Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tips and General Advice to RingRoaders

- Rent a campervan from one of Iceland's many providers. The added mobility and freedom will allow you to take advantage of the midnight sun. You can camp almost anywhere for free in Iceland, but even campgrounds are cheap, averaging about $15CAN/person/night.

-  Almost every town has a geothermal pool. If you camp outside of serviced campgrounds, hit one up for cheap showers and a swim.

- There are wild hot  pots throughout the country. Do a little research before travelling. Leave the farmer a "tip"of 500kr/person.

- Iceland is expensive. Really expensive. Stock up on supermarket sandwiches and skyr (Icelandic soft cheese that looks and tastes like Greek yogurt). Likewise, make use of the airport's Duty Free for alcohol. There are numerous local craft beers available, including Viking, Einstock, and Gull. Brennivin is the national drink -- essentially a caraway-flavoured vodka/schnapps. Bonus is the country's cheapest supermarket.

- I brought a lot of Icelandic Krona. It's not necessary. Debit and credit cards are accepted everywhere. In fact, they are encouraged and preferred by most merchants and vendors.

- If you travel with WOW Air, luggage restrictions are stringent, be sure to arrange check in baggage in advance online; it's much cheaper. Carry on luggage is limited to 5kg or 11lbs., despite what your e-ticket says.

- Travel the Ring Road counter clockwise. This isn't a must. Many people do it in the other direction, but it is easier to frontload the sights of the Golden Circle, than it is to tackle them just before leaving. You will also be inspired by the landscape of the southwest and Thingvellir immediately as your begin your trek.

- Everybody in Iceland speaks English. Everybody. Some speak with a cool mix of English/Irish/Scottish accents, depending upon who taught them in school and their media habits. You will catch many of them speaking English amongst themselves. There is no language barrier for English-speakers in Iceland.

- Don't stop in the middle of the road, no matter how great the temptation for a photo is. There are no shoulders on the Ring Road, or any road for that matter. The chances are that there is a "pull off" nearby for that purpose. Picnic areas are rampant in Iceland, just off the road. You can even camp at one in a pinch.

- Please don't eat the whale (unethical). Or the puffin (too cute). Or the horse (you'll see).

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