Visiting Iceland doesn’t have to break the bank. Stick to your Iceland budget by flying Wow Air, and read more about how to save on food, lodging and popular sites.
Iceland has always been on my radar, and when flight prices dropped below $400 roundtrip, I bought my ticket immediately. Wow Air is an Icelandic budget airline that flies to several U.S. cities (New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco), and many cities throughout Europe. You can do what I did – add a long weekend in the smallest capital city in the world to another region in Europe.
Flying Wow Air
Like most budget airlines, Wow offers a no-frills experience. Everything costs extra: luggage, seat selection, even water on the flight. Accounting for all the fees, in some cases, it can be cheaper to fly Icelandair. Do your research before purchasing. Here’s how to make it work:
- Instead of purchasing one itinerary, I technically purchased four separate flights. Doing this saved me about $60. I bought BWI to Reykjavik, Reykjavik to Gatwick (London), Gatwick to Reykjavik, and Reykjavik to BWI – all as separate one-way tickets. I did not check any luggage.
- Carry-on luggage has to adhere to Wow Airlines weight limits. Currently, it’s limited to 22 lb. (10 kg). (Side note: When I visited in June, Wow Airlines was limiting free carry-ons to 12 lb. (5 kg). I made it work then, so 22 lb. should be a breeze!) You can purchase an additional 4 lb. (2 kg) for ~$40, or check a bag for $50. Since I was traveling with a partner, we decided to keep one under the limit and have one over the limit. I would have loved to have two lighter bags, but my camera gear alone weighs over 3 lb., and we needed some heavy clothes for England and Iceland. I purchased a cheap luggage scale which was invaluable.
- Keep the purple tag on your bag and avoid check-in counters. At BWI, even though I had printed out my electronic ticket/boarding pass, their system still required a hard copy from the check-in gate. This meant I was forced to weigh my bag – and surprise – it was slightly overweight. I put on three jackets, paid the small fee and the agent put a purple tag my bag. Don’t take this off! For the remaining three flights, I was able to avoid having anyone weigh my bag and strolled right onto the plane each time.
- Bring your own snacks on board, and avoid paying for overpriced airplane food. I did purchase some water bottles, but half the time their machines weren’t accepting my credit card, so they gave it to me for free. (Not the greatest business model…)
- You may not need to select your seat. On the transatlantic flights, I selected a seat next to my travel partner, which cost $6 each time. I decided not to pay for the shorter Iceland-UK flights. We ended up sitting next to each other on all four flights, so I’m not sure this $6 is really worth anything. You can also pay extra to sit in a roomier seat or towards the front.
- Consider extra transportation costs. Wow Airlines may not fly to your destination’s primary airport, so add in extra transportation costs (e.g. train from Gatwick vs. Heathrow). If these costs are high, you may want to compare with a regular airline.
Part 2 of this post (coming soon!) shows you how to travel Iceland on a budget. Check it out to find tips on saving on accommodation, food, car rental and popular sites like the Blue Lagoon.