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Flying to Iceland then Colombia Travel Update

A friend put the words “Iceland” and “deals” together in the same sentence yesterday. It made my wheels start spinning: why not Iceland? I am going to take a bicycle/ climbing/ camping on the sly trip this summer, and have been pondering destinations: Canada? The Northwest USA? South America? Why not Iceland? I went searching [...]

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A friend put the words “Iceland” and “deals” together in the same sentence yesterday. It made my wheels start spinning: why not Iceland?

I am going to take a bicycle/ climbing/ camping on the sly trip this summer, and have been pondering destinations: Canada? The Northwest USA? South America?

Why not Iceland?

I went searching for some of these “deals.” I found a flight from Boston to Reykjavik for $250 on Iceland Express.

No way, I don’t believe it. I proceed with booking the flight, I expect added fees, taxes, baggage fees to mysteriously jack the bill up by leaps and bounds. I pushed “purchase,” and only $252.50 was taken out of my bank account. There was an added 1% credit card use fee which is very much inexplicable to me — how else does someone pay for a plane ticket through a webpage? Smush the cash through the screen? — but at only $2.50 I was not going to bother challenging it.

Map of Iceland

So I bought a flight to Iceland, where to now?


“Where do you want to go? Bulgaria?”

I think of going from Iceland to Bulgaria to meet up with Chaya and Petra again to carry on together as a family through Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Yeah right, what wife wants to go to Bulgaria? No response from wife, she is pissed that I am taking a bicycle trip alone.

I select Colombia, land two $325 tickets on Jet Blue from Portland for August. Petra is going to lose all of her Spanish if she does not get back to a Spanish speaking country soon. The last time my wife was speaking to me she wanted to go to Colombia. It is paramount for us to spend at least a quarter of every year in Latin America or Spain for Petra’s bilingualism to proceed.

Colombia is a funny country to fly into. I have been monitoring the ticket prices there closely for the past year and a half, and have observed a pattern where the cheap tickets seem to go very fast, and are prone to doubling or tripling in price relatively quickly. I will not fly Spirit Air. When you find a reasonably priced flight to Colombia, you take it.

$325 from Portland, Maine is decent.

The flight paths from Iceland to South America generally go through the USA, to catch the Colombia flight I will return to Maine. In a very rare move and contrary to my usual travel strategy I purchased a return flight from Iceland in advance. I usually advise travelers to travel a one way multi-country path through  regions rather than jumping around between countries. But what region is Iceland in? What other countries are even near it? Greenland?

It just hit me that a $250 “deal” to Iceland lead to the purchase of four plane tickets in one foul swoop, totaling $1,230. I am unsure where the money to fill this newly dug hole is going to come from.

I better sell a lot of issues of Vagabond Explorer.

I am also looking a dim fact right in the face: our travel expenses will soon rise drastically as Petra turns two in August and I will need to pay full price for her seat on airplanes. In a relatively short amount of time, my airfare expenses have doubled and will soon triple. It may be at least another year before we will purchase flights again. This last flight purchase before Petra hits the dreaded age of two years old was decided quickly, but was very calculated: in Colombia we are putting ourselves at the northern edge of a very large continent. We will be at the starting point of a few classic paths of overland travel that lead from the Caribbean Sea to the Straight of Magellan.

Will somebody please buy a Vagabond Journey T-Shirt.


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Filed under: Air Travel, Colombia, Europe, Iceland, South America, Western Europe

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

11 comments… add one

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  • T-roy May 12, 2011, 3:43 pm

    hey man, good to see your going to be in Colombia in Aug. If you get there at the start you’ll make it in time for the Flower Festival in Medellin. It’s the biggest party of the year in Medellin and a huge one for Colombia!

    I’m even leaving India sooner to make it back at the end of July to hit it. There’s a lot of other travel bloggers there now, so when you get to Medellin, hit me up. Be cool to meet and maybe go out for a night or something.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 12, 2011, 5:02 pm

      Hello Troy,

      Sounds great. We should be getting in on Aug 10th, will probably head straight for Medellin. Don’t know if we will make the festival, but we should meet up anyway!

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      • T-roy May 12, 2011, 11:40 pm

        Yeah the 10th will be to late for the Flower Festival, as I think it will end the 5th. Dave from GoBackpacking.com should still be there and maybe a few others but not sure who that would be, as I know a lot are leaving after the festival:
        http://wanderingtrader.com/ (in Medellin now)
        http://www.brendansadventures.com/ (in Medellin now)
        http://jasminewanders.com/ (is in Southern Colombia somewhere but not sure where exactly)

      • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 13, 2011, 5:35 am

        Thanks Troy,

        Would be great to have a good ol meetup somewhere in Colombia. Medellin seems to be the travel blogger hub of the west — complementing Chiang Mai in the east haha.

  • the candy trail ... Travel Adventures | Michael Robert Powell May 13, 2011, 5:30 am

    Exciting stuff … Know the feeling of that new journey ahead – will be crossing Central Asia within coming months towards … Bulgaria, maybe … Enjoy Iceland. And Colombia, love it (- but won’t get it “those” details here).

    the candy trail … a crazy across the world, since 1988

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 13, 2011, 5:42 am

      Should be interesting. Man, I was set on that CA route. But, realistically, we move slower than a turtle these days. Maybe I could get out and do a run out there at some point though. Would be great to cross paths.

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  • Sam May 14, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Hey Wade,
    If your in Colombia in August then I’ll probably be there around the same time. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be there but it should be in the fall. I’m moving pretty slowly these days and think I’ll be settling down in Bolivia for the near future before eventually continuing north.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 14, 2011, 4:38 pm

      That would be excellent. Give me your travel updates so we can cross paths again.

      Link Reply
  • MuiMui July 27, 2011, 6:02 am

    Yeah, who would have thought about Iceland when looking for cheap airfares. We just found an incredible fare from Europe to the US, with a stop in Iceland!

    We went to Colombia last year and it’s one of favorite places. Everyone is chill and friendly. For us, we flew into Florida and paid $60 one way to Colombia on Spirit Airlines (extra for baggage).

    Have a great trip! I’m envious as I want to go back, but it is time to replenish the funds. We’ve been traveling for 13+ months and the idea of returning home feels strange.

    Our Colombia posts for more info:

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  • Miin August 25, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Dear Wade, Chaya and Petra,

    Love your style of travel and very inspired by your lifestyle choices!

    We are driving through South America at the moment in our van, Suzie Wong, who we bought in California (but we are from South Africa and Malaysia), right now in Peru. Colombia is one of our fave countries of all time! If you can, try Couchsurfing there as there is a huge network, and make sure you visit LaSerrana.com.co in Salento, which is in the famous coffee region- we loved it there and it’s absolutely beautiful. We got stuck volunteering there for five weeks!

    Enjoy and perhaps we will see you somewhere on the road!

    Peace, Love and Giggles

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    • Wade Shepard August 26, 2011, 12:09 pm

      Thanks Miin,

      Colombia is excellent! Will check into the coffee farm. I was planning on doing a story about Colombia coffee.

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