Iceland// 5 Things I've Learned

Last year, I wrote a post that talked about what I had learned about the British Isles as we were planning our trip to the UK and Ireland. It's so interesting to start forming a perspective of somewhere you've never been as you devour vlogs, online guides, blog posts, TripAdvisor forums, etc. in a mad scramble to be as prepared as possible for stepping foot in a foreign country. It's a whole other thing to actually step foot off the plane and live it; no matter how much you've prepared, it's not going to ever align exactly with your expectations. Regardless, you're still going to learn a few things in your research that are going to stick with you...

1// Good Luck Speaking Icelandic
From our research, English should be a fairly common language in Iceland. However, it does look like there will still be a fair amount of native Icelandic language to stumble our way through. 
One of the places I'm very much looking forward to visiting is Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon in the southeastern part of the country. Francisco's taken to just calling it 'Joe Carlson', and I imagine we're going to have our own interpretation of names for many of the places we'll be visiting. I've already learned that 'foss' means waterfall, so that's a start to picking up some of the local language lol!

2// Bring Your Credit Cards With The Highest Credit Limits
The good news for travelers like us who much prefer to just put everything on a credit card is that Iceland is super credit card friendly. We shouldn't need to take out much, if any, Icelandic króna. But unfortunately, Iceland ranks up there as one of the world's most expensive countries. I was reminded of this while doing restaurant research. 

Cool, we can stop at Hamborgarafabrikkan and get a quick veggie burger.  It's only 2695 ISK. Wait a second...

Oh, ok, so we're talking about a $25.00 fast food burger. Needless to say, our first stop will be the grocery store.

3// Sleep Easy Here
Speaking of being the most expensive country, Iceland is also known as the safest country in the world. I work in the Labor & Delivery unit at a hospital, and there is a lot of focus on Safe Sleep.  The Community Women's Health Manager informed me today that Iceland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. She's instructed me to do some research while I'm there so we can learn their secrets.  The US has about 5.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births (ranked 169/225), while Iceland has 2.1 (ranked 223/225). I'm thinking that that safest country status has a definite link to their low infant mortality rates.

4// The Best Things in Life Iceland Are Free
Overall, safe but expensive is going to work out okay for us, because nearly everything we'll be doing in Iceland is free. The beauty in Iceland is getting out and seeing the country; it is definitely a nature lover's dream. Our attractions are waterfalls and rock formations and lagoons, which we can visit without paying an admission fee. There are some exceptions to this, but I imagine we will have the lowest 'attraction cost' for this country vs. most anywhere else we've visited. 

5// OK, Maybe Sleep Isn't So Easy
We considered renting a camper van, but I decided to postpone that adventure for another time. Perhaps when it won't be quite as chilly outside for early morning bathroom runs. The cost to rent a van would've been quite comparable to renting a room each night along with our rental car, but offered us the flexibility to pull over wherever we wanted for the night. Going the more conventional route of just finding a hotel to stay at for each night of our trip...well, it was challenging to say the least. There aren't many hotels in Iceland, especially outside of the Reykjavik area.

I guess that's not entirely true; there aren't many hotels in Iceland in my preferred price range, at any rate.  We only have one night booked at a conventional hotel, and we will be staying at a series of Airbnbs for the rest of the trip. It was much more cost-effective to go this route. I'm a little worried that this could make check-in/out more inconvenient, but we'll make it work.  You can get $40 toward your first trip with Airbnb by using this link.

See you soon, Iceland!


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