This is part of a series where I break down the costs for airfare and lodging for a specific trip, as well as how much PTO time was spent. I am not including costs for food and activities as those prices fluctuate based on traveler preferences. In general, you can assume that airfare and lodging will be the bulk of your costs. The below info is just to give you an idea of what is possible.
An awesome deal from Icelandair popped up in my Facebook newsfeed: $498 for a roundtrip flight from Minneapolis to Paris. I hadn’t seen prices that low in years, so we immediately jumped on it. We also took advantage of the layover option offered by Icelandair: stay for up to 7 days at no extra charge before continuing on to your destination. We planned to stay for just one night. We scheduled the trip for over the Thanksgiving holiday to make use of those two free vacation days. We had five months until departure.
I ended up booking here last, which I regret. Reykjavik is notoriously expensive and all of the cheaper hotels were already filled by the time I got around to booking. We were only going to be there for one night and didn’t want to waste time traveling to/from the center of town, so we got the most central location we could find. In retrospect, we should have skipped the layover altogether. If you don’t have time to get out of the city, it’s really not worth it. Reykjavik Hotel Centrum at $280 per night
Paris lodging – part one
We chose to stay in the Montmartre district because I was fascinated by the history of black Americans in this area during the Jazz Age. Plus the internet says the views from this hilly neighborhood are magnificent. The internet is right. We booked a one-bedroom Airbnb with a pullout couch for the kid. It was very small and cramped, and the view from the windows was just a brick wall and some garbage cans. On the plus side, it was only a couple minutes walk from the metro station. Airbnb at $123 per night
We decided to fit Marrakech into the itinerary, because I’m crazy and three countries in ten days sounds good to me. We purchased three round trip tickets for Paris to Marrakech on EasyJet. This is called “nesting” tickets – when you have a round trip flight (Minneapolis-Paris) and then get another round trip flight in and out of your first destination (Paris-Marrakech). $100 per roundtrip ticket
We decided to stay in the Gueliz area, which is the more modern area of town outside of the ancient Medina and its souks. I had read that the Medina is a crazy jumble of activity (it is) and I didn’t want to stay in the midst of all that activity when traveling with my kid. We went with a luxury, 2-bedroom rental in a residential area, about a twenty minute walk from the Medina. Airbnb at $124 per night
Paris lodging – part two
Our return flight from Marrakech landed in Paris late in the evening. Our flight to the US was then scheduled to leave early the next morning from Paris’ Orly airport. There are two options for hotels right at the airport, both are Ibis brands and are right next door to each other. One is Ibis Budget, the other is Ibis Hotel. Having stayed at both now, I can tell you that the only difference between the two is that Ibis Budget doesn’t have a bar or a full breakfast buffet, and runs about $20 less. But I didn’t know that when I booked. We went with Ibis Hotel at $70 per night.
Airfare Minneapolis-Paris on Icelandair: $498 per person, $1494 altogether
Airfare Paris-Marrakech on EasyJet: $100 per person, $300 altogether
Hotel in Reykjavik for 1 night: $280
Airbnb in Paris for 3 nights: $371
Airbnb in Marrakech for 4 nights: $499
Hotel in Paris for 1 night: $70
Total airfare and lodging for 3 persons: $3,014
PTO time: 5 days