Next Tuesday, I’m making good on a birthday promise. Last year, I wrote a blog called “19 Things to Do Before I Turn 35” as a way to direct my travels. But when I turned 33 this year, I realized I hadn’t accomplished a single thing on that list, which was kind of depressing. So in order to live up to my own goals, I pulled the trigger and booked plane tickets to destinations on that list (Iceland, the Caribbean, and Hong Kong).
And so next Tuesday, I fly off to Iceland to finally live up to my internal promise of going to more new places. I’ve wanted to make this trip for as long as I’ve been traveling. I’ll be there for 10 days, and while a week and a half isn’t that long to spend in a country that offers so much, it will be enough to explore at least some of the highlights.
From the photos, Iceland seems like a nature lover’s paradise — gigantic waterfalls cutting through valleys, huge geysers, glaciers that go on for as far as the eye can see, and huge, rugged mountains that beg to be climbed.
I’m so excited! (Fingers crossed for an opportunity to see the northern lights too!)
But, alas, Iceland is also very expensive. I know its high cost keeps a lot of people away, so Iceland will not only be a new place for me to visit but it will also be part of my quest to try to make every destination a budget traveler’s paradise. Sometimes it’s doable, sometimes it’s not — but I’m going to try!
I have a feeling Iceland will be easier to enjoy on a budget than I think. I can’t prove that yet (I haven’t been there), but my gut tells me it is, so I remain optimistic. Here’s my plan to save money:
- To Couchsurf as much as possible. Not only does this save money but I get to meet locals and learn about local culture. Double win! (P.S. Live in Iceland? Can I stay with you? I cook and clean!)
- To hitchhike. Iceland is a very safe country, and I’m not worried about taking rides from strangers. It’s a much more interesting way to get around.
- No alcohol. Beer is a budget killer!
- To cook. While I plan to try a few local specialties, Icelandic food isn’t known for its culinary wonders. I plan to minimize food costs by cooking my own meals.
Beyond those four major points, I’m just going to constantly search for ways to save money without sacrificing great outdoor adventure activities. I’m not going to Iceland to not go whale watching or hike a glacier! I’m looking forward to really examining how much Iceland really costs and how travelers (especially families) can head there on the cheap.
Outside of that mission, I don’t really have any set plans for Iceland. Since I only have 10 days, I decided to just travel the Ring Road, the highway that rings Iceland. I figure I’ll land in Reykjavik, get my plans together, make a hitchhiking sign, and start west around the coast for seven days before spending my last two days in Reykjavik and the surrounding area then flying back home.
It’s only a little taste, but right now, 10 days is all I can give the country.
But if it’s even half as beautiful as I imagine, I’ll be back. It is, after all, only five hours from New York!
Photo by Claudia Regina