Iceland Planning From RouxRoamer.Com

I do a lot of googling and talking to other travelers I know. I like to read and see things that aren’t just on Trip Advisor. I want a more authentic “local” experience but I also want to see those really cool “well traveled” sites like Skógafoss.

Getting to Iceland

Iceland Major Airport: KEF or Keflavík International Airport

Distance From Reykjavík: Approx. 30 miles/50 km

Getting From The Airport:

If you are flying into Iceland this is probably where you are flying into Keflavík International Airport. To get into the city you are going to need to take a taxi, bus or rent a car.

There are plenty of car rental agencies just make sure you go with one that you know is a good one. This island is known for terrible car rental companies and experiences. Ask for referrals, read blog posts and reviews of the companies before you decide. The cheapest rental might not be the best rental or end up being the cheapest when you get surprise fees at the end.

Pro tip: I’ve heard Iceland4x4carrental, Bluecar and Sixt are all good ones. Whether you get the sand, ash and gravel protection is up to you. I’ve never heard of that til now!

The Iceland Stopover

The best way to go to Iceland is on WOW Air or IcelandAir. With IcelandAir, Iceland is a free* >stopover (#mystopover) for up to 7 days and then you get to go somewhere else in Europe for free (26 destinations!).

The difference between the airlines though became quite clear the closer I got to my trip. I think WOW is really up front with the nickle and diming and IcelandAir hides it.

If you aren’t going to feed me on a 7 hour flight I think you should be really up front about that and call yourself a budget airline. Somehow I thought it was more “luxury” but it looks like I have to pay for that. WOW I would expect to pay for all the extras because that’s how they advertise it.

Cost of the trip

Any of the scandinavian countries are more expensive. They have higher taxes since they give education and good health care to their citizens. That means that all the things you buy like food and lodging become more expensive to pay the labor and taxes. I love that they have these things for their citizens and I wish that we had that here in the states. I’m not such a huge fan of paying $12 or more for a beer but, hey it’s only a week right?!

Winter vs Summer

Iceland has two main seasons, winter and summer. The other seasons aren’t quite as noticeable. Winter means you have to deal with snow and blizzards and ice. You also need a 4×4 to get around even on the main roads. In the summer you get to see more of the island and greenery. You can camp and drive around more easily.

The best way to see Iceland and all it’s mountains, waterfalls and geothermal waters you’ll need to rent a car. There is a bus that goes around but you won’t be able to see everything and you’ll have to do more walking or hiking.

Why am I going in the winter? The northern lights! This is my number one goal while I’m in Iceland although I have no control over it happening. I just know that winter is the best time to see them since you need cold, dark nights. In the summer you get near 24 hours of daylight. You can’t see the lights.

Communications

Icelandic is the main language but they also speak english. It should be easy to communicate. They also take mostly credit cards so you won’t need much cash. If you do need cash I’d recommend getting it when you are in the city. I’d carry a little bit even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

I’ve heard everyone is pretty nice. I think that’s true of most smaller islands. It’s a good way to find awesome secret spots, talk to the locals. Ask what they like to do and see.

I think the only really unsafe thing in Iceland is the road conditions and turning your back on the ocean. If you get swept out to sea you probably aren’t going to make it. Be careful on those beaches and cliffs. Don’t drive in the snow if you don’t know how or the road conditions say you shouldn’t.

If you can’t live without Wifi that is an option for most car rental places. They can also supply you with a GPS if you prefer that to Google Maps offline. You could also get a SIM card if you absolutely must have calling capabilities while you are there outside of Skype or Google Voice.

Pro tip: To get a map offline on your phone. Be on wifi for a big download. Open maps, click on the three line in the upper left. Select “Offline areas” and the “Custom area”. Zoom out to the area you want to have offline, for instance, all of south Iceland. Then Hit download. Now you can get directions offline in that area!

ROUXROAMER.COM

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rouxroamer

Melissa D. Jones is a traveler, artist, photographer, storyteller, foodie and creative entrepreneur. Living for adventure and new experiences she’s photographed her way around all 50 states and 45 countries (still counting!) and wrote her travel knowledge into a book Women with Wanderlust: A Guide to Roaming to help inspire a world with more roamers.