Iceland has become quite the “hot” destination for many travelling from North America en route to Europe. The plethora of incredible natural wanders, enticing promise of seeing the Northern Lights, and inexpensive tickets with the increasing popularity of WowAir (discount airline owned by Iceland’s national airline, Icelandair) has really put the country on the map for tourists everywhere.
Iceland was never on my bucket list until Wow Air began servicing Canadian airports and launched some of the cheapest fares I’ve bought to date. I decided to book myself a trip for my birthday in October and knowing that as a Scandinavian country it remains one of the more expensive destinations despite having declared bankruptcy in 2008. I chose to go for only 4 days and 3 nights. For reference, I paid $193 for the airfare and because I wasn’t sure about the weather, I paid $118 for a checked baggage ($59 each way just in case I needed to pack extra boots / jacket) and $14 for advance seat selection. Both extras were absolutely unnecessary and if I could, I wouldn’t have paid for them. Lesson learned.
Read More: 32 Fun Facts About Iceland.
I didn’t have a plan going to Iceland – I had the ambition to drive the Ring Road that was quickly dashed upon hearing that it requires at least 7-8 days to fully complete, and I wasn’t confident in my driving skill with the potential road closures, and unpredictable weather (I’m glad I didn’t by the way – I would not know how to drive and the etiquettes around the single lane roads while dealing with the constantly-changing weather).
Read More: Packing For Iceland, France, and Greece!
How to get Around?
My main goal for this trip was to be outside of Reykjavik as much as possible as the many wonders of Iceland are found way outside of the city. I had the option of joining a big tour group, a semi-private smaller group tour, or drive myself. Like usual, I booked myself a small day trips to fill the day and get myself to the destinations that I had in mind. Although the day trips were expensive ($146 and $170 accordingly which is a highly competitive rate despite the really crappy conversion rate I was charged) in the end, I believe renting a car would have set me back the same amount or even more because gas is twice as much as it costs in Canada (Roughly $2/Ltr in Iceland).
The city itself is highly walkable, and it is possible to walk from one end of the city to the other in as little as 30-45 minutes (without stopping). The is a very efficient bus system (I’ve never taken it myself but if there’s anything I’ve seen in Iceland is that they do things very well and efficiently) that goes around, and drivers are highly courteous to pedestrian (none of that honking sh-t)
What was the Weather in October?
Although it was relatively temperate (8-12C) the wind and rain highly unpredictable making it necessary to bring both a warm coat, something to protect your head (i.e. a hoodie) and a rain jacket. When you’re out of the city, you’re far more exposed to the elements so it’s really important to stay warm.
I decided to wear layers as I decided at the last minute to leave my winter jacket behind. It was a good decision since my winter coat wouldn’t have kept me as warm as the thermal ski jacket lining, and wearing as about 2 layers of cashmere underneath. I brought my gloves but wished they were thicker. I definitely regretted not bringing a hoodie or beanie hat to protect my head from the wind. All in all, I am glad I layered instead of bringing a jacket that would have kept me uncomfortably warm but wouldn’t protect me from the rain or wind.
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Have you been to Iceland?
P.S. Don’t forget! If you’re looking for inexpensive flights, don’t forget to use Skyscanner or download the SkyScanner App on your smartphones so you can always find the best deals for your next trips!