Preparing for your trip

Package: Discover Iceland’s Northern Lights

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Oct 21, 2021. Please visit http://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1663 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents & Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.

IcelandIceland Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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General Requirements & Guidelines

  • In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccination Required

For the health and safety of all our travelers and to comply with the requirements of many of our destinations, we require all travelers on this package departing on or after Nov. 1, 2021, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, except travelers who are too young to be vaccinated.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or [email protected].

Tour Only Option

If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights in and out of Reykjavik. The touring program will begin at the hotel in Reykjavik on Day 2 of the listed itinerary and end in Reykjavik on Day 9. Generally, hotel check-in time is at 3 PM and check-out is at 11 AM. 

Find out what to do in case of arrival complications.

Flights & Tickets

If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule and quote for your approval within 5 business days of your booking (or approximately 330 days prior to travel, if you booked further out than that).

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Toll-free numbers for the airlines used on this program:

  • Air Canada (AC): 888-247-2262
  • Delta Air Lines (DL): 800-455-2720
  • Icelandair (FI): 800-223-5500
  • United Airlines (UA): 800-864-8331
Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

If you selected flights with your package, you will receive your flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

If you requested flights from another city, our air specialists will research the best options and send you a tentative flight schedule for your approval, and a confirmed schedule once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Connecting Flights

If you need to fly from (and/or return to) a different U.S. or Canadian city, we suggest you request those flights from us. If feasible, we will try to book all your flights together with a single carrier or a partner network on a single ticket. This ensures that your luggage will be transferred between flights for you, and more importantly, that if there are any schedule changes, flight cancellations, or delays that affect your trip, the airline(s) will adjust your flights to ensure you have sufficient time to make your connections and/or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination. Besides offering the most peace of mind, this often yields lower fares than purchasing separate connecting flights.

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled airport transfers at the destination are included with this package. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage. 

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: In general, our tours & packages allow per person: one checked bag, not to exceed 44 pounds; one personal item such as a purse or camera bag; and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If your trip includes domestic flights within your destination and/or travel by motor coach, your carry-on should also fit should also fit under your seat or in the overhead bins on those flights or coaches.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

Your Schedule: On several days during your trip, you will drive a considerable driving distance between the various towns. Please note that while the roads in Iceland are generally in very good condition, there are some roads that are gravel, which may cause some bumpy moments. For the most part, you’ll enjoy the ride and the scenery as you travel. 

Photography: Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Regardless of where you are in the world, you should always ask permission to photograph the locals or their animals, and make sure you have some small change in just in case payment is expected for the photo opportunity. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities, but you might end up paying a premium. It’s better to bring a spare memory card, saving both time and money.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Accommodations

The hotels throughout Iceland range widely and vary depending on location. Hotels outside major cities, such as Reykjavik, resemble boutique-style hotels across most of Europe. They are clean, comfortable, and offer modern amenities. When you drive through the beautiful, green countryside of Iceland, you will notice a dearth of the skyscrapers, high-rise buildings, and shopping malls typical in the U.S. Reykjavik is a fast-paced, modern city, whereas the rest of the rural countryside lives at a slower, more relaxed pace. 

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

Icelandic cuisine is influenced and inspired by the ingredients found in nature, such as its fresh seafood, the free roaming lamb and cattle, and leafy greens. Because Iceland is an island, the people naturally relied on the ocean for their main source of food for thousands of years. Fishing is a dominant aspect of Icelandic culture, so you can expect to see this influence in their food. There may be limited options for vegans and the less common diet restrictions outside major cities as many parts of these countries are still heavily dependent on farming, fishing, and cattle breeding.

Non-included Meals: The average cost for lunch in Iceland (not including drinks) is about $25 - $30 per person, and the average cost for dinner is about $40 – $50 per person. Breakfast prices are usually cheaper than lunch and dinner while in Iceland. Your hotel and major restaurants accept credit card payments for non-included meals. 

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling through Iceland in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in having a chance to show foreign visitors their country. Tipping is not customary in Iceland, as a modest service fee is normally included in the price. However, a small gratuity to your driver, guide, hotel, and restaurant staff will be greatly appreciated. If your guide, driver, and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. As always, gratuities are an individual expression of thanks and should be based on the level of service provided. The recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Driver/Guide: $7-10 per person per day
  • Restaurant and beverage staff per meal (lunch/dinner): $3 per person per day 
  • Restaurant staff at the hotel: $1-2 per person per meal
  • Housekeeping: $1-2 per person per day
  • Hotel/lodge porters: $1 per bag per lift upon arrival and departure

Independent Activities

You can leave the group and explore on your own at any time; however, should the group have planned activities for that day, please make sure to inform your Tour Guide in advance. There is NO refund for unused group arrangements. We recommend that you ask the front desk for a business card of the hotel with the address and local phone number. Or take the name of the hotel and phone number with you so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. Your hotel staff will gladly assist you with these arrangements.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

IcelandIceland Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Reykjavik
Population:  330,823
Currency: Icelandic króna (ISK)
Languages: Icelandic, English and Danish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT (UTC 0)

Weather

Iceland has mild winters due to the warming effect of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Iceland enjoys a maritime temperate climate and the winters are often compared with those of New England. Iceland is the type of place where it's not unusual to get rained on and sunburned at the same time. The summers are usually cooler and more temperate than elsewhere at the same latitude.

What to wear

Icelandic winters are characteristic of very unpredictable and changeable weather, with daytime temperatures ranging from 20-40F. We strongly suggest using the three-layer method and bringing layers, such as t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and a jacket that protects against wind and rain. Dressing in layers is best as you can easily remove or add some clothes throughout the day. Evenings and mornings can be chilly, so pack warmer layers such as a light fleece or a wool sweater. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, bring both pairs. Since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we recommend that you carry a small folding umbrella (or poncho) and take with you a jacket or sweater. Finally, remember that Iceland is casual, and comfort should dictate your wardrobe for the tour. 

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency in Iceland is the Icelandic krona. Hotels and many stores throughout Iceland accept major credit cards. However, for "street shopping" or shopping in the countryside, you will need local currency. 

You can exchange your cash at the airport and local banks. You may also use the ATM machines to get cash in local currency. Credit cards are the most convenient way to pay for items you purchase as you travel. Be sure to call your credit card providers to let them know you will be traveling abroad, the places you’ll be visiting and the dates of your trip. This is important for your own protection. We suggest that you bring along cash in small denominations and we highly recommended that you bring crisp, new bills. Travelers’ checks are not accepted in Iceland.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Typical Icelandic souvenirs are handmade hats and gloves. Icelandic sheep are a unique breed that produce a soft and durable wool that is soft and warm. Iceland has a huge number of excellent little craft shops that sell products from musical baskets and wonderful porcelain sculptures to paintings, glasswork and jewelery. 

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volt. Plugs C & F. We recommend that you bring an adapter/converter along with you as not all hotels will have 110V (A&B plugs) outlets.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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