Planning a trip to Iceland? Stow these 5 items in your suitcase and you will be ready to rock and roll!
Bathing suit, microfiber travel towel and flip flops
Iceland has a great culture around water and swimming. In every town we visited, we found a municipal swimming pool with at least one hot-pot (hot tub), lap swimming pools and even water slides. The Blue Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Baths are both well known, and thus full of tourists, so for the “real” Icelandic experience, head to a local swimming pool. If you bring your own suit and towel, you can avoid rental charges, but if you don’t have room in your suitcase, don’t fret!
As we toured around Iceland in August, in our cute Kia Sportage (diesel and manual!) car, we ate lots of picnics. We would stop at a local grocery store and pick up bread, cheese and salami, as well as skyr, an Icelandic favorite, similar to yogurt. Some of the skyr came with their own spoons, but occasionally we were scrambling. Plus, the spork can be used to spread Nutella on bread, or enjoy a green salad.
We stayed mostly in apartments as we toured Iceland, all with refrigerators and small kitchens. Having an insulated cooler bag helped us transport perishables between apartments. Each morning we would pack up our skyr, milk, salami, cheese and pull the reusable ice pack out of the freezer, and be on our way. These insulated cooler bags are soft and easy to pack. If you are a smaller family or couple, you could also get away with an insulated lunch tote!
Power play: Since we flew WOW Airlines, we used our insulated cooler bag to bring our lunch/dinner on the plane with us. Worked like a charm!
You have undoubtedly heard about the midnight sun in Iceland? Basically, it stays light 24/7. All of the places we stayed had blackout curtains, but just in case, you might also pack a comfortable sleep mask and ear plugs. The first few nights, those really helped us to sleep soundly and get over jet lag. Sleep masks and ear plugs are also useful on the airplane!
Iceland was actually very easy to navigate, especially using the Iceland Reference Map by ITMB Publishing. However, most all of our lodging was booked through Booking.com, which has a robust app that offers map support and host contact. In the airport, we visited the 10-11 Convenience store and purchased a Simmin SIM card with voice and 1 GB of data for about 2000 kr. (about $18 US at the time). Installing this in an old iPhone 4S was easy and kept us connected while on the road. Most of our apartments and hotels had free WiFi (except Stikkisholmur, that was weird), so we mostly used the old phone while driving between locations. Note: Unlock your phone before leaving the US, as it required requesting the unlock from the carrier, then wiping and reinstalling the OS.
If you are a big coffee fan and need coffee to function properly, you might also think about stowing a couple of the Starbucks Via instant packs of coffee in your bag. In Akureyri and Reykjavik, we had no problem finding coffee, but in the smaller towns it was usually a machine in the bakery of the grocery store.
Have you visited Iceland? What is on your recommended packing list?