Responsible camping in Iceland
A life on the road is something most of us have at one point dreamed of and many are coming to Iceland to experience just that. The open road ahead of you and with no hotel bookings governing your trip around Iceland.
It is a luxury to do just that and in comparison, a cheap one too but with the freedom, there is also a big responsibility to behave accordingly, to respect your fellow travelers and local customs. With the increase of camper van tourism in Iceland, we hear more and more complaints of camper tourists using the situation, abusing hospitality at gas stations, hotels and so on. We want nothing more than our customers to enjoy to the fullest their Iceland vacation but we also want to keep everybody else happy, keep nature clean and develop the camper van tourism to become an integral part of tourism in Iceland, an affordable way to see as much as possible of this beautiful country with everything it has to offer.
Read more: Camping in Iceland
Where not to camp for the night in your camper van
It might seem like a good idea to stay overnight in parking lots outside gas stations, hotels, even on streets in towns and villages but it’s not. Hotels and gas stations are for their customers. If you want to use the bathroom at a gas station, you fill up the car and/or have lunch there. You don’t use the facilities and then bring your own lunch into the dining area.
It’s frowned upon if you park in parking places at camping sites so you cn use their facilities, One never parks the camper in parking lots. If you want to park the camper over night outside a camping site, contact the land owner and ask permission and make sure you are away from everything, are not in the way for anybody and do not leave anything behind.
Read more: Camping laws in Iceland
Where to shower and go to the bathroom
Let’s face it. Iceland have not been able to keep up with the increase of tourism, especially for the ones traveling by their own. Proper resting places with garbage disposals and toilets are few and far between. It’s not like in many other countries where you have designated areas for tourists on wheels at regular intervals. But that is not a reason to missbehave either. When nature calls and you are in the middle of nowhere, you need to stop for a nature call. Number one is easy enough but if it’s number two, you need to make sure no one else will never find it. You need to dig it down in a proper manner. Anything else is just gross and you wouldn’t do that at home. Unfortunately we are reading in the local news of tourists doing both number one and two wherever they please and that is just not good enough.
If you are at a gas station, buy something to eat from them, fill up your car (you can never have too much fuel in your camper) and then ask if you can use their bathroom. Hotels are not there for you. They are for paying guests. If it is a case of an emergency, ask them politely if you can use their bathroom, tip them if you want to be really nice (tipping is not a regular thing in Iceland) but do not park in their parking lot, steal their WiFi (which is not a problem in our camper vans since you have free WiFi) and use their facilities.
When you need to shower, clean up properly, the best way is to be at a camping site that has those facilities. You pay for the night and use the showers. You can, of course, clean up in the wild with a bucket of cold water and (organic) soap and shampoo. Any experienced camper has done that more than once. Just make sure you are not leaving a mess behind. There will be others coming after you for years to come.
Read more: Top ten camping sites in Iceland
Winter camping in Iceland
Our campers and motor homes are all equipped with powerful heaters but one has to be aware of the effect the weather can have on your winter camping trip. If it is minus 20 or lower outside, with a total whiteout outside, it can be intimidating for many and there are not many all year around camping sites in Iceland so one needs to be prepared for everything. You might need to bundle up before going to sleep but more importantly, you need to be up to date with the weather reports at all times. If you are heading into a bad storm, do not venture into uninhabited areas. Stay in a village, ask where you may park your camper van. If you want to camp outside a hotel, ask for permission and offer to pay a small fee to use the facilities.
Read more: Wintercamping in Iceland
The only thing one has to have in mind is to behave like you are at home. You wouldn’t do a number two behind your house, leave trash behind, sleep on streets nd parking lots. There is an endless of possibilities as what campsite you choose for the night without disturbing anyone for, after all, what is a camping trip but to get closer to nature, find peace and to relax and enjoy!
Read more: Camper lavatory disposal
Happy camping! #WohoCamper
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