This post shares some of the travel deals I found this week for travel around Norway and the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania.
Two weeks away from a ticket to Iceland and Copenhagen and my travel plans are frozen. I have hotel reservations in five cities, but my only real out-of-pocket expense at the moment is $140 for two $70 one way tickets San Francisco to Copenhagen in April flying WOW Air. The flight includes an overnight hotel stay in Iceland on an 17 hour transit stop.
I put this trip to Iceland, Scandinavia and the Baltics in the deep freeze a couple weeks ago after returning from Poland when one of our cats became seriously ill and required a couple trips to the vet. Those uninsured medical bills are a budget buster. Then, a couple days later, car maintenance bills.
When are we going to get the Affordable Cat Care Act and Affordable Car Care Act legislation passed?
This is a really, really great trip plan
Travel planning is tough. A real decision about travel budget and discretionary spend has to be accounted for when planning a trip to Europe. These decisions need even more important consideration as a frequent traveler paying my own way. No deep expense account pockets or ‘dark money’ here.
On February 14, I purchased two WOW Air tickets San Francisco – Reykjavik, Iceland – Copenhagen, Denmark for $69.99 each for travel in April. This seemed like a great deal for one way travel to Europe with opportunities to book cheap one way travel back to California.
Then, my wife decided she wanted to return a couple days earlier than I originally planned and her change of plan meant the price of a one way ticket from Stockholm back to California increased from low $100s to $400s. The high ticket price, combined with the shorter trip dates made the 6-day trip seem frivolous and rushed. With no plan to actually spend the trip time in Copenhagen, our itinerary destination in the Baltics or Poland would not even be reached until Day 3 of the trip.
I found some great deals for travel in planning this trip to Iceland, Scandinavia and the Baltics. My travel plans are currently frozen. Not sure if this flight plan will get de-iced in time.
Norwegian Airlines Oslo, Norway OSL – Oakland, California OAK
There are some fantastic low fare deals from Scandinavia to California like Fri April 14 for a $118 one-way ticket Oslo, Norway to Oakland, California nonstop on Norwegian Airlines Dreamliner 787 modern aircraft. But only if you are flexible for travel on those low fare dates.
If you are inflexible on travel dates and need a flight the day before on April 13, then the price of Norwegian is $379 one way Oslo to Oakland.
One of the reasons I end up spending a great deal of time planning a trip is to check out the cost of different itineraries and routings for the dates I plan to be in Europe.
Kaunas, Lithuania Airfare Deal and Hotel Deals
The trip originally focused on flying Ryanair Copenhagen to Kaunas, Lithuania and redeeming Club Carlson points for the category 1 Park Inn Kaunas at 9,000 points per night. I earned 70,000 Club Carlson points in January-February 2017 spending $470 for 8 hotel nights in Amsterdam, Prague and Wroclaw, Poland during the Earn Bigger Rewards promotion ending March 31. Those points offer 7 free nights in Kaunas.
Park Inn Kaunas 7 nights April 9-16
63,000 Club Carlson points + 3.50 EUR.
Or go with Best Western Santakos Hotel Kaunas with room rates 47.25 EUR for King Bed or 60.75 EUR ($65.61) for a King Suite. I have $20 in Best Western Travel Cards from the current promotion to partially pay the room rate.
A Kaunas Best Western hotel stay would earn another $10 Best Western Travel Card, effectively netting a $35 suite hotel night.
Best Western Santakos Hotel Kaunas, Lithuania
47.25 EUR ($51.03 USD) Fri Apr 14
Last month there were Ryanair ticket prices under $20 each way between Copenhagen and Kaunas. Ticket prices range from $14 one way CPH-KUN to $153 one way with Ryanair. The date I want is over $100 one way.
Ryanair Copenhagen, Denmark CPH – Kaunas, Lithuania KUN
The problem with Kaunas is there are very few cities for flights from Kaunas. Since low fare flights back to California are easier to find from Oslo and Stockholm, and no flights operate between Kaunas and Oslo or Stockholm, I looked at other cities for the trip, including Vilnius and Klaipeda, Lithuania and Riga, Latvia.
I spent six nights in Vilnius in April 2016, so my preference is to visit another city.
Bus Transportation between Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda and Riga
This is a good resource for bus service between these four airports and cities.
Kaunas – Klaipeda = 17 EUR each way.
Klaipeda – Riga = 16 EUR each way.
Vilnius – Kaunas = 10 EUR each way.
Vilnius – Klaipeda = 15 EUR each way.
Radisson Blu Klaipeda is a Club Carlson category 2 hotel at 15,000 points per night with good reviews in a good location. The Palanga PLQ international airport is 30 minutes away.
Flights from Copenhagen to Palanga PLQ, Lithuania range from $64 to $179. Unfortunately the fares are high for dates I want to travel.
Riga, Latvia RIX caught my attention due to low ticket prices to Oslo Gardermoen OSL and Oslo Torp TRF.
There is also a good deal for earning Wyndham Rewards points. I received a triple points offer from Wyndham Rewards, meaning 30 points per $1 for stays in April. Low rates at a Days Hotel Riga VEF with good reviews allows earning rates of 2,000+ points per night on $30 room rates.
Days Hotel Riga VEF Tue April 11
28 EUR ($30.24 USD) per night with 1,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points rate.
Wyndham Rewards paid stays earn 10 points per $1. There is a minimum guarantee of 1,000 points per stay. It is unclear to me how the Wyndham Rewards triple points bonus will be calculated:
Assume base room rate = $25 after deducting Latvian hotel tax.
$25 x 10 points = 250 base points + 750 bonus points = 1,000 points minimum per stay.
+ 250 base points x triple points = 500 bonus points
+ 1,000 bonus points rate
= 2,500 points earned on $30 stay.
$25 x 10 points = 250 points + 750 points = 1,000 points minimum. per stay.
+ 1,000 points x triple points = 2,000 bonus points.
+ 1,000 bonus points rate
= 4,000 points earned on $30 stay.
Wyndham Rewards sells points at $10 per 1,000 points, so either case is a great value.
Wyndham Rewards have some good uses when redeeming 3,000 points for a GoFast reward night. Redeeming 3,000 Wyndham Rewards points for a GoFast reward night in Zurich, Switzerland drops the rate by $95 USD. That is a great ROI on a $30 hotel room in Riga, Latvia.
Ramada Zurich City July 18
180 CHF ($181.56 USD) or 86 CHF ($86.75 USD) + 3,000 Wyndham Rewards points.
Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport
I flew out of Oslo Torp in 2014 on a Norwegian Air flight to Bergen BGO. Prior to my flight I spent an hour touring Clarion Collection Hotel Atlantic.
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord offers whaling culture experience and beds too (Sep 11, 2014).
Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Atlantic Sandefjord, Clarion Collection (Sep 13, 2014).
Riga, Latvia RIX – Oslo, Norway (TRF).
Wizz Air $11 to Oslo Sandfjord Torp Airport TRF or $15-$22 for Ryanair or Norwegian to Oslo OSL. TRF is about 70 miles south of Oslo and OSL, the airport for USA flights is 20 miles north of Oslo.
In addition to low fares from Riga to Oslo TRF is my knowledge of a great hotel deal at Hotel Atlantic for Choice Privileges members. The brand Clarion Collection in Nordic Choice Hotels has the feature of complimentary breakfast and complimentary dinner buffet.
And this hotel suite for 16,000 points per night or 6,000 points + $75 in April.
A $219 room rate value.
In 9 days on April 3, we will see the preview of 2017 Daily Getaways from U.S. Travel Association. There are 25 days of sales beginning Monday April 10 with many of the daily deals being hotel points at discount prices. Over the past few years I have purchased Choice Privileges points with 100,000 to 200,000 points purchased each year at an average rate around $4.25 per 1,000 points. That makes a 16,000 points suite at Hotel Atlantic a $68 room night.