Iceland Solo Travel = Yay!
Do you wanna travel alone, but the mere thought of venturing out your front door makes you feel all wobbly inside? Awwww, I promise you’re not weird. In fact, your fears are very common! Lots of people want to travel solo yet don’t feel as if they’re capable of managing a trip on their own.
It’s a normal worry to have, because let’s face it: solo travel is a bit of a scary thought – especially in the United States where backpacking culture isn’t as prominent as Australia or Europe.
Now I firmly believe anyone with anxiety can travel the world, but I’m also realistic (most of the time), and think first time travelers ought to wisely choose their destination. Some places require a lot more preparation than others do. You don’t want to feel even more overwhelmed than you already do.
So what is a favorite country of mine for anxious travelers? Iceland!
Yes, Iceland’s popular with tourists, maybe a little too popular, but hear me out.
Regardless of its popularity (and crowds!), Iceland is an awesome place for new and nervous travelers to begin living their dreams of roaming from country to country. Why? Because of the endless opportunities to meet people and book adventure tours, while enjoying a remarkably safe setting at the same time. There are places to stay in Iceland for every budget so don’t even let the high price tag put you off.
Trust me, if you’re scared to travel alone, Iceland’s the perfect spot to begin. My reasons below.
1. Shorter Flights from the United States.
We all know I’m scared to fly, and I make no secret of my apprehension on this blog.
Fortunately, if aviation and everything related to it give you a stomachache, then take comfort in the fact that Iceland’s a much shorter journey (at least from the US) than other European countries.
For example, from Newark Liberty, an overnight flight to Iceland only took roughly four hours and forty five minutes. You might be thinking, “uh, Rachel, over four hours is a long time. No thanks.”
However, in comparison, flying to Berlin took about seven hours. London takes about six and a half. So Iceland’s not a bad journey if you think about it. I mean, you can fly to Vegas for almost as long as Reykjavik.
Granted, I’m lucky and live in an area with several direct flights to Iceland, so while this tip may not apply to everyone, nine times out of ten Iceland will be a closer flight for my American friends than other parts of Europe.
2. Plentiful hostel options are available in Reykjavik.
A good destination for solo travelers will have plenty of hostels available for you to stay in. Don’t freak out about hostels either. People of all ages stay in them.
Not only does Reykjavik have plenty of hostels available, but they are highly rated hostels that have atmospheres specifically for socializing with other travelers. By making friends, anxious travelers will feel much less alone and maybe even create relationships to last a lifetime.
I stayed in Kex Hostel on my own visit way back in December 2015 (oh my god, was it already so long ago?). It was wonderful! Kex offered a delicious breakfast, clean and cozy bunks, and the atmosphere made it fairly easy to interact with other travelers.
However, keep in mind that even though Reykjavik has awesome hostel options, you won’t exactly encounter cheap prices.
Iceland is expensive and the big bill (unfortunately) extends to hostel prices. Still the best deal in town, though.
3. Safety cannot be emphasized enough!
Wanna travel but are scared of being mobbed? Stabbed? Killed? You don’t gotta worry here, my friend.
Iceland is literally one of the safest countries in the entire world. Seriously, violent crime in Reykjavik and everywhere else is virtually non-existent. You’re more likely to slip on ice and smack your head on the pavement than fall victim to a serious violent crime.
Let me tell you a story. The first time I went to Iceland I found it hard to believe a capital city could be so … so … safe. However, when a new travel friend and I made our way back to the hostel at three in the morning, the only danger we encountered was a disapproving older woman who told us we must get indoors before a snowstorm came. I’m not kidding.
Ultimately, the greatest danger in Iceland comes from Mother Nature Herself. Respect the weather.
If you travel in winter, darkness arrives early (think 3:30 pm.) and unsettled snowstorms strike without too much warning. Always wear layers to keep warm and snug. Frostbite isn’t pleasant.
Additionally weather easily impacts driving conditions. Take your time and keep a sheet of directions with you in case your GPS knocks out.
But violence? Against solo travelers? It’s not happening. So breathe.
Headed to the continent? Check out my 25 tips for solo female travel in Europe!
4. Day trips from Reykjavik are plentiful and easy.
Want to take some cool day trips and not worry too much about prep work ahead of time? Well, my friend, you’ve chosen the right place!
If you’re staying in Reykjavik, you have an abundance of gorgeous day trips to go on. More adventurous solo travelers can rent a car and explore, but again, if you’re really anxious about your trips, you can book any of these trips as part of a group tour.
Day trips include but are not limited to:
- Golden Circle: The Golden Circle is the most common tourist route through Þingvellir National Park. Don’t let this deter you, though. The Golden Circle is popular for a reason! Gullfoss Waterfall is absolutely beautiful, and so are all of the erupting geysers.
- The Blue Lagoon: Another popular attraction which is located close to Keflavík Airport. I soaked in the Blue Lagoon in winter. Trust me, if you’re an anxious solo traveler, nothing quite beats soaking in a hot spring surrounded by gorgeous landscapes. You can easily visit the Blue Lagoon before catching your flight back home. And by that point, you won’t wanna leave.
- Snorkeling Silfra: One of my favorite experiences in Iceland! Snorkeling Silfra is especially amazing knowing you’re floating between two tectonic plates.
- Vik and the South Coast: The black beaches are epic. You’ll seriously feel as if you’ve traveled to another planet, ready to take on aliens. The beaches at Vik are seriously so, so, so cool!
5. You can find peace in the stunning Icelandic nature.
As much as I love cities, natural wonders never fail to blow my mind to tiny little pieces. And Iceland’s rugged and beautiful nature? Oh, man, oh, man. It’s spectacular.
I know I’ve mentioned my thoughts on anxiety and nature in other posts, but it bears repeating here: when you’re relaxing outdoors, dreadful and uneasy feelings diminish.
Admire the hot springs, icebergs, lava caves, mountains, glaciers, and so much more. You’ll feel small compared to nature’s beautiful sweeping creations, but at the same time, you’ll also be so grateful that you summoned enough bravery to travel to such a magnificent country.
Not to mention … you will create the most stunning instagram feed ever and make your friends jealous of you. On a more shallow note. Haha.
Need advice? Check out Lonely Planet’s guide to Iceland.
6. Adventures? For everyone? You bet!
Finally Iceland has so many wonderful adventure tours available for visitors. Even if “adventure travel” makes you nervous, I promise you’ll find an excursion that’s fun, suits your fitness level, and makes you feel like a total tough guy.
I snorkeled Silfra and crawled through lava caves on my own trip to Iceland! And it was a blast!
Now keep in mind I’m not an adventure traveler, haha. I’m not fearless nor am I in peak physical shape. The tour guides made Silfra and the lava caves accessible and fun for everyone, myself included.
So check out some quality adventure tours on your trip to Iceland – even if you normally shy away from physical activity. Adventure-based tours tend to draw outgoing and fun people, which gives you the opportunity to make cool new friends.
7. Excellent tourism infrastructure everywhere.
Lastly Iceland has some of the best tourism infrastructure I have ever experienced in my life! Anxious travelers will be able to “turn off their brains” and allow someone else to do all of the hard work for them.
Guided tours are abundant. The tourism office is very helpful. And if you explore Reykjavik itself, all of the streets and main sites are clearly labeled so you won’t get too lost.
Now I’m not necessarily proud of it, but I only speak English fluently. In Iceland, everyone speaks impeccable English, so you will always find help whenever you need it. No language barrier worries here!
Iceland’s infrastructure makes solo travel so easy. I promise.
Have you ever traveled to Iceland alone? What advice would you give new solo travelers who want to visit this beautiful country? As always, your thoughts are much appreciated! Thanks!
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