Iceland is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. A small island no bigger than Kentucky that hides some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes on the planet. There is no shortage of photo opportunities and places that will stay in your memory long after you leave. That all being said, here are somethings that I wish I would have known before I went to Iceland.
Make sure that you research what the normal temperature is for the time of year that you are traveling to Iceland. It is always safe to pack a waterproof layer, as it rains 90% of the year in Iceland.
We were told by an Icelandic local that out of 365 days of the year, 350 to 360 of them will be rainy.
When I traveled to Iceland at the end of May, it was normally anywhere from 40º to 55ºF and either lightly misting or sprinkling.
Things are expensive… Like really expensive.
$10USD amounts to around 1250KR. That might not seem like much until you get to Iceland and look at some price tags. On average I spent around $25 per meal that I had there, which seems like an absolute lie, but is completely true. The only food that was remotely cheap were the hot dogs from Icelandic hot dog stand.
You will definitely want a cushy budget for your trip. A safe assumption would be to save way more money than you think you’ll need.
Comparison price shop your souvenirs.
In Reykjavik, there is an entire street dedicated to shopping and souvenirs called Laugavegur Street. There are countless souvenir shops where you can get your goodies, but each shop sells different things at vastly different prices. Because everything in Iceland is so expensive, it is super important to look around before you buy what you want.
There were many items that were carried by different shops, some selling for $20-40USD less than others. If you’re looking to save money on your trip, then comparison price shopping you souvenirs is a must.
Get the hot dogs
In Reykjavik, there is a little kiosk next to the shopping district on Laugavegur Street that has the most amazing hot dogs you will ever eat. They are only around $4USD and well worth the price.
Icelandic hot dogs are usually made from sheep primarily instead of pork, so they have a little bit of a different taste, but what they put on the hot dogs.
If you buy one with everything on it, you get ketchup, mayonnaise, some brown mustard, regular onions, and french fried onions. The hot dogs are also around the size of 1.5 – 2 American sized hotdogs.
We had these the first day in Reykjavik and ended up going back a second time on one of our last days because they were just that good.
The locals will understand.
While it is always good to know some of the primary languages of the place that you are visiting, Iceland is a little harder to do that for. Icelandic is deemed to be one of the hardest languages to learn and for good reason. Their pronunciations of certain letter combinations are nothing like you would guess from an English-speaking perspective.
Luckily for you and for me, many if not all Icelanders can speak English. This is due to the fact that Iceland was occupied by the British during World War II due to it being a strategic vantage point in the Atlantic Ocean. During this friendly occupation, many Icelanders learned English and continue to speak it along with Icelandic today.
No need to worry about pick-pockets.
Iceland is relatively crime-free, and many of the people there are just so nice. I left my wallet on a counter at a souvenir shop and was tracked down by the cashier in the street so that she could give it back to me. At the public pool, we didn’t need to lock up our shoes and just left them in a hallway by the locker room. No one stole them. Whenever we were crossing a road with thru traffic, drivers would stop their cars in order for us to cross the road safely. Iceland is just one of those places that has a populous full of decent human beings.
You’re going to miss it.
After visiting Reykjavik and the Icelandic countryside, I can say for a fact that I miss being there every single day. It is just one of those places that you never want to leave.
I was surprised at this fact, considering that there is no tropical weather and I spent so much money there. The culture of Iceland, its history, its people, and its natural wonders just seems to suck you in. If I could, I would move there in a heartbeat. I think that I miss being there now than I would miss my home now if I moved there.
So be careful when you go to Iceland because you just might want to stay forever.
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