PREPARE TO EXPLORE
Choose your own adventure travel blog
No matter how many travel blogs you read or how much research you do, nothing can fully prepare you for traveling to a new country. Iceland, like all countries, has its fair share of quirks I’ve come to learn about over my trips there.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the things you need to be prepared for, that no one ever tells you about.
Restaurants are crazy expensive
The joke about traveling to Iceland -- especially with WowAir -- is that getting to the country is cheap, but everything is expensive when you get there.
That is no more true than with restaurants. Eating out in Iceland is expensive -- like $25 for a cheeseburger expensive. And if you have the money or really consider yourself a “foodie,” by all means have great meals at restaurants.
But if you’re like me, and want to save money, go shopping at grocery stores or eat prepared sandwiches from gas stations.
Is there anything more frustrating than having to go to the bathroom only to find out that you have to pay to use it?
In the United States, park and recreation areas offer free bathroom facilities to visitors. That, however, is not that case in Iceland. A number of tourist attractions in Iceland require you to pay to use them. The Thingvellir National Park was the first place I saw that required it.
Public bathrooms are few and far between
While there are a number of great driving trips to take in Iceland -- including the Golden Circle -- it’s important to note there are not an abundance of public bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to drive 30 minutes without seeing a place to stop.
And even if you find a gas station, many times they won’t have public bathroom for you to use. Before you head out on the road, make sure to mark the best places to stop for bathroom breaks on the map.
You DO NOT need a 4x4 vehicle to road trip
The biggest misconception I’ve run into reading countless travel blogs about Iceland is that you NEED a 4x4 vehicle to drive around. Patently untrue.
There are few places you will travel on gravel roads. And there are even FEWER places you will travel that you need a 4x4 vehicle. I’ve driven around Iceland in tiny, four-cylinder cars and been completely safe.
There are exceptions, of course. If you want to wander off the road and cross creeks to explore new places, rent a 4x4. Other than that, save your money and get a car.
Seeing the Northern Lights isn’t always easy
There will be times when you can see the Northern Lights right out your window. But there a lot of other times that you’ll have to go hunting for them.
You can see the Northern Lights from September until mid-April in Iceland. But in order to see them, you’ll have to leave bright city lights of Reykjavik. There is a constantly updated Facebook group that alerts people to the various locations around Iceland where you can see the Northern Lights.
Is there anything I forgot? Leave a comment below!
Hey! I'm Christian.