I finally did it, my FIRST SOLO TRIP OUT THE COUNTRY! I’ve shared my past experiences traveling solo across cities in the United States with you guys but this time I took it overseas to ICELAND. I know what you’re thinking… Iceland of all the places in the world? Yes because I’m that random. Personally I’ve always wanted to visit the country to witness the beauty of the Northern Lights & when I spotted a great deal on a roundtrip flight from NYC to Reykjavik – I just couldn’t refuse!
Words can’t express how much of a great decision this was. Iceland was the PERFECT destination for my first out of country solo trip – let’s get into everything you need to know, how I planned my trip, saved money, what I did in Iceland & why exactly it’s the best solo destination.
Booking My Iceland Trip:
I LOVE me a good flight deal, if anyone were to ask me what excites me (besides the actual traveling) it’s the feeling of getting a great deal online. When people think traveling they automatically associate it with one word: expensive. And it really does NOT need to be pricey if you plan accordingly! I follow alot of travel deal websites/social media accounts such as Secret Flying & Suzz’s Travel and I am subscribed to the email newsletters of several airline
companies so if I a deal to a destination I have on my must go list, I’m ready!
I booked my trip via WOW Airlines for around a RT total of $250. Yes, ONLY $250 to travel to Europe so you know I had to hop on that! But let me make this clear from jump, WOW Airlines is not a luxury airline nor do they claim to be. Known for its cheaper prices it’s what you would call a “budget airline”. Expect to pay for carry on luggage (which they are very strict about sizewise), any beverage or meal in flight & even choosing your seat (which you can avoid if you let them choose your seat the day
of your flight or when you check in). Also here is NO entertainment on this flight OR wifi so if you can’t go a couple of hours being disconnected this airline probably isn’t for you.
When it comes to my experience with WOW Airlines, I loved it! I had no issues, I sleep through flights so the lack of WiFi didn’t matter to me and there’s a USB outlet at every seat so I didn’t have to worry about my phone, iPad + other electronics dying!
Money + Language + WiFi:
$$$: Once you arrive at Keflavík Airport, there are currency counters available for you to exchange your dollars for Icelandic money (known as krónas) but I’m going to let you know right now, completely unnecessary. In Iceland, debit and credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere! During my 5 day stay I did not once encounter a place where it was cash only. This was a major perk it felt great not having to worry about losing cash.
Fun fact: Tipping is not required in Iceland, so no need to worry about that but of course if you receive amazing service it’s always nice to tip.
Language: When it comes to language barriers in Iceland it’s pretty simple there is none when you’re from an English speaking country! Icelanders speak both Icelandic and English fluently. Never did I have to worry about someone not understanding me which was great! Another reason why this is the perfect solo destinations for any fellow Americans, if you ever have an questions the people of Iceland will be more than happy to help you & happy to chat in English with you!
WiFi: You get a wifi connection, you get a wifi connection, you get a wifi connection. Iceland is known to be one of the most connected countries, there legit wifi everywhere. So you can get all those iMessages, send all those Instastories & all while visiting the country. Although in South Iceland some areas didn’t have the greatest service there’s always connection on the tour line buses which takes me to our next topic…
Traveling through Iceland is super easy! When it comes to actually traveling within the city of Reykjavik everything is walkable, most of your destinations will be nothing more then a 20 minute walk. There are taxis available but I only suggest hopping in one if you like to waste money. When it comes to traveling for excursions or to other parts of Iceland there are SEVERAL bus tours to choose from. I used Gray Line Tours for most of my tours that stepped out the city as well as my transportation to and from the airport! They were exceptional, easy to communicate with and just professional. Did i mention they can pick you up directly from your hotel? I highly recommend them for any transportation needs!
Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, it’s just a fact. And you will DEFINITELY realize that once you begin your search for accommodations in the country. I’ve seen hotels ranging from $850+ and listen paying that amount by yourself not including the daily Iceland activities & expenses is alot as a solo traveler. So not only was this my first out of country trip this also became my first experience at a HOSTEL! Hostels are super popular in Iceland because everyone is trying to enjoy their trip for the most affordable price.
Personally I never really liked the idea of staying at one until I came across The Galaxy Pod Hostel! It’s unlike any other hostel I’ve heard of. It has a futuristic theme and every person has their own personal “pod” aka you have your own mini room! In the pod you can find: USB outlets to charge your electronics, a tv, control of light and fan, a cool selfie mirror, a bed (one of the coziest i’ve ever been in) and a safe to keep your belongings. You are also given a locker to store your luggage and there is a lounge room, kitchen, bar & of course restroom with plenty of showers & toilets!
For my first hostel experience I must say I LOVED Galaxy Pod Hostel & so happy I chose to stay there during my trip! Also the total cost of my stay was $198 for 4 nights (less than $50 per night)
Check out inside of The Galaxy Pod Hostel in my ICELAND VLOG
Food & Alcohol & Going Out:
BUY DUTY FREE LIQUOR AT THE AIRPORT, I REPEAT BUY DUTY FREE LIQUOR AT THE AIRPORT! If you’re a drinker you will save so much money buying your liquor in the airport vs when in town. That was easily one of my smartest moves before I made my way into the city. Liquor is not cheap & even Icelanders are known for pre-gaming heavy before having a night out. Do like the Icelanders and pregame, but even better because of your less expensive bottle. Also look out for happy hour times when you’re out and about, that’s the best opportunity to enjoy some of Iceland’s beers & cocktails while staying within a budget.
Let’s chat about turning up in Iceland, two words: It’s lit. Laugavegur Street on a Saturday night is where you need to be! What’s great about the city of Reykjavik that it’s so small it’s so easy to bar & club hop because everything is right there! You can find places playing the latest songs you would hear back home & there’s a place for every genre of music. Me being more of a urban music fan will still never get over hearing Magnolia play in the Iceland club. The Brooklyn in me cried. I wouldn’t say there’s much of a dress code but if you’re going out, you would want to look nice right? Partying style over there is staying warm but dressing it up a little more!
When it comes to food the Icelanders have some specialties you must try or you’ll question if you really went t0 Iceland? Their popular dishes are: Icelandic Lamb Soup, the Icelandic Hot Dog (aka Pylsur), their seafood/ seafood soups and rye bread. Fermented Shark is also a thing here but personally I had to pass on that.
See below for some of my favorite spots that I hit up that you should check out for yourself when in Iceland:
Clubs: Prikid & B5 (Hip Hop + RnB genres played here) Food: Icelandic Street Food, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, Noodle Station, Hlölla bátar (Subs & Burgers), Devito’s Pizza, El Santo, Aktu Taktu
Icelandic weather is unpredictable. It does whatever it feels like doing! During the 5 days I stayed it was winter, spring and autumn all at once. I would say come to the country prepared with a heavy jacket and light jacket that you can alternate from! Layering is key and a scarf will be your best friend for any weather switch ups. Visiting Iceland in September, I can officially say from my experience it felt more like autumn in NYC. Trust me it’s not as bad as you think it would be!
Why YOU Should Travel To Iceland:
Whether you come here solo, with your significant other or with friends you will have the time of your life. Iceland is unlike any other place I’ve visited and if I had one word to explain my trip it would be: magical. From the views that I believed I would only see on TV to the small city filled with gems on every corner this is an adventure I think everyone should have. Not every place that I’ve been to has left a mark on me spiritually but Iceland has made the biggest impact of my life.
If you’re looking for peace and tranquility, you’ll find it here.
If you’re looking for an escape mixed with fun, you’ll find it here.
If you’re just a wanderer at heart, your soul will thrive here. Iceland is truly one of a kind.