I love to travel. I won’t make any bones about it. I won’t complain about the long, boring flights, or the tedious security requirements, or even the high airfares or the snobby international flight attendants. I simply love the adventure of traveling too much to notice any of these relatively minor inconveniences. After all, what is a few hundred (or thousand) dollars or a thousand or two miles traveled compared to the experience of seeing something new, breathing in air that you haven’t had in your veins yet, and meeting people you might never have crossed paths with otherwise? Like I said, I love travel.
But that doesn’t mean I always do it right. I’ve overpaid for tickets and taxis both, accidentally insulted my hosts, and gotten lost in foreign cities. At the same time, though, I’ve learned a lot. And I’m here to share that information with you. Below are five mistakes I made while backpacking in Iceland. Hopefully you’ll avoid falling into the same traps!
MISTAKE #1 Not leaving enough time to do everything you want.
If you think you can spend a week in Iceland and get a sense of the entire country, gaze from the perch of all the beautiful vistas, and meet all the other interesting backpackers hiking through the countryside, you are very misinformed. If you love to hike through beautiful natural landscapes, then leave time to do the multiday hike from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. It is considered to have some of Iceland’s most beautiful scenery. Another great spot is the South coast, where you can see a black beach area and bird cliffs.
MISTAKE #2 Worrying about wild animals.
I love to hike, but it doesn’t mean I don’t find myself jumping sometimes when I hear a rustle in the woods. One of the great things about hiking through Iceland is that it is safe from all the creepy crawlies and big scary predators that are common in places like Arizona and Australia. Mostly you’ll see sheep and harmless insects, and if you’re lucky you may spot an Arctic fox (or maybe a sunbathing Nordic beauty)!
MISTAKE #3 Not being prepared.
While tourists are usually prepared for the mild summer temperatures, the weather can change quickly. Strong winds and rains are not uncommon. In the 1990s, a hiker was killed by a freak summer blizzard. Be prepared for the worst. Bring the correct gear.
MISTAKE #4 Not knowing your own skill level.
If you are hiking through Iceland, make sure you know what you can handle and what you are prepared for. A novice camper should not try to hike a trail all alone if it is strenuous or complicated. Don’t let the promise an unbelievably gorgeous view make you think you can do a five day trail with no experience. Just because you can photograph something doesn’t mean you can safely get back from where you took the snapshot.
MISTAKE #5 Not drinking enough water.
This goes for wherever you are and whatever you are doing, but backpacking through Iceland can mean a lot of time spent moving and often between sinks or water sources. But don’t disregard your own health. Always keep water bottles with you and always refill all of them whenever you have the chance. Don’t get dehydrated- it will ruin your trip!
About the Author: Adam Franklin is an avid traveler who loves sharing his experiences (and mistakes) with others. Adam funds his travels by reviewing hostels, hotels and other accommodations along the way. Click here to learn more about Thunderbird Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona.