Pack Your Lisa Frank Backpack, We’re Hitting the Ring Road in Iceland

Greetings, fam. Recently my mom and I set out on an 8 day road trip around the Ring Road in Iceland. AND IT’S BEEN BOMB SO FAR. So, before I get into the deets (be on the lookout for those as I find the strength…wifi strength that is…to continue), I figured I would share with you some of the quick and dirty, big picture parts of planning a Ring Road trip. Let’s begin.

What is it? The Ring Road (in case you’ve been living under a rock), is a 1,332 km (or 828 miles for us American plebes) trip around the entire island of Iceland. It follows the main Icelandic Highway 1, passing by coast, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, lagoons, lava fields and all that other goodness. We will spend 8 days traveling on it, seeing as it takes about 18 hours to travel its entirety and we’re sane.

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What’s on the schedule? First, I will preface with the fact that we’ve been to Iceland before, so I will be skipping the Golden Circle. If you’ve never been to Iceland in your life and you’re short on time, the Golden Circle is for you. If you can spare a precious week and you don’t really care about one little waterfall and a geyser, then follow me. It goes a little something like this: Reykjavik-Vik-Hofn-Egilsstadir-Akureryi-Snaefellsness Peninsula-Reykjavik. We will spend one day traveling between each place, with one additional day spent around Akureryi.

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Fog and driving rain are common

What’s the weather like? Because it’s May, it’s wet and windy and between 45-55 degrees Farenheit. However, that’s pretty standard for Iceland. An almost constant mist hangs over everything and due to a severe lack of trees, the wind never dies down. Don’t feel discouraged, though. IT’S SO WORTH IT. Also, it’s worth it to mention that during the summer months (May included), the sun sets extremely late and rises extremely early. We’re talking a midnight sunset. In fact, we may never see an Icelandic night. just be prepared and bring an eye mask!

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When do I go? Both times we’ve been to Iceland, we’ve been thrilled with the month of May. June-August is the peak season and with Iceland’s tourism sector absolutely booming, I strongly advise against visiting during this time. Part of Iceland’s charm is its desolation and you don’t want to have some idiot tailing you while you’re on the lookout for wild reindeer. I also hear September provides nice weather and a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Of course any other month is quite snowy, so if this is your deal then go then and you’ll have the country to yourself.

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Raincoat club or die

What do I wear? Like I said, the weather is windy and wet. Packing a raincoat or waterproof down jacket is essential. Rain pants are also nice to have, because that mist is persistent. Also waterproof shoes. No matter when you go, layer up! The weather can change drastically in just a matter of minutes, so you’ll want to be prepared to face whatever hits you. Oh, and don’t forget your swimsuit! There are natural hot springs everywhere.

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Our sweet ride

How do I get there? I have a handy dandy Delta Skymiles card, so I’m a fan of Delta. I’ve also flown Icelandair, which is typically a bit cheaper. Rumor on the street has it that WOW Airlines, an Icelandic carrier will soon offer $99 flights from Chicago. Stay tuned for that. Or if you’re a big city gal, WOW will already get you there for cheap.

Once you’re ready to hit the road, just DON’T BOOK WITH SIXT RENTAL CARS. They charged us over $800 for our 8 day rental, tried to put a $1500 hold on my card for using my own insurance and wasted about 2 hours of our time in line waiting to be helped. I suggest Hertz. Don’t forget, if you’ve under 25 and a member of USAA (an account is free and available to civialians), they can waive the underage fee as well as the second driver fee. We chose a small car that would save on gas, but remember that you won’t be doing any off-reading in an Opel Corsa. If you’d like to hit the highlands or stray from the Ring Road (Highway 1 is one of the few roads in Iceland that is paved) make sure you rent a 4-wheel drive. ALSO spend a little extra on a wifi hotspot (I think we paid $5/day for one). That way you can upload your dreamy shots to Insta and also not get lost and die.

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Anything else you have to say? Yep.

  • Watch out for animals on the road. Sheep are everywhere.
  • Bring an empty water bottle. The water from the faucet is clear and comes straight from glacial springs. No need to waste your money.
  • The coffee at gas stations is better than basically anywhere else. Don’t be afraid to drink it. Oh and if you drink cream in your coffee, bring your own. Icelanders use milk.
  • If you are using a credit card to pay for gasoline, you will need a pin. If you don’t have one or can’t remember it, never fear. Use that same credit card to purchase a gas card inside of the station and swipe it at the pumps instead.

Ok I think that’s all. Like I mentioned at the beginning of all of this, follow along as I cover specifics of the Ring Road. And as always, comment with questions below.

Bye, Bye, Bye,

Erica

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4 thoughts on “Pack Your Lisa Frank Backpack, We’re Hitting the Ring Road in Iceland

  1. So excited to read about the rest of your adventures! Iceland is #1 on my travel list but for now I’ll just live vicariously through your photos!

    Like

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