Today we’re back with our 3rd (& potentially final) Iceland post. We already chatted all about what to pack for a trip to Iceland and we also dished on what to do & where to eat in this awesome country.
But honestly, there is still so much information to share! Here are 10 things we learned during our recent trip to Iceland.
Skip the Hotel
Whenever the 4 of us travel together, we often opt for apartments over hotel rooms. That way we have a communal living area to hang out in when we’re not out exploring. It’s way better than having 2 cramped hotel rooms and everyone hanging out in one another’s rooms on the beds. Plus, it often ends up being cheaper to opt for an apartment over a hotel anyways.
We ended up staying in a 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment through VacationRental.com. Our apartment was incredibly modern and clean, and it’s located in an amazing location…right across from the Hallgrimskirkja church! The guy who owned the apartment spoke English and he was incredibly friendly & accommodating. Here’s a link the exact place we booked.
There was wifi in our apartment and most restaurants and bars actually had wifi too. However, we wanted to make sure we were connected throughout our entire trip (ya know to do important things like share on Instagram…ha!). Plus, if we were connected to wifi (and on airplane mode), we could easily text amongst ourselves if we ever got separated.
We ended up buying a portable wifi modem from Trawire for the duration of our trip. We picked it up at a local gas station when we arrived, and then dropped it off at the airport on our way home. It was incredibly convenient and kept us connected even when way out in the countryside during our Golden Circle tour.
We just kept the modem in the backpack with us the entire time, and used this portable charger to keep its battery going all day long. If you don’t want to be off the grid, this is a great idea to stay connected!
You’ll Need C-Plug Adapters
If you’re coming from the US, you’ll need to buy C-plug adapters for the outlets. We brought at least a ½ dozen and used them to charge our phones, power up our hair dryer, and keep our computers charged. Don’t forget to get some of these before your trip!
Bring an Eye Mask
During June, the sun is out for about 21 hours of the day, which means it is almost always sunny. It was so crazy to be out and about at 10pm with the sun shining high in the sky! The daylight definitely messes with your head, but we kinda loved it because it kept us energized even at night.
But with that being said, it was kinda hard to wind down for bedtime (especially with the 5 hours time change). Luckily our apartment had blackout shades in the bedroom to keep the light out. But we also recommend bringing an eye mask (this is the one we all used), just in case you really need a dark bedroom to sleep. Plus it comes in handy on the plane too!
Layers…lots of Layers
We dedicated our entire style post on Wednesday to chat about what to pack for Iceland, but we would be remiss if we didn’t bring up this point again. You must pack lots of layers! The temp was all over the place during our 4 days and we went from shivering in the rain one day, to basking in the sun the next. The only way you can truly be prepared is if you pack lots of layers.
There is also no need to dress up during your trip…at all. The fanciest we ever got was when we went out for dinner. We both wore our TOMS wedges, and even those were not necessary. A sweater, jeans, and boots are perfect for a casual dinner look!
No Tipping Necessary
In yesterday’s post, we briefly chatted about how insanely expensive the food & drink is in Iceland. But here it is again…you’re going to have some serious sticker shock when you see the prices. And this is coming from 2 Chicago ladies!
But there isn’t any tipping in Iceland, so you will save some money that way. In fact, there isn’t even a line on the bill at a restaurant to tip. We did tip if we ever had an over the top amazing experience (like our driver during the Golden Circle Tour), but it certainly was never expected.
3-5 Days Is Enough
When we told people we were only heading to Iceland for a long weekend, we got some puzzling stares. But honestly, our 4 full days felt like just the right amount of time. We certainly could have done and seen more out in the countryside, but we feel like we had enough time to see most of the city of Reykjavik.
If you’re going to be hiking or camping, then you would probably need more time than us. But to check out Reykjavik and do a day or 2 of excursions…5 days is a great amount of time.
Drink the Water
The water in Iceland is delicious, and you can drink it straight from the tap. It does have a sulfur smell when you first turn on the faucet (only when it’s hot water), but it tastes incredible. We all packed our water bottles and filled them up at home multiple times throughout the day.
Don’t ever buy bottled water in Iceland. There really is no need as long as you packed a water bottle.
Make an Itinerary
We love creating a detailed itinerary before all of our trips, but we were especially grateful to have the itinerary for this one. Since we bought all of our excursion packages before leaving for our trip and made all of our reservations in advance (definitely do this before you leave!), there was a lot of information to keep track of. Throw in there that most of the information was written in Icelandic, and the information can quickly become overwhelming.
We printed all of our tickets and confirmation information in advance, and then consolidated all of this information into a Google doc that we printed and referenced on our phones a lot throughout our trip. We were especially grateful for this detailed doc when we arrived in Iceland because we hadn’t picked up our Wifi package yet. Fortunately, we had the printed itinerary with phone numbers, addresses, times and any important information we needed before getting connected.
Don’t Bring Icelandic Currency
We went to our bank right before we left for our trip to withdraw Icelandic currency so we were ready for our trip. If you’re interested in doing this make sure you go to your bank a few days before needing the money. Our bank actually had to send out for this type of currency, which took a few days. Then we had to go back and pick it up.
The good news is that we don’t think bringing Icelandic currency is necessary. It was fun to have, but every place we went accepted our credit card. Just be sure to check with your credit card’s disclosure statement in order to confirm that you won’t be charged a foreign transaction fee. As long as you’re all clear on that, you can skip the Krona and stick to the credit card instead!
To our fellow Iceland travelers tuning in, do you have any other tips to add to our list?! Hopefully, if we all share our tips and tricks, our future travelers will be all set (and well prepared) for their upcoming trip!