Travel Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I had joined a meetup group in Richmond: RVA Near and Far (20-30 Somethings). It was organized by Cassie, who also happens to be a travel agent with Accent on Travel. She was setting up a group of people to go to Iceland, and I had indicated that I was interested in going. And there were 8 other people interested as well.

Three of us met at Cassie’s house, and we head out to Iceland.

20170215_140022

We get into Katie’s car, and before leaving, I ask everyone if they have their passports on them. We all do a passport check and confirm we have it. 10 minutes into driving I realize that I have my passport, but not my wallet with my credit card, and my green card. F%#@!!!

Fortunately, we are only 10 minutes in, and we turn around and get my wallet. It was in my car. We drive to the Hilton nearby Washington Dulles Airport. Cassie found a deal where you can park your car for under $6. I’m all about saving money. So we lounge at the Hilton Hotel, charge our devices, and wait for our free Airport Shuttle.

20170215_164640

At the airport, we noticed that there are no signs for Icelandic Airlines. So after asking around we find the path to our airline.

20170215_171924

Wow. That is a LONG LINE. We actually walk around the empty line, and check in our bags.

20170215_172020

I have TSA-Pre and highly recommend it. However, the airline must be registered with TSA-Pre for passengers to be able to use. Unfortunately, Iceland Air doesn’t offer TSA-Pre, so I have to use the regular line. Bummer.

Interestingly enough, I go out without any problems. Josh, Katie, and Cassie get stopped for various things. They are all American, and I’m the foreigner. And poor Cassie  gets a little more “personal service” with TSA.

20170215_174554

After a long wait, we head over to our gate. Since I have Priority Pass through the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, I invite the group to join me in private Air France and KLM Lounge.

20170215_180908

Free food, free wifi, and free adult beverages. Great company. And new friendships.

20170215_181615

It is time to board the plane. That is the plane taking us directly to Iceland.

20170215_185131

In the background you can see the Icelandic flag in red, white, and blue.

20170215_191240

We board quickly.

20170215_191327

Fantastic. I have a charging port for my phone.

20170215_192249

My neighbor is awesome, and we celebrate a free middle seat before take off.

img1576096744

Goodbye Washington, DC. Goodbye America. See you in a  few days. I look forward to touching down in Keflavik International Airport, Iceland.

20170215_200414

During our 6 hours flight, I mix up some rest, with work and music. Straight Outta Compton keeps me up and hooked!

20170215_234036

Reflections:

Things and moments to appreciate:

  • The Meetup Group to meet other relatively like minded travelers.
  • Cassie for her hard work in organizing, herding cats, and being patient with us.
  • For Cassie and Katie suggesting that we leave 1 hour earlier than we needed to, because in the end it helped us be on time since I left my wallet in the car, and we had to go back to get it.
  • Awareness of being present and listening to my thoughts. My inner voice shouted out loudly to check my wallet, and I listened immediately.
  • Katie for driving.
  • Priority Pass, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and being able to share my lounge access benefits with new friends.
  • Being able to physically and financially able to travel to Iceland and experience new things.

Expenses: $757.08

  • Schegen Visa to Iceland: $129.95 (Travisa costs for Indian passport holders)
  • Travel Insurance: $115.25 (stuff for travel insurance and other items for getting the Schegen Visa – *for those who have to apply for travel visas to Europe)
  • Airline Ticket: $511.88 (A round trip IcelandAir ticket from Washington, D.C. to Iceland)