If you’re looking for a relaxing and chill vacation, I’d consider other destinations before Icealand. It wasn’t an easy trip, but it was absolutely worth it. It was one of the more difficult adventures to prepare for because it is so unpredictable. After spending a little over a week there, I’ve put together my top tips for how to make it a success.
Book Accommodation Accordingly
Iceland offers a vast variety of ways to experience it. You can stay in the capital and book day trip tours. You can book a multi-day tour where they take care of everything for you. There are hostels, hotels, guesthouses and campgrounds. You can rent a four wheel drive vehicle to explore the highlands and drive on F roads, or you can rent a standard car to stick to the Ring Road and paved ones. You can rent a camper van and have our accommodation and transportation in one!
Depending on your time constraints, desire for flexibility and budget – you can customize your trip to what fits your needs.
We were warned that the weather can change quickly and often, but didn’t really understand what that meant until we were there. For the winter and fall, you’ll definitely need more layers than the warmer seasons. My best advice is just that – layers. Between the rapidly changing weather and hiking, sometimes I’d be freezing and sometimes I’d be overheating. The wind was especially strong the last couple of days of the trip, so I reccommend bringing a big warm scarf that you can also wrap around your face.
- Good, warm boots and socks
- Fleece-lined leggings or thermals
- Beanie, gloves, and warm scarf
- Long sleeve thermal shirts and sweaters
- Waterproof winter coat with a good hood
I packed a bit more utilitarian since we were camping, so didn’t always look the cutest on the road. I also didn’t end up bringing enough boot socks and had to buy a couple pairs of Ice Wear ones (at $12/pair).
Check the Weather
Keep an eye on weather and road warnings while there. The weather can change quickly and often. We got caught in some really nasty wind and snow storms our last day that made driving nearly impossible and very scary. We saw more than a few cars pulled over on the road and stuck in snow banks. Things can change mile by mile while driving as well. Just because its sunny and clear one moment, doesn’t mean there isn’t something looming around the bend.
Buy Alcohol at the Airport
Iceland is expensive. I live full time in New York City and even I was shocked at the prices. The cheapest place to buy alcohol is at the airport. Definitely stock up when you land and avoid buying drinks at bars or restaurants.
Don’t Buy Water
All of the tap water in Iceland is drinkable and delicious! We brought our empty water bottles from home and filled them up at ever rest stop and gas station. There is no need to buy bottled water or filtered water. I actually quite miss the tasty sink water.