Going to Iceland was probably one of the most amazing projects of my life so far. It really left a mark. I had been dreaming about this for more than a year and I lived it at 100%, from the moment I book my flight to the end of the trip.
I organized everything from A to Z for months.
We had a 11 days roadtrip in May 2017, and we booked our flight in September 2017.
So let’s begin:
WHY THESE DATES
We were there from May 10 to 20. We chose those dates because we wanted to go there off season (prices are much more interesting, cut by half) and we wanted to avoid snow and if possible rain. May is the less rainy month in Iceland.
Yet, you’ll read everywhere that in Iceland, whatever the period you go, you can experience the 4 seasons in one day. And it’s true…!
PREPARATION – COSTS BEFORE DEPARTURE
As I said, we bought our round-trip tickets in September 2017, for 132€ with Easyjet (with one hold baggage for 2). We added one more later on for 50€.
In our case, it was a roadtrip so we had to rent a car, a four wheel, given the road conditions in May (some roads are closed until June).
We paid 800€ for 11 days (with mattress and tent included + Gravel Protection Insurance). You can negotiate when you compare with other websites. We picked up the car at the airport (someone from the car rental came to pick us up to get us to the car rental agency).
We booked via this company: www.faircar.is
We booked the first night in a guesthouse in Reykjavik (Nordurey Guesthouse), and the last one in the fabulous Ion Adventure hotel, an hour drive from Reykjavik. We planed on camping the other nights so we figured that the last night in a luxury hotel was a good idea. Read all about my experience at Ion Adventure here.
Camping is one of the rare cheap activity in Iceland. It usually costs between 10 and 15 € per night per person (most of the time shower and common kitchen/living room included). It depends where you are and if it is a very touristic spot.
Camping is the cheapest accommodation. Otherwise it costs at least 90-100€ per night for a simple guesthouse.
You need to have an extreme cold sleeping bag, whatever the period you go. Negative temperatures are common for the night all year in Iceland, even in August! And the wind is freezing.
Again, whatever the season, bring good waterproof boots, gloves, a hat, a down jacket or any waterproof super warm jacket, warm socks and a scarf.
It is also good to have technical ski clothing and underwear: leggings, long sleeve t-shirts, fleece jumper etc.
I had a jean in my suitcase and I only wore it on the first day in Reykjavik.
Then, in the case you are camping like us, you need to buy a camp dinner ware and a stove, and a good knife. Also, I would advise to buy microfiber towels to avoid losing space and to have them dry faster.
To reduce our expenses, we brought food with us in our luggage, a lot of travelers do in Iceland. It was mostly tea, coffee, breakfast, pasta, canned food. Life is very expensive in Iceland so if you do not have an unlimited budget and still want to make the most of your trip, you have to make smart choices !
To prepare our itinerary, we studied a lot the Iceland map, spotting the camping and everything we wanted to see.
We also called and sent emails to all campgrounds we wanted to go to, because they are not all opened in May and also even when you find the opening date it’s from the previous year and you cannot be sure at 100% it will be the same. Also it depends a lot on the weather. Same for the roads. Find here a map of the island campgrounds. The website is not always super clear but it is a good starting point and you have the contact details.
In 11 days, we had plenty of time to visit the island and stop wherever we wanted to, but we had to make choices.
For example and with a lot of regrets from my side, we decided after deep thinking not to go visit the Western Fjords. It was a very long way and each Fjord was very long to get to. It was going to be frustrating for us to drive this much and not having enough time to stop as long as we wanted. So we decided to focus on the Eastern Fjords, just as beautiful less known, and especially easier to explore.
After we made this decision, it was much more easy for us to map our itinerary without stress and without the impression of missing something. There are so many things to see on this island.
One last thing: don’t be scared of the unexpected and always have a plan B, in case the weather is not acceptable and the road you wanted to take it closed, or anything else. In Iceland the weather reminds you repeatedly you are only human!
Even if we were prepared, we did not expected the adventure we experienced during this trip. Afterwards, I created a post trip advice list I would have love to have with me!
We traveled around the island, from Reykjavik, in clockwise direction. Find here our itinerary!