Let’s face it, we all do mistakes and doing them before or during travels happens too but those mistakes tends to affect us more. Your vacation might be ruined or you have gotten a dent in your travel experience. Fortunately, traveling around Iceland doesn’t pose as many risks as in many other countries. We do not have highway robberies here, scam artists are few and far between and the water is safe to drink everywhere (a detailed description below). So what are the common mistakes tourists might do before or during a trip to Iceland?
Make sure your passport is valid well before your trip. Depending on what country you are from getting a new passport can take up to six weeks, longer even in some countries we have heard. Many countries have the rule that your passport must be valid for the whole trip and not expire during the trip.
According to the Directorate of Immigration here in Iceland:
“The validity of the passport or recognized ID card must be at least
three months beyond the proposed stay, except for citizens of
EEA/EFTA countries. Those documents only need to be valid beyond the stay in Iceland.”
Many credit card companies does as much as they can to stop thieves from using your credit card, in case of theft. When they get information that the card is used in a different country, they might stop the transfer for it isn’t in the scope of its owner’s regular use. With one call you can prevent that to happen. Call them and tell them you are going to Iceland for a vacation. How annoying is it if you have eaten somewhere here, paying for your rental car or are checking in at a hotel you haven’t prebooked, only to get rejected? It’s also good to know that the majority of Icelanders use their credit cards for most things here so you don’t need to carry around cash to cover the whole trip. You can pay with your credit card more or less everywhere and if you would run out of money, there is always an ATM somewhere you can withdraw some money from.
Read more: Fun facts about Iceland
If you are planing to fish in Iceland or go horseback riding, there are some very hard rules to follow with your equipment. For example, it is strictly forbidden to bring used riding equipment such as saddles, bridles, nose-bands, pads, rugs, whips, used riding gloves and such. Would be a sad day if you come here with your favorite riding gloves and you have to throw them away before entering Iceland. All fishing and riding gear you bring to the country needs to be disinfected which is done at Keflavik airport and that is a charge you have to pay. When you get to the Red/Green area, choose the red and talk to the custom officers there. They will help you out.
This one might cost you dearly, both financially and physically. If you ford a river and get stuck in the middle of it, not only might you ruin the car, a cost no insurance company will not pick up. Also and a more pressing issue, you might put yourself and your fellow travelers in danger, at times, in serious danger.
If you choose to ford a river (not covered by any insurance), make sure you know your rental 4×4 is capable for that river. Fording a river requires both local and car knowledge to be able to do it safely. Wait for others to cross the river, study the river. It’s so easy to drive down a deep pocket and get stuck and before you know it, the car might flip over in the current.
One is only allowed to drive on F-roads in Iceland if you have rented a 4×4. F-roads can be very crude and rocky. An ordinary car can’t drive on tese roads without getting stuck and/or damaging the rental car.
If you are traveling around Iceland off season, be up to date with weather reports at all time.
Read more: Accidents involving tourists in Iceland
Too often tourists who rents a car here are not acustomed to gravel roads and just drive too fast. There is only one cure for it and that is to slow down and not to break in curves. Remember you are on a vacation and are in no hurry. The same goes for single lane bridges and tunnels, most people haven’t experienced those either and requires a little bit of know how. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not difficult, you just have to drive slowly and when you meet oncoming cars in a tunnel, it is pretty clear who has to yield (there are signs and if you have to yield, you will have these small pockets on your side where you can stop and let the oncoming traffic pass. With single lane bridges, the one reaching the bridge first, goes first. The other stops before the bridge and let the oncoming traffic pass. As with any situation on the roads, drive carefully and know what you are doing and you will be just fine!
It saddens many Icelanders when we see tourists with bottled water. Iceland has one of the best, if not the best tap water in the world and it is just delicious. When you buy water, not only are you wasting vacation money you can use for other stuff, you are also buying plastic which we all should try to minimize. At your hotel, Airbnb or wherever you are staying, run the cold water tap until it gets really cold and drink. You are literally missing out if you don’t for the water we have here (both warm and cold) is a luxury many don’t have. Just remember to not to drink the warm water but please drink the cold water until you burst! The same goes with water in lakes and rivers. If it’s clear, you can drink it. As usual, one doesn’t drink water from streams and rivers running along farmed fields and one does not drink glacier water. That is water melted off glaciers and can easily be recognized by its white hue.
Do your research before coming here. Bring clothes suited for the season and make sure you enjoy the whole trip for you are in for some good fun and go home with great memories to share with others.
Have a great vacation! #GoIceland
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