ABOUT HUT-TO-HUT TREKKING
Our hut-to-hut trekking excursion allow guests to experience Iceland’s backcountry with the comfort of carrying only a day pack with your lunch, water bottle, river crossing shoes, rain gear, and other items or clothing you might need for the day. Your main luggage is transported between huts by a support vehicle. The huts include bunk accommodation in rooms for up to 20 people and shared kitchen with stoves, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery. All meals are included during the trek and will be prepared by the guide and the group. Pack lunches are also provided for you to take with you on the trail. There are showers at the huts except for the one at Hrafntinnusker. Using the shower service costs 500 ISK ($5) and you need to bring coins (no cards).
EXPERIENCE AND FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
This itinerary is rated Moderate to Difficult. It is intended for those who feel comfortable being active approximately 5-7 hours a day. Includes hikes of 6-12 miles on hilly to mountainous terrain with climbs up 3,000 feet and other activities that require an average level of fitness to enjoy.
You should understand that days in the cold can be very tiring, especially when taking part in activities, and so a better level of fitness may increase your enjoyment of this trip.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change, and does not form a contract between parties. While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. Occasionally our itineraries change due to weather or other circumstances that are beyond our control. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary.
WEATHER/ SEASONS IN ICELAND
The climate of Iceland is cold oceanic near the southern coastal area and tundra inland in the highlands. Iceland is located just south of the Arctic Circle, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, temperatures are cool in the summer and remarkably mild in the winter (New York’s winter lows are normally lower than Reykjavik’s). Icelandic weather is unusually volatile, however. The Gulf Stream brings mid-Atlantic air in contact with colder Arctic air, resulting in frequently abrupt weather shifts. You could well encounter four seasons in one day.
Daylight hours in Iceland decrease greatly in the winter months and increase during the summer months. Please visit http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/iceland/reykjavik to find out sunrise and sunset hours for your dates of travel.
LOCAL FOOD AND COSTS
Eating is a big part of traveling, so we choose to not include all meals as part of the trip price to give you a choice of eating options. This allows for maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat together, of course there is no obligation to do this. Our guides will be able to suggest favorite restaurants in Reykjavik. During the trek, a hearty breakfast, sack lunch, and dinner are provided. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies.
Icelandic cuisine consists primarily of lamb, dairy, and fish, due to Iceland’s proximity to the ocean. Much of the taste of the traditional country food is determined by preservation methods such as pickling, drying and smoking. Animal products dominate Icelandic cuisine, but there are some vegetarian options in Reykjavik. These options might be limited outside of the city, however.
You should be aware that costs in Iceland are very high, especially when it comes to restaurants and alcoholic drinks, so you should bear this in mind when you are planning your budget. In Reykjavik, it is also mandatory that you make restaurant reservations ahead of time.
We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel, so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation, unless you prefer your own room, in which a single supplement fee will apply. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip.
WHAT TO BRING
Our advice is to pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. We recommend the use of a duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Smaller bags with wheels are convenient if your bag has carry straps. Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended. A good size day-pack (25-35L) is also necessary for the trek to carry extra clothing, water, in addition to cameras and other electronics while exploring the different places we will visit. Luggage locks are also recommended.
– Passport (with photocopies) & Visa (if required)
– Travel Insurance policy (with photocopies)
– Driver’s License
– Flight Information & Boarding Pass
– Money and credit or debit card (please see the section on Currency & Foreign Exchange)
– Travel packet w/ pre-departure info & itinerary
– Any vaccination certificates
Clothing and Footwear
– Windproof/waterproof jacket & pants, preferably of breathable fabric such as Gore Tex or similar
– Long Sleeve underwear made of wool or synthetics, not cotton
– Moisture Wicking Shirts/ T-Shirts
– Wool or Fleece Sweater/ Jacket
– Hiking pants/ track pants
– Winter gloves
– Scarf/ neck warmer
– Warm hat
– 3 to 5 pair of hiking socks (synthetic or wool)
– Undergarments (synthetic, not cotton)
– Waterproof Hiking Boots (good, sturdy boots that cover your ankle – these may also be rented from the local outfitter)
– Trekking Poles
– Slippers and warm comfy clothes for lounging in the evenings
– Shampoo, conditioner, soap (biodegradable)
– Toothbrush & Toothpaste
– Biodegradable laundry soap
– Eyeshades/ earplugs
– Sunscreen (biodegradable & waterproof)
– Lip Balm
– Fingernail Clippers
– Sanitary napkins or tampons (women)
– Hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
– Rain cover or plastic bags for daypacks
– Plastic bag for wet items
– Small, quick dry travel towel
– Dry bag
– Headlamp or flashlight
– Camera and extra memory card
– Binoculars (optional)
– Water bottle
– Watch or alarm clock
– Power Adapter (please see the section on Plugs & Adapters)
– Extra Batteries
– Chargers for electronics
– Luggage lock(s)
– Reading/writing material
– First-aid kit (should contain Aspirin, Ibuprofen (for anti-inflamation), Band-Aids, anti-histamines, motion sickness remedy, imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, and re-hydration powder)
– Personal prescription drugs , contact lenses, glasses w/ backups
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a small fee. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we also suggest you bring a biodegradable laundry soap.
VISAS & PASSPORTS
All countries require a valid passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of departure). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements. It’s your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Please visit https://adventurepeople.net/passport-visas/ for links to helpful websites.
HEALTH & VACCINATIONS
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC Website and World Health Organization for information on the recommended vaccinations for Iceland, but you should always consult your physician for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.
Medical care in Iceland is of high quality, but limited services are available outside of large urban areas. For emergency medical assistance anywhere in the country, dial 112. For non-emergency medical assistance in the Reykjavik metropolitan area dial 544-4114 during business hours. Outside of normal business hours, dial 1770. Nonresidents are expected to pay their own medical costs and you should be prepared to pay your bill in full before leaving the hospital or clinic.
It is recommended that you carry a First-Aid kit and hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons, our guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug.
Please visit https://adventurepeople.net/travel-resources/ for links to helpful websites.
Travel insurance is mandatory to participate on any of our trips. You will not be permitted to join a trip until evidence of travel insurance has been presented. The minimum requirement must provide coverage of $200,000USD for medical expenses including repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but proof of coverage will be required. Contact your provider for details. To receive a free quote, please visit http://adventurepeople.net/travel-insurance/.
CURRENCY & FOREIGN EXCHANGE
In Iceland, the local currency is the krona, abbreviated as ISK. As currency exchange rates fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates, www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Coins come in denominations of 1, 10, 50, and 100 ISK denominations. Banknotes come in denominations of 2500, 1000, 2,000, and 5,000 ISK. Major credit cards and debit cards are accepted at most hotels, airlines, restaurants and upscale merchants, but you should advise your card issuer of your travel plans in advance. Banks and credit card companies are safe, convenient, and generally offer good exchange rates, but will charge a fee for overseas transactions. You should check with your bank before departure.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are found in most villages around Iceland, though not all ATM’s are accessible 24 hours a day. Icelandic ATM’s generally accept all major debit, credit, and cash-only cards. Cirrus and PLUS are most accepted. Foreign debit and credit card withdrawals from an ATM usually incur a fee levied by the local ATM owner, in addition to any fees added by your financial institution. Note, however, that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges you incur abroad.
When it comes to spending money on a trip, every traveler is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It’s always better to bring more than you think you’ll need as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Also, make sure you’ve read the trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier.
Unlike in the US, tipping service providers such as waiters, is not a widespread custom in Iceland. The tax and gratuity are already included in your bill. We do recommend tipping your guide at the end of the trip, as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts on your adventure. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline the equivalent of $5-10 USD/day per person can be used.
LOCAL TIME & INTERNATIONAL CALLING CODES
Iceland is on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) all year and does not observe daylight saving. The time difference is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time in the United States.
The country calling code is +354. To call Iceland from the US, dial 011 354 + area code and phone #. To dial the US from Greece, dial 001 + area code and phone #.
PLUGS & ADAPTERS
Iceland uses the standard European non-grounded type C outlet and the voltage is 220 volts/ 50Hz. In the US, we use types A and B, 120 volts/ 60Hz. For using your electronics in Iceland, you will need a voltage converter in addition to a plug adapter. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. For more information, click here and also see our blog post for Essential Travel Gear.
MEDICAL HISTORY & ABILITIES
Our trips bring together people of all ages. It is important that you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake any of our trips. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. You must inform us at the time of booking if anyone in your party has a disability, medical or behavioral condition which could affect their participation in the trip or other people on the trip.
Travelers with pre-existing medical conditions are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen adventure. While your group leader and guides work hard to make sure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Iceland is considered among one of the safest countries in the world with a very low crime rate, but we recommend that you check your government’s advice for the latest travel information before departure. You should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you are kept up to date with important safety and security announcements. We also strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while traveling, for safe keeping of your passport, credit cards, cash, and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home – you won’t need it while traveling. In addition, a lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Only carry with you the money and documentation that you need for the day and always keep an eye on your belongings.
Adventure activities and water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in activities when accompanied by guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any of our planned activities, have a balanced approach to safety. Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
While most of the cities we visit are generally safe, there can be risks when wandering through a major city at night and it is our recommendation that you stay in small groups and take taxis to and from restaurants or other night time excursions. We also advise staying away from any protests and demonstrations. Even those that are well intended have the potential to turn violent with no warning.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy and therefore prohibited. The trip leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
The use and/or possession of illegal drugs of any kind is strictly prohibited on any of our trips. Possession of even small quantities in Iceland can lead to heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
While it will not be required for you to drive during this tour, should you decide to spend extra time in Iceland before or after the tour, please be aware that alcohol limits for drivers are far stricter than US levels. Submission to a breathalyzer test is mandatory. Penalties for driving under the influence are severe.
Smoking in restaurants, bars, public transportation and public building is prohibited. Anyone caught smoking will initially be asked to leave the premises. Failure to do so will result in arrest and a fine.
You are not required to carry your passport with you at all times in Iceland, but it is sensible to keep some form of ID on you and ensure that next of kin details are entered in the back of your passport.
Whale meat is available in Iceland but tourists should be aware that importation into the US is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Any importation of whale meat to the US will result in seizure of the goods, and possibly a fine of up to $10,000.
SHOPPING IN ICELAND
In Iceland, look for merchants displaying “Tax Free” shopping signage in the window. If you have purchased items for 6,000ISK or more, be sure to ask for a tax free form. After filling out the form and submitting it at the airport with the original purchase receipt, you will receive a refund of the VAT total, minus an administration fee.
Iceland is volcanically and seismically active. There is always the possiblity that another volcano could erupt, although constant monitoring by Icelandic authorities means that there should be notice of an imminent eruption. Up to date information on seismic activity can be found on the Icelandic Meteorilogical Office website at http://www.vedur.is/.
VISITING THE BLUE LAGOON
When visiting the Blue Lagoon, it is recommended that you make restaurant reservations and massage appointments in advance as they do fill up. Also, be sure to wet your hair before entering the lagoon and applying a thick coat of the provided hair conditioner. For more info, please visit http://www.bluelagoon.com/
USEFUL WORDS AND PHRASES IN ICELANDIC
We always encourage our travelers to respect the lives of locals and their language by learning a few important words, such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you etc. It may also be helpful for you to download the Google Translate app on your phone along with Greek language to your phone so that it is available offline when you are not in an area with WiFi.
Click on any of the phrases that are links to hear them spoken. (source: omniglot.com)