Ok I’m going to give you some very real tips about Iceland. None of the tips that are like, “Make sure to pack warm socks!” BS. I’m going to give you the tips that will help you be prepared! Ok so Iceland. It’s the movie that you feel everyone has seen, and yet you have always wanted to see. You’ve heard about it, seen people’s epic videos. You’ve thought, “Is it that big of a deal? Are those photos photoshopped? What is it really like in Iceland?” Well I’m here to tell you, that the photos never do it justice, and people tell you about all the great parts of Iceland, without telling you the not so not so great parts…and yes, it is that big of a deal!
I just got back yesterday from a very short trip to Iceland. I live in Boston, so flying to Reykjavik is like a drive to NYC, nbd. But even though I prepared for the flight & trip, with all my gear, here are a few things that people had failed to mention on their blog posts.
- WATER PROOF ERRRRTHANGGGG.
This is not a joke. When I say waterproof, I mean WATERPROOF. Everything from Makeup, to shoes, beanies, underwear….everything. Ok not really underwear, but you know what I mean. Cameras, cellphones, wallets, gloves, everything! Also bring multiples of all clothing. Don’t think you can get by on 1 waterproof pair of pants & jacket (thanks asshole from REI). I am 100% serious, I think I went through half my wardrobe in the first 2 days because it kept raining and I drenched a new set of clothing each time we saw a new waterfall. I mean, it didn’t rain for the first couple waterfalls, but when the wind kicked in, it just decimated our clothes. You will be wet, you will be pruny.
- Get to your campsite before sunset.
Let me tell you something, it isn’t easy to drive at night because in Iceland, when the lights go out, it’s pretty much pitch dark unless you’re in a populated area. So if you’re road tripping it out in the boonies, & you want to pick an epic spot that will get you the best view when you wake up in the morning. Also, you want to get PRIMO spots next to the bathroom, or electricity if you need it.
- Food is expensive.
I did read this somewhere but in no place did they tell me that buying a burger and fries at a gas station was like $40. And that’s the cheapest you’ll find! It’s crazy expensive, for everything, gas, food, tampons. Pretty much anything that’s imported from the US expect the prices to be high, but anything that’s local, then prices are moderate. So if you can help it, bring what you can to take with you if you’re looking to shave off excess expenses. But I would try to buy and cook, rather than eat out at restaurants. We ate out ONCE, and that was that.
- Rain is all day everyday.
Precipitation is every 5 minutes. Plans of flying your drone will get thwarted like…pretty much every time you step outside. So just plan accordingly and hurry the eff up so when the rain stops you can get your shots. Just as a reminder, please see tip #1.
- IT IS WINDY A.F.
Yeah, I thought our motorhome was going to topple over at some points. The wind is NO JOKE. We even had to sign an agreement that if the wind is over 15m per second we wouldn’t drive. Which sucks because we had plans of going all around the island, and there were a couple days where we were told to not move after a certain time if we were in a certain region. Thankfully we weren’t so we were able to move along past it. But if you have plans to go around the island, you may end up seeing road closures: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/elements <—- this is your effing bible when it comes to road conditions, please save it on your phones as a book mark.
- The Abandoned Airplane Is A 2.5 Mile Walk Each Way
OK so NO ONE told me that this plane is a fucking 2.5 mile walk each way. If you pay for a tour, the tour groups will have special access to drive up close to the plane and bike close up to take your photos, but pretty much no car is allowed to head out there. So you’re parking in a lot (that isn’t indicated on the road that it is for the airplane wreck btw) and then walking your ass in wind/snow/rain/cold/sweat for 2 MILES. We were warning people as they were just starting their walk. We started out super cute with our make up done and hair did, then when we got to the airplane it looked like we just broke up with our boyfriends. Violently.
- Bring cough medicine
Because it’s expensive AF and if you’re going to be outside, you will develop some sort of cough. I brought cough drops instead of syrup, but when our whole motorhome was coughing, I ran out pretty fast, and they’re like $30 a pack out there.
- No pharmaceuticals in grocery store
Which brings me to my next point, there are no pharmaceuticals in the grocery stores. It’s like every European country, they have an apothecary and they aren’t open on Sundays!
- Boots in the back
Keep your dirty boots/shoes in the back of your camper or car if you can and keep the clean stuff away from your beds. It’ll be hard amongst the dirt, sand, and water all around but when you go to bed your precious body will thank you!
- Be prepared to hang your clothes to dry
This goes back to the waterproof thing. So we pretty much exhausted a weeks worth of clothes in 2 days because we were soaked each time we came in from an excursion. With that said, the inside of our motorhome looked like an Italian outdoor apartment complex with clothes strung all around! With 7 people and 7 people’s clothes all around it got crowded.
Jesus Christ Fabreeze! Segueing into 7 people’s clothes…THE FUNK is real. People, fart, piss, poop, and sweat. Multiply that by 7, it’s…. intense. There are small bottles of Fabreeze at Target for $.99. Invest in a bottle to take with you. God help you!
- Glacier hike is the only thing you should do that day.
We didn’t plan very much as far as tours are concerned but we did do 1 tour which was the Blue Ice glacier climb by Arctic Adventures. WE LOVED IT. They were so knowledgable and we had 2 amazing guides that did a great job who were also very patient with us as well. Tip your guides btw, they do a lot and they make sure your ass isn’t in that glacier at the end of the day. This tour was a walk up to the top of the glacier, and then an ice climb, then back down the glacier. If I were you, I would just camp there immediately after and prep some sandwiches and soup at the end because you will be TIRED AF. I think my legs were jello after that excursion and I couldn’t dream of doing another hike or tour after that. We drove I think a few hours after that and let me tell you, that drive was HARD. Additional tip: On their website they have a 10 hour tour and a 4 hour tour. The 4 hour is without pick up from Reykjavik the other 10 hour is with pickup. The drive is 6 hour there and back.
- Hard boiled eggs
Getting up to the Northeast part of the island, there’s an area called Hverarönd which is where the geothermal mud pits are. Because of the highly concentrated amounts of sulfur, it reeks of hard boiled eggs, like everywhere, outside, inside, in the showers especially. Good news is: Hot water is a plenty, if you don’t mind smelling of hard boiled eggs all day. There’s a cave where they shot Game of Thrones and you can go to the cave where Kit Harrington was in buff, but it’s too hot to bathe in there due to an earthquake that caused the pool to get extra toasty. if you go in there, you’ll for sure come out a hard boiled egg!
- Flashlights/ Headlamps
Bring one for yourself, you’ll need it in the dark when you’re at camp to go to the bathroom, or to grab water, or to park in the dark if you don’t make it before sunset! Trust me using your phone is NOT a good source of light while you’re trying to back the RV into the parking lot. Bring a headlamp.
- American products are in Iceland
THANK GOD!!! I felt like I needed to bring some ramen noodles and ketchup, but there’s American brands and food there so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on your Oreos. One thing I do want to mention is that if you want to bring Kraft Mac&Cheese, I would do so. They didn’t have that and I was specifically looking for it and they didn’t have it in any grocery store. They have Mac& Cheese but it tasted kinda weird. So if you HAVE to bring something from home, I would bring that.
- Bring a surge protector.
Oh man, the drama that ensues when 7 people need all their devices charged. Thankfully I brought 1 surge, but it would’ve been nice to have 2. It was almost a battle royale at one point when everything was dead and we all needed to charge our things. Needless to say, if you’re in a group with several people, or if you have a lot of devices, just bring 2!
- Invest in wifi.
This is something that I was heavily looking into was an international wifi pack that was pretty good. Something that I head was good was the Keepgo, and it’s on everyone’s list of best international Wifi’s. But I have yet to try it out and use it. I am pretty anxious though to see how it fares, but my T-mobile 2mbps/s speeds were not cutting it. Get internet people, otherwise you won’t be able to post or get around, and if you like getting lost, I know a few sheep that can keep you company. lol.
Alright! That’s all I have for you guys as far as tips. Those are all the tips I physically wrote down while we were driving along the Ring Road! Enjoy your trip, have fun, and one of the biggest pieces of advice I can tell you, is to NOT LOOK AT PINTEREST!!! Don’t spoil it for yourself, these things are WAY too beautiful to be ruined by a picture. Take in the beauty, take in the sights and air, and you will have an amazing trip! And speaking of Pinterest, if you found this guide helpful please oh God I need the hits, and help me out by Pinning this to Pinterest!