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What we Learned on our Iceland Adventure

We decided to go to Iceland for our honeymoon!!  We got engaged in June 2018 on our way to our Canadian Adventure of 2017.  Wasn’t too long after we decided we wanted to spend our honeymoon in another country and Iceland became top of the list.  The reasons are clear, such a beautiful country that is a short hop away from Portland, OR.

 

Going to another country wasn’t going to be easy and there was a lot of work ahead.  We bought a couple of maps of the island and taped them together on large cardboard sheets and circled all the spots we wanted to go.  Then Natalie worked her magic and started to plan our airfare, lodging, site seeing, excursions, transportation and everything else in between.  She became a student of traveling to Iceland.  I would say she probably spent 6-8 months planning the trip; reading travel books almost every night forwards and backwards.  It showed when we put boots on the ground….. 

 We arrived in Iceland on May 10, 2019 via Icelandair direct from Portland Oregon.  We left Portland around 3:30pm and arrived in Iceland at 6:30am. It was about an 7.5 to 8 hour flight to Iceland.  Pretty smooth flight too.

 I am not sure what to write about Iceland that the photos won’t tell you….  I think in this case the photos will speak volumes about the country and what we saw.  In addition to the photos, I have listed some notes I took on what we wish we would have known (good or bad) and what we learned along the way…  We knew most of it, but there some small pearls of wisdom. 

 What we learned on our trip to Iceland:

**Check what credit card has no additional fees for international charges – use that one.

**Look into whether or not you want to rent a WIFI hotspot or use your data plan.  Verizon will charge up to $10/day for each phone.  The WIFI hotspot is $10/day and you can take it with you and charge it in the car. Maybe make one of your phones a mobile hotspot for the other phone?!

**To get the WIFI hotspot, you go to a computer terminal just outside a grocery/market just past the last check point.  Then you go to the counter where the hot food is to get it from the clerk.  You will mail it back when you are all done and it comes with a stamp on it.  There is a red mailbox in the airport near oversize baggage and Icelandair to drop it in. 

**Gas stations are where you will eat most of your meals outside of major cities.  The food is actually pretty good. 

**Restaurants in some part of the island are few and far between.

**To save money split meals.  Food is expensive.  We had fish and chips and one coke and it was about $42.00 (just a café)

**When you stop for gas, get snacks for the road.  There can be a bit of time between stops and some gas stations are just pumps and no store.

**Follow the speed limit.  There is no point in wasting money on getting a ticket.

**Speed camera signs are along the ring road, but isn’t until you get closer to Reykjavik that there are actual cameras.  (at least we didn’t see any and they are pretty obvious)

**Check which tunnels have fees.  You can pay them online that day or 3 hours after.  If you don’t the rental company will charge your card. At this point there was only one tunnel that had a fee.

**There are some roads that are paved and some that are like fire service roads; so don’t panic that you have made a wrong turn.

**Bring a cigarette adapter to charge multiple items in the car.  You will spend a lot of time in your car and there is just one charging port in some cars.

**Bring a small converter if you need to charge camera batteries or drone batteries. Amazon has plenty for $30.

**Not all stops allow the use of drones.  Download “AirMap” and it will help you figure out where you can fly your drone.  You cannot fly them in national parks or Reykjavik.  Be sensitive to the locals, as they are not big fans of drones. 

**Look into getting a camping van and exploring Iceland all on the road.  They have vans or RVs ready to rent and there are places to pull over for the night all over.  A very cool way to explore Iceland.

**There isn’t a charge to stop at any of the locations, except Stokksnes.  It is private land and they you have to buy a day pass to walk and drive through the park.  Be sure to walk down to the old farm.

**Carve out some time to explore the small towns. We arrived too late and I was disappointed we didn’t get a chance to see the small towns.

**The towns on the ring road open late and close early, so plan accordingly.  A lot of places closed between 8-9pm and open around 10am.

**Purchase a big plastic bottle of water and then refill it at your hotel.  The water is so good and clean from the taps, there isn’t a need to buy any.

**Anything and everything is expensive.

**There are not many bathrooms on the road or even at some of the attractions.  Some of the gas stations will charge if you are not a patron.  There are no trees or hills to hide behind and so you may just have to hold it.

**Bring a towel and swimsuit.  There are thermal pools in random spots.

**Keep your passport out and available until you get onto the plane.  We needed it several times throughout the airport in Iceland.

**You can make your seat assignments 24hr in advance of your flight and can do it on a mobile device.  Just need your reservation number.  We found there weren’t any real selection on the way to Iceland, but more options on the return home.

**The duty-free shop is big and they have carts for your shopping experience.  It seems to mainly be booze, perfume and candy.  You won’t get staples here. 

**You have to pay for your groceries before you can bag them otherwise an alarm goes off.

**You have to buy shopping bags.  So if you have those reusable shopping bags, bring those.

Hope this helps and feel free to to reach out with questions. Also visit my portfolio to see many more images from Iceland.