Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.
To travel solo can lead to great discoveries and even though you might not even be trying many find missing a piece of themselves on the way.
When I was 18 years old I decided what I needed was some time off, I needed to escape the norm for a while and in less than two weeks I had booked a ticket. It was a one-way ticket and I really didn’t have any idea what was next, the only thing I did know was that the destination was Italy. I was going to work as an au-pair and stay with this family for 6 months - but - things didn’t turn out that way and in a month I was homeless. After a slight panic or two, the wheels started spinning and eventually everything worked out! My parents called me announcing that they had located their friends in Rome and that I could stay with. The stay ended up being 2 months and I loved every minute of it, thank you Gunna and Ari!
But the plan was always to be an au-pair so throughout the 2 months I looked and looked for the perfect family and in the end, found them. These two ladies are now family. These three months were unbelievable and we have met up in random parts of the world over and over after the stay.
Meeting Nagita, (the mom) was a true inspiration. She was at the time single, she traveled all over the world and no matter what came her way she just kept going and did it her way. She was the first solo female traveler I had met and I couldn’t believe her strength and bravery. Then she came to visit in Iceland and I realizes that Iceland might just be the solo traveler's paradise!
10 reasons why Iceland is the perfect place for females to travel solo to
Everyone always talks about Iceland being safe, as an Icelander, this is something I have just taken for granted but the more I stay abroad the more I realize how lucky me and my Icelandic sisters are. But, there is so much more – much more than I will be able to list, but, here it goes:
1. People don’t Catcall
We don’t even have a word for this horrible thing in Icelandic, it’s that rare. You can simply go about roaming the street without being harassed!
2. Everyone speaks English
Icelandic is not the easiest language in the world and only about 350.000 people speak it so Icelanders just HAVE to learn another language and most choose English. Also, most of our TV is in English and none of it is dubbed. We only have subtitles so we learn English from a young age so if you ever need help don’t hesitate to ask.
3. The price is what it is, nothing added
Icelanders aren’t known for trying to scheme at all, the price is what it is, tax and tip are included so you can easily do your budget calculations and they will add up!
4. Tours, endless options for tours
Renting a car is expensive, especially when you are traveling solo and it’s easy to get lost, especially when we have names like Fjaðrárgljúfur and Ísafjarðardjúp. Joining a tour will not only keep you “unlost”, you will save money and meet new like-minded friends from all over the world.
You will not necessarily need to know someone to get tips about this kind of cuisine. Veganism and Gluten-free lifestyles are getting very popular in Iceland and as with most demands in Iceland, it was quickly met. In Reykjavik, you will have a difficult time finding a place that does NOT have options for either. Further out of the city it gets a little more tricky but still, you should always find something.
6. Internet connection is probably the best in the world
Being a millennial I am very used to the internet, being without it takes away from my safety feeling. This is NOT going to be a problem in Iceland. We have 4g almost everywhere and you’ll have no problem Instagramming from a mountain top 😉
7. Sex, do whatever you want no one cares
Here, no one will judge, Iceland is very much a modern country and we are very open-minded to sexuality. My girlfriend might meet me for coffee and be dating a girl and next time dating a boy. This isn’t out of the ordinary. The only thing we ask for is that people have respect for each other and get a YES!
PS. Icelanders have hosted a SlutWalk since the first year it was held ever and the fight is very alive and outspoken. Women, men or other genders should get to express their sexuality in their own way since really, it is only their business.
8. It doesn’t have to be expensive
You just need to plan. Knowing where to eat, how to travel around and booking in advance can make your trip to Iceland so much cheaper. Just read up, explore your cheaper options, join a tour, go for an Airbnb or cheap hostel and check out the grocery shops. Also, hot dogs will go a long way!
The crime rate is low in Iceland, we have an open and friendly community, people help out and people care. If a kitten goes missing you’ll see about 1000 shares on Facebook. This is just the spirit of Icelanders. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone if you feel unsafe at any point, especially women. We got your back!
10. It’s a great place to rethink things and reconnect with yourself
Hike to a mountaintop and let is all sink in. Let all the fresh and clean air cleans your mind and body and if that isn’t enough, visit one of our pools and let the steam baths take care of it. Finding a less crowded, more silent nook is not difficult, just roam the smaller streets of the Laugavegur main road and you’ll find one within minutes.
Inside the Crystal Ice Cave
Tips for Solo traveling in Iceland – Especially when it comes to money and staying safe
What I often figure out when returning from a date with myself is that it can be expensive. There is no one to split the cost with and you have to pay for it all. Also, even in Iceland, the safest country in the world, accidents can happen so it’s important to make plans “plan for the worst hope for the best” and remember Iceland isn’t Disneyland”
Take the Bus or walk
When traveling within Reykjavík take the bus or walk. It will save you so much money and you will get to explore and get to know the city in a different way. Taxi is very expensive and even hard to come by (the tradition in Iceland is phoning one not hailing) and we don’t have Uber 🙁
Take Travel Insurance
Even if you weren’t traveling alone, travel insurance will make your travel so much safer especially if anything comes up medically. It’s important and can help you save so much money.
Carry good identification, in more than one place
This one is important if something were to happen, chances are in your favor, Iceland is an extremely safe country BUT still, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also, list an ICE in your phone. It has proven useful numerous times for me when I find a lost phone! People are kind, and most commonly return it if they can.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with a someone close and stay in touch on a regular basis
This goes for any travel, but really helpful if you get lost or don’t find a location and its getting dark. Especially if you are hiking far into the highlands or traveling off the grid for a while.
Be friendly and keep a smile on
This will increase your chances of getting to know other like-minded people when traveling, share travel stories or get the local knowledge you wouldn’t else get.
You are traveling alone, there is no one but you to carry it, it’s only smart to pack light ALSO no one will see if you keep wearing the same clothing. It’s just you.
Become a regular
Photo from Loft Hostel
Try visiting the same place to eat or have a drink a few times, the staff will notice and have a conversation about it. This also makes it more likely for you to actually get to know the locals and possible meet up later for some actual local stuff.
Don’t carry too much cash
Iceland is almost a cash-free country. It’s mainly cards, credit or debit and most places take American Express. If they charge isn’t too great for each withdrawal stick with the card, if it gets lost you can close it but if you lose a roll of cash there isn’t anything you can do.