We're excited to welcome back our guest blogger John for his tips on visiting Iceland. Enjoy!
If you are thinking about jumping on one of the latest international travel trends and checking out Iceland, it is a very special place that has a lot offer. Iceland is extremely tourist friendly with free WiFi most places and the locals are some of THE NICEST people I’ve come across. The food is incredible yet expensive. There’s a waterfall or geographic treasure about every 5- minutes’ drive. The weather changes frequently and can get quite cold, but there is usually a natural hot spring not too far away. In general, there something for everyone in Iceland.
If you would like some insight on how my girlfriend Deb and I spent our time in Iceland, please check out my blog below. Essentially we wanted to see and experience everything the country had to offer, so we rented a car and put together a travel route pretty similar to the one shown below. This blog is broken down by day (25 March – 02 April, 2017), travelling counter-clockwise around the country, starting and ending in Reykjavik. I hope you find it informative.
Some Things to Know Before You Go
If you plan to do any hiking, I would bring hiking boots. Trails can be wet / muddy.
Weather changes frequently with a high level of precipitation. Bring warm clothes with a waterproof jacket and even waterproof pants (not mandatory, but a ‘nice to have’).
Exchange Rate: ~ 110 ISK : $1 US. Take the ISK price and divide by 110.
We could not find over the counter cold medicine, bring your own. Travelling in and out of warm and cold environments frequently, increases your chances of getting a cold / runny nose.
The two main Icelandic beers are Gull and Viking. There are also delicious craft beers. Brennivin is Iceland’s signature distilled beverage. This is important.
I found booking.com to be the best website to book lodging.
I used my credit card to pay for EVERYTHING and didn’t need cash once. Not to say you don’t need any, it’s just possible to get by without it.
Tips were built into the prices charged, so tipping seemed uncommon.
Parking in Reykjavik is free on Sundays. Nice.
Saturday, 25 March 2017 _ San Diego to Iceland
To start the journey, Deb and I made the two-hour drive from San Diego, CA to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). To quell my girlfriend’s typical travel anxiety, we left early in the morning with plenty of time to make our noon flight as we weren’t sure what to expect with Wow Airlines. This was fine by me as I was in vacation mode the night before, partied a little too hard, and Deb drove while I slept the whole way up.
We parked our car at the Westin LAX as we found a solid discounted rate through cheapairportparking.com. The shuttle picked us up immediately and we cruised the 5 to 7- minute drive to the airport. We were there over two hours early and the check-in process went smooth. It was to our advantage that we checked into our flight ahead of time, 24 hours before our flight was schedule to depart. This made the bag check process easier as we were able to get in a shorter line. We also were assigned seats closer to the egress door, which was less wait time when deplaning. Our seats were supposed to be ‘together’, but we ended up having an aisle separating us. This was good and bad; unfortunate in the sense that Deb and I could not fully share our affectionate excitement for our upcoming trip like everyone else seemed to be doing around us; good in the sense that I was able to get some more much needed, unencumbered sleep ; )
A little bit about Wow Airlines (wowair.us). When choosing to go to Iceland, there were a couple reasons the destination stood out. Those reasons included the combination of some friends recently heading there as well as Wow Airlines’ digital marketing campaigns for cheap flights. When I say cheap, I mean extremely cheap, which is exciting but also raises a little bit of suspicion. Deb and I paid ~ $390 each for round-trip, direct flights from LAX to Keflavik (KEF), Iceland’s primary international airport, which is in close proximity to Reykjavik. We had to pay to check our bags each way (~$60 each way), and is cheaper if you pre-pay, which we did. The airplane was really nice, the steward/stewardess staff were extremely polite with great service, and there were a lot of reasonably priced pay options for additional food and amenities.
The seats did not have screens like many international flights and there was not WiFi, but you could rent an iPad that was preloaded with movies, which I thought was a pretty cool option. There were outlets on the plane, but I didn’t personally use them. Overall, I highly recommend Wow Airlines.