Olympics trip countdown, part one: Iceland

I’m not quite back to 100%, but I’m getting there.  So let me switch my focus to something awesome: my trip this summer.  My friends will tell you that it takes very little convincing to get me to start telling them about my plans, so let me share some of that excitement with my blogland friends, too.

In February 2010 I sent an Facebook message to an old college friend of mine.  She lives in London and we chatted and e-mailed on and off for a few months until I finally asked in December 2010, “Hey, if I were to come over to visit, could I stay with you?”  And she generously agreed.  Thus the plan for a trip to visit the 2012 Olympics was born.  Twenty months in advance.

I’ve never planned anything in my life so far in advance.  It made me nervous.  What if things changed in the in-between?  But getting a chance like this to see the Olympics may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I bit the bullet and went for it.

I worried most about the airline tickets.  Flying in and out of the city that’s hosting the Olympics?  What kind of prices would I be looking at?  It was then that I found out that most of those travel web sites only sell tickets 330 days in advance.  So I patiently sat around twiddling my thumbs until August, when I could at least start getting quotes.

I set up a price alert through one site (can’t remember which now).  Prices held steady around $1500.  Now came the gamble.  Did I but tickets early in case the prices went up closer to the games?  Or did I wait to see if they went down?  Either way, I could end up making a mistake and losing money.

In September 2011, a price alert showed up in my inbox offering round trip tickets for $900!  Save $600?  Seriously?  Tell me more!

Turns out Icelandair was opening up service in Denver.  I would be able to fly direct from Denver to Reykjavik, then Reykjavik to London.  Since they were just starting out in Denver, there were deals to be had.

I sat on it for all of about three days before jumping in to buy the tickets.  The only reason it took me that long was some problems I had with their web site.  Finally I had to set my alarm clock to wake for an early call to the east coast to get those tickets.  With fees and taxes, it ended up being around $1100, still a deal compared to $1500-before-fees.

Now I had something else to look forward to: Iceland!  My flight home would have a brief layover, but the trip there would have a nine hour layover – a full day in Reykjavik!

I pulled up Google maps and discovered that the airport is right in downtown Reykjavik.  I’ve never had a layover long enough to leave the airport, but that’s my hope in this case!  Would be great to get out, stretch the legs, and see a few sights.  Maybe catch a bite to eat in a local restaurant.  Might need to learn a few phrases in Icelandic, and get a little Icelandic currency.

I’ve heard one of the best ways to stave off jet lag is to, upon arrival, immediately try to live according to the new time zone you’re in – staying up until the sun goes down.  I think this layover will give me lots of motivation to stay up and not take a nap when I land at 7:00AM, don’t you?  (My London-bound flight takes off around 4:00PM.)

Anyone out there ever spent a long layover outside of the airport?  Any tips?

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One Response to Olympics trip countdown, part one: Iceland

  1. Pingback: Olympics trip countdown, part 3: The Bike Tour!! | Content but not Complacent

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