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Icelandic breaks with a Stopover Buddy

By KAREN BRADBURY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 20, 2016

Planning travel back to the States over the coming months? Those flying trans-Atlantic to several U.S. cities on Icelandair have long been able to break up their journeys in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at no additional charge. Destinations include Washington, D.C.; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Minneapolis-St. Paul; New York; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Washington. New to the carrier’s offer as of last year is the chance to enjoy the services of a knowledgeable local during one of the days of the stopover. The stopover itself can be booked for a period of up to seven days.

The Stopover Buddy service was launched to provide visitors with the more personalized, localized and off-the-beaten-path experiences sought by today’s travelers. All Stopover Buddies are Icelandair employees.

Flyers requesting a buddy complete an online form indicating the specific nature of their requests, from arranging a wedding proposal to celebrating a birthday or Icelandic holiday. Alternatively, they can choose from a category of interests, such as lifestyle, food, health or culture. Would-be travelers learn within three days if a buddy can be found for the date in question. The assigned local buddy will then custom-design a day’s itinerary on the basis of mutual interests and correspond with the traveler by email to determine the specific activity and number of hours to be spent together.

Among experiences on offer last year were a day of backcountry skiing, touring one of the country’s geothermal springs, cooking up a traditional fish dish, and cycling down an ice-covered mountain.

The service is free of charge, but the traveler should be prepared to pay his or her own share of restaurant bills or activity fees. The offer is valid through March 31, 2017. To learn about the program, see: www.icelandair.us/stopover-buddy/

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