General Iceland Travel Tips
Eating: food is expensive at restaurants, tipping is not typical at all so what you see is what you pay. Its much cheaper to eat at container stands (like our food trucks, but in containers) or even gas stations. Most all of them are well equipped with food you would be surprised doesn't suck. Your money will go far if you hit the grocery store for provisions to have at your lodging or on the road. If you eat at a restaurant expect about $30 min in our money for a burger or similar.
Money: everywhere and everyone gladly takes cards, you have zero need for changing over to cash. Self checkout at grocery and similar has a language button for English. Often cards will ask if you want them to do the conversion from Kroner to Dollars, no need to do this. Your bank or card will have a better rate.
Rental Car: Get all the insurance they offer, seriously. The roads of Iceland are full of flying asphalt, high chance you get a chip or similar in your window. If you can afford an SUV or 4x4 you'll have even better luck but if you plan to stay on the Ring Road or in town a regular car is fine. Just be careful, but really. Get the insurance through the actual rental place to avoid hassle, even if you have coverage through something in the states. Trust me.
Lodging: Here most places are guesthouses, or very small boutique hotels. Expect less amenities than we are used to in the states, but its only a place to sleep so don't worry too much. If you can score free breakfast that is a win that will save you morning expenses. I spent $80 US for a hotel total for 2 nights recently, it doesn't need to be expensive and it was just fine. I stayed in Keflavik, Vik, and Reykjavik before.
- can't recall the guest house name, but had a fun gnome painting.
Things to do:
The whole island is a playground. I've only seen a small portion drivable in a day or two. Just explore, you can't screw it up.
- Obviously the volcano is current and spectacular, its about 25 minutes from the airport. If it is active when you go, you can't miss it. The hike from the road is about 3 miles with 1200 ft elevation. Dress warm even in summer, the wind in Iceland is like no other. The best light is around sunset, and remember in the summer it only ever gets slightly dark. Midnight sun rules.
- The Ring Road will take you all around the island if you want, I only made it as far as Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon but that is a can't miss trip. Spectacular, and right across from the Black sand Diamond Beach.
- There are waterfalls everywhere off the Ring Road, and they are all magic.
- The city of Reykjavik is cute and walkable in a few hours, stayed there 2 nights and it was plenty. Though don't miss Hallgrímskirkja (church, very cool with a great view of the city if open) You are not there for the city so get out and see the land of ice and fire.
- Blue Lagoon, some peeps say tourist trap. I think its a good way to spend a few hours and relax, there are several similar ones around the region also this just happens to be the most well known. Like $55 for the day and you get a beverage included. Also check out Secret Lagoon and the new Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik proper.
- Have layers of clothing available, and good shoes.
- Go to Kökulist bakery - Keflavik, 7 minutes from airport by car
- Try the hot dog stands if you eat meat.
- Its very safe everywhere in my experience, people are very nice.