So you’re planning on heading to the land of fire and ice and exploring the beautifully volatile landscapes of Iceland? We’ve put together some Iceland travel tips that should help you prepare for and enjoy your stay a lot more.
5 essential Iceland travel tips
Get a local mobile phone plan
Mobile phone service is available in most areas in Iceland, and it’s really really good. We were skeptical before heading to Iceland for the first time, but Iceland is an incredibly connected country. Even in remote areas of Iceland the coverage is excellent and the internet is fast. If you’re planning on purchasing an Icelandic SIM card, our partners in Iceland recommend Síminn for 4G Internet as they have the best coverage throughout Iceland.
Visit a local tourism office
Planning to hit the ground and check out the best places within a particular radius of Reykjavik? Looking for the best hot springs? Curious where to find the best waterfall? Local tourism offices have the best Iceland travel tips, especially for getting around Iceland and finding that perfect Insta photo. We recommend the tourism office at Hilton Nordica on the edge of town. There’s plenty of parking and the people that work there are super knowledgeable. Tell them where ya wanna go, and they’ll make sure you can get there and back by nightfall.
Car rental vs. FlyBus
This is among the most important Iceland travel tips we have, so listen up. Unless you’re spending less than 12 hours in Reykjavik city center, rent a car for touring. A regular driver’s license will work for rental, and driving in Iceland is like driving in any industrialized country — actually easier (fewer people on the road).
Bonus: Here are some additional driving-specific tips
- Make sure to use the fuel discount fob provided by most rental companies.
- Consider additional insurance just to be on the safe side.
- Don’t rent a GPS if you’ve already purchased a local mobile phone plan (Google Maps works perfectly).
- Don’t speed. While there aren’t as many police officers as you might be used to, speed limits are strictly enforced.
In town for less than 12 hours and plan to stay in city center? Most things are walkable. Buy the 2 way ticket for FlyBus and keep your receipt. You can return any unused portion of your ticket for a full refund.
Make reservations early
Adventuring in another country can mean slightly different rules regarding rentals. While it’s true that it’s easy to rent a car or make a reservation for a hotel online, there are significant cost implications for waiting until the last minute and reserving the day-of. Be aware that booking online for some things (like cars) can’t be done online within 24 hours of a rental, and the rate charged at the counter is significantly more.
Pre-pay reservations if the exchange rate is good
Hotels, cars, and other reservations often have pay-in-full discounts. Pre-payment can be risky if your plans are likely to change, but so can international exchange rates. If you’re certain your plans won’t change, consider pre-paying when the exchange rate is great. You can check the current exchange rate here.
Those are our Iceland travel tips. Have some of your own? Leave them in the comments and let’s compare notes!