How to: Pack for your trip to Iceland
This is not my first rodeo with Iceland. I will begin this blog with the fact I am notoriously an over-packer. My original plan was to try to pack everything for a week in Iceland in a carry on and backpack. Totally doable..but I am also a shopper and want to bring back some cool Icelandic treasures plus it’s nice to be able to check our hiking boots/shoes.
My first time in Iceland was two years ago on a stopover to Ireland, then France. We spent two nights and 3 days there enjoying the cities of Reykjavik and Vik. This was my first time out of the country and I sooooo over packed. I mean to the point of shipping things back to the states from Ireland when we got there. If you want to check out Lather A Salon’s blog..there are a few great ones about our trip a few years back starting with this one http://www.latherasaloncle.com/blog/2016/4/4/our-styled-adventure-from-cle-to-kef. What I learned..you DO NOT need an outfit for each day of your trip especially if you want to shop or bring anything back.
I fell in love with Iceland immediately. It’s a place where you truly feel like you are on another planet and the adventures are endless. I’ve always loved the outdoors and have never been afraid of the cold, so it’s the perfect country for me. This time around, my husband and I are going for a week for our first wedding anniversary. We plan on only staying in the capital city for two nights, and venturing out to see the sights at different Air B&B’s around the south and south eastern half of the country. I’ve read you can drive the entire country in 10 days and there are blogs about it, but 7 was all we had. Once you get away from the city, things you many need on a whim are more scarce. We also plan on purchasing a small cooler and grocery shopping for the driving part of our trip so we can cook our meals/make meals to go in our b&b’s. This will not only be way more cost effective, it will just be a easier when we get out there so we aren’t waisting our time wandering trying to find a place to eat. There are smaller grocery shops in some cities other than Reykjavik, so we plan to hit one of those mid trip, too.
I’ve been reading some blogs about packing for Iceland, and have come to find that many say the same thing..dress in layers. The weather is so unpredictable once you get out of Reykjavik. One minute it can be 45 degrees and cloudy and the next 32 and pelting you with rain and wind. We are going at the end of their summer which the average temps range from 30-55 degrees. This means we probably won’t need a full on parka, but a nice waterproof shell and some layers..which most definitely lightens the load.
My packing list looks like this (I have “The bigger carry on” from AWAY and LOVE it, also a fjallraven backpack with laptop sleevehttps://www.awaytravel.com/luggage/bigger-carry-on/navy & https://www.fjallraven.us/collections/kanken/products/kanken-no-2-laptop-15-black)
2 pairs long underwear & matching long sleeve tops
4 long sleeve un-stinkable shirts (I include my plane ride outfits in this as well)
2 pairs yoga leggings
1 pair jeans
2 tops for going out in the city
1 Gore-tex shell jacket
1 packable down vest
1 pair waterproof hiking pants
2 sports bras
1 regular bra
underwear for 7 days and nights
2 pairs of wool hiking socks
2 pairs of ankle socks
2 pairs normal weight socks
1 pair of gloves
1 pair tennis shoes
1 pair hiking boots
1 pair ankle boots for going out in the city
1 pair flip flops for swimming pools/hot springs
1 bathing suit
1 converter plug for charging electronics overseas (pro tip..get one on Amazon that can go to multiple different countries)
3 portable chargers (one is already built into my AWAY suitcase..I say 3 because my husband is stubborn and won’t buy one, and they seem to die way faster in the harsh conditions out there.)
1 small tripod for photos..you will need this if you plan to photograph the northern lights (purchased on Amazon)
1 stabilizer for taking video (borrowing from a friend)
snacks (nuts, chocolate bark with almonds, mints)
meds (chewable pepto, tums, advil, cough drops, airborne)
travel clorox wipes for the plane because your girl isn’t trying to catch anything
travel wipes if ya gotta go in the wild
1 plastic bag for disposing of wipes
extra ziplock bags for packing lunches and snacks for the road
1 small cross body purse with zippered top (my favorite travel and everyday bag is from Madewell https://www.madewell.com/the-zip-top-transport-crossbody-J1951.html?dwvar_J1951_color=BK5229&cgid=accessories-bags&position=10&position=10#start=1)
Now for the toiletries…(pro tip, pack all of those minis and samples you get in your subscription boxes like Sephora’s box or Birchbox. I end up hoarding these things and they are the perfect size for travel!)
1 travel sized Dr. Bronner’s 18 in 1 hemp citrus pure-castile soap (I have been recommended this by a friend. This soap does EVERYTHING from washing your clothes and cleaning your floors to shaving and body wash. Basically it can pair down your toiletry bag substantially. I’ve even been told to try washing my makeup brushes with it which I will try before I leave. You can grab this at Target or Whole foods.)
1 small lotion since things get dry from the plane ride
1 travel deodorant
1 travel body wash (I wouldn’t normally bring this with the Dr. Bronners but there are two of us)
1 travel Ouai dry shampoo foam (my saving grace)
1 travel Ouai wave spray (don’t bother bringing a blowdryer overseas..if your Air B&B or hotel has one..bonus! But I’m planning on going the air dry route)
1 travel Verb ghost oil for hair ends
1 croc clip (for sectioning hair if I do blow dry it)
2 hair ties (bc you know one will go missing somehow)
1 sample size of leave in hair cream
2 sample sized packets of shampoo and conditioner
1 travel sized bioderma solution micellaire (this stuff acts as my full on makeup remover and will remove just about anything)
1 travel sized cosmedica skincare pure hyaluronic acid serum (one of my favorite Amazon beauty products and a saving grace for dehydrated skin while traveling)
1 mini vitamin c day serum
1 mini night cream
1 mini eye cream
1 mini day cream
a few samples of facial sunscreen
1 Kiehl’s lip balm #1 (best lip balm ever)
sample sized face cleanser
1 sample sized retin-a micro from my derm
1 shower cap
1 small sized loofah
1 travel toothpaste
1 travel toothbrush
1 travel floss
some cotton rounds for cleansing and removing makeup
travel q tips
1 travel mouth wash
(ALL of my toiletries fit into a small makeup case that is easily packable)
*DO NOT pack and outfit for every day of your trip..re wear/hand wash things if you don’t have a washer and dryer. Dr. Bronner’s all purpose soap for the win.
*If you care enough about your skin & hair to keep your daily routine going, bring all of the mini’s of your everyday stuff. If not, you can pair this down substantially. I’m just not willing to sacrifice pairing it down any more than I have.
*Invest in good quality, comfortable gear. You will basically be living in it constantly. www.steepandcheap.com is a great place to find discounted gear.
* Roll your clothes to save space
If you are staying at an Air B&B check what they provide for you before you pack
Just don’t overpack..trust me I learned the hard way!
What I learned post trip
Didn’t love my hiking boots. Make sure you break them in before going and if you don’t like them, return them.
Didn’t use the video stabilizer. The thing was heavy and most of the time you just want to be in the moment. Leave it at home unless you’re a pro.
Two portable phone chargers would have sufficed. It’s nice to have 3 just in case but we maybe used all 3 one of the 7 days.
Other than these things..I used everything I packed and felt good about my list!
Thanks for reading!! The next blog will be all about our trip..so stay tuned :)