Please sign in to post.

30 yo woman, Iceland by myself?

So I've never traveled alone, but I found a good deal on tickets to Iceland in September and am having a hard time convincing anyone to go on this somewhat last minute trip. I'm considering traveling by myself, but that will raise the costs of travel significantly. (Lodging myself, probably no rental car, or maybe just one day?) Could I entertain myself primarily in Reykjavik for a week? Would I then even see enough to make it worthwhile? My other biggest concern would just be feeling lonely, as I'm the type of person who really likes to socialize and experience things with other people. Has anyone been to Iceland? Is this somewhere you would enjoy traveling alone? Ireland last year (with two friends) was my first trip overseas and I felt like the people were so friendly, and the atmosphere of pubs were so welcoming that I wouldn't feel out of place going there alone and knowing I'd probably have 5 new friends by the end of the night. (Unlike here in the States where I would just never venture to a bar by myself.) What do you think? Take the leap? Any tips? Or should I save travel by myself for some other place? (I had also posted this in "to the North" but wasn't sure if I could reach more travelers here who had been to Iceland.)

Posted by
3696 posts

Mosty definitely go for it... you never know when the opportunity will present itself again. I have been trying to get there for some time now, but it hasn't quite fit in. I do have a friend who lives there...I taught photography and he was here in the US for a few years going to college and was one of my students. He was a very friendly, jovial guy and a few years ago he brought his wife here to the US for a visit and she was the same. So, I am hoping for an extremely welcoming people as I know they are proud of their country. I might be able to email him and see if he has suggestions for you.

Posted by
11507 posts

J ,, do you really want to go to Iceland, or it just because you found a cheap airfare? Frankly, unless you have a sincere desire to see Iceland I wouldn't bother to go there,, cheap or not. Travelling by yourself is not the problem in most places, so go for that, but I personally would find another place just because I doubt I could maintain enough interest and activity touring Iceland to not end up feeling lonely,, at least in Europe there are museums, and lots of history and historical sites. I think Iceland has some beautiful scernery,, but after that not sure how much there is to see( you probably know alot more about that then me though) Good luck no matter what you choose.

Posted by
134 posts

Oh no, I really do want to go to Iceland! But my biggest concern is that if I go alone, I think I'll be more based in Reykjavik rather than traveling the Ring Road and seeing the dramatic scenery, which is what made me want to go to Iceland in the first place. My friend's sister went two years ago, and it was her trip photos and report that made it seem like the perfect week-long get away. The airfare just happened to pop up when I was looking at Icelandair to see their US and European connections for a trip I'm taking with friends next year. Anyway, you're right, my biggest concern is that if by myself, I won't have enough to do in Reykjavik for a week without being lonely, and that I won't really get to see what I want to see in the rest of the island. There are some day tours and things I'd have to look into further to see if they would get me to where I want to be. I just got super excited about the prospect of getting to go to a country I really want to go to, with a low airfare. That, and my trip to Germany in Sept. 2013 seems so far off, and I so desperately need a vacation! :-D

Posted by
284 posts

If your true worry is passing debt to your kids, perhaps you should look into signing up with a credit union. Many credit unions will offer a free $3,000 AD&D insurance to members (they are hoping that you'll upgrade to something bigger, but $3k is $3k). :) Otherwise, if you can afford to do it with a manageable size of debt that you are willing to accept, why not? You only live once.

Posted by
134 posts

It was a tongue in cheek statement about leaving car rental debt to my kids. This trip is completely unplanned, so if we do it, we're going to do it as cheap as possible. We think we've found a guesthouse that would be our base in Reykjavik where we can cook some of our own meals, and we would probably rent a car then, as it seems the cost of tours are fairly high, or high enough that for two people, you might as well rent a car and control your own schedule and destination. And now I'm saying "we" because my best friend called me a few hours ago to say that she may be up for it, so we'll see. Thanks for all the tips and advice, I really appreciate it!

Posted by
11294 posts

I haven't been to Iceland. My sister and brother-in-law went (unfortunately before the economic crisis, when everything was still very expensive). They had a great time, but they rented a car and spend minimal time in Reykjavik. From what they saw of Reykjavik, they did not regret this decision. They found it underwhelming, and said that the main focus was drinking. They said that even I, as a city person, would be "done" with Reykjavik in two days or less. They didn't have time to do the Ring Road, but spent time east of Reykjavik (sorry - I don't remember further details). They told me that without a car (I don't drive), they couldn't have seen what they did. So, as a non-driver who doesn't drink much, Iceland is off my list. If you're willing to rent a car and get out of Reykjavik (or if you find buses will work), that's different. Just one opinion, of course - for what it's worth. If you're into the "party scene," I keep reading that Reykjavik is quite the hot spot (or at least it was a few years ago). But we're not talking cosy pubs, but hard drinking bars and clubs.

Posted by
134 posts

Hi Harold, thanks. I think you have sort of reaffirmed my decision this morning to not do it. I do drink so might enjoy one night out in Reykjavik, but not something I want to do every night or really by myself. And I do drive, and really want to get beyond the city, but I don't want to take on the cost of a rental car for a week by myself, at least not without more than three months to plan. :) Iceland sounds like an adventure best to wait and go with a friend. Incidentally, I do have a good friend from college who wants to go, Iceland is at the top of her list, but she's currently in the process of saving for a trip to Africa, so had to decline. Maybe some other time. I get the impression that Icelandair often has better fares than most other major airlines, so I think the opportunity will present itself again.

Posted by
8873 posts

and what if you get hit by a car tomorrow? Not traveling somewhere when you have the opportunity seems silly to me. Have I been to Iceland? No. On the list though. Have I traveled solo for over 30 years? Yes. Hell, spent two and years in Kearney, NE on my own. Those plains are desolate. Loved it!!! I'd grab that flight in a nano second. Each to their own.

Posted by
134 posts

Well, Claudia, yes, I could die tomorrow, but I don't need to leave my children with my debt for a week long rental car that wasn't in my September budget to begin with. :) I could squeeze in the trip if I had someone to share expenses, but on my own it becomes a bit more difficult.

Posted by
11507 posts

J ,, wise to not go into debt for a vacation,, very wise..

Posted by
78 posts

I would just go alone. I've been researching a trip to Iceland for next year to go with my boyfriend (who then two weeks ago broke his leg, so that trip is now going to have to be postponed indefinitely until he can walk again). I was planning to go for a week and stay 5 or 6 nights in Reykjavik and then 1-2 at the Blue Lagoon. Iceland is small enough that you can see most everything from Reykjavik. Google "grey line tours iceland." They have dozens of day tours that hit all of the highlights and depart from Reykjavik. They're no more expensive for one person than they would be per-person for multiple people, plus you'll be on a bus full of people with similar interests and will likely meet some friends to hang out with during the trip. Also, you then wouldn't need to rent a car. FYI - there is a small amount of rooms you can stay in that are actually AT the Blue Lagoon...they're like $200/night but it's supposed to be fantastic, so consider that between the airport and Reykjavik on the arrival or departure - grey line has car service that will take you or you could do a cab. I'd do just about anything to avoid driving in a foreign country, personally.

Posted by
284 posts

I've been to Iceland twice and you can absolutely do it alone. It is a very friendly country, but if you are really a social person this could be a good experience for being alone. The first time I was there, spent 4 days there alone before three friends joined for the last part. The 4 first days were actually the most spectacular part of that trip because of the solitude that you can experience there.
Also, Iceland is expensive, but there are things you can do to cut down on costs. I highly recommend that you check out the HI City Hostel and stay there. If you are worried about being alone, you will find plenty of people there to explore the city with, or at least talk with during the morning before heading out on your own. It is a mild to moderate walk from the city and is easy to find. There are also direct transfers from the airport to the hostel. Since you are headed there alone and you have a week, you should think about exploring another area of the country. There are buses that can get you anywhere in the country within a day and the scenery can be otherworldly. I guarantee that you never forget the experience if you take the bus through Landmannalauger to Skaftafell. It's $150 round trip for the "Circle Passport", which is a deal. When you're out in Skaftafell, the Bolti Guesthouse was were I stayed and it was decent, if basic accommodations. In September, make sure you have a warm fall/early winter jacket. Skaftafell is very beautiful and has a bunch of easy hikes, if you like to be outdoors.

Posted by
8873 posts

Did you mention it was going to be a financial burden? You asked "What do you think?" I and others answered. Is this about validation? Moving on.