Having a budget before any big adventure is a must! And because Iceland consistently ranks in the top 5 for the most expensive countries in the world, it is a good idea to have a budget. As of December 2018, 1usd = 123isk, and most things in Iceland are far above 1000isk. One of the biggest expenses you may have, that you may not have factored into your budget, is food. People tend to book flights, hotels and transportation ahead of time so the cost is known, but food is something you normally don’t prepare for in your budget. Since we are seasoned travelers, and I did a ton of research on prices in Iceland, we decided to use dried meals and food from the grocery store while we travel through Iceland. This saved us hundreds, considering a single, gas station, hamburger is 23usd. Also, if you're planning to travel around Ring Road like we did, make sure you not only factor in the cost of the car, but the gas the car will use. The gas price in Iceland equates to about 8usd/gallon. Our trip around Ring Road (830 miles), plus Pull Offs and the Golden Circle cost us 520usd in gas.
I have outlined by personal budget, including airfare, food, transportation, and experiences, in the link below. Blog post: Plan your own Icelandic Adventure
The weather in Iceland is unpredictable! We visited during the first 10 days of September and experienced everything besides snow. We actually lucked out on the weather during our whole trip, as it only rained hard on us twice while we were hiking and/or out of the car. The first day of our trip really spoke to the ever changing weather of Iceland. We got off the plane and it was WINDY! M and I joked that Chicago must have stolen Iceland’s weather slogan, because compared to Iceland, Chicago’s “Windy City” is nothing more a kid blowing out birthday candles. The winds were so strong, we had to stand at an angle to not get blown away. It probably got bright and sunny, then cloudy and rainy, 10 different times on our first day in Iceland. Sometimes rain would come and go in a blink of an eye. The nice thing about this is the rainbows! We saw SO many rainbows. Another Iceland slogan is “if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes” and that was the surefire truth. So all I can say is monitor the weather, and take it seriously. Stop and turn back if you need to, and wear the proper attire even if your hike starts off sunny with blue skies. We made sure we brought our dry down jacket (for warmth), rain jacket, rain pants, and rain boots, and we used each of them on numerous occasions.
Icelandic is hard to speak if you only speak English, and can sometimes be harder to understand, but here are a few phrases that can help. But don't let the language barrier scare you...we did not meet a person who didn't speak English.
Many destinations have the following endings, which can be helpful to recognize if you're searching for a specific location:
Foss = Waterfall
Jokull = Glacier
Staður = Place
Kirkja = Church
Skógur = Forest
Borg = City
Lón = Lagoon
Basic conversational words and phrases:
Nei = No
Takk = Please
Ekkert að þakka = You’re welcome
Takk fyrir = Thank you
Talarðu ensku? = Do you speak English?
Hversu mikið = How much?
Hvaða átt? = Which way?