10 essentials for winter break in Iceland

For this trip I didn’t have to think about packing light as I wasn’t travelling around and had already paid for hold luggage so it was a luxury to be able to take lots of things I found useful.

  1. Thermals – obviously its gonna get pretty cold. Dress in layers as once your inside or on the buses it can get very toasty
  2. Decent footwear – I had snow boots and walking boots and still slipped sometimes. One thing I didn’t take and if your luggage allows, a pair of indoor shoes. When I was in the hotel and wanted to go to breakfast I had to put my clumpy boots on or even a pair of slippers would have been ideal (I sound like a granny I don’t even wear slippers when im at home)
  3. Waterproofs – if it’s snowing, sleeting or even raining it’s gonna be miserable if you are soaking wet so a decent waterproof jacket and trousers will make it more bearable.
  4. Hats / gloves / balaclava – I had two hats a thinner one I kept on most of the time even in restaurants as then my hair was too crazy to take off and then an extra thick Russian style. my balaclava was a life saver I’ve never worn one before but when the wind was biting at my face it was definitely my best friend even if I did look like an armed robber. 
  5. A flask – I had black tea in mine, good for keeping me warm and hydrated. There are lots of places to buy hot drinks but it could work out expensive and sometimes I only wanted a little sip to take the chill off. I also took a travel kettle it was brilliant as it also meant I could have hot snacks like noodles which saved me money eating out. Also you can drink the water from any tap in Iceland from hotels to petrol stations and it tasty really fresh.
  6. Decent camera / tripod – if you want to get pictures of northern lights ideally need iOS as high as possible the best photos being taken were 6000 plus but mines was 3600 and got some decent snaps. Aperture low (f1.4 – f4.0) and shutter open for longer than normal (try between 1 and 10 to get the best I found the best at 8. You need a steady camera to get good shots otherwise they look blurry, typically the day I saw the lights I didn’t have my tripod as I wasn’t expecting to go out.
  7. Patience – it could take a few nights of going out on tours before the lights appear. Some of the other sights are a distance from Reykjavik so may involves lots of travel time.
  8. Lip balm / Moisturiser – your skin is going to take a bashing with the wind and then the heating when you come inside.
  9. Lots of money – things can be quite pricy
  10. Snacks – can be lots of travelling involved and waiting around for the lights high fat snacks such as chocolate or nuts can help keep hunger at bay, give you the sugar rush to get energy levels up and apparently can warm you up, not that I need an excuse to eat chocolate. Lots of well-known brands such as mars bars and Twix’s available

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