This is our companion post to our 7-day Iceland ring road itinerary. Here are 10 tips that may make your trip to Iceland even better. In no particular order:
1. Don’t overprovision in Reykjavik.
We made the mistake of thinking we would not get access to large grocery stores during the trip and bought way too much food (and produce that went bad) in Reykjavik. We did so after reading some blogs recommending that you buy all your food there, but they are wrong. There are large grocery stores in every town where you will be able to buy fresh produce and delicious fresh baguette and pastries every day.
2. Skip the Golden Circle if doing the ring road in 7 days or less.
One day on the Golden Circle is one day you won’t spend in the South East and you will regret doing so! There is nothing in the Golden Circle that you won’t see in other areas of Iceland but prettier and less crowded. See our Iceland 7-day itinerary for details.
3. Shower at the local swimming pools.
Most campgrounds will have showers but we suggest you skip the campgrounds’ smelly showers and instead visit the local swimming pools. All pools have amazing shower facilities as everyone is required to shower naked (separate Males and female showers) before entering the pool. So we found that using the local pool to take a clean shower and relax on the hot-tub at the end of each day was so much better than showering at the campgrounds.
4. Rent a 4G WiFI receiver.
If you need to be connected to the internet during your trip for work or other reasons, rent a wifi receiver instead of getting international data on your phone. It is way cheaper. We rented a 4G unlimited data receiver from Trawire for about 80USD and it was worth it. We used the internet all the time to do searches on local sites, stores, restaurants, etc. Yes, ideally you would be fully off the grid during your trip, but if you need to be connected a 4G receiver is the way to go.
5. Bring a 12Volt to AC inverter with USB ports.
If you plan on charging your phone/IP/computer/Camera, bring an inverter with you. We have this specific model and it worked perfectly.
6. Use your phone or Ipad with pre-downloaded Google Maps as your GPS.
Skip the GPS rental and simply download the google map for each section of the ring road into your device. Then use your device as your GPS. Better yet, just download the entire country map when you have wifi.
7. Research the location of natural hot springs beforehand.
We made the mistake of thinking the hot springs would be easy to find without research, but we were wrong. So spend the time to select the right hot spring in advance and add it to your itinerary. Here is an awesome list of hot springs.
8. Bring your own 3 or 4-season sleeping bag.
The camper van will come with blankets but it gets quite cold at night and we were glad we had our winter sleeping bags with us.
9. Don’t miss a day hike on Skaftafell Glacier.
This was the biggest regret of our trip. We had no idea how magnificent this glacier was and that you had the option to take a hiking tour if you spent an extra day at the Skaftafell campground.
10. Skip the gas station and grocery store beer.
The retail sale of alcohol is highly controlled in Iceland and the beer you find at the gas stations and grocery stores is horrible yellow water (<2% alcohol). Instead, find the state-run liquor store and buy some amazing Icelandic beer. Our favorite by far was Einstok Artic Pale Ale.