Frequently Asked Questions - answered or links to sources with their answers - AND a Growing List of Mike's Tips. Note: This is a growing page, so scroll through to the bottom for the complete info.
- What's the weather like in Iceland? Very changeable, but many are surprised it is not as cold as the name implies, thanks to the Gulf Stream. Iceland has a great weather service where you can check it all out.
- Can you pick us up at the airport? Due to our location, it is generally not practical to do so, however, if you are going on a multi-day tour with us, it may be possible to arrange this. Alternatives are the FlyBus, which is reasonably priced, or local taxis, which will take you directly and expediently to your hotel.
- Do your offer Northern Lights Tours? YES! see our new Northern Lights Evening Tour.
- Can we go to the Blue Lagoon as part of the Golden Circle Tour? We do not choose to offer this option as the Blue Lagoon is 'outside' the circle, and it would either rush the day, or extend it to about 12 hours with any time at the lagoon. At any rate, it is logistically impossible during the shorter daylight from September through mid-May.
- Can we go to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon or Lake Mývatn on a day tour? Jökulsárlón is about a 6 hr drive each way, and spending any time there to enjoy it, extends a tour beyond official time limits for one driver. Lake Mývatn is likewise over 6 hrs drive from Reykjavík, but it can be seen in combination with a domestic flight from Reykjavik to the northern town of Akureyri, and then with ground transportation to the lake and back in time for an evening return flight.
- Is the water safe in Iceland? Our tap water easily competes with top-label bottled water, with no chlorine or additives.
- When can I see Puffins in Iceland? Mid-to-late June through late July, though they're here from April to early Aug.
- Do you and most places take credit cards? Yes, and VISA, MasterCard, American Express are widely accepted.
- Can I exchange to Icelandic money at home? Not really, Icelandic krona has never been widely available abroad. You can see current exchange rates, by visiting the Icelandic Central Bank website.
- What is your deposit policy? Upon initial tour confirmation with f-stop Tours, a deposit of 40% will be requested for full confirmation. This is payable by credit card, direct deposit, or certified check. It is refundable, less € 40 (or equivalent) service fee, upon cancellation at least 30 days prior to touring. Cancellation at 29 to 10 days prior to touring results in 50% loss of deposit. Cancellation less than 10 days prior to touring results in no refund of deposit.
- Is tipping customary? In general it is not expected, but if you feel service has been exceptionally good, most now welcome a gratuity of your own choice, particularly in light of the ongoing recession. Business referrals are also nice.
- Are prices negotiable in Iceland? Like most western countries, prices are as advertised and any tax is included. Bulk discounts sometimes apply.
- Are prices high in Iceland? It depends. But realize Iceland is an island, with only 316.000 inhabitants and we don't have big factories to make consumer goods. Therefore, major consumer items and many foods are imported from various sources, some of them a long way from Iceland. The government assesses import duties and various fees and taxes on imports, both as a source of revenue and in an effort to control balance of trade. Nevertheless, certain food staples like milk, bread and fish are local and quite reasonably priced. Most of Iceland's local foods are essentially organic. In return for our high taxes, we have a nationwide healthcare and educational system that is available to all Icelanders.
- What's this TaxBack business? If you purchase goods for more than 4.000 Icelandic krona at a given store, you can apply to have the value-added-tax refunded, minus a small service fee. This amounts to about a 20% net reduction in price.
- What voltage does Iceland have? We have 220/240 volt, plugs have 2 round pins, and power is at 50 cycles, whereas North America is 115-120 Volts, 60 cycles. Most modern computer power supplies and battery and phone chargers are multi-voltage, so a simple plug converter (and not a transformer) is usually all that's needed. Check the fine print on the appliance--but you may need a magnifying glass to see it!
- How safe is Iceland? Very. A general average is one homicide per year, and most violence is drug or alcohol related.
- Where can I buy my own wine and beer? It's State run: www.vinbudin.is/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-37/83_read-358/
MIKE'S TRAVEL TIPS FOR VISITING ICELAND
- Carry travel insurance for yourselves and your precious possessions—you’re not likely to need it, but may never forgive yourself, if something unforetold happens. Check what conditions apply for coverage and what deductibles. If you are from the European Economic Area, you may well be covered by the EEA’s reciprocal medical services, but you should have an EEA medical insurance card to facilitate coverage.
- If you’re coming from N. America, bring some energy bars or granola snacks for the flight—food offerings on flights is not what it used to be.
- If you’re starting from a small airport, be sure your bags are given the airport code, KEF for Iceland (from Keflavik, which is where the flight lands).
- Bring layers of clothing, including rain/wind-tight pants—weather changes quickly and it is better to have too many layers than too few. Don’t forget gloves & hat.
- Bring plenty of digital memory, or film, and back-up batteries and charger—Iceland’s a gorgeous place, and nothing is more frustrating than being caught short when a spectacular scene unfolds.
- Bring plug converter from your plug type to our 2-round-pronge type. Iceland has 220-240 volts and 50 hz, but most chargers, laptop power packs, etc are now multi-voltage. Check the fine-print on the device to be sure.
USEFUL WEBSITE LINKS FOR VISITORS TO ICELAND
(Another airline serving Iceland) www.icelandexpress.com
(For exchange rates, in English) http://www.sedlabanki.is/?PageID=183
(For weather forecasts in English) http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/areas/
To be more useful, this page will be periodically updated.