Tips for Travel in Iceland

Can you believe it has almost been a month since I’ve been home?! I can’t.

Anyway, while in Iceland I put this list together of tips for travel in Iceland. Of course, I know many of these things will be on other lists, this is just my own list that I wish I had while planning my trip, and things that I am oh so happy I did.

Firstly, I always start with this list I found online last year. It is my go-to list for packing no matter where I am. It gets adapted, but at least I know I’m not forgetting anything. Now here are my notes:

1. Outerwear is what most people will see while you’re out and about, so don’t overpack to be stylish. No one is going to see your cute top, anyway.

2. It’s windy in Iceland so leave your umbrella at home.

3. I brought a fleece jacket and a plastic raincoat. Since wind goes right through fleece, I usually had my raincoat on over the jacket. If you don’t want everyone to hear you crinkling as you walk down the street, just bring one wind/ rain-resistant jacket. Long (hip-length) black jackets with hoods were pretty popular with gals my age, which is a bummer because I have one and didn’t take it.

4. Unless you’re absolutely sure you’re going to a cocktail party, don’t bring fancy clothes. I brought a pair of slacks and a nice blouse, but didn’t even need them for church. Jeans were normal and I just wore a nice sweater. So dress clothes = Waste of Space.

5. You are going to go hiking. Bring hiking boots. The day Dan and I hiked to the top of the mountain I was wearing sneakers. And walking through snow drifts. I had brought dressy tall boots (and wore them twice)… I should have swapped them out for my hiking boots.

6. It’s arid like Colorado even though it rains a lot, so make sure you pack some good lotion and heavy chapstick like Blistex or EOS that you know will stay put and protect your lips from the wind.

7. Pack a reusable water bottle. I used my all of the time. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And Icelandic water is amazingly clean. The toilet water is probably cleaner than most filtered water in America. Just saying.

8. With that said, drink tons of water. See #6 for a really good reason why.

9. Bring a comfortable eye-mask if you’re coming in the summer. I didn’t bring one so I only lasted for three days before I started using my headband around my eyes. Which I really liked. It was a soft cotton tube band that was super wide, and it stayed put really well.

10. The food isn’t really spicy. It was very comparable to the food I’m used to eating in America, so I didn’t have any issues whatsoever. Most meals had potatoes, lamb, beef, pork, or salad included. Yum! I love Icelandic food.

11. Make-up isn’t a big thing here unless you’re going to a party. Feel free to go au-natural. Throw on some lotion, drink tons of water, and enjoy the sea breeze. Your skin will love you.

12. Don’t forget your swimsuit. Big swimming culture here, get in the hot tub. I saw a few bikinis but black one-piece suits were most popular.

13. Yes, you have to shower naked in the locker room. Yes, you’re going to have ladies chatting with you while you’re showering naked, completely oblivious to the fact that you find it very awkward. Suck it up, Buttercup, when in Rome…

14. Food and gas are expensive in Iceland. Most food is imported, and I think all of the gas and diesel are, so that is why. And there is only one McDonalds in the country. Budget accordingly.

15. The roads can be horrific. If you plan on driving a ton, (around the Ring Road? I hope so!) I would upgrade to a vehicle that doesn’t sit low to the ground. Pothole protection, yeah?

16. Don’t even think about speeding. It’s such a safe country, I think the police have nothing better to do than make sure you’re not being reckless on the road. And they will fine you an arm and a leg and your first-born child if they catch you. I learned this from an American I met at a party. His first child will be named Bill.

17. Yes, they speak very good English. And a couple of other languages, too. Being monolingual is a sad American phenomena.

18. This one is for kicks and giggles: If you like yarn, I suggest this as your main souvenir. I freaked out when I saw how cheap pure Icelandic wool was. So that was what I bought. =)

And there you have it! My personal tips and tricks for Iceland. I hope you like them! If you have any questions or any tips to add, please let me know in the comments!


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