Just returned from a 12-day road trip across Iceland. It was definitely the best trip I have ever taken !!! Tips about cool places from the community really helped me plan my trip. I got a lot of great information from the stories authored and from the discussion threads by users -"ariel9882", "puffin", "Botticelli" and "oliver033". Thank you all. I am going to post a lot of stories very soon. Just wanted to share few pieces of information for now:
(1) A rental car is absolutely necessary if you want to experience the real Iceland. But, the rental car companies try to scam tourists. They have charged me $1500 for few scratches which I will not even repair in my own car. I am filing a claim with credit card company as I have declined the rental car insurance from the rental agency.
(2) Yes, you can even see amazing northern lights in August end !!!
(3) Blue lagoon is a tourist trap - avoid it to save some money and take a dip at many free/cheap pools around the country.
(4) Westfjords is the most beautiful part of Iceland but only a handful of people visit there.
(5) Finally, only Barclaycard worked in unattended gas stations across the country -no other American credit card works. Which is specifically useful as most of the shops close by 6 PM and you only have the option to fill up gas from an automatic station which requires a pin credit card. None of my other credit cards (Amex gold, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi AA advantage) worked !!
Hi @parkhopper, That’s so great to hear— Sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Thanks for sharing your quick tips. Looking forward to reading your Iceland travel stories. Thanks!
That's fantastic, parkhopper!
I loved Iceland, too. For me, a car rental was not necessary - I used couchsurfing.org and my hosts were adventurous folks who offered to drive everywhere we went. Originally, I went to Iceland on a bit of a business trip, but I returned just to spend more time with that amazing family and have more adventures with them. (It's how I ended up planting trees and sorting sheep!)
I wholeheartedly agree with you to skip the toruist trap of the Blue Lagoon. Not worth the crowds or the cost. I'd rather go to the town swimming pool (each town has one), which also has various hot tubs and a steam room. You can - if you're not skeeved - even rent a bathing suit!
That is awesome! We are thinking of going to Iceland in April and I will definitely be using your info and the stories of others to help piece things together!
Let me know if you need any specific information. We did extensive research on our trip and also helped five other people to plan their Iceland trip after we came back.
I will also be more than happy to give my two cents on Icelandic trip if you need any specific information.
This is great info and I wish I had seen it sooner! I also learned the hard way that the Blue Lagoon is a tourist trap, and having only a week to tour and seriously regretting that I spent too much time in Reykjavik. Having camper vanned around, Would love to share any info I have that would help others with their trip.
I also agree with the rental car thing. We got to stop at so many places we would have sped by on a tour bus.
Happy travels, all!
My wife and I went to Iceland and we loved it. I couldn't agree with you more a car is a MUST!!!!! We rented ours through budget and opted in for the ash and sand insurance we thought it was a load of crap until we went out to Vik beach and the wind almost everyday there blows at like 30 mph...no joke! It was only 60 bucks for like 4 days but we didn't have any issues when returning the car they looked at it and said ok. I think they try to get anyone that doesn't take there insurance shady but what are you going to do in a foreign country.
In our 4 days we saw a lot we did the golden circle tour on our own and it was so much better than a tour guide. We planned it and even followed a tour guide bus ... lol! So we got the same tour for free on our own time. Keep traveling and the experiences coming I love to see other people travel to many people want to stay in there local surroundings and not see the world because they are scared. Travel, Explore, Live!!!!
We had our own rental car adventure upon returning the car in Iceland. We blew a tire on the road and had to change it on our own. When we returned the car, they charged us for a new tire, as if getting a flat was our fault! We took pictures of the completely bald tires they sent us out with, and sent those photos to Budget upon our return. Budget returned our money. So, beware, renting a car in Iceland is both a good idea, and a dangerous one!
I totally agree with you. car rental in Iceland is a double-edged sword. You really need it to totally experience the country but all the rental agencies are running scam operations to cheat the tourists. Fortunately, we the frequent travelers have access to high-end credit cards with amazing customer support and benefits but not every regular tourists have access to these benefits or even aware of them actually. I am glad things worked out with Budget and you got back your money. For us too, we had to pay $1300 for some scratches on the car (I am pretty sure they were preexisting and I missed them while renting the car in the darkness of early morning hour). Fortunately, we got the money back very fast from the credit card claim for the CDW coverage. But, it was a very anxious few weeks for us.