Iceland is getting a lot of attention right now following the announcement of $99-199 flights from the U.S. by Wow Airlines CEO Skúli Mogensen. I could have told you that Wow Airlines flights were cheap seven months ago because I took one from Baltimore, but the new announcement is breaking because the prices now include departure from the West Coast!
One thing I've learned is that when you see a cheap flight, you should book it, but what do you do if you want to go and can't find someone else to travel with you? You have two options; you can either not go, and miss out on all the awesomeness of Iceland, or you can travel solo. I obviously chose the latter option, and had a freaking phenomenal time doing it, and discovered that Iceland is actually the perfect place to travel solo!
Iceland is truly like a natural amusement park that will take your breath away over and over again, and leave you wondering if you're really in a fairy tale or on another planet. So if you're thinking about taking your first solo travel trip, or you just really want to see Iceland, here are some reasons why it's absolutely, hands-down, the perfect place to travel solo!
There are only about 300,000 people that live in Iceland, and 220,000 of them live in Reykjavik. That means the chances of any crime happening on the island is extremely slim (where they gunna go?), especially since everyone is so nice and friendly. I didn't have an ounce of fear or worries the whole time I was there, and would even leave my car doors unlocked wherever I went.
The natural dangers however are a bit of a different story. If you use common sense, like reading, and adhering to signs that say "Do Not Go Past Here," or "Do Not Drive Up Glacier Without a 4×4," you should be fine, but keep in mind there won't be anyone there to tell you not to. You kind of just have to make your own grown up decisions to be safe.
Oh and there aren't any wild polar bears or moose running around that will attack you, but I can't say the same thing about trolls and elves (not joking).
Most countries you visit have specific sites to see and things to do, and while Iceland does have a few token waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanos, those are just a fraction of how many other things there are to see there. When you travel solo in Iceland, you have the freedom to explore miles and miles of land, and areas that are all completely different from each other. I explored a lot, so feel free to explore my blog if you need some ideas or guidance.
Plus, if you travel solo, you'll get to experience the euphoric feeling of excitement and triumph when you discover something new all on your own! You might not have even known you knew how to explore before you went to Iceland! So go ahead little bird, spread those wings!
I don't know about you, but it takes a lot for me to start screaming with excitement in a car by myself, and I was shocked at how many times that happened to me in Iceland. The first time I saw a waterfall, the sight of the empty road in front of me flanked by meadows of purple flowers and horses, the freaking glacier lagoon that I did not believe was a real thing until I saw it, all exposed a feeling I had that I hadn't experienced in years, if not ever.
I also felt like a bad-ass independent b*tch for roadtripping by myself all over the western half of the country, and like I could climb any mountain (or glacier), and accomplish pretty much anything. Cocky or confident?
"Self-reflection" and "meditation" are two words (or three?) that kind of make my face cringe a little when I see them. I like to think that I know what's going on in my life and enough about myself that I don't need to go travel solo to "find myself", but what I did need without knowing it, was long, un-interrupted time to not think, which is extremely rare for me.
During the 5-13 hour road trips I took in Iceland, all I could actually think about was how insanely breath taking the landscapes around me were. I wasn't worried about deadlines, people, or even what time I had to be back somewhere, and was shocked that it happened without me even trying to!
Iceland is the perfect place to travel solo for people who need to clear their mind, re-discover their appreciation for life, get over something (or someone), learn how to become independent and adventurous, or see freaking amazing pieces of nature that they'll never shut up about (like me).
The first thing I noticed when I started exploring Iceland was the insane amount of other travelers there were everywhere, and not the tourist-types that are all on booked tours of the most popular areas. I saw tons of backpackers at most of the sites I stopped at, and met a bunch more the one night I went out in Reykjavik, along with a few locals.
Two girls I met there via a Facebook travel group fittingly called "Girls LOVE Travel", who were also from LA were couch surfing and said they had met a few others doing the same thing who they even planned to road trip with up to the northern part of Iceland! There are tons of people who are more than willing to add additional travelers to their group, not to mention lots of bars and restaurants in Reykjavik, so it's pretty much impossible not to meet other like-minded travelers!
Now that cheap flights are finally an option, the next thing you have to worry about is a cheap place to stay! Luckily, there are plenty of cheap and affordable accommodation options in Iceland, depending on what you're willing to settle for. Obviously if you stay in the main area of Reykjavik, hotels are going to be pretty expensive, but if you stay in a town just outside of it such as Keflavik, like I did, you can get a much better rate. I stayed somewhere called Hotel Keilir which is only about 30 minutes from Reykjavik, yet significantly better priced, and in a much quieter area, plus includes breakfast and free Wifi!
If you're looking at an even lower budget, there are cheaper and even free ways to stay in Iceland as well. The two girls I mentioned before were couch surfing on a girl's couch in Reykjavik which they found on CouchSurfing.com, which costed them $0 aside for some food and alcohol they bought her as a gift. Although I was a little confused why anyone would want to offer their couch for free, it seemed to work out for them despite a slight attitude problem with the host.
There's also the option to camp, like, in a tent, if you're up for it. Almost every landmark and national park had an area designated for camping, and you can even rent a tent and supplies in town.
Don't go to Iceland thinking that things are going to be close by, because they definitely are not. The closest landmark to Reykjavik is probably an hour away, and probably not as cool as things that are farther. I rented the cheapest car I could find for about $62 per day which was definitely worth it considering how much it would have been to take a tour bus, and how far I wandered off each day. The price isn't exactly ideal, but you can also always just rent a car for one day to do your farthest adventures then do something else for the rest.
I also opted to rent a car because all of the sight-seeing tours were out of my budget. But the good news is that I just copied their itineraries, did the whole thing on my own for a fraction of the cost, and wrote out how to do them for you on my blog.
Also, a lot of people rode bikes, but I am not joking when I say that things are NOT close by! I also saw a lot of hitch-hikers which, I also wouldn't do, but apparently it's common to do there and there haven't been any problems or like, murders. Other than that, there's also a hop on hop off bus that goes around, you'll just have to check the schedule and make sure you catch it.
8. You'll Get an Easy Break from Technology
I know. It's hard to put your phone down and not check Instagram or your email every five seconds, trust me. But when you travel solo in Iceland, I guarantee that you won't even want to look at your phone unless it's to take a picture...not to mention you probably won't have service anyway.
I'll admit that I had a pre-paid international data plan, and when I would start to get real antsy on long drive stretches I'd turn it on to make sure someone in the world still loved me, but for the majority of the time I had no problem turning it on airplane mode, and it was actually nice to not have to worry about anything besides how my brain was going to handle all the amazing NATURE all around me!
When you travel solo in Iceland, your brain will not only be automatically expanded when you discover things you've never seen before in your life, but it will also inspire you to continue exploring, learning, and traveling to places you've never seen before or know about.
It'll also inspire you to travel solo to other places since you'll have mastered how to do it and be confident that you can do it again! Hopefully it'll also make you wonder about what other areas of the Earth have such magnificent natural beauty, how it came to be, and how you're going to save up to go there next.
There's a reason why everyone is talking about how amazing Iceland is. It's because when you see the most beautiful, magical, and diverse natural phenomenons you've ever seen before, it makes you really happy, and that's not something you'll easily forget.
Feeling that pure sense of awe as mist from a massive waterfall freshens your face, or as you watch a piece of an iceberg break off and float slowly along a placid lagoon, will definitely change your outlook on life, and the things that are, or are not, relevant.