Just a couple of days ago my love and I came back from our trip to Iceland. It was the best experience we ever had but the preparation for a week of road tripping was quite exhausting. There is so many information about do’s and don’ts in Iceland during Autumn and Winter that it was too overwhelming and I wished there was someone who could tell me all I need to know. I couldn’t find it. Therefore, here I am, writing down the tips I knew before the trip and the ones I didn’t know…
Book in advance
Traveling in Iceland is not cheap even when it’s not the summer season. Therefore, once you decide on your route, I advise you not to wait for the last minute or the last couple of weeks until your trip – book hotels, car, and all the tours in advance. This will save you some money and you will be able to choose from a wider range of options. It’s especially important if you’re traveling further from the most tourist spots, e.g. the golden circle, because the farther you go, the fewer hotels there will be and the good (and cheaper) ones book fast.
Once you’ll have your itinerary ready, take care of clothing. During Autumn and Winter, the weather is very harsh, it can be sun shining one minute and rain pouring the other. Oh, and the wind is terrible all the time. You definitely do not want to get sick and miss the opportunity to enjoy Iceland to the fullest.
So here’s what you should pack: thermal clothing – it will keep you warm, have t-shirts that could be worn on top of the other, bring one or two sweaters or jumpers, have two pairs of pants. The thing is, if you’ll be wearing thermal pants, you sure can wear jeans on top of them and won’t be cold, and for the top clothing – three or four layers will save you from any kind of weather.
What you also should take care of before the trip is your jacket and shoes – get a nano impregnator and pray your shoes and jacket. It will save you from the rain and you’ll be able to enjoy the trip. Oh, and of course, a cap and gloves are must have too.
Food in Iceland is more expensive than in most European countries but it’s not very expensive if you shop at discount stores Bonus or Kronan. Therefore, if you have some extra space in your luggage, you can take some snacks with yourself but you definitely can do shopping in Iceland as well. The only thing that was truly expensive there was meat so if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, well, you can bring some meat snacks.
However, food in restaurants is a completely different thing, the food in the restaurants is expensive and you should be ready to pay 10 – 15 euros for a bowl of soup. Main dishes cost around 20 – 30 euros, and stakes cost around 40 – 50 euros. So yes, food in restaurants is quite expensive.
Car Rental in Iceland
If you’re going to rent a car (and I highly suggest you to do so), you’ll notice how difficult it is to choose a rental company. It took us ages to decide where should we rent and finally we went for the Blue Car Rentals. Our experience with them was great and I’d gladly rent a car from them again. Why we chose this company? Well, because their term and conditions were suitable for us, and they also had an option to pick a car at Keflavik and drop it at Reykjavik for free, other companies charge you extra for different locations.
Also, you probably will be thinking whether you need a 4×4 wheel car or is a simple car enough. Well, have a look at the sights you’re going to visit. If there are no roads marked as F-roads, a simple car is what you need. When we were choosing a car, there were no marked F-roads between our destinations but just in case we decided to rent a 4×4 car. Well, it definitely was a waste of money, all the roads were great and we could have saved some decent amount of money. So don’t make this mistake as well.
Another thing about rented cars – at the end of your journey you will need to fill the tank. What you must keep in mind that in most petrol stations you first pay and then pump. We had no idea how much petrol we needed so chose option “Full” before paying. And then we were charged 25,000 ISK which was equal to 183 Eur and the price of 105 liters. Gladly, after a couple of days, we received the money back and had to pay only for the amount we actually used. It’s just a thing you should know before choosing the option “Full”.
Also, you don’t need cash at all. Iceland is called cashless country and we even found a joke in one book about Icelanders that if you use cash, your credit record must be terrible. So just have a credit card and it will be more than enough.
Don’t forget your swimsuit – take a chance to enjoy a warm river and spend some time at the Blue Lagoon, both experiences will be wonderful, I promise.
So this is it, all the information you need to know before traveling to Iceland. Road tripping in Iceland was definitely the best experience we’ve ever had and I wish everyone to visit this astonishing country. And if you’re already planning to go there, not just dreaming about it, prepare well and enjoy the beauty of Iceland!