Everything You Need To Know About Planning a Trip to Iceland

Your Iceland Trip

Our Iceland trip is definitely one of my top ten trips of all time! And, that’s saying a lot since I’ve traveled all over the world.
If you like adventure and seeing things, you’ve never seen before… this IS the trip for you.

SIDE NOTE: You also have to be okay with cold weather if you are going November – April.

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family

Why Iceland

It’s the ultimate adventure!
The landscape is breathtaking and unusual. For example, there are NO trees.
The joke is if you get lost in an Icelandic forest… stand up.
The terrain and landscape change so dramatically depending on which direction you drive.
It can quickly go from mountainous to a volcanic rocky landscape.

It is a special place that will forever remain in our family’s hearts.

Iceland, planning a trip to Iceland, how to get there
Getting There

We flew Iceland Air and it was better than most US airlines.
They even gave our kiddos a little backpack filled with an eye mask, crayons, and an activity book!
Our tickets were $700 per person, which in the scheme of things seemed pretty reasonable.

Rental Car

Unless you are taking tour buses everywhere or hiring a private tour guide to drive you around, I highly recommend renting a car.
We rented an all-wheel drive car with studded snow tires.
Make sure you have either all-wheel or 4-wheel drive and AMAZING tires. Ask for studs.

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family, daylight, hours of sunlight in November

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family, daylight, hours of sunlight in November

Climate & Daylight

Iceland is the 3rd windiest place in the world. There were moments when I literally thought I might blow away.
It’s the WIND not the air temperature that makes it SOOO cold. From November – February expect 30-ish degrees to feel more like minus 20 with the wind.

Also you have less daylight in these months. The sun rises around 10am and sets at 4pm.

Planning a trip to Iceland | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix, basalt columns Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her husband Chris, what to wear and what to packBasalt Columns at Reynisfjara in Vik

Where to Stay

Traveling as a family, I much prefer to rent an apartment in order to have a kitchen, dishwasher and washer/dryer.
We booked an apartment through Airbnb.
It just makes my life so much easier and more pleasant.

A couple of things to consider before booking your place in Reykavik:

1) Find a place near the shops and main shopping area downtown
2) Look for underground or covered parking

This is where we stayed: 39 Lindartgata in Reykavik ($415 per night).

Money

They use the Icelandic Krona or ISK.
You do not need to exchange currency. Credit cards are accepted EVERYWHERE. Even the bathrooms.

Food

As you might expect on an island, food is REALLY expensive. For our family of 4, dinners were between $300 – $400!
Entrees averaged around $50. It’s kinda shocking. That is one of the many reasons I was so glad to have a kitchen.
If you like strange foods, look for puffin and whale on the menu.

Planning a trip to Iceland | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix, what to wear and what to pack

Planning a trip to Iceland, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style, what to wear and what to pack

What to Pack

This is NOT the time to worry about how you look. The Icelandic weather is NO joke!!
If you are traveling between November – April, take a look at the list above.  I suggest printing it for easy reference.

You can also see what I packed below.

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Iceland, planning a trip to Iceland, what you need to know, visiting the Blue Lagoon

What To Do

There are SO many wonderful things to do in Iceland especially if you like an adventure.
This is not like touring museums and churches in Europe. This is more about enjoying the amazing and unusual landscape.

Iceland Trip, seeing the Northern Lights in Reykavik

Everything you need to know about planning a trip to Iceland, view of the beach from Hotel Budir

Northern Lights

We went all the way out to Hotel Budir, which was stunningly beautiful (see picture above) but our Aurora Borealis forecast was 0.
In other words, 0 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Do NOT fret if this happens to you the first couple of evenings.
We ended up seeing them in Reykavik. The best viewing spot in the city is a short drive at the Grotta Lighthouse.

Aurora Forecast

You can check and see what your chances are of seeing the Northern lights via the Aurora Borealis forecast.
There is a scale from 0 to 9. 0 meaning no chance. 9 meaning 100% chance.

Planning a trip to Iceland featuring "into the Glacier" hike inside a glacier in Iceland

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family on "Into the Glacier" experience in Iceland

Iceland Trip | Lifestyle Blogger, Erin Busbee of Busbee Style and her family on "Into the Glacier" experience in Iceland

Into the Glacier

Into the Glacier is a tour literally inside a glacier. You get a guided tour through a man-made cave.
This takes a few hours (all in) and is awesome! Here is a link to their site with more info.

Location

Into the Glacier is about an hour and 40 minutes from Reykavik. The drive can be treacherous so you might consider a tour bus or hiring a driver.

Gear

They have snow suits and crampons for you. You can wear your own snow gear and simply borrow their crampons. Up to you…

Iceland, planning a trip to Iceland, what you need to know, visiting the Blue Lagoon

Iceland, planning a trip to Iceland, what you need to know, visiting the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

No doubt you’ve seen pictures of the gorgeous Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
It is a magical place… like the most beautiful and largest hot springs you’ve ever seen.
It is also one of the ’25 wonders of the world’.

You HAVE TO pre-book. Make sure you make a reservation before heading out to the site.

Save Your Hair

To save your hair from the Silica, put a generous amount of conditioner on your hair before you go into the hot springs.
Annnndddd, do NOT put your head into the water. I should have put my hair up in a bun so that it didn’t touch the water.

What to Bring

The Blue Lagoon has towels, robes and slippers for rent. They also provide shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers. No need to bring those.
This is a well oiled machine.

Location

The Blue Lagoon is close to the airport, and about 50 minutes from Reykavik so I would consider making it your first or last day activity.

Everything you need to know about planning a trip to Iceland, Iceland Trip | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix, the natural arch over the water

Planning a trip to Iceland | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix

Planning a trip to Iceland | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix, black sand beaches

Black Sand Beach | Reynisfjara in Vik

This was one of my favorite spots. The beach is so unusual and gorgeous with ‘black sand’ (more like tiny rocks) made from lava long ago.
There is also a natural arch over the water that is spectacular.

Planning a trip to Iceland | Reynisfjara Beach in Vix, black sand beaches, sneaker waves

Sneaker Waves

Beware the sneaker waves. Don’t go too close to the shore line and you’ll be fine.

Location

Reyniskfjara Beach is about 2 and a half hours away from Reykavik.
Along the “Golden Circle” tour.

Iceland Trip | Visiting Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland along the golden circle tour

Iceland Trip | Visiting Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland along the golden circle tour

Skogafoss

En route to Vik (above) you can’t help but notice the AMAZING Skogafoss!
It’s a majestic and gorgeous waterfall you see in the images above.

This is definitely worth a quick stop!

IF you brought crampons, this is a good time to bust them out.
The mist from the falls creates quite an icy surface.

Iceland Trip | Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland, worth seeing with lifestyle blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style

Gullfoss & Geysir

On our last day, before heading to the airport, we drove to see the Geysirs and Gullfoss.
Gullfoss looked like something Elsa would create in the movie, “Frozen.” It was surreal!
We did not see a huge exploding Geysir, more like a bubble. The weather was also SO cold, we couldn’t tolerate waiting that long.
If you have great weather, I’m sure you can see the more dramatic explosion.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones fans can see many sites from the show in Iceland.
You can travel beyond the wall on a guided “Game of Thrones” tour here.

Cold Weather Essentials

Other Travel Posts

Travel with the Busbee’s to Japan here.
Check out our new hometown… Telluride, Colorado here.
Plan a trip to the spectacular Moab, Utah here.

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Thank you SO much for stopping by!

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  1. Hi Erin – love this post. We are going to Iceland in a few weeks. Your shopping links/shopping widget are not showing up now…can you fix so I can check your recs pls? Thanks!

  2. What a fantastic trip…thanks so much for sharing your fantastic pictures and helpful travel tips. Iceland is right at the top of our bucket list. Now on to your video!

    1. Thank you SO much for checking it out!! Glad you enjoyed traveling along with us… Where should we go next?? Erin xo

  3. Erin, your blog about Iceland is beautifully written and makes me miss my country. From the pictures above it looks like you had an amazing time and that you got to see and do a lot. I’m so happy for you that you got to see the Northern Lights. They’re magical!
    Thank you for a great Blog!
    Linda Halldorsdottir Snow
    San Antonio

    1. You are from there and you approve? Can’t imagine a nicer complement. IF there is anything I am missing, please share. Thanks, sweet Linda! Erin xo

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