Iceland | Part One

Iceland | Part One
Iceland | Part One

The last 30 days.

Where to even begin.

 

Landed a new job. Quit my old job. Traveled to Iceland for 10 days with two college friends (more on that below). Flew back to Seattle for a weekend that I spent mostly jet lagged. 60 hours after returning from Iceland I flew to the Midwest to train for a week at my new job. Came home for Labor Day weekend and frantically tried to clean and spend time with my roommate/best friend who is moving to Australia. Welcomed my husband home from deployment after 8 months apart. Had one day off – My 26th Birthday! – with the Mr. before starting my job working remotely in my makeshift home office. Spent every second this last week (when not working) with the husband, whilst simultaneously trying to spend all the the time with the roommate who moves out in 3 days and I may not see for a year. 

 

So you could say it’s been…busy. I can honestly say I have had zero time to write or reflect, and it’s been both a blessing and a curse. But I am making the time to blog about this incredible trip to Iceland. Today’s post includes all the logistics so you can plan your own trip to beautiful Ísland.

 

 

Why Iceland? 

 

My college friend asked if I wanted to join her on a road trip around the Ring Road for 8 days. My husband was the most supportive, encouraging person in the world about it. He told me opportunities like that only come around once or twice in a lifetime. Iceland looked incredible from photos, and I had the savings and the PTO. Why not?

 

Flights

 

I found a great ticket through United, but flew both United and Air Canada*. I had two layovers both directions. I won’t recommend doing it this way. It was a HUGE pain in the ass to go through customs in Canada when I already had to deal with customs in Iceland on the way there and customs in the U.S. on the way back. In both Montreal and Toronto I almost missed my connecting flights thanks to Canada’s immigration and customs. I can’t remember how much direct flights were, but I’d try to keep your connections in The States, if possible.

*Air Canada gives out XXL Kit Kat bars for free on their flight to and from Iceland. I’m not saying you should fly them for this reason, but I had two Kit Kat bars bigger than my face thanks to them.

 

 

Accommodations

 

We camped in a van for 8 days while road tripping around the country. It was about as epic as it sounds. Camper vans and companies that supply them are plentiful in Iceland due to the number of people who drive the Ring Road. My friend booked through CampEasy. The campgrounds in Iceland where you “camp” in your van are also pristine. No outhouses. All flush toilets and fancy sinks and showers and plenty of kaffi. A handful of them even had Wifi, and all came with an amazing view.

 

Itinerary

 

We used this incredibly helpful guide as a starting point and then altered it to fit our schedule a little better. I get a deep fulfillment out of planning trips so I took the reigns on mapping our trip out. Our final itinerary was a loose guide on whereabouts we should be ending each day. There is SO much to see in Iceland. I would highly recommend making at least a plan of how far you intend to drive each day. Unless you have 2-3 weeks, I can’t imagine you’ll be able to see all the highlights of the country.

Not my image. Property of this blog: https://guidetoiceland.is/

 

This is the itinerary I landed on for us. We ended up at almost none of the campgrounds I have listed, choosing to drive a little farther or a little less depending on how tired we were each day. You do not have to make your campground reservations in advance and I honestly wouldn’t advise it. There were so many campgrounds and for the most part, this updated NatGeo map* has them listed.

*It DID least us astray twice, listing campgrounds that were no longer there. For those moments, make sure ONE person has a working phone.

 

Expenses

 

Iceland can be fairly expensive. It’s an island in the middle of nowhere. Pretty expected.

  1. Prepare to spend a hefty amount on groceries, and even more if you intend to dine out. We only ate breakfast out once and dinner out twice. We grabbed beers at local places twice as well. Otherwise, we loaded up at the Bonus grocery store three times. Enough for 2-3 days of meals and snacks with the little fridge we had in the camper van. Convenience stores are located throughout the Ring Road and always have hot dogs, ice cream, and candy so you won’t starve – even if you do run out of of groceries and/or can’t find a restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
  2. We each bought a bottle of alcohol duty-free at the airports because we were warned alcohol is expensive in country. Those lasted us for the duration of the trip
  3. This is technically Europe and they’ll occasionally charge you to use public restrooms. Be prepared. And if it says “coins only”, they mean it. Even if you wave a more expensive bill in their face because you have to pee so bad. Icelanders won’t be impressed.
  4. You can use your credit cards everywhere. The only time I even truly needed coin/cash was for the bathrooms a few times. It is always fun to get a bit of cash from the country you’re visiting, but no need to go crazy. Even the campgrounds take card.
  5. The views are free. The waterfalls, the continental divide, the glaciers, the icebergs, the geothermal areas, the black sand beaches, the volcanic areas, the hikes, etc. All of it. Free.
  6. What costs money are the hot springs and geo-thermal pools. You can drop anywhere from $8 – $80. The Blue Lagoon and comparable hot springs will be the most expensive and local city pools will be the least. And don’t gape or roll your eyes about swimming in a country that far north of the equator, because the swimming was one of my FAVORITE parts of Iceland.

 

The Fun Part

 

Here’s a small peek into some of my favorite sights over our 8 days of explorin’. One of the most jaw dropping places I have ever visited.

 

 

Iceland | Part Two will be all about Waterfalls & What to Pack. Hope to have that post together in less than a month from now 😉

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

xo,

1 Comment
  • Arlene Fjosne says:

    Your articles are always full of great pictures, practical advice, adventure and bubbling with emotion! I always enjoy reading them and look forward to the next one.

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