Iceland's economic collapse is your gain


What happened in Iceland isn't pretty. A month ago, it was one of Europe's richest countries: clean, efficient, thoroughly civilized, and living well. Then, suddenly, as international markets caved, it did, too. Life savings were wiped out in a flash, trading on the stock market was suspended to stem the bleeding, and the government moved to nationalize the banks, just eight years after they were privatized in a now-regrettable experiment.

Now Iceland is newly one of Europe's poorest countries. As one newspaper put it, Iceland is now "banging on the doors of Russia." A year ago, the American dollar bought only 60 krona. Today, it buys nearly twice as much, or 111. Costs have been halved. Now, after years of staying away because of scalding Scandinavian prices, Americans can tour Iceland for prices that are more in line with many of our own cities.

British tourists, who are just a couple of hours from the North Atlantic nation, are pouncing on the deals, which are already cost a third less than they did before the crash. Icelandair, which takes five or six hours to reach its country from several American cities (Orlando, Minneapolis, Boston, New York), is selling round-trip flights to Reykjavik, its clubby capital, for just $400 all winter, and another $150 buys a Hilton hotel stay for three nights while you're there (the booking deadline is Oct. 21, but I'd expect more deals to come).