From Iceland — Coming And Going On The Cheap

Coming And Going On The Cheap

Published January 12, 2024

Coming And Going On The Cheap

The Útlendingur’s ongoing guide to getting shit done

If you’re an Útlendingur like me, one of your favourite things to do in Iceland is leave Iceland. Whether it’s the odd trip to the motherland to grace family and friends with your presence or a sojourn to somewhere (anywhere) where temperatures surpass 25º C in the summer months, there’s nothing quite like leaving Iceland. Before any haters get to hating, I also enjoy coming back to Iceland. That “velkominn heim” the Icelandair flight crew recites upon landing in Keflavík is oddly comforting.

The one part of the journey to útland that I despise, however, is the trip from Reykjavík to the international airport (and vice versa). Sure, the large coaches operated by Reykjavík Excursions that appear to have a stronghold on Isavia and the prime drop-off and pick-up spots at the airport are comfortable enough, but 7.199 ISK for a round-trip bus ride is extortion. And if you’re travelling with baggage other than the standard suitcase, you’ll be charged even more — a figure that seems to be arbitrarily decided by the counter staff, like the gruff woman who recently charged me two and a half times the company’s rate to transport skis.

There are other ways to get to KEF, though. Those wanting to save a few krónur can take Strætó line 55, which departs BSÍ at 23 minutes past the hour (but it’s Strætó, so take that time with a grain of salt) and delivers passengers to KEF some 75 minutes later. A one-way ticket will set you back 2.280 ISK (compared to 3.899 ISK for a one-way ride with Reykjavík Excursions).

A cursory peek at my Hopp app suggests that at least one person has recently cruised on a scooter to the airport’s departures hall, which couldn’t have been fun in the freezing rain we’re experiencing on the day of writing. But it is a sign of the need for less painful travel to and from the airport for those of us who are too disenchanted by the big coach companies: Hopp cars. Hear me out, Hopp — keep a small fleet of cars at BSÍ or some other centrally-located spot in Reykjavík that are exclusively for driving to and from KEF. Hopp users then leave the cars in designated spots at the airport for them to be booked by arriving passengers to drive back to the city centre. The business plan practically writes itself.

For now, fellow Útlendingur, we’re stuck with public transport, the big coach conglomerates or taxis (which will set you back an eye-watering 20.000 ISK for a one-way ride). Góða ferð.

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