You may be wondering how my Iceland trip was, since I have been pretty quiet about it. It was awesome! It is the first place I’ve ever been to and sincerely thought that I could live there.
However, since this is a personal finance blog, I won’t go too in depth on details of my adventures – but I do want to cover my budget!
Budgeting for this trip was difficult. Iceland is one of the more expensive countries to visit. If I wanted more bang for my buck, I would have been better off to visit a cheaper destination. However, my heart was set on Iceland, so Iceland it would be.
I started planning for this trip a year in advance, so that I would have plenty of time to save and find good deals. My preliminary research led me to believe that I could make the trip comfortably with a budget of $5,000, including airfare. That’s a hefty sum, but I wasn’t terribly surprised – after traveling through Europe, I knew that it wouldn’t be a cheap trip. So how did I do?
I knew that airfare was going to eat up roughly 1/5 to ¼ of my budget to begin with. I started watching airline prices between the US and Reykjavik, and they were about $1400 round-trip. When I saw a deal for $905, I called my travel companion and we jumped on it.
I also knew that I wanted to do some pretty heavy-duty excursions. We ended up taking a tour of the Arctic Circle and taking a day trip to Greenland. Total cost: $1,420 (I paid for my friends’ Arctic Circle tour as her graduation present, which is why the cost is so high).
Lodging and transportation, while not cheap, were going to get split 3 ways. Hotels ended up being a total cost of $544.89 for me (not completely divided evenly, there were a lot of exceptions), and rental car was $318.80. I paid for all the fuel on the trip, which amounted to $331.42 (I kind of got screwed on this. The other girls were supposed to pay for the hotels that I couldn’t pay in advance, and I would pay for the gas. I ended up paying for 2/3 of one of the hotels and the gas. It wasn’t that big of a deal, it all came out in the wash, but it threw off my tracking game! I should have gotten them to chip in a little for gas, but like I said, it all worked out in the end. No big deal.)
Food was some place that I knew I didn’t want to skimp on. A whopping $529.85 was spent on food! Food in Iceland is crazy expensive, and so is alcohol. I tried not to go overboard on either, but I wasn’t going to stop myself from trying something different in another country. No regrets here!
Other miscellaneous expenses: souveneirs, $210.58 (I normally never spend this much on gifts. I didn’t really bring much back for many people, either. That is just how expensive it is!). Transaction fees + taxes, tips, transportation in New York, etc, $78.87. Things for myself (New York shopping, etc), $205.76.
I ended up spending a total of $468.08 in New York (we had a nights’ layover there on the way back, so we decided to take in the city), $3,215.56 before leaving the country (flights, cars, accommodation arrangements, excursion fees), and then $1,143.89 in the country, on gas, food, and souveniers, as well as some accommodations.
Grand total for the whole trip, from door-to-door? $4,827.53!
I was so proud that I stayed below my budget, because when I was in Iceland (especially towards the end of the trip) I just knew that I had blown my budget. Thankfully, by planning carefully, being willing to try something new (Air B&B! Review forthcoming!), and splitting expenses with my travel companions, I was able to do all the things I wanted to do on this trip and still stay under budget. Actually, there are a few things that I didn’t get to do, but that’s okay – it’s an incentive for me to return! 😉
Do you budget your trips and then compare when you get home? This is the first time I have ever tried it. In the past, I have set up budgets for my trip, but never look at where the bulk of my expenses go. I think from now on, I am going to try this. It’ll be neat to compare the difference between locations and expenses!
Have a great weekend, everyone!