Woke up today thinking about London and Romania. Three months ago I purchased a $270 Icelandair ticket to fly San Francisco to London round trip with a 26 hour layover in Reykjavik on the return flight. Could have booked a 3-day layover in Iceland, but the country is too expensive for my pocketbook.
One day in Iceland will cost half as much as one week in Romania.
Loyalty Traveler – Budgeting 2 days in Reykjavik, (pr)Iceland (April 6, 2017).
Expatistan.com ranks Iceland only behind Bermuda as the world’s most expensive country. Romania ranks #92 of 107 countries ranked.
Wizz Air in the second day of a 2-day sale.
Figured it was time to map out my Europe trip plan.
I purchased my ticket today from London Luton to Romania flying Wizz Air for $66 round trip with two bags carry-on allowance. No need to worry about my bags being messed with this trip.
An airport employee stole about $10 in Polish and Czech coins from my checked bag earlier this month when I flew Iberia Airlines from Krakow, Poland to Madrid to SFO. I normally do not place any money in checked baggage, and I actually considered the potential of theft when I packed my bag. The experience gave me a fresh reminder to keep valuables out of my checked bag.
Even better, keep my bags in hand.
(Article update: turned out one of my cats had taken the bag of coins and dragged them under a chair, which my wife discovered a couple weeks after this article was posted. My theory is the plastic baggie I used for coins attracted the attention of my cats since it had held my toothbrush and toothpaste during our trip. My cats love the mint smell.)
Wizz Air was $90 London Luton to Romania when I checked rates 3 days ago for the exact same ticket itinerary I booked today for $66 during the sale.
$336 all in for flights
SFO-Reykjavik KEF-London LHR/London LTN-Romania-London LTN/LHR-KEF Iceland (26 hrs)-SFO.
$350 for 10 nights in hotels
The only hotel reservation I had before this week was Reykjavik, Iceland using points I already had sitting around all year to avoid a $200 per night hotel rate. One night in Iceland is more points expensive than 6 nights in Romania. Hotel review to come.
I have two nights booked in London and six nights booked in Romania using $265 worth of purchased hotel loyalty points for an average nightly rate of $33 per night for 8 nights. I still have one more night to fill in and still looking for a deal to complete the 10 nights lodging portion of my itinerary.
In London, I found a great $60 per night deal this morning in a hotel I stayed at before. Good enough for me on a solo trip using points, but I would not book this place if Kelley were with me. Great location, but smallest room I ever had in London. Hotel review to come.
Romania itinerary details under embargo until I get there. Hotel reviews and other impressions to follow.
About $300 to $350 all-in for 10 hotel nights is my lodging cost estimate.
Ground transportation expenses $75
London Underground LHR to central London
London Heathrow LHR is where Icelandair arrives. Transportation from London LHR to central London by Underground is covered with credit on my existing Oyster cards.
Oyster card price is 3.10gbp/$4.00usd one-way from LHR to London Victoria Station in mid-day off-peak hours when I will be traveling. That is nearly half-off the 6.00gbp single ticket fare without an Oyster Card.
London Victoria to London Luton Airport
London Victoria Coach Station to Luton Airport on National Express buses is 11gbp/$14.18usd round trip.
Airport to city bus fare is 2.00ron/$0.50 per ride. Wherever I go in Romania is going to be cheap transportation expenses and probably less than $10 for the week.
KEF Airport to city bus fare 5,490isk/$50.75usd round trip.
Reykjavik is a walkable city.
Food and other expenses $200
Breakfast is included in all my hotel reservations.
Sainsbury’s ‘Live well for less’ grocery market is my usual food plan when solo in London. $15 to $20 per day should be adequate. Museums and walking around feeling the London city vibe and breathing dirty air are free.
Romania $1.80 pints of beer and $6.00 restaurant meals are my estimates from numbeo.com and expatistan.com prices. $15 per day should keep me well fortified.
Iceland will probably include food I bring from London. If I drop off my bags at the hotel quickly and hustle to the bars downtown, I might even make afternoon Happy Hour for $7 beer. There is always Vinbudin, the government liquor store for $3.00 beers.
I bought half a hot grilled chicken in the market for $6.75 on my trip last year.
No real plan for Reykjavik. Just being able to experience Reykjavik for a day is worth the cost of a stopover to me.
All my expenses for this trip were spread across the year with hotel points purchases and plane tickets.
My actual out-of-pocket expenses for this $1,000 trip at the time I travel in two months should be less than $300 for the 12-day trip.