Iceland: Tips for before you leave for your trip

The following are some of the travel tips I provide my Canadian clients who are visiting Iceland and touring the island by car. However, many of these tips can be applied when travelling to most countries and destinations around the world. If you’re travelling to Iceland, feel free to print off a copy for yourself too.

Before you leave for Iceland

  • Contact your bank and credit card company and let them know you’re travelling to Iceland to avoid any stops on your cards
  • Double-check your passport. It must be valid for six months from your return date.
  • If renting a car, double check your driver’s licence. It must be valid and held for a minimum of one year at the time of  rental.
  • Photocopy all your ID and carry a copy with you to use at hotel desks (if required).
  • Print a copy of all accommodations, including addresses and emergency numbers.
  • Print your insurance docs—one copy per passenger, and each carry a copy with you at all times.
  • Save a copy of your itinerary on all passengers’ phones just in case you get separated.
  • Email a copy of your itinerary (and/or list of accommodations and emergency numbers) to someone else at home so they know your whereabouts and can contact you in the event of an emergency.
  • Leave a copy of your insurance with your beneficiary and/or emergency contact in case of an emergency.
  • If you’re flying to Iceland, download your airline’s app to use for
    • checking flight schedule and status
    • online check-in
    • rebooking if flight cancelled/delayed
    • inflight movies if no seat-back screens are on the flight.

Packing tips and what to take with you on a trip to Iceland

  • Make sure you pack appropriate clothes. Iceland weather is changeable even in summer.
    • Pack for warm and cooler weather and dress in layers.
    • Take a waterproof jacket/coat and boots.
    • If travelling in winter, take winter clothing (include thermals).
    • Pack hat, scarf and 2 pairs of gloves (at least one waterproof pair)
    • Pack spare socks
  • Keep it tight! Squish it like an accordion.
  • Pack a charger for laptops, tablets, phones.
  • Pack a converter/adapter.
    • In Iceland the power is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz
    • You’ll need a power plug converter/adapter for sockets type F.
  • Take a big ziplock bag for your bathing suits.
  • Take a waterproof bag or extra ziplock bags for your passport and other paper documents, as well as camera and lenses.
  • If you plan to walk long or high trails (such as the trail to Svartifoss or the active volcano at Fagradalsfjall), take walking poles and appropriate walking boots.
  • A Ziplock bag with containers not exceeding 100 ml (4oz) in your carry-on.
  • Travel mug(s)—with a clip for excursions and hiking (Iceland’s glacial water is the clearest, freshest, water I have ever tasted, so this is a must).

Money

  • In Iceland they use Krona—the exchange rate at the time of writing is approx. $1 CAD to 92 ISK.
  • Credit Cards and Debit Cards are widely accepted in Iceland  but carry some cash for incidentals.
  • ATMs can be found at many locations in Reykjavik as well as near the airport but they are more sporadic across the rest of the island.
  • Wear a fanny pack to keep your passport, cards and cash safe.
  • Do not pack a lot of cash in your suitcase. However it is a good idea to keep a small amount in each piece of luggage for emergencies just in case your wallet/purse is stolen.

Respect Iceland

  • Respect the Rules of the Road
    • Follow the rules of the road
    • only use designated highways and roads – do not drive off road
    • Only drive on gravel roads if permitted by your vehicle’s rental company
  • Respect the Land
    • Don’t trample or pick the flowers
    • Leave the land as you found it
    • Leave nothing behind – take nothing with you (except memories)
    • Do not answer the call of nature
    • Only camp in designated camp sites
  • Respect Yourself
    • Don’t ignore safety warning signs.
    • Don’t climb on or over safety barriers.
    • Don’t kill yourself trying to take a photograph.

Check-out time

  • Look under the beds.
  • Check draws and cabinets.
  • Check the safe
  • Put your passport in your fanny pack the night before
  • Pack the night before (especially if you have an early check-out)
  • Take a photo of the room.

Have a brilliant time in Iceland!

If you found these tips useful, or you think I’ve missed an important tip out, leave a comment below.

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