Buying One-Way Tickets to Foreign Countries

This week I took the plunge and purchased the first leg of my autumn excursion. Planning a trip is like putting a puzzle together. There are a million little pieces that work together, which may leave gaps in your bigger picture if left to the wayside. Luckily, there are countless resources to help travelers plan the perfect trip.

Choosing the Flight

Choosing a date is the first step. In the timing of one’s adventure, there are considerations like weather, life events, and price surges that can influence when to travel. Summer has the highest prices, many tourists, and the best weather in most places. Prices for flights drop in September after kids return to school but slowly creep up closer to the winter holidays.

After talking to my friend in Madrid and my mothers who would be taking care of my dog while I’m abroad, I settled on a mid-October flight from JFK to Reykjavik, Iceland. The flight, which included a carry-on and personal item, was less than $250 with taxes and additional fees through Delta. Other carriers, like Spirit, Wow, and Allegiant, had less expensive flights but, in my experience, those airlines nickel and dime you for so many miscellaneous charges that there is little difference in cost from a major carrier by checkout. As an overnight flight, I choose more expensive comfort over saving $50 and losing the ability to recline my seat.

Choosing Accommodations

Similarly, I’ve noticed that hostels are not much cheaper than Airbnb accommodations. For five to 10 dollars more a night, a traveler can upgrade from a bunk bed in a room shared with eight other guests to a private room in a local’s home. Since my experiences in London and Cuba, I’ve preferred Airbnb to hostel accommodations, particularly while traveling alone.

Having a broad idea of what I want to do in Iceland, I booked an Airbnb in Reykjavik for three nights. This particular booking is one room in a five-bedroom home that is fully Airbnb, which means that I get the experience of socializing with other travelers while still enjoying the ability to lock my room.

However, today I realized that I booked accommodations 30 miles from the airport and the Blue Lagoon, the focus point for my trip to this country. Keflavik International Airport is in, drumroll please, Keflavik! The Blue Lagoon is Grindavik, which is a 20-minute drive southeast from KEF. Reykjavik, the country’s capital and largest city, is 40 minutes away from the international airport.

Getting Around

The Blue Lagoon website encourages visitors to come to the Blue Lagoon on their first day. There are shuttles that go back and forth to the airport and Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik. Additionally, the flybus is a shuttle that goes between Keflavik International Airport and Reykjavik but not to the Blue Lagoon. Leaving my transportation options as follows:

  • Taxi from KEF to Reykjavik, close to $200
  • KEF shuttles, known as the FlyBus, around $40

Considering that I land in Iceland in the morning (yay, red-eye), then visiting the water landmark prior to riding up towards Reykjavik proper wouldn’t be a bad way to relax between airport and check-in.

The Problem With One-Way Flights

My real situation is this one-way ticket away from America. Travel laws allow us to travel to certain countries without visas provided we can show proof of onward travel, which is a nice legal way of saying, “When are you leaving?” I may not be admitted into the country, much less the plane, for not having evidence of leaving Iceland within 90 days.

As soon as I finesse the details of Iceland out, I’ll start planning the second country on my upcoming journey. Flying into a European country from Iceland is fairly inexpensive. Several fares, like those to London, Dublin, Amsterdam, are less than $100.

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