italy to Seoul. I had a layover in Dubai that I extended for 4 days so that I could tour the city without having to pay anything extra to the airlines.

Step 2: Plan out a rough draft of our itinerary.  To generate ideas, Rachael created a Pinterest board for the two of us to use! (Great idea, Rachael!!) As I've said before, we were really inspired by Kaelene's blog to help us plan.

We had to decide: What are the main attractions that we want to visit? What tours do we want to take?  Do we want to just take day trips from Reykjavik every day or do we want to rent a car and explore Iceland on our own?

Note!: Pay attention to what days the tours are offered on.  I noticed later that a tour I was going to book through Reykjavik Excursions was only available to book on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we had to switch something around because the day I wanted to originally go was a Wednesday.

Step 3: Book accommodation.  In the end, we decided that having a "base" would be less stressful for us.  Since everything we want to see can be done as a day trip from Reykjavik, we figured that this was the way to go.  We knew that we wanted to book accommodation through AirBnb, and the minimum stay for Iceland is 8 nights.  If we wanted to stay in another city we wouldn't have been able to use AirBnb to book where we will be staying for the whole trip, so staying in Reykjavik every night just makes the most sense for us.

I actually just paid for our accommodation yesterday!! We will be sharing a flat for two weeks with an Icelandic gal in her 30's.  Her place looks adorable and very clean and other travelers that have stayed with her gave her high reviews.  This will be my first experience using AirBnb, so we'll see!  I have high hopes for it!  It will be cool to live with a local for 2 weeks, as I'm sure she wouldn't mind giving us a few recommendations and inside tips. The price was great, too! We are only paying a little over $28 a night.

Step 4: Create a list of items needed for the trip, and acquire a few of them at a time. After reading this post, I know that I'm going to need to get hiking boots.  I was originally going to try to just get away with wearing a pair of regular sneakers, but after thinking it over, I decided that I wanted shoes that were waterproof and offered ankle support.  I figured that they would be useful on future trips, so I'm going to invest in a nice pair.

Other items on my list that I want/need to get are: a copy of Lonely Planet Iceland, a 64 gb memory card, a waterproof jacket, a new makeup bag since the one I'm currently using is too big to take with me.  As a side note, I will never, ever go on another trip without a waterproof jacket! After freezing in the pouring rain on Boulders Beach in South Africa even with an umbrella, I will not make that same mistake again.  Luckily, the sun came out and my friends and I were able to dry off, but we would have been really miserable if we had to continue on our trip to Cape Point in sopping wet clothes.

I will not be bringing my cell phone with me, so since I won't have the internet at my fingertips, I figured that this would be a useful resource to have.  I don't know how many times I've relied on a Lonely Planet in the past to help me get around, speak to someone in another language (or just point at the phrase in the book, haha), or for a restaurant recommendation! 



Step 5: Finalize itinerary and book all tours! I know for sure that I'll be booking this tour to Landmannalaugar + Saga Valley soon while Rachael goes on a diving tour in Silfra since became a certified diver in Thailand.  

Step 6: Print out all travel documents and a copy of itinerary.  I usually like bring a folder with me so that I can keep everything organized! A few days before my trip, I like to look over everything...it makes me feel less anxious. 

Another thing that I'm going to do is exercise and walk A LOT from June until our trip in late July! Since I know that I'll be doing a ton of walking/hiking in Iceland, I have to step up my game. Right now, I have very little time for exercising but as soon as school lets out and I'm not working more than 60 hours a week, I'll be taking it very seriously.  Luckily, my bestie has already agreed to be my workout buddy.  Last year we would walk for miles every day and lost about 10-15 pounds each!  

What's your process for when you travel?  Are you a planner or do you go with the flow?
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Kaelene @ Unlocking Kiki said...

Yay Iceland! And wow, you ladies got such a great deal on accommodation, I have checked around on accommodation this summer for some friends and was shocked at how pricey it was! So looking forward to meet you ladies:)

Claire Adams said...

Your trip is really coming together!! It sounds like it's going to be amazing!

Beth said...

Have fun! http://unlockingkiki.com inspires me, too, but I haven't been brave enough to plan a trip to Iceland yet. I can't wait to hear your stories about it!

Lora said...

I cannot wait to see pictures from y'alls trip!

Neatly-Packaged said...

OMG OMG OMG! This is really happening :) I remember when you said you were going to look into going. I am so excited for you :) Usually for an international trip, I am the same way. I print everything out and keep a folder with me. Just in case computers don't work or cell phones don't turn on, ya know? I am really SUPER excited to see all the pictures :)

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

Ohhh I'm so very, very jealous of your trip. I can't wait to hear all about it so hopefully I can copy your itinerary!

Kati Rose said...

This trip sounds like it's coming together wonderfully for you two! I can't wait to live vicariously through you both. As for these tips I never realized the importance of an outline itinerary until your mild dilemma. It's good to be aware of.

Rachael said...

I'm so excited for our trip!! I feel like it's really starting to come together :)

Bri said...

That's so exciting! I've only ever been to the airport in Iceland & would love to get to spend more time there some day.

Isabel said...

Good luck! Hope you have a blast!!

Rosie said...

I hope you have a wonderful time! I've always wanted to go to Iceland so I'm a little jealous and I can't wait to see your photos.

I was actually looking at going to Iceland last week and most hotels were around £800 for July, so if I ever do go I think I'll choose AirBnB instead!

Kay R. said...

That is so exciting!!! Im sure you two will have a blast. its so good to prep ahead of time for trips out of your norm. Also AirBnB is excellent more bang for your buck!

RebeccaBBird | HelloPrettyBird said...

Woo-hoo for travel! And how awesome that you get to hit up a couple of US cities as a bonus. I hear you on the walking thing... you don't want to get there and be all sore just from walking around. Speaking of which, you should break in your hiking boots before you go! Wear them on a stroll around town or something, lol.

Diana Cloudlet said...

I like your blog and this post very much!

Diana Cloudlet

http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

Lisa K said...

You're too sweet, thank you!

Lisa K said...

Yeah, I should!! Thanks for reminding me of that.

Lisa K said...

I'm wondering where AirBnB has been all my life!!

Lisa K said...

Oh yeah, we knew we didn't really want to stay in a hostel and hotels were too expensive, so AirBnB was the way to go! I hope that you get to go to Iceland some day! :)

Lisa K said...

Thanks!! I'm counting down the days already!

Lisa K said...

Yes, it seems like such a beautiful country and all of my fellow travelers always come back raving about it!

Lisa K said...

Me too! I can't wait for us to book our first tour!

Lisa K said...

Also, we will be in Boston at the end of our trip. Maybe we could meet up? :)

Lisa K said...

Yes, I don't always plan out trips like this and have probably missed out on a couple of things because of it!

Lisa K said...

I am really excited to TAKE all the pictures!! :) I cannot wait until July which is fast approaching.

Lisa K said...

I'm so lucky to have such a good future travel buddy. :)

Lisa K said...

I think that it will be! I've worked so hard all year at my job, so I can't wait to do something fun just for me!

Lisa K said...

Yes, I never knew just HOW cheap AirBnB is!! If this works out (which I really think it will), AirBnB will be my first place to look when booking accommodation.

Lisa K said...

Yes, her blog was such a useful resource to use when planning this trip!!

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