You can find cheap tickets to go off-season to the Virgin Islands, but they are not really known for being a cheap place to visit once you’re there. So how can you spend a week in the US Virgin Islands without breaking the bank?

Earlier this year (in 2021), I was feeling very stuck in NYC after almost two years enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, which had honestly been terrible for my productivity as a scientist. I was looking into escaping to somewhere that would be very different from where I live and give me a change of scenery. I was fully vaccinated, ran into super cheap tickets to the US Virgin Islands and decided that that was it: I was going to go to the USVI. A friend of mine from grad school has family there and had shown me pictures from the place, so I thought it would be great! Besides, the USVI require everyone to get tested for COVID-19 before hopping on a plane to go there, and most of our activities in the islands would be outdoors, so that gave me an extra peace of mind. 

Ivan (whose name you’ll be reading below) went with me and, despite SEVERAL hiccups, we had a blast! Plus, I got to reset my erratic pandemic sleep schedule, so what else could I ask for?

Main things I would change in my itinerary: I highly recommend that you go to the islands in a sequence (we had some planning issues because of personal reasons, so we had to hop around) to save yourself some headache and money. Start either in St. Croix and fly out of St. Thomas or vice-versa. If you really enjoy being in nature like myself, schedule more time to spend in St. John. If you can, avoid the car barge from St. Thomas to St. John because it’s stressful; take the ferry and rent a 4×4 vehicle in St. John itself. 

Ready to spend a week in the US Virgin Islands? Check out the tips below!

If you’re traveling during COVID-19, remember to make sure you’re vaccinated and tested, wear a mask, sanitize and wash your hands often, keep a distance from other people, avoid crowds, and respect/follow CDC and local guidelines. Check beforehand if the place you’re going to is safe and taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Overall, make sure you’re keeping yourself and other people around you safe. 

This post has no affiliate links. If you use any of the links here, I get absolutely nothing for it. 

Week in the US Virgin Islands

“[…] just assume you might run into something unexpected and will take the first day to get settled.”

Day 1: get settled in St. Thomas

We got a flight that landed around lunchtime in St. Thomas and thought we would have the entire day to explore. Silly me, we ran into multiple problems with our rental car, had difficulty finding our AirBnb, took a while to get used to the roads there and had to go grocery shopping to get water, food, snacks, supplies, etc in the evening. So just assume you might run into something unexpected and will take the first day to get settled. If you have extra time to explore, take it as a bonus.

Continue reading “What to do in a week in the US Virgin Islands (without breaking the bank)”

Everyone wants to go to Iceland, but how can you go to Iceland on a budget and short on time?

It was 2017, my college Senior Spring was coming up and I wanted to do something fun for Spring Break. As an international student on full need-based financial aid, I usually spent most of my breaks on campus, but it was the last time I could do something different.

I  was looking up tickets prices to go to Europe when I ran into tickets to Iceland for around US$ 300. I think I just searched flights to “everywhere” on Skyscanner from airports close to New Haven, and ran into this WOW airline that I had never heard of with super cheap tickets. I went into their actual website, and they listed lowest prices of flights to everywhere from every airport where they operated in the US (convenient, huh?). Flights from Boston were even cheaper than from NYC, and I just needed to take a cheap bus to fly from Boston. 

So I quickly gathered some friends who were interested in going, and one of them for some reason looked into the Canadian version of WOW Air’s website. Turns out it was almost US$ 50 cheaper after making the conversion from Canadian dollars for the exact same price! That’s how three fellow female physicists and I ended up in Iceland for 4 days with ~US$ 280 round-trip tickets and had a blast. 

WOW Air is now defunct, but some other airlines still have very good deals to travel from the US east coast to Reykjavik, just keep an eye open and set a travel alert on Skyscanner or Kayak. 

Explore this budget-friendly itinerary to spend 4 days there. 

This post has no affiliate links. If you use any of the links here, I get absolutely nothing for it. 

4-day Iceland itinerary

“[…] we left our luggage at the reception and took that day to walk around, explore and acclimate.”

Day 1: get settled, walk around

We took a red-eye flight on what I’m going to call day 0. On day 1, we finally got to Reykjavik and took a Flybus shuttle to our hostel (I suggest you rent a car from your first day instead, but more on that in the tips section).

We couldn’t check in until 2 pm, so we left our luggage at the reception and took that day to walk around, explore and acclimate. 

After we checked-in, took showers and rested a bit, we went out to pick up groceries, cooked some dinner (which I recommend you do, because food in Iceland is expensive!) and went to bed.