For the first time in my life, I planned a trip to Iceland with my best friend Kim.
We booked our tickets with WOW air.
WOW air has cheap tickets, but fees are how they make their money. You have to pay for EVERYTHING extra: bags (only one personal item is allowed for free), seats together, food and even water during the flight. There is no entertainment on board, so we brought tablets to watch movies. You also need to pay attention to baggage size and weight restrictions on their website because they do enforce them. It is a great way to save money and travel cheaply and comfortably though, and I highly recommend them.
A note about planning: give yourself AT LEAST five hours between connecting flights when traveling internationally. I almost learned that the hard way. I was supposed to fly from San Diego to San Francisco on Southwest at 6pm, land at 7pm, and then fly to Iceland at 10:20pm on WOW. Bad weather in the Bay Area kept pushing my flight back later and later, so I scrambled to find a different flight to get on. I finally managed to snag standby on a Southwest flight to San Jose (which happened to work because Kim lives there) so I landed at 8pm, she picked me up, we drove to San Francisco to make our flight and breathed a huge sigh of relief when we actually took off for Iceland. We checked later and the flight I was originally supposed to be on didn’t leave San Diego until 10:30pm, which obviously would not have gotten me there in time.
On the way back, it took awhile to get back through customs, plus don’t forget about the tax free and duty free shopping (great for last-minute gifts and any food or alcohol you want to bring back)! We gave ourselves three hours and basically used all of that time.
We found that sleeping as much as possible on the way to Iceland, and staying awake the entire flight back, helped us adjust best to any jet lag since there is a seven hour time difference.
One last note about traveling back from Iceland: you can get money back on purchases over 6000 isk (around $55). Make sure to keep your receipt, the clerk will usually make sure to tell you that you qualify for money back, and there will be a form attached to it that you fill out and turn in at the airport to get around 14% back on your purchase. It’s pretty awesome! This tax break (unfortunately) does not apply to meals you buy at restaurants, otherwise I probably would have made money visiting Iceland haha!