What to Pack for a Trip to Iceland.
Icelanders say, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." This could not have been more true. Iceland's weather has been known to go from the most beautiful sunshine to an epically raging snow storm in a matter of minutes! With the changing weather, it can definitely be difficult to pack. That's why I've put together the perfect packing list for Iceland no matter when you're planning to go.
As a rule of thumb, pack plenty of layers just in case. Summer and spring are beautiful and rarely require more than a light jacket, while it's essential to bundle up in the winter due to the freezing cold temperatures. Iceland is one of the rare countries where I would recommend packing more than you think you may need, because it can be so expensive to pick up miscellaneous items. For example, a Maybelline mascara that normally would cost less than $6 in the United States was over $25 in Iceland. A pair of waterproof pants from North Face also cost me a pretty penny at $140 overseas, while they would have been less than a third of the price in New York City. I would definitely recommend a shopping trip to Crossroads Trading, Co. before packing. They have an amazing ever-changing inventory of stylish, name-brand clothing and accessories and have saved me on so many different occasions.
Here's what to pack:
1. Bathing suit.
Whether you're visiting in summer or winter, you'll definitely want to bring a bathing suit. There are over 170 geothermal pools in Iceland and it would be a shame to visit the country without relaxing in at least one (or five) of them.
2. Electric converter.
A universal adaptor and converter will come in handy any time you travel abroad.
3. Fleece-lined beanie, gloves and leggings.
These lightweight accessories are easy to pack and make a big difference depending on the weather. Pick up a few inexpensive pairs that you can layer under leggings or waterproof pants.
4. Flip flops.
You'll be grateful for them when you're wading your way out of the water or dipping your feet into a geothermal hot spring.
5. Reusable water bottle.
Iceland's water is amazing and there's no need to buy bottled water. Water straight from the tap is some of the best I've ever tasted!
6. Sturdy walking shoes and/or snowshoes.
If you're planning on exploring nature (which you 100% should!), these shoes will make all of the difference. For those visiting in the winter, invest in high-quality, waterproof snow shoes with a thin, high-grade fleece lining. Don't be afraid to splurge a little for shoes that will stand the test of time. Just make sure to break in the shoes before your trip. Iceland is a very active country and comfortable shoes are a must.
Both the snow and sun can be tough on your eyes. Bring a pair of your favorite sunnies so you can enjoy the sights of Iceland without any distractions.
The summer can have up to 22 hours of sunlight, so you definitely want to make sure you're protecting your skin. Don't let the colder months fool you though - sunscreen is still essential.
The temperatures drop substantially in the colder months and you'll be grateful for more layers. After all, who has time to get sick when they're traveling? Having to choose between seeing the Northern Lights and staying in bed nursing a cold is the last thing you want to do when you're in Iceland.
There are no words for how grateful you'll be to have one with you whether you're coming out of a natural hot spring or heading into the car after being drenched by a waterfall. The Blue Lagoon and some pools will also charge you to rent a towel, so save yourself a little cash and bring your own.
11. Waterproof jacket.
Opt for a lightweight jacket no matter what season you're traveling. If you insulated jackets made of goose down or synthetic down.
12. Waterproof makeup.
If you're planning on wearing makeup, opt for waterproof formulas to avoid looking like a drowned rat (I'm totally guilty of this after an unexpected snow storm!)
13. Waterproof pants.
These will be your go-to when hiking behind waterfalls or walking along glaciers. These were easily one of the best investments from my trip to Iceland.