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A Simple Guide To Traveling In Iceland

A Simple Guide To Traveling In Iceland

Article by Gen Wright

Iceland is a very small country, with slightly over three hundred thousand people living in it. But being small doesn’t stop thousands of tourists from flocking to this beautiful country for sight seeing purposes. That is because the country is naturally endowed with many natural attractions, such as beautiful lakes, beaches, and hiking trails. One can expect to see breath-taking scenes of wide open fields, with horses grazing or galloping around, and beautiful bodies of water such as lakes, valleys and waterfalls.

The name itself may come across as kind of strange, because the country itself isn’t cold all year round. In fact, only about ten percent of the country is icy. The rest of the country is in somewhat mild weather, and it’s the perfect weather for tourists seeking a cooling vacation.

The greatest attraction about Iceland is that the country is left mostly unpolluted by human. As such, large parts of the country still contains many natural attractions. The country itself is well known for its low crime rate, which makes it safe for travelers to visit these beautiful sites with little worry. More active travelers may attempt to take on something more ambitious, like hiking or mountain biking.

In Iceland, the primary mode of transport is still the personal automobile. Almost everyone owns a car in Iceland. And drivers as young as seventeen years of age can own and drive a car on the roads of this tiny country. For a foreign visitor, perhaps it’s best to arrange for a rented car when visiting Iceland. This will help save lots of time, especially when traveling between various destinations and hotels. The roads are simple enough to navigate, and go round the entire island. Given the relatively small land surface of the country, it’s not easy to get lost. Hence, it is indeed a good idea to drive while in Iceland.

Speaking of hotels, accommodation is very well catered for in Iceland. The hotels in Iceland are generally categorized into five categories. You can find Hotels in Reykjavik, Hotels in the East, Hotels in the West, Hotels in the North, and Hotels in the South. Which hotel you want to stay in depends very much on the destinations you want to visit and your budget. For the greatest convenience, you may want to book a hotel in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital, and it’s also where you can find the most number of hotels. There are different types of hotels that will suit your budget. If you are on a tight budget, you may wish to consider staying in a cabin hotel. A cabin hotel matches the natural environment of Iceland’s largely unpolluted environment. It will give you a more comfortable feeling overall.

If you wish to head further out to see other parts of the country, you may consider staying in one of the hotels located on North, South, East and West parts of the island. Despite the natural surroundings, hotels in Iceland comes equipped with modern facilities such as Internet access, parking facilities, and even conference facilities. So rest assured that you are not heading into the woods where you are cut off from the rest of this world!

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Favorable Exchange Rate Makes Traveling to Iceland a Bargain

Favorable Exchange Rate Makes Traveling to Iceland a Bargain

I know that for many people, millions of people, times are tough. But if you have the notion and the wherewithal, I want to point out a real travel bargain – Iceland.

Iceland is normally a very expensive travel destination. But, in my view, as someone who has lived and worked in that country, it has always been worth it. It is a very exotic and beautiful country. Downtown Reykjavik, the capital city, is quaint and old world. It is a great place to sightsee at it is relatively small and pedestrian. The nightlife in Reykjavik is near-world famous, if you are so inclined. On the other end of the spectrum, Iceland offers bountiful nature opportunities, including: hiking, horseback riding, whale watching, fishing, camping, climbing and the list goes on. Lots of places offer these activities, let’s be honest. But, what makes Iceland so unique is its unspoiled nature and amazing landscapes. There are few places left on earth where the air quality is that good and the environment so pure.

But I digress. Why Iceland is such a good deal right now is a direct result of this global economic meltdown. The exchange rate is very, very favorable for foreigners, especially US and European travelers. As of this morning, October 22, 2008, the exchange rate for US dollars to Icelandic crowns (called the kronur) is almost 118. That means that every dollar you spend is worth 118 crowns. A more normal exchange rate is in the area of 80. Let’s put that into practical terms. If you went to dinner in Iceland and spent 5,000 Icelandic crowns for your meal that dinner at the exchange rate of 80 would cost you .50; at the exchange rate of 118 that same meal will cost you .37. This represents a 32% savings.

What this does, ostensibly, is bring the cost of a trip to a cool (no pun intended) and unique foreign land down to a level that is comparable with costs in the US.

Also, airfares to Iceland are very competitive right now. The only carrier from the US is Icelandair and they are offering great deals right now. To view the best deals, I recommend signing up for what Icelandair calls, “lucky fares.” They will send you emails of their current offers and you can login to their website to book tickets from their bargain area.

Sure there are other good travel deals out there and maybe Iceland is not your cup of tea. But, of all the countries that have experienced fluctuations in their currency, Iceland has been the hardest hit which makes it a particularly good deal. I know that sounds a bit like capitalizing on misery and maybe it is. But by traveling to Iceland you would actually be helping their situation, albeit in a very small way; they get foreign capital and you get to visit one of the most pristine environments left on earth.

If all this sounds good, here’s a small primer on what you can expect. First you should know that Iceland, as you’d expect, has a temperate climate that leans towards cool and cold. The weather in the fall can be notoriously capricious. You could have a beautiful warm day, with light winds and clear skies and than wake up to a dusting of snow. So, bring layers, good waterproof shoes and a winter coat that can withstand rain and wind.

You do not need to exchange money once you get in the country. You can use your visa or visa debit card everywhere. I always see people lining up in the airport to exchange their dollars and I wonder why. You can stay in guesthouses all over the country or if you want, there are hotels. Rental cars are expensive but if you want to see the countryside with full autonomy, it is worth the cost.

You may also want to look into the many Iceland tours available, there are plenty to choose from. I would recommend the Iceland glacier tours. All-in-all, great deals like this on Iceland vacations may not come again. – David Brooks

David Brooks is a freelance SEO consultantand advocate of geothermal energy.