Financial Friday 1

Welcome to the first installment of Financial Friday. In these, I’ll tell you what I spent on everything. Your spending may vary, but the general idea is for me to see if I’m meeting my budgetary goals…and a secondary benefit could be to show you about how much traveling costs (at least for me).

Travel

On Monday…. Uber from ‘home’ to the Greyhound station: $22.16. Greyhound bus from Indy to Chicago: $31.50. Uber from the Chicago Greyhound station to O’Hare Airport (Chicago): $37.11.

Overnight flight from Chicago to Keflavik: $139.98. Base price on the WOW flight was $100. A carry-on bag and a few taxes brought it up to the total.

On Tuesday, FlyBus from Keflavik Airport to the Reykjavik Bus Station, and back: $48.69. I saved about $5 by purchasing a round-trip ticket. Half of that for the inbound journey is $24.35.

I walked about 10 minutes to the hostel for free! I also walked all over Reykjavik to see things for free. Everyone loves free work-outs!

Accommodation

Bus Hostel Reykjavik, booked through Hostel World: $203.10 for 7 nights in a 10 bed room. As I don’t travel with a sleeping bag, I also had to rent a comforter (or as they call them, duvet) for $9.95. Add it all up, and divide by 7 comes to $30.44 per night.

Food

On Monday, I got a burger and fries at O’Hare Airport: $14.31. In retrospect, I realize this was the only meal I had all day. Not the best decision, but it worked due to a huge dinner the night before, and sleep deprivation while traveling.

On Tuesday, I got a large sandwich from a local deli: $10.70. I don’t know if it was just that good, or being really hungry, but that was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had! The deli’s called Bakarameistarinn, and it’s just across 40 from the Kringlan Mall.

I had an afternoon tea at Te & Kaffi: $5.72. It’s expensive, but it’s also how I relax. So, for me, this is probably the best value out of the whole day.

For dinner, I got a chicken, feta burrito from the Kinglan Mall food court: $16.11. It’s expensive, but I didn’t want to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

Groceries from the Bónus in the Kinglan Mall: $11.96. I got some bananas, instant oatmeal, butter, and eggs. So basically, the cheap stuff. All food in Iceland is expensive due to the (relatively) small population and distance from the rest of the world.

On Wednesday, I got a light breakfast from the hostel: $5.69. Travel tip: always check to see if your hostel offers free breakfast…preferably before you order something.

And I made another grocery run: $11.88. This time I got some tea, a few ramen noodles, and some pears…because fruit.

On Thursday, I just made another grocery run: $10.68. Shopping list: more bananas, more oatmeal, and yogurt. After all those grocery runs, I think I’ve got enough food to not spend anything on it for a few days.

Other

There’s always the obligatory travel insurance which comes out to $3.07 per day. And I lost my toothbrush. Purchasing one from the hostel was $3.62.

On Wednesday, there was the Þjóðminjasafnið (National Museum of Iceland): $19.88. On Thursday, there was the Landnámssýnigin (The Settlement Exibition): $16.50. More on what I saw there in a future blog.

Summary

Week 1
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Total
Travel 230.75 24.39 0 0 255.14
Lodging 0 30.44 30.44 30.44 91.32
Food 14.31 44.49 17.57 10.68 87.05
Other 3.07 3.07 26.57 19.57 52.28
Total 0 0 0 248.13 102.39 74.58 60.69 485.79

So yeah, this is way over budget. Even the ‘cheap’ day as over $60, but then, no one said Iceland was easy on the wallet. Time will pass, I’ll hit up cheaper countries, and I’ll likely travel much slower, so the average should come down significantly.

I hope at least someone other than myself found this helpful. Next post: Icelandic museum review…or at least that’s the plan.

Sleep? What’s That?

OK, there’s no way I’m going to be able to concentrate until I mention that I lost my GoPro cable!  Which means I have until its battery runs out, then it’s worthless. Oh, and no pics for the blog as the cable was my method of transfer to the computer…. This isn’t nearly as bad as having all my stuff stolen, but it’s still pretty upsetting. Now that that’s out of the way….

I made it to Iceland…and didn’t get much sleep. It started with me catching an Uber to an early morning Greyhound to Chicago. Because it was so early, my night-owl self couldn’t sleep while I had some semblance of a bed (and by that I mean a bunch of comforters over a carpeted floor). I think I got 2 hours of sleep on the bus, but that was it for that day..or two..is anyone really counting?

Then, another Uber to the airport, and I was finally getting somewhere. This is also when I discovered budget airlines (or at least WOW) don’t start checking bags until a few hours before a flight. Fortunately for me, I only had a carry-on, and was able to go right through security after online check-in.

Travel hack: when traveling with a budget airline that will charge you for anything more than a small, personal item, you’re left with the choice of a checked bag or a carry-on as you’ll be charged for either. The advantage of a checked bag is that you can fit a lot more into it, and not have to worry about carting something through your whole trip. The down side is not being able to get past bag check-in (the very first step) until a few hours before the plane boards.

The advantage of a carry-on is that you can get through security as early as you like (well, really only as early as they’ll let you do an online check-in). Then with all that extra time, you can hit up a plush lounge. You did remember to get access to lounges before you left right? I know I didn’t, and I’m regretting not putting in for an AmEx card. That would have been awesome!

Anyway, the flight got delayed, but that’s no big deal. We did get to briefly see the Northern Lights on the way over though…for like 5 minutes. I’ll probably get a better view at some point while I’m here.

And before you ask, I only got 2…maybe 3 hours of sleep on the flight. So I left early Monday morning, and now it’s Tuesday evening, and I’m running on 5 hours of sleep tops. How I’m not passed out in my bunk right now, I may never know….

But the plane was purple! And there were jokes written all over the walls, and stewardess call-buttons…. I have to give it to WOW, they sure know how to class up an airplane.

When we arrived Reykjavik as a balmy -1 C (30 F), and snowing. Things did not improve on the bus from Keflavik to Reykjavik, or after arrival. In fact, I caught a shitload of snow, and wind in the face while I tracked across the city a few times trying to wait until the hostel’s check-in time arrived. I’m just glad I decided to keep some layers for the cold, because I was nice and toasty…well, except for my face…. In my face? I don’t think I’m doing this joke right….

Well, I’m certainly learning a lot on this trip. Maybe…just maybe you guys can manage to avoid them now that they’re out on the internet.

Next blog: no pictures! But I’ll probably have a few tales of me running around Reykjavik screwing even more things up. I can hardly wait.

Road Trip

The ‘travel’ part of this blog can finally begin! On Tuesday, I went to visit my sister in Tennessee. It was a dreary day for driving with lots of traffic.

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And check out all that wetness on my windshield….

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A few hours later, I arrived in Murfreesboro. It’s got that small, ‘mid-western town’ feel as demonstrated by this attempted photo of the town hall.

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Professional photographer, I am not….

Anyway, I spent a few days doing what I do best: absolutely nothing. The most eventful thing was going into Nashville for some Ethiopian food. The food was awesome; the picture…

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Seriously, is anyone available to give photography lessons? Lots of help is needed.

My visit came to a close with dropping my car off (I can’t take it overseas with me; at least not easily), and grabbing the poor, American’s way home: a bus. The good news is Greyhound has improved significantly since I last traveled with them about 10 years ago. The buses now come with power outlets and WiFi! The bad news is this particular bus’ power outlets weren’t working.

I’m glad I took my laptop with me so I was able to charge my phone, and order an Uber when I got to the station in Indy. And now, I’m back ‘home’…. A very empty home…with no car.

Fortunately, I’ll only be here for a couple days. On Monday, I start my journey to Iceland where I can find some real content for you follower types. Ah the North Atlantic land of fire and ice…how I’ve missed you. We shall meet again very soon.