Get A Personal Tour Guide On Your Next Iceland Vacation With Icelandair

Since the turn of the new millennium, Icelandic tourism has taken off in a big way. Starting in 2010, foreign visitors to Iceland have grown by nearly 20% per year and in 2016, over 1.5 million people visited the country. Not bad considering the population of the country is only 330,000 some odd people. It isn’t shocking that tourism is on the rise with their beautiful hot springs, black sand beaches and stunning glacial vistas. Iceland is on my travel short list for 2017 and I am hoping to check it off the list later this year.

It’s no secret that we here at Thrifty Traveler love Icelandair, and Mr. TT frequently features some of their incredible flight deals. While Icelandair is considered a budget airline, their business relies heavily on connecting passengers between the United States and Europe’s mainland through their home base in Reykjavik, the capital city. One of the main selling points of the airline is their Stopover feature which allows you to stop for up to seven days in Reykjavik without increasing the cost of your ticket before continuing onto your final destination. As if we needed more of a reason to love Icelandair, their Stopover Buddy service was one of the coolest travel features we saw added in 2016.

 

What is it?

Last winter, Icelandair introduced a free service to their stopover passengers that gave them the chance to see Iceland through the experienced eyes of a local by requesting a Stopover Buddy, an Icelandair employee who acted as their personal host (based on their interests) for up to one day during their stay in Iceland. This year in addition to that, the airline wants to turn your stopover into a fun and memorable celebration. Whether it is for a birthday, wedding proposal, or you just want to partake in Icelandic celebrations (such as the winter lights festival) the way the locals do. Icelandair’s stopover buddy’s are here to help! Completely free!

 

When is the Stopover Buddy Service Available?

 According to the Icelandair Stopover buddy terms & conditions, the service launched on  October 11, 2016 and continues until  March 31, 2017. It is free to book the Stopover Buddy for one day (but there are limited number available each day), but activity and food expenses etc. will need to be covered. On their Stopover Buddy page there is a calendar of events (days highlighted in yellow) of upcoming Icelandic celebrations and/or holidays. By clicking on these days on their site, you are able to get more detail about what each celebration is. Because there are limited numbers of buddies available each day, I would book these days ASAP as I am sure demand will be high.
 

Upcoming Icelandic Celebrations

 

Additional Information 

  • While you’re responsible for your own costs, the cost for the buddy are paid for by Icelandair, and no gratuity is expected.
  • Regardless of where you are staying, the meeting point with your Stopover Buddy will be the lobby of the Reykjavik Natura hotel which is owned by Iceland air.
  • Slots are filled on a first come first service basis based on matching interests, and you’ll hear back within 72 hours of your email request to Icelandair.
  • Once you’re matched with a  stopover buddy, They will provide a sample itinerary for the day, and they will introduce you to your buddy via email, so you can work out any details for your day.
  • Your time with your stopover buddy will last no more than one day, and you can bring up to four people with you traveling on the same itinerary.

 

Bottom Line

Icelandair is putting serious pressure on the larger American carriers by driving costs on European routes down. I have never flown the airline myself, but I have generally heard great things. I think this is an incredibly innovative concept from Icelandair and hope to see them continuing the Stopover Buddy service into the future.

 

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