40th Birthday Trip Booking
My graduation from veteran young guy to rookie old guy happens in the next week or so and I realized I never shared my 40th birthday trip booking. It will span 3 land masses, 2+ish countries, 2 islands, 4 airlines and 3 unique cities. The focus point of the trip was the Faroe Islands. I have been wanting to check it out for years after first seeing my friend Megan Starr write about it (check out her pictures). It was love at first sight, like a mini New Zealand in Europe. Everything else was put into place around that destination. Enough chit chat, let's get into the details!
The first stop on this 40th birthday trip booking is Reykjavík, Iceland. When looking at ways to get to the Faroe Islands, there were two options. I could fly to mainland Europe and then backtrack to the Faroe Islands. Another option was flying into Iceland and then onto Faroe from there. That made more sense to me, since I hate backtracking on a trip.
Wouldn't you know it, Delta was kicking off a non stop flight from Detroit the day before my trip, a fortuitous happening for sure. I was a little sad to miss the inaugural flight by a day, but glad to not have to do a layover on the way to Iceland. Especially with this tightly packed itinerary.
Delta wanted around 60,000 Skymiles for the one way flight in economy. The price was around $750, so not a terrible redemption. I next went to check Virgin Atlantic hoping to see some award space there. With Delta and Virgin you never quite know what will be considered saver space. Another stroke of luck, they were showing the flight for 30,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. I had enough in my account from a 30% transfer bonus and booked it lickity split. The final cost was 24,000 Membership Rewards points transferred to Virgin with the bonus, and $5.60.
When I went to pick my seats I was met with another surprise. Because of my Delta Platinum status I was able to select a Comfort+ seat. It should be noted that they do not have lie flat seats on this route.
Canopy By Hilton
One of the cool things about traveling with other travel hackers is you can use each other's strengths when it comes to points balances. With that in mind we kind of rotated who booked what for everyone based on who had a plethora of each kind of points. My buddy had 3 free night Hilton certificates expiring so he booked us all into the Canaopy by Hilton downtown. The cost was 80,000 points per night or around $350. I have never stayed at a Canopy property so I am looking forward to checking that out.
Our Plans In Reykjavík
We are in Reykjavík for under 24 hours before we head off to the Faroe Islands. We are hitting the Blue Lagoon from the airport to recuperate from our red-eye flight. From there we will head into town and check out the city. That is about all we have time for since we have an earlier morning flight out to the Faroe Islands. We rented a car for a few hundred dollars since the drive to and from the airport is longer, and would have cost about the same as getting a taxi. This allows us to hit the Blue Lagoon too.
Next up is the crown jewel of the trip, or at least I think it will be. Friday morning we are off to Faroe Islands and taking our second airline on the way.
We booked cash flights on Atlantic Airways from Iceland to the Faroe Islands. I actually booked this flight and then next one as a multicity itinerary on Expedia because the airline's websites were not the best. This portion of the flight was $120.
Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands
I was pleasantly surprised to find a points chain hotel on the Islands. It looks to be a newer hotel too. The Hilton Garden Inn was the only points option I saw for the islands. The cost was a little over $200 a night or 50,000 points. It wasn't the best redemption but I earn Hilton points fairly easily so I booked the rooms for the 50K each night. More cash to spend on the trip that way! The property looks really nice, especially for a Hilton Garden Inn.
Our Plans In Faroe Islands
We plan to just drive around the various islands / areas and check out unique small towns and the beautiful scenery. There looks to be a cool little pub scene in Tórshavn so I am sure we will hit that up one night as well. This is the portion of the trip where I turn 40 as well so you know the locals are in for a treat!
Last up on our trip is Copenhagen. I have been wanting to visit since meeting a Danish couple in Amsterdam and hanging out with them for a few hours. My initial plan was to try to hit Scotland though. I wanted to try to meet up with my buddy Paul who I met on our December trip to Rome. They actually have flights from Faroe Islands to Scotland, but it was only on select days. Unfortunately those days did not match up with what we needed so Copenhagen was the choice.
The second portion of our Expedia booking was on Scandinavian Airlines into Copenhagen. The cost was $178.50 for this portion of the flight. The taxes were not cheap, making up 60% of the fare.
Clarion Copenhagen Airport hotel
We are staying at the Clarion Airport hotel because it has an amazing points price and I have a 6 AM flight home. Choice Hotels is overlooked in the US, and rightfully so, but it can be a gold mine in Europe. This is the hotel I wrote about buying points for to save money. The cost was 20,000 points a night, or 10,000 ThankYou Points earned with your Citi Premier card thanks to the 2 to 1 transfer rate. The cash cost was $275 a night, or $550 total. There was a points sale going on at the time of booking and you could buy the points need for the two nights for only $278. Mind blowing, I know. You can read the full breakdown here.
Our Plans In Copenhagen
I only have two things on the list that I want to do. I really want to visit Freetown Christiania just to see what the lawless live like. My other thing on the to do list is the spiral staircase on Church of our Savior for prime time city views. Thanks to my friend Jackie (her picture above from that spot) for suggesting this. Maybe we will throw a boat tour in for good measure too, always my favorite thing to do in a city.
Flying Lufthansa Home
On the way home I am flying in business class on Lufthansa. It connects in Frankfurt and then I fly directly into Detroit which is as good as it gets. I hate connecting in the US on the way home, and I try to avoid it if I can. We flew Lufthansa home back in December and it wasn't the smoothest, but we did get $1200 richer because of it. I also was not super excited about flying their 2-2-2 business class again. Especially without a companion flying with me. Footsie with strangers ain't my cup of tea! But, I was pleasantly surprised when they changed equipment for the Frankfurt to Detroit route and now have the preferred 1-2-1 set up.
The cost for the booking was 60,000 Lifemiles and $127. I don't think I ever looked at the cash cost but it was likely several thousands of dollars. One of the best options for Detroit area flyers to get into, or home from, Europe.
40th Birthday Trip Booking: ToP Thoughts
We are trying to pack quite a bit into a short time, well, not as bad as Derrick but still pretty action packed. I'll be sure to share some of the highlights from the trip over the following weeks and post some pictures in the ToP Facebook Group in real time. Hopefully the Faroe Islands live up to the hype I have built up in my head. Usually I like to travel with little, to no, expectations so that I come away pleasantly surprised. That is why Copenhagen will probably end up being my favorite part of the trip, ha!