Will Internet access be available?
Most hotels and some restaurants offer Wi-Fi Internet access. SIM cards can be purchased for cell phones in Iceland, at the airport upon arrival. It is recommended for guests who bring mobile phones, to keep their phones in airplane mode while traveling internationally. Carriers do offer international plans for a fee, and charges can be very expensive if not signed up for a plan that covers international travel. Buying a SIM card (check with your carrier first to make sure it is allowed) will give your phone a new local phone number, and can also give you data for Internet use. Please feel free to ask for additional information, if you have questions.
Can I charge my electronics?
Power in Iceland, like the rest of Europe, is 220v. Special power adapters are required for anything that has a standard U.S. plug or devices that use 110v. These adapters can be purchased from numerous stores in the U.S. before leaving on the tour. They can also be purchased once in Iceland, but will be considerably more expensive.
Can I use my credit card in Iceland?
Most places will accept Visa and Mastercard. Some will also take American Express, Discover and others, but many do not. Credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee for purchases made outside of the U.S. For American Express this fee is 3% of the total purchase as of 10/31/2014. Visa and Mastercard are typically in the 1-2% range, though some cards waive the fee altogether. It is best to do your research on which card will provide the best rate for international purchases.
Do I need to carry cash and how do I get it?
Iceland is not a member of the European Union, and have their own currency, the Krona. Cash can be exchanged at the airport upon arrival. It is often possible to get a better conversion rate by withdrawing money from an ATM using your bank card. In most cases, you can use a credit card for your purchases, so only a small amount of cash may be needed. To see the current value of the Krona vs. the U.S. dollar, visit a website such as: http://www.xe.com/currency/isk-icelandic-krona
Is tipping customary in Iceland?
Tipping is not expected in Iceland. This is slowly changing, and you may see tip jars on the counter at some establishments, though it is not frowned upon to ignore this. When paying at a restaurant, or for a service, tipping is again not expected, and in some cases may be seen in a negative light.
How expensive is food?
Food prices can vary widely depending on our location in Iceland, the type of food and from restaurant to restaurant. In Reykjavik, it is possible to find pizza, hot dogs, etc for $5-$10 a meal. On average, for a sit-down meal, you can expect to pay ~$20 and up.
While traveling outside of Reykjavik, such as at the Blue Lagoon and at our hotel near Jokulsarlon, there are only restaurants and snack bars associated with the hotel, with no other options nearby. These restaurants can be considerably more expensive. It is also possible to pick up snacks, fruit, etc. at convenience stores as we are traveling.
One way to save money is to bring snacks with you from home. Good ideas for snacks might be protein bars, trail mix, or similar items. Be sure to check with TSA guidelines before packing any food items in carry-on luggage. While these types of snacks are also available in Iceland, they can be more expensive.
What can I expect for the weather? What type of clothes should I bring?
Iceland has a milder climate than you might imagine. The ocean currents along the southern coast keep the temperature warmer than other locations along the same latitude. Temperatures in June can range from the low 40s to almost 70. Brisk wind can make this feel colder. June is also the month where Iceland averages the least amount of rainfall. With that said, the weather in Iceland is highly variable. Sunny skies and warm temperatures can turn into rain, wind and a 20 degree temperature drop within a few minutes. The great thing is, it can turn right back around to sunny and warm again just as quickly. The popular saying, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes” is completely true.
Proper rain gear is essential. A good rain jacket, and even rain pants are needed, just in case. A wind breaker can make a huge difference in staying warm. TWP recommends planning to dress in multiple layers, that you can mix and match as needed. If you need help with layering or have questions about clothing options, please let us know! At TWP we are geeks when it comes to researching and trying gear and clothing. We are more than happy to offer suggestions or give an opinion on what you have planned to pack.
Proper, sturdy hiking boots will be needed for participation in the glacier hike and Thorsmork hiking excursions. While hiking in Thorsmork there will be several stream crossings, which will likely result in removing boots to keep your boots and socks dry. Just as with your clothes, make sure you avoid cotton socks for hiking. Cotton holds water, dries slowly and loses all insulation and warming properties when wet. It is more likely to cause blisters and hot spots on your feet. Again, feel free to let us know if you are trying to decide on hiking boots, socks, or other gear choices. Some rental clothing is available on the glacier hike, including boots. The fees for that equipment are not included in the tour price, and are the responsibility of the guest.
How long will we be active each day?
What are the hotels like?
Iceland is a European country, and the hotels are typical of that distinction. The hotels utilized by TWP would be considered premium lodging in tour company standards. TWP works directly with each lodging destination to secure the best possible pricing and pass those savings on to our guests. We want our guests to have the trip of a lifetime, and if we are staying at sub-par hotels, that’s not going to happen.
It is a good idea to bring sleep masks if sleeping in bright areas might pose a problem for you. Many of the hotels will have blackout shades on the windows, but it is not guaranteed. The midnight sun can be bright during the summer months!
What are the people like in Iceland?
Iceland has one of the most educated populations in the world, with a literacy rate of 99%. The vast majority of native Icelander’s also speak English. Most locals you meet will be nice and glad you are visiting their country. Tourism replaced the fishing industry as the number one industry in Iceland in 2012, and brings a much needed economic boost to a country whose banking system failed in 2008.
People of Iceland are extremely proud of their country. They have the best tasting water (in our opinion) anywhere on Earth. They do not have water heaters - all hot water is geothermally heated. So, when you hop in the hotel shower, that water coming from the shower head is truly no different than a natural hot spring.
How do I pay for the tour? Is there a deposit?
After completing the registration form, guests will receive an invoice by email within 3 business days for the tour deposit. The tour deposit is $750 and is due within 14 days of registration. The remainder of the tour price will be invoiced on May 1, 2016. Payment in full is due by May 15, 2016.
Any registration that occurs after May 1, 2016, requires full payment within 10 days of registration.
What is the cancellation policy?
Cancellations may be made no later than April 1, 2016. Cancellation made on or before April 1, 2016 will receive a 50% refund of the deposit amount, or $375. Guests who have paid in full, or amounts greater than the required deposit amount will receive a refund of the total amount paid, less $375. Cancellations made after April 1, 2016 will result in forfeiture of the deposit amount or total amount paid.
TWP will issue full refunds prior to tour start, or partial refunds if during the tour, in the event the tour is canceled due to extreme circumstances, including, but not limited to: volcanic eruption in Iceland, terrorism, etc. TWP is only responsible for the fees paid directly to TWP - flight refunds are the responsibility of the guest and airline.
What travel documents will I need?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you need only a valid passport. Keep in mind the expiration date on your passport if you already have one. If it expires within six months of travel, you should renew before leaving the country.
How much money will I need each day?
Obviously, this can vary greatly from person to person, based on the type of food purchased, drinks, etc. However, the following can be used a basic guideline.
The first three nights of the tour will be at hotels that are remote, meaning dining choices are limited to hotel run restaurants and snack bars. The first day at the Blue Lagoon, there are three food options - a snack bar, a grill and a fine dining restaurant. The snackbar and grill are reasonable; you can find yogurt, sandwiches, salads, etc and spend $5-$20. At the Blue Lava restaurant, meals will be $25-$30 per person and up. One money saver is that tipping is not expected. So a $30 meal is $30, you don't have to add in the additional 20%.
The second and third night for supper will also be in the same range of $20-$30 and up. For lunch, we will have more options as we are out and about, and will be in the $5-$20 range depending on what you order.
The rest of the trip will be in places with multiple options for supper. You can eat as cheap as $7-8 in Reykjavik up to as much as you want to spend at some of the fine dining restaurants.
Breakfast is included each day (except for the day of arrival). Snacks and drinks are at your discretion. You will find many American brand candy bars, protein bars, chips, etc at convenience stores. It can save money to bring these with from home however. Make sure and check TSA guidelines before carrying food items onto the plane.
Overall, you can expect to spend in the $60 range the first 3 days (though you could easily spend less), and can get by for $40 or under the rest of the trip. Add in money for souvenirs, and that is all you should need.
When should I buy my plane ticket?
We ask that guests consult with us before purchasing a plane ticket. Aside from answering any questions with regards to flying to Iceland, we also want to make sure that the minimum number of participants have registered for the tour to operate, before you purchase your ticket. More details can be found in the terms and conditions. The bottom line, don't buy a plane ticket without talking with us first.