Friday, July 17, 2015

Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon located on the Ring Road in
Southeast Iceland.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)
The window to drive all 828 miles of
Iceland’s stunning Route 1, also known as the Ring Road, is short
— May through September.
It’s an adventure that requires some forethought.
Surprisingly, when I began prepping for my recent journey around this rugged
North Atlantic island there wasn’t much practical advice available
online.
Many visitors seem to focus solely on preparing for Iceland’s
constantly changing weather.
While it is important to consider wardrobe issues, I discovered through trial
and error that there’s a lot more to keep in mind when tackling
Iceland’s often inaccessible landscape that’s made up of
everything from soot-black lava fields to ice-blue glacial lakes.
 Here’s the advice I wish I had received before embarking on my
Ring Road adventure.
  1.
Always be prepared.
  Who says dressing for the weather has to mean lots of fleece and
high-tech fabric? (Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)
Let’s get a popular topic
out of the way: weather.
Even in summer, temperatures are all over the place.
I sometimes switched from a winter jacket to short sleeves in the course of
hours.
Bring lots of layers — many Ring Roaders seem to prefer rugged,
all-weather gear.
That’s not my style.
So, if you’re like me, just plan to wear whatever makes you feel most
comfortable in a wide variety of conditions.
 Related: WATCH: Iceland: The Most Magical Layover Ever2.
Pay attention.
Obviously, Iceland is a land of extremes (volcanoes, floods, earthquakes), so
locals don’t really feel the need to sensationalize reports of
environmental phenomena, and official warnings are always issued for good
reason.
Don’t play hero and ignore reports because Mother Nature will win, and
you will lose.
3.
Get your bearings.
  The view of Reykjavik from atop Hallgrímskirkja.
 (Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)Many flights from the U.
S.
arrive in Reykjavik early in the day.
Rather than hitting the road right away, stay overnight and explore this
vibrant capital’s restaurants, bars, and shops.
Begin by heading to the top of the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church for a
bird’s-eye view of the city and end with a nightcap at one of the
popular pubs around town.
 4.
Do your homework.
 The tourist center in Reykjavik has tons of handy maps, lodging
listings, and other resources.
Booklets covering each region are especially helpful for deciding which major
sites to see, and they’re a lot less cumbersome than flipping through
travel guides.
Make use of the friendly staffers who are more than happy to address any
questions or concerns you may have.

5.
 Stock up.
 Restaurants are expensive in Iceland (a typical meal for two can easily
run well over $100), and pit stops in the wilderness are few and far between.
While in Reykjavik, take the opportunity to buy bottled water, snacks and
other supplies for the trip at affordable grocery stores like Bonus.
6.
Become goal-oriented.
  Sometimes the locals aren’t able to provide the best
directions.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)Route 1 is the only way to circumnavigate much of
Iceland.
Despite the fact there’s one major road, GPS is useful for directions
to more remote sites or for a general time estimate to the next far-flung
destination.
Get a unit when picking up your car rental or bring one from home.
Just don’t make the same mistake I did and forget to check if your GPS
includes more than maps of the United States and Mexico.
 Related: WATCH: Meet the Elf Whisperer of Iceland.
Yes, She Sees Elves.
Yes, She’s For Real7.
Stay connected.
&#xA0;</b>I often relied on Internet access to find last-minute lodging
options and look up major points of interest.
Fine, I used it to check Facebook and post lots and lots of photos on
Instagram, too.
Arrange a plan with your carrier before leaving home, or buy a SIM card in
Iceland.
I got one gigabyte of data and 30 minutes of call time for around $30 at a
store in Reykjavik&#x2019;s biggest mall.

8.
Plug in.
&#xA0; Surreal landscapes are a dime a dozen in Iceland, so be ready to pay
the price by snapping hundreds of photos.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)
I often found myself scrambling to charge camera
batteries wherever I could find a plug.
It&#x2019;s wise to buy an extra camera battery and don&#x2019;t forget to
bring the proper adaptor.
Also plenty of memory cards are key because this trip is one continuous photo
opp.
9.
Cash or credit? Don&#x2019;t bother withdrawing Icelandic kr&#xF3;na because
credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in Iceland.
In fact, I don&#x2019;t remember ever seeing a single Icelandic bill or coin,
even in the most remote parts of the country.
Contact your bank and alert them you will be traveling abroad, and bring an
extra card or two in case something goes wrong.
10.
Take cover.
Long summer days very slowly turn into short nights in Iceland.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)In summer months, it doesn&#x2019;t get dark until
around midnight and dawn comes quite early.
I happened to save the sleep mask from my flight, but it&#x2019;s a good idea
to come prepared if you require complete darkness to fall &#x2014; and stay
&#x2014; asleep.
11.
Take comfort.
&#xA0;I packed my pillow and down comforter on a whim, and they
couldn&#x2019;t have come in handier, especially when I decided it was easier
to camp out in my vehicle rather than search for a guesthouse in which to
hunker down for the evening.
My lesson learned? The point of traveling Route 1 is to spend hours upon
hours driving and ogling the views out the window, so bring anything you might
need to make the experience more comfortable.
&#xA0;Related:&#xA0;WATCH: The Blue Lagoon, Iceland&#x2019;s (Affordable)
Geothermal Spa Paradise12.
Go au natural.
&#xA0;Speaking of sleeping in the car, I like to travel with a flexible
schedule, so one of my biggest worries before leaving was knowing when and
where to reserve a room.
It turns out camping during warmer months is a simple &#x2014; and extremely
cheap &#x2014; lodging alternative.
Bring a tent and sleeping bag to take advantage of the sites located all
along Route 1.
&#xA0;13.
Protect yourself.
&#xA0; Waterfalls in Iceland are just as much a threat as the occasional
downpour.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen) The further along you get on the Ring Road the more
you realize that a poncho is a must-have accessory.
It&#x2019;s much easier to throw one on than to rely on an umbrella for
protection from the occasional rain shower or mist-spewing waterfall.
&#xA0;
14.
Take a break.
&#xA0;Few gas stations along the Ring Road means there aren&#x2019;t many
opportunities for proper bathroom breaks.
In other words, get comfortable with going in the great outdoors.
&#xA0;
15.
Meet the locals.
&#xA0;
This arctic fox was one of the cuter locals I met in the eastern part of
Iceland.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)Almost everyone in Iceland speaks English, so mixing
with the locals can be quite easy.
I met some residents in Reykjavik&#x2019;s many pubs and even arranged a
visit to an Icelandic artist&#x2019;s studio to check out her work.
The highlight of my trip was when I got to hang out with an especially
friendly fox, Mickey, who called my hotel in Eskifjordur home.
Aaron Rasmussen is a Brooklyn-based writer who recently spent a week exploring
Iceland.
He&#x2019;s already busy planning his next trip back.
WATCH:&#xA0;Iceland Locals &#x2014; Strange Things Happen Here
Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on&#xA0;Facebook,&#xA0;Twitter, Instagram,
and&#xA0;Pinterest.
&#xA0;Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
&#xA0;To learn more about World traveling club Travel&#x2019;s travel policy
please click here.
Here&#39;s what you need to know to plan a road trip on Iceland's Route 1,
also known as the Ring Road.
.
Many flights from the U.
S.
arrive in Reykjavik early in the day.
Rather than hitting the road right away, stay overnight and explore this
vibrant capital&#x2019;s restaurants, bars, and shops.
Begin by heading to the top of the iconic Hallgr&#xED;mskirkja church for a
bird&#x2019;s-eye view of the city and end with a nightcap at one of the
popular pubs around town.
&#xA0;4.
Do your homework.
&#xA0;The tourist center in Reykjavik&#xA0;has tons of handy maps, lodging
listings, and other resources.
Booklets covering each region are especially helpful for deciding which major
sites to see, and they&#x2019;re a lot less cumbersome than flipping through
travel guides.
Make use of the friendly staffers who are more than happy to address any
questions or concerns you may have.

5.
&#xA0;Stock up.
&#xA0;Restaurants are expensive in Iceland (a typical meal for two can easily
run well over $100), and pit stops in the wilderness are few and far between.
While in Reykjavik, take the opportunity to buy bottled water, snacks and
other supplies for the trip at affordable grocery stores like Bonus.
6.
Become goal-oriented.
&#xA0; Sometimes the locals aren&#x2019;t able to provide the best
directions.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)Route 1 is the only way to circumnavigate much of
Iceland.
Despite the fact there&#x2019;s one major road, GPS is useful for directions
to more remote sites or for a general time estimate to the next far-flung
destination.
Get a unit when picking up your car rental or bring one from home.
Just don&#x2019;t make the same mistake I did and forget to check if your GPS
includes more than maps of the United States and Mexico.
&#xA0;Related:&#xA0;WATCH: Meet the Elf Whisperer of Iceland.
Yes, She Sees Elves.
Yes, She&#x2019;s For Real7.
Stay connected.
&#xA0;</b>I often relied on Internet access to find last-minute lodging
options and look up major points of interest.
Fine, I used it to check Facebook and post lots and lots of photos on
Instagram, too.
Arrange a plan with your carrier before leaving home, or buy a SIM card in
Iceland.
I got one gigabyte of data and 30 minutes of call time for around $30 at a
store in Reykjavik&#x2019;s biggest mall.

8.
Plug in.
&#xA0; Surreal landscapes are a dime a dozen in Iceland, so be ready to pay
the price by snapping hundreds of photos.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)
I often found myself scrambling to charge camera
batteries wherever I could find a plug.
It&#x2019;s wise to buy an extra camera battery and don&#x2019;t forget to
bring the proper adaptor.
Also plenty of memory cards are key because this trip is one continuous photo
opp.
9.
Cash or credit? Don&#x2019;t bother withdrawing Icelandic kr&#xF3;na because
credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in Iceland.
In fact, I don&#x2019;t remember ever seeing a single Icelandic bill or coin,
even in the most remote parts of the country.
Contact your bank and alert them you will be traveling abroad, and bring an
extra card or two in case something goes wrong.
10.
Take cover.
Long summer days very slowly turn into short nights in Iceland.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)In summer months, it doesn&#x2019;t get dark until
around midnight and dawn comes quite early.
I happened to save the sleep mask from my flight, but it&#x2019;s a good idea
to come prepared if you require complete darkness to fall &#x2014; and stay
&#x2014; asleep.
11.
Take comfort.
&#xA0;I packed my pillow and down comforter on a whim, and they
couldn&#x2019;t have come in handier, especially when I decided it was easier
to camp out in my vehicle rather than search for a guesthouse in which to
hunker down for the evening.
My lesson learned? The point of traveling Route 1 is to spend hours upon
hours driving and ogling the views out the window, so bring anything you might
need to make the experience more comfortable.
&#xA0;Related:&#xA0;WATCH: The Blue Lagoon, Iceland&#x2019;s (Affordable)
Geothermal Spa Paradise12.
Go au natural.
&#xA0;Speaking of sleeping in the car, I like to travel with a flexible
schedule, so one of my biggest worries before leaving was knowing when and
where to reserve a room.
It turns out camping during warmer months is a simple &#x2014; and extremely
cheap &#x2014; lodging alternative.
Bring a tent and sleeping bag to take advantage of the sites located all
along Route 1.
&#xA0;13.
Protect yourself.
&#xA0; Waterfalls in Iceland are just as much a threat as the occasional
downpour.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen) The further along you get on the Ring Road the more
you realize that a poncho is a must-have accessory.
It&#x2019;s much easier to throw one on than to rely on an umbrella for
protection from the occasional rain shower or mist-spewing waterfall.
&#xA0;
14.
Take a break.
&#xA0;Few gas stations along the Ring Road means there aren&#x2019;t many
opportunities for proper bathroom breaks.
In other words, get comfortable with going in the great outdoors.
&#xA0;
15.
Meet the locals.
&#xA0;
This arctic fox was one of the cuter locals I met in the eastern part of
Iceland.
(Photo: Aaron Rasmussen)Almost everyone in Iceland speaks English, so mixing
with the locals can be quite easy.
I met some residents in Reykjavik&#x2019;s many pubs and even arranged a
visit to an Icelandic artist&#x2019;s studio to check out her work.
The highlight of my trip was when I got to hang out with an especially
friendly fox, Mickey, who called my hotel in Eskifjordur home.
Aaron Rasmussen is a Brooklyn-based writer who recently spent a week exploring
Iceland.
He&#x2019;s already busy planning his next trip back.
WATCH:&#xA0;Iceland Locals &#x2014; Strange Things Happen Here
Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on&#xA0;Facebook,&#xA0;Twitter, Instagram,
and&#xA0;Pinterest.
&#xA0;Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
&#xA0;To learn more about World traveling club Travel&#x2019;s travel policy
please click here.
Here&#39;s what you need to know to plan a road trip on Iceland's Route 1,
also known as the Ring Road.

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