Iceland 2016: Overview

My friends and I went to Iceland last month, and it was amazing. People have asked a lot of questions about the trip, so I figured I’d do a few posts to give you an idea of how we did the trip. Especially since blogs were helpful when we were planning.

– General Overview – Day 1 – Day 2 – Day 3 & 4

FLIGHTS
We found tickets from Baltimore to Reykjavik for $267 round trip. We parked for about $6/a day at a local hotel, and took a shuttle to BWI. This worked really well for us, and was worth it even with the 3.5 hour drive from Newport News.

This was our first time flying with WOW Air. The flight there was smooth, once we got up in the air. We did have plane trouble that kept us on the Tarmac for 6 hours. [Be flexible. We planned out so many aspects of our trip, but flexibility became the name of the game, for sure].

There wasn’t excellent communication from the flight crew to the passengers, as to how long we may be stuck,what was happening, etc.But they basically gave us all the food on the plane for free by the time we did actually take off. All in all it was fine, but it changed up our day one plan a bit. We were too delirious to be mad, and were just thrilled to arrive there alive, albeit 6 hours later than expected.

PACKING
You can now carry on a bag that’s 22 lbs, as well as a small purse/laptop/camera bag. If you’re going for 3-5 days you should be able to work with that, and avoid purchasing checked baggage. Especially if you stay at a location with a washing machine. At the time of our booking the carry on luggage allowance for WOW was ONE bag that was 11 lbs or less. Due to this, our group of four purchased one checked bag to share ($100 round trip). It was helpful, but we could have managed without.

I basically packed 2 whole outfits with the goal of washing clothes midweek. Layers were important. We spent 3 days walking around Iceland in the pouring rain. My advice is to take two coats if you can. Even if you just take a rain coat to wear over whatever warm coat you take. [Embrace the weather. If you’re blessed with a sunny week, thank the good Lord. But if you’re given a rainy, windy, cold week like us? EMBRACE IT. You can, and will, be warm and dry later. And…ONE day I’ll see the Northern Lights, right? I’m not bitter. You are.]

AIRBNB
This was my first time using AirBnB. It was a great experience really. We got to stay in an apartment in Hafnarfjordur, which meant kitchen and washing machine (no dryers). Both were very useful. Also, it beat the cost of a hotel. Divided among 4 people, it was about $80/each for the week.

This leads me to food. We bought groceries when we arrived, and packed food for lunches and snacks each day. A lot of the places we drove to weren’t really near restaurants, so it ended up being a lifesaver. We ate a lot of meals on the road, and saved a good bit of money. We ate meals at a couple of cafes, and got pizza one night as well.

TRANSPORTATION
We rented a car through Thrifty (more about THAT adventure on Day 3). Gas is much more expensive there, but we still did well with that cost, as we were in a tiny fuel efficient death trap, or if you prefer its given name, a Ford Fiesta.

The car was tiny, and we were carrying around most of our clothes, and food each day. If you plan to drive a lot, and can splurge on a little bigger car I say go for it.

Before you go, get on the Google Maps app, search the area you’ll be visiting in Iceland, and download that map offline. This will help you get around without needing data or wifi. The maps stay on your phone for 30 days and proved helpful.

GAS
We found that when we used N1 gas stations we could use our credit cards without a PIN number. We tried two other stations that would not let us. So, before you go, get the pin number, or stick to N1.

We didn’t use cash while in country. I had taken some just in case, but I used my card everywhere I went.

– General Overview – Day 1 – Day 2 – Day 3 & 4 –

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