Iceland is a beautiful and amazing country to spend your hard earned dollars traveling to! With so much gorgeous natural scenes, delicious cuisine, and friendly people, it’s truly a wanderlust’s perfect destination. With so many awesome and cool things you can do here, such as chasing waterfalls, walking on glaciers, and watching the northern lights, here are 5 things NOT to do here:
1. Don’t Forget Your Basic Technology Equipment, Such As USB Cables!
As a frequent traveler, it’s easy to forget things on a trip (especially if you are like me who doesn’t like writing lists). But for one who takes a lot of pictures and video, I always make sure to bring all my devices. Laptop? Check. Canon camera? Check. iPhone? Check. GoPro? Check.
But upon arriving to Iceland, I realized that I had left some oh-so-very important USB cables to charge my GoPro. No worries…I’ll just pick one up at the corner store…or so I thought. It turns out that there aren’t too many technology or camera stores in the city of Reykjavik! Lucky for me, I did find one in the center of town but had to pay 4000 krona, or $40 USD, for a measly USB cable!
Yes you read that right…$40 USD!!
You know what I can get for $40 USD?? 50 USB cables! So make sure that you also check for the simple stuff, cause a battery depleted GoPro is as good as having a pocket air conditioner in Siberia in the dead of winter.
2. Don’t Forget To Bring A Battery Pack For Your iPhone!
Pretty much a supercomputer in your pocket, the iPhone is truly a technology wonder-device! It can take amazing photos, call a taxi, book a hotel, record 4K video, and even find the nearest toilet. But can it stand up to Iceland’s frigid weather? For some supernatural reason, the iPhone completely shuts off in the presence of Jack Frost’s friends and family…even if it tells you that you have more than half your battery life!
I knew before hand that cold weather affects battery life on most devices, but my phone going from a full charge to sinking to join Hades in the pits of the afterlife came as a big surprise. Life changing and breathless moments that were being captured on video were rudely interrupted by the black screen of death.
My solution and advice to you – make sure to bring additional battery packs that you can attach to your iPhone. Sure you’ll look like a wandering patient with an IV attached to you, but you sure won’t be missing out on those important Instagram moments.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Try HakARl, Despite What Anthony Bourdain Says!
Anthony Bourdain, potty-mouthed world traveler and travel famous tv personality, once described hararkl as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing.” For those who don’t know what hakarl is, it’s meat from local sharks that have been fermented over the course of four to six weeks. In simpler terms…it’s rotten shark.
But adventure junkies and food seekers, you should try something once before you can state whether you like it or not! Don’t let the off-putting thought of rotten meat dismay you from trying this traditional delicacy. Don’t let the strong ammonia scent tickle your nose in the other direction either. Embrace the culture and embrace the food. You’ll actually be surprised as how tasty it is if you take the time to savor every meaty morsel and open up your curious palate.
My only piece of advice…watch out for the post-meal rotten shark burps. It will cheerfully remind you of that clean and refreshing ammonia flavor in your mouth.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Circles – Roundabouts are Everywhere!
If you plan on renting a car in Iceland (which I recommend you do as many of the scenic locations are about an hour away from Reykjavik), get ready to drive in circles…LITERALLY! Iceland is where small insects that died reincarnate into roundabouts – there are so many of them! Roundabouts are a circular intersection that flows continuously and has exits around its perimeter.
I’m sure you’ve encountered a couple in your lifetime. But you’ll fill your yearly roundabout quota here in Iceland in a matter of days! I recall having met at least eight one way out to Geysir. Lucky for us foreigners, Icelandic people are super friendly, in person and on the road.
No need to panic, unless you have trypophobia!
5. Don’t Avoid Drinking Tap Water!
As most people do, there is an unspoken fear of drinking water from the tap as it may contain unpleasant chemicals, creepy single celled organisms, or just taste downright dirty. More than likely you will fall in one of the three categories:
- People who only drink bottled water
- People who have a water purifier of some sort at home
- People who are immortal and don’t need to drink water
Growing up and living here in the NYC area and unfortunately not immortal, I fall under the first two buckets. Upon landing at my hotel in Iceland, I was hesitant at sipping on the tap water that was happily offered to me. But as my mortal desire for thirst kept pounding at my parched throat, I gulped the unfiltered water with fearful apprehension. To my genuine surprise, it was the cleanest and most refreshing water I have ever tasted in my entire life!
Well apparently (seems like I was the only one who didn’t know this) Iceland pretty much sits on a natural filtration system built over thousands of years. After experiencing that life changing moment, I took every possible opportunity to drink cold tap water wherever I was in Iceland!
Thanks for reading this fun blog entry and make sure to follow these tips of what not to do in Iceland and I will guarantee you will have a wonderful and awesome time!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve had similar experiences on your travels to Iceland!