Yearning for change
After spending years in urban New York City, we were yearning for a change in scenery. Our trip to Iceland was extremely last minute, yet an absolute dream! With a week to go before starting a new job, we booked a spur of the moment flight into Reykjavik. We bought our ticket on Saturday evening, and after much research, reserved our camper with Rent.is the following Sunday evening.
In my research into transportation to get around Iceland (a car is a must), I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of companies and options available. The main reason we went with Rent.is is because of the availability of the airport shuttle service to the camper rental location, the reasonable rate of their campers and that the company offered free, unlimited WiFi in all of their campers. I was also initially concerned that since we reserved the camper rental on a Sunday, there would be issues picking up the camper immediately the following business day on Monday. However, when we arrived in Iceland, were able to pick up our camper and be on the road with no difficulties, although it would be wise to note that the company only accepts credit cards during initial registration and pick up.
Day 1 – Jökulsárlón
We landed in Reykjavik at the Keflavik airport early in the morning, and we were in our camper and on our way by 9am. Since we decided to drive the trip without purchased self-guide, we paid an extra fee for a navigation device, which I definitely recommend! On our way out of the city, we picked up some groceries and snacks at Bónus. Namely, we invested in hot dogs that were able to on the campfire stove that was our dinner for most evenings. We spent the morning driving past the Skógafoss Waterfall, and had sandwiches for lunch at the top of the viewpoint overlooking the Dýrhólaey Arch. However, on the way to the Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon, our camper got a flat and we pulled into a nearby parking lot to change the tire. However after we finally changed the spare tire onto the camper, it was flat as well! Luckily, Rent.is has excellent 24 hour customer service, and they were able to send someone out to us 9pm at night (although it was still light out). Having lost 4 hours of our time, we backtracked and camped at the Svinafell campground for the night.
Day 2 – Seljavallalaug
The next day, we woke up bright and early and drove out past Vik to hike to the Seljavallalaug Pool in the mountains. The pool was originally made in the 1920’s and Icelandic children were often taught how to swim there. After crossing robust streams and terrain, we were rewarded with an almost empty hot spring from which we enjoyed the rolling most from.
After that prime photo opportunity, we spent the rest of the day exploring Vik, eventually stumbling across a deserted cave near Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Hiding out from the rain, we took shelter in the cave and enjoyed taking the time in nature. We spent the night at Like Vik, a bed and breakfast run by a kind Icelandic couple. Excellent hot tea and a much needed shower!
Day 3 – Black Sand Beach
We woke up to the smell of pastries and coffee, and had an excellent breakfast with our hosts. They even had homemade Icelandic pancakes and fresh jam and bread! Afterwards, we headed back out to Reynisfjara Beach to take some black sand photos.
Then we drove a short ways to the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck that we walked an hour to see. Please note that although tourists used to be able to drive right up to the site, now there is a mandatory flat walk to the wreck. The hike one way was about 45 minutes, around 1 ½ hours total. Driving for 2 hours after that excursion, we had an early night at the Skjól campsite.
Day 4 – Geysir
We slept in and had a late breakfast at our campsite before spending some time packing up our things and cleaning up the camper. After we packed up our camper, we stopped for gas and headed back towards Keflavik for our afternoon flight. On the way, we stopped to say to some friendly horses and also visited the Geyser. Returning the camper was seamless, and overall a great experience. Thank you Rent.is for making our Iceland dream come true!
Some takeaways from our Iceland experience:
- Iceland prices are crazy expensive. Instead of eating out every meal, we compromised with groceries and ate small meals and snacked every couple of hours. Definitely also take advantage of the camper stove that comes with every rented camper! With it, we were able to make small meals in the morning and evening of oatmeal, hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Take your time exploring all that Iceland has to offer! With the driving and the scenery, take time to really take it in. Along our journey, we felt pressured to move quickly in order to make it to all the viewpoints.
- Make note of the time! In the summer, the sun only sets for 3 hours of the day. This was really confusing for us, because we essentially lost track of time and couldn’t tell when it was getting later. Because of the sunlight, we also recommend taking advantage of the van’s car curtains and bringing eye masks to mimic nighttime.
- Get to know the locals and local food! It really surprised me to find the best yogurt I’ve ever had in Iceland- too bad it’s not available in the states!
- If you have time, try and Icelandic Airbnb experience. One of the best memories I had was eating breakfast with a local Icelandic family, and I wish we spent some more time with the local people. I suggest the horseback excursion and homemade lunch experience with Hörður near Mosfellsdalur.
- Partake in the duty free stores in Keflavik airport 😉
Read more: To capture Iceland
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