I am starting my trip report before my first flight. Partly to use up some excitement energy and partly as a way of being able to come back later and compare expectations with what really happens. At the beginning it may be too detailed to be useful/entertaining for readers and I might get tired before the end of the trip and start abbreviating things.
I was planning a RS week long city tour of Paris, followed by a week on my own in September, 2020. Delta refunded my flights. I was too optimistic and bought flights for my son and I to do a Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague trip in May, 2021. When Iceland opened up to travelers, my son and I decided this would work for us. I was able to change our tickets to Iceland in first class and we got $500 e-credit we can hopefully use for tickets next year. We both enjoy going to historical places best, but are also looking forward to all of the fantastic landscapes in Iceland. And of course, Iceland has a unique history of its own. The other bonus is that I like to go to a land where I share genes with the locals. I have a significant amount of Norwegian/Icelandic heritage.
I really love the combination of the structure of a RS tour combined with planning out possibilities for the free time and for pre and post tour travel. However, trying to figure out how fast to travel the ring road and to book 14 nights of hotels in a relatively short amount of time seemed daunting. So I hired Hidden Iceland. Scott made all of our hotel reservations and some tour reservations based on what we were interested in and where specifically we wanted to go. (We are spending 3 nights in the Westfjords). I don't now if he never sleeps, but if I email him in the evening EST, he still gets back to me right away. Yes, this is more expensive, but I am working full time and am happy to pay for a good service. Our itinerary is printable (I didn't print it) and available in an app called Trip Creator. It is customized for us. There is an overview that lists each day and the highlights, a map that shows directions for each day, and a detailed itinerary. Of course, we don't have to follow all of the suggestions, but there are some specific tours we signed up for and we will need to be on time for those. The suggestions are listed with suggested times to give us an idea of how long things might take. The reference numbers for the tours, the rental car, the car ferry, and the hotel reservations are all listed there. Once I received the itinerary (about 3 1/2 weeks prior to the trip), I got out my google maps, the internet and my RS Iceland guide and went to work looking at the suggestions and finding other possible stops along the way. So even though a lot of work had been done for me, I still got the satisfaction of a lot of planning.
We decided on a 4WD station wagon. This was a compromise between an expensive SUV and a 2WD car. I made this decision with Scott's input. My personal requirement is to be able to use my phone for internet and for calls. I am happy to spend the $10/day that Verizon charges me. My son also wants the use of his phone. We decided to rent a Trawire pocket wifi. It has very good reviews and is likely to work everywhere we are going, even while hiking. We can both use the wifi. I will use wifi calling and texting and internet use. If we do separate activities, I will send the box with my son and I will use cellular data during that time. We will pick up the device at the Orkan gas station near the airport. They give you an envelope to mail the device from the airport at the end of the trip.
We are taking carry on only. I mentioned to my son that maybe we should check one small bag since we will need more clothing and we will have a car, but now he has caught the carry-on only bug. I am packed except for the last minute essentials. I am carrying an Osprey 46L bag. I don't pack it full and cinch it down, so it is about 40L. My son has a 40L Osprey Farpoint. Cont'd.