So you have decided to make your bucket list trip to Iceland this year, or are you still researching on the prospect of visiting this heavenly destination till you make up your mind? Either way, Iceland is a travel destination which in my opinion requires medium planning – its safe and you have access to ‘ultra-clean’ water at all times, but you still need to prep for the weather, travel expenses and commute within the country.
To make your travel easier, I have compiled a list of 6 essentials you need to prep for Iceland no matter which month you travel.
#1 Everything Waterproof
I can’t stress this enough but ideally everything should be waterproof, that means all the exposed things – shoes, pants, jacket, gloves, bags. I went all the way to even get a waterproof mobile cover which I admit was a bit too much, but it paid off when I wanted to get a few snaps of the Gullfoss in pouring rainfall.
The weather of Iceland is unpredictable – it can be snowy, rainy, windy or just all of it. In short – jeans is a big no.
Here are links to some of the products I bought for my trip
- Waterproof pants from Comcrib/Micosuza
- Waterproof bag from Arctic Hunter
- Waterproof thermal touch- screen gloves from TwinkBling
To cope with the unpredictable weather, dress in layers. Starting from the innermost layer, I wore thermals and leggings, followed by a full-sleeve top and rain pants, followed by a sweater and then a jacket. For my feet, I took along woolen socks. I would suggest bringing a waterproof jacket ideally with a hoodie, and a warm neck scarf or muffler.
Again, links to some of the products I bought
- Woolen socks from CottonPrime
- Leggings and Thermals from CottonPrime
#3 Comfortable shoes
Probably the most important of all, and the best investment I made. I recommend investing in a good pair of ankle high, hiking shoes, maybe half a size bigger to accommodate for the woolen socks. Slippery boots, fancy loafers, warm uggs and obviously heels are not going to work for Iceland weather. I bought the Columbia Cascade Pass Waterproof which I wore almost everyday for the entire trip.
Food is expensive in Iceland. There are supermarkets where you can buy ‘ready-to-eat’ meals, sandwiches, snacks and of course skyr, but a meal at an average restaurant can easily cost 30-40 euros. I would suggest packing food – granola bars, protein bars, ‘long-stay’ bread, peanut butter, nuts and trail mix, and rice cakes. I also packed green tea and coffee sachets and vitamin tablets. Make sure you pack ziplock bags/paper bags as there are very few trash bins in Iceland and they are located mostly in cities.
The cosmetics list can go long, but I have 4 must-have items – sunscreen, waterproof makeup, hand cream, and lip balm.
My top picks
- Sunscreen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock
- Waterproof eye makeup – Marc Jacobs – Highliner
- Hand cream – Bodyshop Coconut Hand Cream
#6 Reusable waterbottle
Water in Iceland is extremely clean. You should not have to buy over-priced bottled water. Carry a reusable waterbottle, ideally a thermal bottle which you can also use for teas and hot drinks when it is freezing cold.
My last advice would be to really pack light. You can easily reuse the clothes as you go especially if all your outer layers are waterproof.
For a list of all other essential items to carry (for any trip), have a look at this post I wrote a while back – “ 25 checklist items for a stress-free travel”
Also check out my video featuring my birthday trip to Iceland, where I put to use all the things I packed 🙂