• Rebecca Blackmon

5 Day Iceland Itinerary - Part One


5 Day Iceland Itinerary
5 Day Iceland Itinerary

Hey everyone! About three and a half years ago (August 1-5, 2017) I had the absolute PLEASURE of visiting Iceland. It was a five day trip and it was so incredible that I literally remember it like it was yesterday. Even though it was a long-ish time ago, a lot of the travel recommendations, tips, and hacks would still be applicable today, so in the next few posts I’m going to throw it back! Today I’ll be sharing how I made this trip happen, the ins and outs, do’s and don’ts, etc. After this, I’ll be releasing two more posts with the trip itinerary (days 1/2, and days 3/4/5). Be sure to follow along with this series for everything you need to know about traveling to Iceland!


How did this trip come about?

I graduated from the University of Alabama in May of 2015. Y'all know the alumni associations that every university has? Basically all the old people that graduated a looooong time ago and now donate money to the university? They go on month long cruises and take extravagant trips because they’re all retired?

Well, Alabama has something called the “Young Alumni Association” and it’s for more recent graduates who want to stay connected. I’m sure every university has something like this, you might just have to look for it. The YAA at Alabama plans trips too, but they specialize in planning trips that are 5 days or less and all fall over a weekend so that you can take off as little time from work as possible - they know that most recent graduates are working professionals who don’t have the flexibility yet to be going on month long cruises.

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to travel the world, but with just graduating school, being stuck in a 9 to 5 with no real flexibility, and still being broke I had no idea where to start. I also had never really traveled anywhere before, so I didn’t know how to plan trips. So, in February of 2017 I was scrolling the YAA website and saw that they were planning a trip for August of that same year to Iceland. They had outsourced the trip with AESU Worldwide Tour Operators and the only stipulation was that you had to be a recent graduate (within 5 or 10 years maybe? I honestly can’t remember that part exactly). It was a flat rate and the whole trip was planned for me - basically all I had to do was pay and get on the plane. I was instantly OBSESSED with going on that trip. I signed myself up that same night.


How much did the trip cost?

The trip was about $2,000. I know that seems like a lot but there were a couple of GREAT things:

  1. That number included literally every aspect of the trip except food/drinks. So plane tickets, hotel, travel once we got to Iceland, tickets for all of the touristy things they had planned, etc. Like I said above, at that time in my life I had NO idea how to plan a trip. I felt like if I had tried to plan a trip by myself (aside from not knowing what to do in Iceland) I would have ended up spending a lot of money on things I didn’t need, or missing out on things that I didn’t know I needed.

  2. Because I discovered this trip in February and we didn’t leave until August, they let me divide that $2,000 among all the months leading up to the trip. This was a blessing because I certainly could not afford any kind of lump sum payment. It ended up being about $335/month for 6 months leading up to the trip.

Who was on the trip?

Depending on your personality, you’ll either love this or hate this - until my plane landed at the airport in Iceland, I had no idea who would be on the trip with me or what to expect. I just knew that when my plane landed, there would be someone at the airport with my name on a sign like you see in the movies.

Expectation:

Honestly, my expectation was that it would be a group of people who, like me, had recently graduated from the University of Alabama.


Reality:

Many other schools from all around the world had also outsourced that trip, so the group of people I met at the airport were extremely diverse - in fact, I was the only person from Alabama that was on the trip. There was someone from Arizona, North Carolina, even Russia. All in all, there were two tour guides and 7 tourists, myself included, on the trip.


If you know me at all, you know I’m actually fairly introverted. I was VERY nervous when I landed at the airport and realized I was, in a sense, very alone and very out of my element. However, as the trip progressed, and now looking back, I realize that was one of the best things that could have happened to me. There was something very freeing about being in a place where I didn’t know anyone and I was able to just unplug and be in Iceland.


Would I do it again?

Interesting question here and I’d like to offer two different perspectives:

  1. Would my 23 year old, recent college graduate self go on that trip again? 100 times, YES. That trip was truly a pivotal time in my life. That trip allowed me to explore a different culture for the first time, and it really lit the fire in me to want to travel as much as I possibly could. I knew NOTHING about traveling and at the time, I would not have been able to plan a trip of that magnitude for myself. I didn’t have the knowledge, and I also didn’t have the time. Planning trips takes a lot of research, reading, etc., and I didn’t have the energy to devote to it at that time in my life.

  2. Would my 27 year old, travel blogging self go on that trip again? Probably not, for two main reasons. First, I now LOVE the planning process. It allows me to learn so much about the destinations I’m traveling to. Second, I think I could plan that trip for a cheaper price now, knowing what I know about budget traveling (or at least I’d have fun trying).

Takeaway:

If you’re someone who is super busy, looking to escape the stress of your 9 to 5 for a few days, and you don’t want to think about much? You would probably love a trip like this - and there is NOTHING wrong with not wanting to plan a trip. I totally get it - it’s not for everyone.

If you’re someone who wants to learn as much as possible about the planning process, or who wants to be involved in the nitty gritty (where you stay, what you do, etc) then this trip might not be for you. I had just about no “freedoms” except for choosing what I wanted to eat. The rest of the trip was planned for me.


So! Now that you have some insight on how this trip came to be, I hope you’ll follow along over the next few posts as I dive into the itinerary, fun facts about Iceland, and do’s and don’ts for planning a trip like this one!

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