Iceland Tips & Travel Advice

ICELAND TIPS & TRAVEL ADVICE

I recently got back from the most INCREDIBLE one-week trip to Iceland where I travelled the ring road, solo, in a campervan (rented from CampEasy).

I’ve done a fair few solo trips in the past which have all been awesome but this one really was something else…

It. Was. EPIC.

Every day seemed to get more jaw-dropping and impressive than the one before and even driving (for hours on end some days) was enjoyable in itself due to the impressive, dramatic scenery that Iceland likes to proudly showcase. The roads are so quiet and long with little interruption from traffic or sat nav directions and having an automatic van in place of my usual manual drive was pretty satisfying.

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As I was on my own, and as I’m an avid over-sharer, I documented most of my trip on Instagram (@graces__adventures) and got sooo many questions about the trip/travel/itinerary etc. that I decided to put a blog post together (my first ever one – yay!) as well as my Iceland vlogs which you can find here or on the ‘videos’ tab once you’ve finished reading this.

If you have any other questions that I don’t cover below, feel free to drop me a message on Insta.

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Restrictions.

It’s best to check the requirements for whichever country you’re travelling to at the time of travel, as these change pretty frequently; but at the time of travel, I needed a ‘Fit to Fly’ PCR test (these have to be administered by a professional and cost around £100), a 2-day ‘at home’ lateral flow test for when I got back (which you need to pre-book before you go so you have a reference number) and I needed to pre-register my arrival to Iceland so that I’d have a barcode to scan on arrival. I know how confusing this can be as I spent plenty of time stressing myself out, so below are some helpful links to where you can get all of this sorted:

 

PCR Fit to Fly Providers - click here

2/5/8 day tests: click here

Iceland pre-registration: https://travel.covid.is/

 

Currency.

I discovered the day before my flight that very few currency exchange places stock ISK (Icelandic Kroner) so I had to get mine at the airport where exchange rates are higher, so best to order it a few days in advance if you’re wanting some cash. I didn’t really find that I needed it as all places took card, but it was handy when paying for campsites.

 

Provisions.

Iceland is known to be pretty expensive (although I find when people complain about places being expensive, it’s because they’ve gone out for food and drinks and been all bougee). I’m not that fancy when I travel solo, but I did notice a difference in supermarkets and gas stations. So, especially if you’re #vanlife’ing it, I’d recommend you take some necessities with you in zip lock bags or travel bottles, such as oil, salt, sugar, tea bags, hot choc, sauces, porridge sachets, pasta pots or noodles etc (basically anything you can add milk or water too) and any snacks to keep you going, just to save on costs. Oh, and if you like a cheeky drink like me, buy your alcohol at the airport!!

 

Weatherproofing.

I went early August and it was a mild 10° the majority of my time there and for the most part I was fairly lucky with the conditions I had. (Sidenote: great time of year to go as it’s the shoulder season so not as busy as summer or winter!) - But Iceland’s weather is pretty bipolar and it can change from a sunny autumnal day to a dark, stormy winter evening in a matter of hours, so pack waterproofs and warm kit and be prepared for a few change of clothes along the way.

If you have any other questions that I don’t cover below, feel free to drop me a message on Insta.

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Driving.

In Iceland you drive on the right-hand side of the road – don’t worry if you’ve never done this before, you get used to it quicker than you’d expect and it’s actually quite fun to add a new twist to driving… There are quite a lot of gas stations around Iceland (most have toilets and café’s too) but definitely more in the South than there are up North and I once had to detour around 10miles to find one as I’d gotten dangerously close to empty, so I’d recommend trying not to go much past half-empty before filling up again, just to be safe.

 

Camping.

I didn’t need to pre-book any of my campsites, I just turned up and either paid on entry or parked up and someone came round to ask for money. You’re not meant to wild-camp in Iceland but once or twice I parked in the carpark of a waterfall or attraction and I didn’t have any trouble – but it was a quiet time of year. If you’re going in the height of summer or winter when it’s much busier, I’d suggest pre-booking campsites. CampEasy plan campsites into their itineraries if you’re following one of those (check them out here) or just google ‘Campsites in xxx’ and there are usually plenty.

 

Pre-booking.

The only attraction I needed to pre-book was the Blue Lagoon – everything else was just a ‘turn up’ kinda place. If you want something to yourself, I’d recommend getting there early, like 7/8am. Agter 9am things start to get busy.

 

Itinerary.

I didn’t have one planned before getting out there, but honestly Iceland is a pretty easy place to travel. There is essentially one main ring road that circles the entire island, and as you drive around it you have ‘attraction’ signs that direct you to anything you might want to see (like the one below).

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If you’re planning to do the whole Ring Road, you can set off clockwise or anti clockwise. If you go clockwise, you have arguably less to do in the first few days as there is more driving with fewer attractions in between. If you go anti-clockwise, you’ve got LOADS to fit in down South in the first few days and then it gets a little quieter as you head North. (By quiet I mean still a good 2,3,4,5 places to see each day if you want to fit them in!) I have shared a map below from Guide to Iceland which is a perfect representation of where all the major must-see spots are, and you can plan your trip from this. If you only have a few days to travel or you’re based somewhere down South and not mobile in a van/car, you’re best to do the Golden Circle tour and then check out lots of the Southern attractions.

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I hope this has been helpful! Iceland is a phenomenal place and I already can’t wait to get back there and see it in Winter.

 

I hope you have an incredible trip. And if you can’t find anyone who’s free (or fun enough) to go with you – go solo! You’ll have a blast.

 

Grace ♡