1. Rent a car! I can’t stress this enough, this will really make or break your stay in Iceland. However, keep in mind that the drivers are awful… people are either going too slow or too fast and you’re almost always on a two-lane road and there are numerous one car bridges. (Side note: If you’re going in April, the only protection I recommend you get is gravel protection just for peace of mind, My friend and I didn’t get it and we didn’t end up needing it but I would have rather paid for it and not have spent the whole time we were there worrying about gravel damage.)
2. Stock up on groceries! Stores close REALLY early in Iceland, so do this early in the day and buy a few days’ worth at a time. *you can use your car as an overnight refrigerator because it gets so cold in Iceland if you go anytime before or during April.
3. If you’re in Iceland for a week or less, just do the southern border – there’s so much to do and you don’t want to miss out! I recommend spending two weeks in Iceland… you won’t be disappointed and you can DRASTICALLY keep costs down by buying groceries and eating tons of sandwiches, chips, cup of noodles, etc.
4. Make sure you give yourself enough time in Iceland to explore more than just the golden circle. The golden circle is incredible, but the countryside of Iceland can’t be matched. My friend and I did the golden circle on our last full day and honestly I wish we had done it on our first day because we were so used to less crowds and tourists and having waterfalls and beautiful scenery almost entirely to ourselves that it ruined it a little bit (but still do the golden circle as the geyser, crater lake and Gulfoss falls are just incredible!)
5. Buy a gas station hot dog with regular onions and crunchy onions. I really don’t think I’ll ever eat my hot dogs any other way again. (Side note: gas station coffee is actually pretty decent in Iceland.)
6. Bring comfortable hiking shoes and be ready to walk/hike A LOT. *There’s mud everywhere, so don’t bring nice boots and make sure the boots are easy to clean.
7. Download the maps.me app and download the Iceland map before you go and add all the sites you want to see/all your airbnbs. This app works offline and was literally invaluable during our time trying to navigate the roads in Iceland!
8. Don’t be afraid to stay at an air bnb in the middle of nowhere, they’re totally safe in Iceland and I especially recommend staying at these two airbnbs:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/17223978 – right next to Skogafoss
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9483443 – 5min walk from AMAZING lobster sandwich
9. As long as your rental car has a car charging port (ours did) you will barely ever use your portable charger, but always keep your phone charged in Iceland! Not only do you need it for the maps app, but also pictures, lots and lots of pictures.
10. In Reykjavik go to Bread and Co and get the best cinnamon bun of your life (this is not an exaggeration or a joke, I’ve never eaten one better anywhere and I am a HUGE sweet tooth). Also, get one or two other pastries, as everything from this bakery is delicious (except the coffee apparently according to my friend Lisa).
BONUST TIP: Waterfalls are the MOST fun thing to boomerang (Instagram) and be sure to drink water from one of the waterfalls, it’s delicious!
*These tips are based on a trip I took to Iceland in early April 2017.