Iceland Traveler Information

Iceland Traveler Information

If you have booked or are considering The Iceland Meetup Tour, this is where you will find the practical information you need like a packing list, travel insurance, climate and more. 

Is this trip right for you?

  • The extreme weather in Iceland is partially to thank for its incredible landscapes, but it can be extremely cold in winter months especially. If the weather makes it dangerous or too difficult for any part of the itinerary, your leader will replace it with something similar.  

  • For many reasons, including the remote location, Iceland can be very expensive. It is most noticeable when eating out. When we are in remote areas, there may not be many options of restaurants outside of the hotel. You are welcome to stock up on food from a supermarket in Reykjavik or when they are available along the way. You may also want to consider bringing protein bars from home. More on this below.

Arrival

A visa may be required for entry into Iceland depending on what country you’re traveling from. Visas for Iceland are not required for travelers with valid passports from the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and European Union.

For most countries, obtaining a visa is relatively easy. You can find out if you need a visa here: https://utl.is/index.php/en/who-needs-a-visa

If you require a visa for entry to Iceland, we recommend applying as soon as possible as the processing time is about 2 weeks. Information on applying for a visa in your country can be found here: https://utl.is/index.php/en/where-you-can-apply-for-a-visa

As rules and restrictions are constantly changing, please check your government’s foreign travel advisory for up to date information regarding travel restrictions to Iceland. You may also visit the following website for Iceland’s restrictions: https://visiticeland.com/article/iceland-and-covid19-coronavirus.

Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for travel to and from Iceland as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country.

Upon arrival we will have an escort meeting you at the airport – just look for the sign with the SoFe logo! The driver will take you directly to the hotel where you will meet our tour leader. We will have two pickups on day 1 depending on arrival times. You may have to wait at the airport for the next pickup or make your own way to the hotel. Ask us for options if the pickup times are not suitable. Pickup times will be announced about 30 days before departure. Cost of airport transfer ranges from $40USD for a shuttle and $150 for a VIP private transfer.

You need a valid passport to travel internationally. Most countries require that your passport remains valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond your date of arrival into the country. We require your passport details at least 45 days before departure. When booking your Meetup Tour, please enter your name as it appears on your passport and contact us immediately if there are any errors.

Departure

Airport transfer to the airport from Reykjavik is not included. We suggest sharing a ride with a fellow traveler if someone is going to the airport around the same time. Your Tour Guide can help you arrange this.

On the final day of the Meetup Tour, we can arrange for testing to be conducted on site at the hotel. Results will be available the same evening. The cost is approximately $100USD.  Our team will handle the logistics and be sure your results are submitted on time and printed before you depart Iceland.

Optional Activities

For this tour, we offer a selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travelers. We recommend to pre-book these activities, to be sure there is availability. It’s rare that only one person signs up for an activity, but you will never have to go alone. A leader or our guide will go with you if no one else has signed up. Last minute booking of optional activities is possible, but depends on availability. Should you choose to book an optional activity while on the tour, we will charge the card we have on file.

We have worked with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed, especially those that are medium to high risk. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator, and therefore, we are unable to help book these activities. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Health

Tap water is safe to drink in Iceland. All accommodations will have drinkable water, sometimes for purchase and sometimes provided with your room.

Gluten-free and vegan options may be challenging to find, but your tour leader will do their best to accommodate any dietary restrictions. We suggest bringing supplemental snacks like protein powders and bars in case it is difficult to find options at more remote locations. It is ultimately your responsibility not to consume anything you are allergic to. You may wish to speak to your tour leader at the beginning of the tour to make your requirements clear and ask about your options throughout the tour.

As of April 1, 2021, we have updated our policies to require all travelers to show one of the following upon meeting the group on day 1:

-Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or
– Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip

Trying exotic, local foods can be the highlight of any trip. Please be careful when consuming these types of food, as some travelers have gotten sick in the past. We do not include exotic dishes on our tour, but our tour leader can direct you to the most reputable restaurants locally. Consume at your own risk – we do not take responsibility for any illnesses caused by eating exotic food.

It is up to you to determine if you are in good physical health to fully enjoy the Meetup Tour’s planned activities. Please make sure you have reviewed the itinerary thoroughly to gauge the amount of physical activity involved during the trip. While reasonable accommodations can be made in most cases, if our Tour Leader feels you are not physically capable of enjoying the trip without risking injury or further detriment to your general health, or that of the group, we expressly reserve the right to prohibit you from participating in any or all activities of the trip without a refund.

Accommodation

We use a range of accommodation that we choose based on season, group size, and availability. For this reason, we do not provide a list of accommodation before the tour, but a list can be provided for you at the start of your Meetup Tour. This is available from your Tour Guide. 

However, we do provide the start and end accommodation to help you plan transportation, pre/post travel plans, or visa needs. 

Start location:
Hotel Skuggi
Hverfisgata 103, 101 Reykjavík

End location:
Hotel Skuggi
Hverfisgata 103, 101 Reykjavík

9 nights in hotels.

Rooms are twin share with an ensuite. Beds in shared rooms are all twin and rooms are sometimes considered to be small by Western standards. Contact us if you are interested in a private room upgrade. Private rooms are not always available for this trip, but we will do our best to accommodate you. 

The accommodation indicated on the webpage is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to lack of availability. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

A shared room is included in the base cost of the tour. You may choose to upgrade to a private room for an extra charge as long as there is availability.

Upgrading to a private room on site after the tour has already started is more difficult and may result in a higher cost than advertised.

On this tour we will stay in an average of 3 star accommodation, which in Iceland typically provides clean, comfortable, basic rooms in hotels with dining on site. All rooms have heating and an ensuite bathroom. Some of the places we visit with the best views are the most remote with limited accommodation options that are simple, yet comfortable.

Sometimes it is not possible to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels, especially if you arrive before check in time. We can store your luggage and you can explore the surrounding area.  Standard check in time is 4:00pm.

Check out is at 11:00am on the last day. 

Extra nights at our hotel are available before or after the tour. Email our team at meetuptours@sofetravel.com to book. Only private rooms are available. You may have to switch rooms at the beginning or end of the tour. 

All of our accommodation has heating. There is rarely a need for cooling and hotels do not have it. Should it not work, we will attempt to replace your room or the unit, dependent upon availability. Bedding is always provided and typically includes a thick comforter and two pillows. 

Transportation

A private climate controlled vehicle will be our main method of transportation.

Money and finances

Spending money is a personal choice, and everyone will have different spending habits and needs. It is best to budget a reasonable amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping, and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Please have a thorough look at the itinerary and at what is included so you will be prepared for what isn’t included. Our Meetup Tour is very inclusive, however some meals, tips, and extras are not included. This guide should make budgeting a little clearer.

Many meals are included in this tour, but some are purposefully left out so you can experience different restaurants and dishes to your liking. Your leader and guide can help you find local options. Meals will cost between $20 USD to $40 USD, depending on the restaurant. Food prices in Iceland are high, but most travelers find meals to be hearty and tasty. If you have a strict budget, be mindful of your choices and let your tour leader know the type of food you are looking for, so she can direct you to the best places when options are available.

In Iceland, most major credit cards are widely accepted at tourist shops and restaurants, but they may not accept American Express, Diners, JCB, etc. We recommend bringing a Visa or Mastercard if you want to use credit cards. We highly recommend alerting your bank that you will be traveling before departure to avoid being locked out of your account while abroad, as they may suspect fraud. Smaller venues may only accept cash. ATMs are widely available in major cities and towns. We recommend always having a small amount of cash with you for small purchases at places that do not accept credit card.

If you want to bring cash from your home country and exchange it, the best place to do this is at the airport. We can not guarantee that there will be time to visit a money exchange place on the tour. The best way to get local currency is by using an ATM with a debit card.

Tipping is not expected in Iceland and most locations will include gratuity with your bill. While tipping is very uncommon, it is still welcome especially if you are satisfied with the services provided.

To help you understand Iceland’s tipping culture, we have provided some scenarios. These are suggestions, as tipping is always a personal choice and at your discretion.

Restaurants: rounding up the the nearest even amount is fine in most restaurants. In upscale eateries look for a 10-15% service charge. If there is a service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

Your tour guide:  You may also consider tipping your tour guide for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is completely at your discretion, however as a guideline $5-$15 USD per person, per day is standard practice. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

It is not necessary or expected to tip your Tour Leader, but small, sweet gifts, even hand written notes, are very appreciated if you feel they improved your experience.

The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK) which will be labeled “kr” in Iceland.

Coin denominations are: 1 króna; 5, 10, 50, and 100 krónur (which is plural for króna).

Banknotes are: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 krónur.

We recommend always having small denominations for small purchases and stores that only accept cash.

Packing

Our tours are comfortable and very inclusive with premium accommodations. This means you can pack a little lighter since the hotel will have a wide range of amenities. Since you will be carrying your own bags to the lobby or at the airport, we suggest packing in a way that is manageable for solo travel. 

This is a general list to be used as a guideline. If you think you need more items, pack them.

  • Copies of your travel documents- passport, flight itinerary, travel insurance policy and contact info.
  • Snacks especially if you have serious dietary restrictions (see Health and Safety above)
  • Hiking boots are not necessary but preferred. If you do not have hiking boots, you will need good quality sneakers for walking on different terrains like stones, grass, and wet surfaces.
  • A wind or rain jacket
  • A warm winter coat
  • Long pants, waterproof is preferable but not necessary. 
  • A beanie or ear muffs
  • A scarf
  • Long underwear if you are particularly sensitive to the cold
  • A sports bra
  • A swimsuit 
  • Don’t forget underwear 
  • Earplugs and an eye mask
  • Body soap
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush
  • Body wash
  • Period essentials
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

Since the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable throughout the year, we recommend bringing warm, weather-resistant clothing such as wind and rainproof jackets, warm socks, gloves, and head coverings. We also recommend bringing durable shoes or boots that are comfortable for casual walking but versatile for hiking or trekking. 

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. We recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

Used riding gear, including saddles, halters, bridles, and whips are prohibited in Iceland.

Iceland uses Northern European electrical standards which operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. There are two associated plug types, “C” and “F”.

Plug type “C” is the plug which has two round pins and type “F” is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side.

We always suggest bringing a universal adapter. 

Be sure to bring your swimsuit and a spare towel to experience Iceland’s famous thermal baths!

Water is considered precious to Icelanders, and showers without a bathing suit are mandatory for everyone before entering any natural pool. Showers, soap, lockers, and changing rooms are included in our geothermal visits (both at the included and optional pools), but privacy may be scarce. Nudity is a normal part of Icelandic life in gender separated locker rooms. We can not guarantee a private shower, but we can guarantee a clean space and genuine experience in Icelandic culture. 

Phone and internet access

There is wifi available in most of our accommodations, but it may not be accessible in more rural or remote areas.

If you need to stay connected, you can purchase prepaid mobile internet starter kits for smartphones at any Vodafone store or reseller. You can also find these kits at N1 gas stations around the country and the BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavik. 

Alternatively, you can ask your home service provider for international plans. 

Group leader and guide

All tours with The Solo Female Traveler Network are accompanied by a guide who is with the group for the whole trip. The guide’s role is to be the local expert of the destination and coordinate a lot of the on the ground logistics. They are not always a native of the country, but they are always experienced expert guides. 

Most of our tours also include a leader, whose role is to enrich the experience socially. She will help bridge any cultural differences, manage group expectations, and capture the tour in photos and videos for marketing purposes. Some tours will not include a Tour Leader, and in this case, our local guide will act as both guide and leader.

Safety

We recommend that you stay up to date on travel safety updates on your home country government website. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, but they are not required to accompany you on solo time, where you can relax, choose an optional activity, or explore on your own. During solo time, we do not vouch for the safety of the experiences you choose, even if our guide or leader recommends them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Our team on the ground is always monitoring the safety situation and reserves the authority to cancel or change experiences at their discretion if deemed unsafe.

Seat belts are always provided and must be worn in accordance with local law. 

Cars may drive on the opposite side of the road than you are used to. Practice extreme caution when crossing the street. Also note that traffic may be much heavier and road rules may be very different from what you are used to. Be careful and aware that pedestrians do not have the right of way.

While most of the tour, especially in major cities, will be with your guide and the group, petty theft is common in any tourist area. Do not walk around alone at night if it can be avoided and hold your belongings close on public transportation. Your local guide will give you some safety tips throughout your tour, and we suggest heeding this advice.

As suggested earlier, please do not bring valuables. Use a TSA approved luggage lock to secure your luggage and belongings throughout trip.

Please do not enter the water without a life vest and a buddy if you are not an experienced swimmer. Alert the leader and guide to your ability level before participating in water activities. Lifeguards are not on duty and our staff are not trained in water rescue. 

We suggest checking your government’s advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory on all our Meetup Tours. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

You can find a list of our favorite tried and true travel insurance companies.

Group rules

At SoFe, we pride ourselves on the network and community we’ve built of solo female travelers. Our Meetup Tours are designed to connect women from around the world around a single foundation: that no female should feel alone in their travels.

With almost all of our travelers coming on the Meetup Tour solo, we have women from different countries, backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. This is part of what makes our tours so special and what often leaves our travelers with couches to crash on around the world and even long time friendships. Like any group, especially one consisting of people of different ages coming from all corners of the world, this can also cause clashes in culture and disagreements. We promote an environment of kindness, empowerment, and communication, so certain behaviors will not be tolerated for the benefit of everyone’s experience. 

A great group dynamic takes effort, patience, and compassion from every member. Bullying, threatening, and violence of staff, locals, and fellow participants will not be tolerated on our trips.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while traveling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The group guide and leader have final say on all matters that affect the safety or well-being of any traveler or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund.