Iceland is a crazy place. One minute you’re in a small city surrounded by people and the next minute you’re on the surface of the moon. During my time in Iceland, I learned invaluable life lessons and experienced highs and lows, which got me thinking about the advice I would give others traveling to Iceland. So if you don’t do anything else to prepare for your trip, make sure you read and follow the 5 most important tips for traveling to Iceland.
1. Have a Waterproof Smartphone
Having a waterproof smartphone saved my life more times than I can count in Iceland. There were so many times where the waterfalls were insane or the weather was out of control and I just couldn’t justify risking my $1,000 Canon DSLR. Having an iPhone that was waterproof (iPhone 7 Plus) was a miracle and a life saver for being able to take photos and videos. Most importantly, I was able to go into the Blue Lagoon and actually document my experience, which so many do not get to do. This is my number one tip for traveling to Iceland!
2. Do Not Step on the Moss
Really, this could be titled “Do Your Research” about nature before traveling to Iceland. I thought I did enough research, but there’s always something to learn. When I was in Iceland I stepped on the moss quite a bit and I regretfully had no idea how horrible it was for the moss. Apparently, the moss is extremely delicate and it can take hundreds of years to recover if torn from the ground. I completely admit to making this mistake and I still feel awful about it, so the very least I can do is education you on the importance of not stepping on the moss. The best way to avoid this is to stay ‘on trail’.
3. Continually Check Your Bank Account
You. Guys. Iceland is essspensssiiiive. Literally the most expensive country I’ve ever visited. You will blow through money very very quickly, especially if you are eating at gas stations and buying food. Make sure you are watching your bank account daily. Every little thing adds up and there are a lot of things that people do not budget for. The most notable one being camp grounds which charge you to camp. They can be around $15 a night sometimes per person. Definitely make sure you over-budget for Iceland and check your bank account regularly so you’re not shocked on the plane ride home.
4. Do Not Buy Water
Do not buy water anywhere. Instead, make sure you bring a reusable water bottle or canister. Since you will most likely run into some sort of waterfall every day, you can scoop yourself some water from the run-off/stream. It is completely safe as I did it several times and at multiple waterfalls. Not only will it be the best water of your life, but it is completely free and healthier for the environment. Totally fine to drink tap water in Iceland too. Tip: just don’t go filling up your bottle in any stale lakes of water. Do your research on water safety!
5. Change before Seljavallalaug Pool
Most people venture to Seljavallalaug Pool while in Iceland because it’s super secluded and it’s an overall neat experience as one of the oldest pools in Iceland. It is imperative that you change into your swimsuit before you hike to Seljavallalaug Pool. Why you ask? Because they have the worst changing room conditions I’ve ever seen in my life. The changing rooms are not attended to at all as this pool is out in the middle of nowhere. They are super gross. Like not even put your hand on the wall to hold yourself up when you pull down your pants gross. There are old beer cans, graffiti, used clothes, and moldy smells in the changing rooms. It’s actually quite sad, but a reality. So, I recommend changing in the car before you make the hike and putting your swimsuit on under your clothes. I sucked it up and changed there to not miss out on the experience, but it was pretty freaking awful. I wish someone had told me how bad it was!
If you’ve traveled to Iceland, please leave your most important tips in the comments!