Traveling solo is awesome and I recommend you try it at some point. This post is to provide you with tips and personal experiences so you can enjoy your solo trip to Iceland!
1 WEAR COMFY WATERPROOF SHOES
I cannot stress enough how important comfortable waterproof shoes are when traveling to Iceland. Iceland carries an accurate name for itself in some areas with snow and ice sprinkled across the black lava rocks that create the landscape of this small island nation. However, most areas I visited were rainy and wet. Buy your shoes a month before you leave and break them in. Choose a higher quality waterproof walking boot. I went to Academy Sports Store and purchased a pair of waterproof boots and I lived in them during my visit to Iceland! You walk everywhere because the cities are small so keep that in mind and purchase accordingly.
2 BRING A PHONE WITH GPS
Trust me on this one, the amount of time you will save by having GPS access in your phone for walking around or driving if you are renting a car is worth the cost of using your phone in a foreign country. I used GPS every day and most carriers have very reasonable options for international travelers. I did Reykjavik in one day which translated into about 8 hours of walking around the city. Using my GPS allowed me to search for the best food and prices near me and ensured I visited the hot spots in the city!
3 MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE FOR ALMOST EVERYTHING
With the weather being very unpredictable in Iceland excursions are rescheduled frequently. Book your excursions in advance so you have a spot saved for you if something happens. Although I missed these excursions this trip these are my recommendations:
The Blue Lagoon
Catch the Northern Lights
If you have at least a week you will have enough time to visit each of these places.
4 GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS
Locals know everything about everything so if you want to enjoy your trip you’ll need to spark up conversations with locals. I discovered awesome little bars and restaurants by talking to locals. Most people in Iceland are very friendly and don’t mind helping you find your new favorite places. My favorite place was a coffee house slash bar slash pool house that was only accessible from a back alley behind a fishing warehouse. It was honestly the best place in town and I wouldn’t have known to look for it if I hadn’t have talked to the locals!
5 BRING SOME CASH BUT NOT A LOT
You’ll inevitably need cash for something but almost all places take cards. Some buses in the city use cash or ticket only but long distance buses take cards. You need cash to use the restroom at some places but other than that I didn’t need any cash almost the entire time I was visiting. (Tipping isn’t really a thing either but no one says no to free money so if you feel like someone deserves a cash top go right ahead!)
6 TRY THE FERMENTED SHARK- IT’S YOUR RIGHT OF PASSAGE
Everyone has to try fermented shark once. It is usually served in small cubes on a toothpick with a shot of “Black Death” which is the national Icelandic Spirit called brennivin. Eat the shark, take the shot and move on. No, it does not taste great but I gotta tell ya it doesn’t make you gag either so it is well worth the experience!
7 BE PREPARED FOR SLEEPY DAYS
Iceland doesn’t have as much sunlight during the winter. The side effect of shorter days is a brain that thinks it’s time to sleep when it’s 4 pm and you haven’t even had dinner yet! Caffeine is your best friend along with some light exercise like walking. The most important part is to be mentally prepared. It makes things a lot easier if you tell yourself that you are going to stay awake when it gets dark. Mornings were harder for me because the sun didn’t come up until 10:30 sometimes 11:00 am! I chose to sleep in since I was on vacation and didn’t worry about waking up early!
8 EAT, DRINK & DRINK & DRINK & DRINK…
Icelanders don’t play around when it comes to drinking. Prohibition was just lifted much more recent than the U.S and many other countries. Whether that has anything to do with the “ride or die” culture I felt while I was there we may never know but all jokes aside these guys can drink. The beer was served in bigger glasses than I was used to and their national Icelandic spirit is just harsh enough to land you a nice long hangover. Drink with the locals and have a blast like I did but DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER. You won’t regret staying hydrated!
9 ASK LOCALS ABOUT TROLLS & FAIRIES
Locals love being asked about their culture as they are proud to be Icelandic. There are so many fun tales that come from Iceland you don’t want to miss out on these fun little stories. Icelanders have been known to believe in trolls and fairies. I asked a few locals during my visit and got a few good laughs out of the stories. The wonderments of their magical land delight the children and spark imagination in those with an open heart.
Until next time!