What to pack for a trip to Iceland

Whether you are coming from the hot or cold, Iceland averages around 33-35 F (1-2 C) in wintertime and about 54 F (12 C) in summer, so come prepared! 

Also, the island country feels like you're on a different planet and you'll soon see why, but don't worry it's a good thing! 

Travel Packing Tips for Visiting Iceland

Travel Packing Tips for Visiting Iceland

Electric Hand Warmer

Obviously, you'll want gloves too, but this handy rechargeable pocket Electric Hand Warmer can take the bite out of the cold air when you're out exploring the amazing natural sights. It also acts as a flashlight too, which can be great in the winter since the sun is only up for four to five hours. I loved having this little gadget and plan to use it for skiing too. 

Moisturizing Tissues

Two out of the three 5-star hotels that we stayed at didn't have any tissues in our room, so we had to use toilet paper. This would normally be fine, but with how much my nose was running from the cold I wished I had some tissues with lotion. Even though the fancy Retreat at the Blue Lagoon provided tissues, they were rough and aggravated my skin too 

Fair Isle Sweaters

While you'll likely buy one of Iceland's famous handmade wool sweaters, socks, or hats during your stay, it's much cheaper if you come already dressed in Islandic threads. I found these two affordable options on Amazon and loved having them on in my photos :) 

Saline or Vicks

At night, the heat in your accommodations can really dry your skin and nose. I went to bed most evenings with a very stuffy nose and wishing I had backed a saline spray or jar of Vicks. 

Heattech Pants 

UNIQLO has a HEATTECH line of clothing meant to capture your heat better so you can stay warm in the cold better. I bought their jean leggings and they did the trick.

Also,  Costco sells a similar warm pant option from 32 Degrees

Wool Socks

I soon found out that regular socks wouldn't do, not even thick ones. I had to buy wool socks at the recommendation of a local who assured me he wears the same. I gave it a shot and purchased them and they made a big difference. So, don't be like me, come prepared and get yours ahead of time.

Water Bottle

Icelanders drink straight from the tap, and often from springs and streams in nature since Icelandic water is among the cleanest and healthiest in the world. Icelandic tap water is not treated with chlorine or any other chemicals. It's simply not necessary. This is why residents will look at Americans and tourists like they are crazy buying one-use water bottles. 

Iceland is also considered one of the greenest countries due to their use of renewable energy and eco-friendly consciousness, so don't piss locals off with disposable bottles. Instead, look like a pro by traveling and refilling your own bottle. I usually always travel with a water bottle, but I didn't on this trip and regret it. 

A Good Camera / Latest Phone to see the Northern Lights

So, this came as a shock to me. The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are viewed and seen better through a camera lens or phone screen. To the naked eye it looked more like a dusting of clouds at night, but then when you hold up a camera then you'll really see what is right there in the night sky. Having the newest camera phone will help. For example, my iPhone 12 captures were nothing compared to my husband's iPhone 13 Pro. 

If visiting the Blue Lagoon:


If you have the space in your luggage, slip in some dollar-store cheap flip-flops as many guests prefer to wear them while walking in and around the water. If you would like to wear flip-flops, you may bring them with you or purchase them at the Blue Lagoon reception desk. Water shoes are allowed too, but they don't offer them for sale.

Conditioner & Hair tie 

Although this geothermal spa is rich in microalgae, silica, and minerals, it will turn your hair to straw unless you put it up and add a lot of conditioner to it before going in. I'd recommend not submerging your hair and piling it up high on top of your head. It can be especially drying for lighter hair types. It took three showers and several hair masks for mine to recover, so I wish I'd done a better job of taking care before dipping into this beautiful oasis. 

A full-piece bathing suit

While a bikini might look sexy, you might want to opt for more coverage. Also, don't back your favorite suit either unless you want it covered in Silica salt. Even once I washed it in the shower and dried it, there was still traces of white salt. Here is a list of Fashionable One-Piece Bathing Suits Under $30 available on Amazon. 

Travel Packing Tips for Visiting Iceland

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