How I took an all-inclusive Labor Day trip to Iceland and back for just over $1,000
It's Labor Day weekend, and you might be looking for a quick, cheap getaway from whatever city or town you're working in. This can be super difficult and expensive when you've got a 9-5 job that requires you to be at the office until late Friday afternoon and back Monday morning.
Last year, I flew to Iceland and back for four days on a $600 budget, including travel, board, activities, and food. Here's how I did it:
First, I didn't actually travel on Labor Day weekend.
Instead, I asked my boss if I can work over Labor Day weekend and take off during the week right when everybody's coming back from their vacations. They were totally okay with it. Nobody wants to work on Labor Day weekend so I had the advantage of getting my time off when the cost dropped dramatically.
Since I actually flew to Reykjavik on Labor Day 2017 and flew back four days later, my entire round trip cost $200 with Wow Airlines.
I traveled light and cheap; I went only with one small backpack and wore my comfortable boots the entire time. As for clothes, I took about three sets of clothing, one bathing suit, a pair of flip-flops, one windbreaker jacket, and some undergarments for layering. It fit easily in my backpack and I didn't have to pay for a carry-on.
So, I actually stayed at a hostel. Sorry to bust your bubbles. But the hostels in Reykjavik are actually much nicer than in other places and lots of fun, especially if you're traveling alone. The one I stayed in was called HI Loft. I paid $40 a night.
This was the most expensive portion of my trip. I did about one major trip per day.
Monday: Flight. Landed in Iceland in middle of the night, so I slept on the airport floor while waiting for my bus (airport staff weren't too happy about that lol.)
Tuesday: Took a coach bus ($51) from the airport to the Blue Lagoon ($154-- I splurged on the premium spa package), then hung out on the Reykjavik waterfront, toured the city, visited some bars and shops, and went to see the Northern Lights ($64) at night. The latter was a waste of money since it was cloudy that night.
Wednesday: Took a Golden Circle bus tour ($120) to where tectonic plates separate East and West Iceland, Iceland's prime minister's summer home in Pingvellir, active geysers in Geysir, a waterfall in South Iceland called Gulfoss, and the Secret Lagoon hot springs. I came back that evening for a girls' night around town with a new friend I had made on the tour.
Thursday: Went glacier climbing in Mt Sólheimajökull and visited a waterfall called Skogafoss ($232-- tour guide/instructor, bus, and climbing gear included). Returned to Reykjavik, hung out with a bunch of Icelandic kids in a local geothermal pool, watched a live band playing American songs, and finally watched the Northern lights from the city's waterfront lighthouse.
Friday: This day was reserved for Reykjavik. I walked around the city, visited shops and cathedrals and libraries, and relaxed a bit. I made sure not to buy anything because everything in Iceland is insanely expensive and you can get the same stuff online for pennies. I didn't visit the Penis museum even though I'd intended to. Just seemed too R-rated for little innocent me. Ya know. (Kidding, I didn't think it was worth the cost.) Took a coach bus ($51) to the airport at around noon, and flew back to D.C. that day.
There you go. This entire trip cost me $1,032. And guess what-- you probably don't even have to pay that much to enjoy Iceland. I just wanted to feel like a baller my first time there. If I didn't splurge on all those tours and activities, my travel, room, and bus fees would come out to about $460. Which is pretty freaking insane for one of the most expensive countries in the world.
I looked up flights to Reykjavik just now. It costs $210 for a round-trip flight with WOW from D.C. from September 9-14. That could be your next trip! Happy Labor Day Weekend.