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In this episode, I interview Danielle Desir, a Travel Finance Strategist and Podcast host The Thought Card. We explore how to prioritize travel as a solo woman on a budget to one of Danielle’s favorite exotic locations: Reykjavik, Iceland. As a single black woman, Danielle discusses how she was able to afford traveling to this expensive destination on a budget while still maximizing on seeing gorgeous scenery like glaciers, waterfalls, and eating locally made ice-cream.
Book Cheap Flights
Not surprisingly, Danielle advocates for booking cheap flights. She says that her favorite travel hacking websites include the Thrifty Traveler and Dollar Flight Club. She also says that having a good understanding of the different average prices during different seasons can help you realize what is a good deal or something you can pass on. You can learn more about booking cheap flights by reading and listening to Episode 005 of the Earn, Save, Thrive Podcast or heading over to read the article.
Explore the Beauty of Nature
Don’t discount the wonders of exploring natural phenomena as a solo traveler. Danielle points out that after visiting Iceland, she was so moved by the beauty of the glaciers and waterfalls, that she got a little tear-eyed. It just goes to show you that Mother Nature still has a way to move you beyond words. Iceland is actually commonly known as the “land of fire and ice” because of the country’s dynamic combination of volcanic activity and glaciers.
Get off the Beaten Path
Although there’s certainly nothing wrong with going to common tourist destinations, you can actually save far more money by traveling off the beaten path. Danielle says that although Iceland is one of the most expensive destinations in the world, there are many local areas within Reyjavik and beyond that don’t require a large amount of cash to explore for the solo traveling woman. During my last trip to Reyjavik, the capital city of Iceland, I took a free walking tour which Danielle recommends in her recent book, A Travel Guide to Iceland.
Make Use of Local Apps
Traveling like a tourist can be expensive, that’s why it’s important to look for local hangout spots. Thanks to technology, you can access multiple different kinds of local apps that can save you money on dining out. If you’re planning on a trip to Iceland solo or as a group or couple, Danielle recommends Appy Hour, an app that shows you local discounts for restaurants for happy hour. Due to the high taxes on alcohol in Iceland, it’s important to find ways to save money on dining out in this beautiful city.
Many countries encourage tourists to purchase local goods and food items within the airport to save on local taxes and tariffs and the Keflavik Airport definitely does not disappoint. Not only does the airport showcase local delicacies such as Skyr, a yogurt-like dessert favored by the locals, but many local Icelandic alcohols are sold in small quantities. If you decide on drinking in Iceland, shopping duty-free is by far the cheapest way to avoid excessive spending. You can read more about how much food costs in Iceland in Danielle’s blog post.
Download a currency conversion app
No matter where you’re traveling off to next, it’s important to understand how currency is converted from your native country to your next destination. The Icelandic currency is called the Krona and it can be very confusing to understand at first, according to Danielle Desir. Make sure that you download the XE currency conversion app prior to your departure and look at how much common items will cost in the country so you know how much you’ll need to save.
Stash Your Cash & Cards
It’s important to note that you’ll need to consider your departure destination’s preferred type of currency. Some countries like Mexico or Panama don’t have any qualms with receiving American dollars (USD). But many countries, such as Canada, England, France, and Iceland, prefer you to use the local currency in order to avoid unnecessary trips to the post office for exchanging currency. On the plus side, Reyjavik restaurants and shopping districts can easily accept most US credit cards, but you’ll want to make sure that you take out some cash from a local ATM, just in the off-chance that you’ll need some cash.
The truth is that there are many different ways to save while traveling abroad and as a solo traveler, you don’t have to limit yourself to only local destinations. International locations like Reyjavik, Iceland are relatively safe, have amazing local phenomena like the Northern Lights, and not to mention great shopping! If you’re ready to book your next flight, consider taking a trip to Iceland.