Have you ever seen the northern lights (aurora borealis)? We have, and we're on a quest to see them again. We're headed to Iceland next October, one of the most popular destinations in travel. Here are some tips for Americans considering an Icelandic adventure. We're drawing from our son (who's been there and can't wait to return), as well as sources like the USA today.
Iceland is expensive, especially the food. We've got some tips on what to eat on a budget, and our trip includes 10 meals.
Expect American's. It is one of our most popular destinations currently. Besides our quest for northern lights, our October trip will help us avoid summer crowds and prices. Don't panic, ocean currents keep average temperatures in the mid to upper 40's.
Eat the gas station hot dog. An amalgamation of pig parts and an abhorrent thought for some of us in America. Our son who hates hot dogs here, raved about Icelandic dog's made with lamb and unique condiments like crunchy onions and remoulade. At about $4 they are also a bargain.
Stay Connected. While you'll visit spots that have more sheep than people. Iceland has prevalent Wi-Fi in gas stops, cafes and hotels so you can avoid the international cell charges if you try.
Charge it. We always find the best way to pay for most international purchases is a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. You'll get a fair exchange rate to the Icelandic Krona and you'll rack up some points too. I also use an AP on my phone called XE. It helps me make quick calculations of the cost so I understand what those Grandchildren's gifts my wife is buying really cost. Don't forget to call your bank and credit card companies and inform them about your travels. Get cash (Krona) for incidentals and tips at an Icelandic bank ATM using your debit card.
Drink the water and the coffee. Icelanders pride themselves on the purity of their water. Don't waste money on bottled water, take a refillable bottle and "filler up." Coffee is a bargain treat in the sometimes colder damper air.
Beyond hot dogs and seafood. Some more reasonably priced local treats include cheeses and fruit jambs, especially in Vik. For breakfast try the "happy marriage cake" that bursts with oats and rhubarb. It pairs well with Skyr, a local yogurt like dairy treat. Be cautious about the meats at the breakfast buffet. Is that horse? whale? or fermented shark?
Hop in nature's hot tub. Relaxing in the warm, mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon is must do experience. It could set you back about $90, but it's included in our tour. I just hope they've adapted to Americans and we don't have to participate in the local custom of showering naked before taking the plunge.
The best things are still free. You can't put a price on rolling hills, majestic waterfalls, glaciers, black sand beaches, beautiful blue water or breaching whales.
Our 2019 trip is filling up, but if you want to experience this for yourself. Please join us. It's like nowhere you've ever been.