Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday five - Iceland tips

It's time for the Friday Five link up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney.  I haven't been able to participate in a couple weeks so I'm glad to be linking up with them again! I'm going to take the opportunity to talk about 5 tips I have for anyone else that plans a trip to Iceland.

1. Save up!  I knew it was going to be expensive.  I have heard that from everyone.  And I was still shocked at the prices for pretty much everything.  Even coming from DC, an expensive area of the country, the prices in Iceland seemed really high to me.  I was glad that we saved up money in advance so that we could still do the things we wanted to do and not have to drastically alter our plans.  We also had paid for the hotel and many of our tours in advance, so that helped to spread the cost out.

Beautiful drink, but expensive!

2. Waterproof everything - We were so happy that we invested in good, waterproof hiking boots, water resistant pants, and a 3 in 1 jacket with a water resistant shell.  It seemed like there was at least a little bit of rain every day.  And even when it wasn't raining, there were waterfalls that kicked up amazing amounts of water.  One thing I regret is that we didn't have water-proof cameras with us.  There were amazing moments we weren't able to capture when we were whale watching, at the water falls, or in a hot spring. Oh, and take swim suits!  I know one doesn't expect to need swim suits in a place called Iceland but relaxing in the natural hot springs while the cold wind blew around us was amazing.

Trying to take a photo through a ziploc bag, not so successful

3. Venture off the beaten path a bit - We stayed in Reykjavik (the capital city) and ventured out for day trips.  For the most part, we went to see mainly the heavily recommended tourist sites.  But we did venture out on our days when we were in Reykjavik itself to see some places that were meant more for locals.  And we talked to some locals for recommendations on places to go, restaurants, bars, etc.  Everyone was really nice,and most people spoke flawless English.  If we go back again, I would definitely venture further afield to see more of the country and some less crowded areas.  I'm glad we saw the things we did but there were a lot of tourists everywhere we went and things began to feel a bit crowded

A geothermal beach on the North Atlantic where everyone else was a local

4. Have enough time to enjoy quiet moments - It can be so tempting to rush through a vacation, especially one in a place with so many beautiful things to see and far enough away that you're not sure you can go back.  But the moments that I remember the most from Iceland are the quiet ones we had to just sit and contemplate everything around us.  I'm glad that there was space for that in our schedule instead of constantly rushing from one thing to the other (though there was definitely some of that as well).

5. Race shirts - I packed a lot of race shirts to wear because I felt like the moisture wicking tech fabric would be a good option.  And it was.  But another benefit is that they sparked conversations with fellow travelers :)  I met a couple from Virginia when I was wearing my Richmond half marathon shirt and I met a group of girls who had just graduated from my alma mater when I was wearing my RnR DC shirt. I had never though about the fact that they were good ice breakers :)

So those are my tips if you're planning a trip to Iceland!  I'd love to hear any other tips for traveling that you have as well.