We recently returned from Iceland, a beautiful place that will require a large memory card on your camera. While I heavily researched the trip for the year preceding our vacation, there were a few things I learned along the way that hopefully will be helpful to you.
- Like most things in Iceland, groceries are more expensive than where you come from, but it's cheaper than going out. And you get to try all kinds of new things, like pesto ham and odd flavors of potato chips. If you like sandwiches, then I recommend you steal (yes, I'm giving you permission) extra condiment packages from cafeterias - no sense buying an entire bottle of mustard, unless you go through a lot of it.
- Use the free bathrooms when you can. At some of the major tourist stops (such as Gulfoss and
Dyrhólaey, but many others), you have to pay $2-3 for the privilege of taking a whiz. They are free at Thingvellir (well, you pay $7 for parking, so it's kind of included) and Geysir (there is a shopping center across the street from the entrance), so if you are heading to Gulfoss, then that is the best option to save a few hundred kroner.
- On the topic of bathrooms, Seljalandsfoss requires a $7 parking fee. They have bathrooms there as well. When you pay for parking, you are given a paper to put on your dashboard. In our case, we stayed in Hella and drove to Vik and back that day, so we kept the ticket and on the way back, used the restrooms again. If you are not going to be returning, then you can give your ticket to someone else. Pay it forward!
- Duty free in the Keflavik airport is your friend. You will save money if you drink alcohol. Don't pass it up.
- Practically every place you're going will take credit cards. Really.
- On the topic of credit cards, get a PIN your card. Every gas station I visited required a PIN to pay at the pump. If yours doesn't have a PIN (like mine didn't), then you can go inside and have the attendant activate the pump anyways. However, there are gas stations that have no attendants (like the one nearest the Keflavik airport and the lonely one on 54 between Borganes and Grundarfjörður), and if your credit card doesn't have a PIN, you are out of luck. Get a PIN!
- If you have a limited amount of time, don't attempt the Ring Road. We had eight nights, and instead of a mad dash around the island, we decided to concentrate in the west / southwest area of Iceland, and it was a very good decision. We explored as far south and east as Vik, and as far west and north as the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. And we were busy. You will not be bored or have a lot of downtime if you have about a week to spend. You can always return, but Iceland has a lot to offer, so I wouldn't rush it, or try to cram the whole thing in a week or ten days.