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What would you do during an 18 hour layover at Keflavik airport? Stay there and wait? That sounds dreadful. Leave the airport and sleep? Tempting. Rent a car and drive around the Reykjanes Peninsula? YES, PLEASE!!

Having arrived at 11:00 p.m., I left the airport and slept first, but then I returned and rented a car in the morning, determined to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula in the few, short hours afforded me. It was just enough time to pique my interest in Iceland, and I think that’s what the tourism board was hoping.

I suspect that Icelandair deliberately undercuts their competitors on flights between the United States and Europe. Budget conscious tourists will book with them, despite the long layovers at Keflavik. They know that you’ll leave the airport and do something – whether it’s simply hanging out in Reykjavik or using the time to take a drive.

It is clever, because I loved Iceland so much I want it to be a future travel destination rather than layover. Other travelers have told me the exact same thing.

Here’s one example why:

The Blue Lagoon. Tucked away in a field of volcanic rock, steam rises from a geothermal spa. The temperatures were cold on that early April day, and the winds fierce (note lifeguard with winter coat!), but I envied those people with enough time to cast off their cares and clothes and take a swim.

Next time, Iceland. Next time…

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