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Honeymoon in Iceland - The Road Trip

A short article about the best way to visit Iceland in order to maximize your time there.

One of the key aspects when choosing a travel destination revolves around transportation - the transport to the desired place but also moving around during your stay there. There are different types of tourists; there are people that prefer urban travels / city life and if this is the case then the best way to get around would be the local public transport system, but there are also people that want to visit the wilds / nature sights and are in need of mobility, that don’t have a lot of time on their hands which results in the need of not being dependent on transport schedules or changing many means of transportation. This was exactly our scenario: we had a total of 12 days to visit a country as large as Romania that wasn’t even situated on the continent, so our only solution was plane + car.

We took our time and we analyzed what were our options in accomplishing this goal with as little money as possible while managing to visit a lot of objectives. We had a small shock when we started searching for accommodation options and car rental. Both were pretty expensive for our standards and if you also take into account the fuel costs and other taxes your are more than like to start thinking to stay at home. But before we capitulated to the high costs we found the ideal solution: A car that incorporated a house, a place to eat and cook and that had everything you needed to keep on going for the whole duration of the trip. Sounds good, so where do we sign up?

Many tourists that are visiting Iceland have opted for such a car because it simply is the best way to go around the country and see everything it has to offer.

10 reasons to pick up a car from Happy Campers when visiting Iceland:

  1. It included a mean of transport and a place to sleep.
  2. Economical - low fuel consumption and you save up on classical accommodation options.
  3. You can travel with a group of up to 5 people depending on the model you chose.
  4. It is equipped with a small kitchenette: fridge, cooker, dishes, cutlery and small sink with running water.
  5. Along with the car, you can also rent camping equipment (extra costs).
  6. It is equipped with a heating system that is independent of the car’s engine (fueled on solar panels)
  7. Extremely comfortable from the mobility point of view.
  8. Because the traffic in Iceland is low you will manage to drive around even without a lot of driving experience.
  9. You can get extra supplies and other stuff for free from the Happy Campers HQ (leftovers and gifts from other fellow tourists)
  10. The staff at Happy Campers is the best! They are really professional and trustworthy.
  11. Free Airport pick-up service (during their working schedule).

There are many companies that offer small campers for rent in Iceland but we mostly like the guys at Happy Campers. At that time they also had the best pricing offer, their cars looked a lot better than what the competition had to offer and they had no reservation fees.

 What you need to know before you start on the road

Car features

  • Kitchen: fridge, stove with camping gas tank (plus many replacement tanks), sink with running water ( from a 25 l container), plates, tableware, plastic glasses, detergent, paper towels, cloth, wood trencher, small broom with dustpan.
  • Sleeping place: pillows, blankets, sheets, quilt. Extra you can rent sleeping bags if needed.
  • Car: Diesel engine, manual shifting gear, radio player with audio CDs (some cars have MP3 players), independent heating system that operates even if the car’s engine is off (battery / solar powered).
  • Extras: Rentable from the Happy Campers HQ: camping furniture, child seat, GPS, 220V charging inverter, guitar, coffee maker and all kinds of extra car insurances.

 Introducing Happy 3 Camper!

Sleeping in the car

  • It varies based on the time of the year you are visiting the country. Iceland is really windy and the day temperatures in summer don’t usually go over 20 degrees Celsius. We were visiting in September when the daytime temperatures were somewhere between 6-12 degrees and during the night they were as low as 0 or even -3 degrees Celsius.
  • A cold weather hat, warm pajamas and some sleeping bags will come in handy. You can rent sleeping bags from them also but if you have room in your luggage why shouldn’t you reduce some costs (prices here).
  • While in West European countries you can only sleep in camping places, in Iceland you have a lot more liberty when it comes to pulling over and sleeping in the car - you can do this as long as you don’t park the car off-road, you don’t damage nature, you are not stationed on private property or in places where camping is prohibited. Personally, we have slept in parking spots when we couldn’t find / couldn't reach a camping and it is absolutely safe.

Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland is slightly different from what Europeans are used to (for Romanians it isn’t that bad as we have a good amount of experience with our bad roads) :). But why is that?

  • Driving is on the right side of the road while the wheel is on the left side of the car (good thing that Iceland wasn't a British colony).
  • Legal speed: 90 km/h on the main roads, 50 km/h in towns and 80 km/h on gravel roads.
  • There are gravel roads where you need to pay attention and you need to be careful when braking.
  • On gravel roads, you need to keep a safe distance between cars as small rocks can hit your windshield and damage or even break it.
  • Pay close attention to the road even if you are driving on the Ring Road as there are small sections of gravel.
  • Most paved roads have gravel on the sides and pretty big level difference so be careful with this aspect.
  • If you have a plan set and you have an idea where you want to go you will do fine even without a GPS navigator. The roads are well marked and the directions in intersections are pretty clear so if you add a touristic map on top of it all you will be just fine.
  • Driving off-road is strictly prohibited everywhere. Icelanders protect their nature.
  • F Roads are mainly for 4x4 cars. If your car has a 2 wheel traction it would be good not to go on them. Nevertheless, there are some F Roads that are not exclusive for 4x4 vehicles, but you will always see signs indicating this.
  • The inner part of the country is called the High Lands and it isn’t accessible even if you have a 4x4 car. The only cars that can drive there are Super Jeeps - those vehicles with really big wheels and a clearance of over 1 meter. If you are interested in this you can find ample tours.
  • Really important: when you open your car’s door keep a strong grip on it! Because of the high winds in Iceland, you can easily slam it in another car or even break it. From personal experience, it is something you have to look out for.
  • Drive carefully in the ocean / mountain areas so you don't run over the baby birds on the roads. There is a seagull species in Iceland that grow up to be pretty big and that nest in the cliffs close to the ocean shores. When the chicks are big enough they will leave the nest and try to fly / land in a river that would take it to the ocean. The problem is that they can’t really fly and they confuse roads for rivers. As such you will find many such birds on the road and they can't move so drive with care and save them if possible.
  • On the same animals plus roads chapter pay close attention to sheep. They also tend to randomly show up in the middle of the road and refuse to move. (usually, they are in pairs of 3 and not an actual herd)
  • Most bridges in Iceland have a single lane so slow down and drive carefully.

Now that you are well accustomed to how to travel in Iceland and that you know why renting a mini camper is the best way to visit this country I will let you know in a short 4-minute video how our Icelandic road trip turned out!

For more details on the itinerary read Complete tour of Iceland in 12 days or simply use the label Iceland :)

Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

Honeymoon in Iceland - The Road Trip Reviewed by Alex on 09:06 Rating: 5

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