parallax background

Tips to travel in a camper in Iceland!

Driving around the ring road through Iceland is undoubtedly an adventure. In winter it isn't popular to travel in camper because the weather is extreme. Still, it is the best time to witness the northern lights because of the long periods of darkness. We made this trip for 19 days in a camper van during March and April when, in theory, seasons are changing from winter to summer (I say in theory because the icelandic weather is a box of surprises: we drove in snowfall with incredible winds and we had total summer days).We drove around the whole coast of Iceland and we were lucky enough to find almost all roads open, resulting in an incredible experience. I want to share some tips that can be useful if you decide to travel this way and know the wonderful landscapes on your own!

1. Don't buy toilet paper. I never went to any public bathroom that didn't have.
2. Buy food in Bonus Supermarket (it's the cheapest), choose and cook practical things, especially if it's cold and you have to use the gas stove outside: pasta, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, among other things.
3. Always keep the gas tank full. Sometimes you will drive many kilometers without finding a service area, don't risk having a mishap if you can avoid it.
4. Always ask for GPS and WIFI, getting lost is very easy and although everything is demarcated, extra help is useful. If you work remotely or want to use your electronic devices, request the adapter to connect computers and cell phones.
5. Don't request extra sleeping bags, most campers have an internal heater and it's enough to stay warm.
6. Never leave the internal heater on while driving, you can damage it.

7. Many campers include refrigerators, do not buy meats or products that need to be frozen unless they are going to be eaten in the next 24 hours.
8. Always check before leaving the route conditions, weather, important alerts and auroras activity (if traveling in winter).
9. Don't drive on roads or areas that are not demarcated, nature is very fragile and you can easily have an accident. Respect the signs.
10. Park in camping areas, it is strictly forbidden to sleep in areas outside the indicated ones. They are relatively cheap and you can use facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and showers. During the winter most of them remain closed but there are others open all year round. Check on google the information with time according to the area you want to visit; and if for some reason the nearest camping area is closed, sleep there and look for nearby baths (many villages have free public bathrooms) to make your needs or public swimming pools to take a shower. I think it's obvious that Icelanders are uncomfortable seeing campers parked in front of their residences, in churches or supermarkets, especially when they have had hygiene problems by inconsiderate tourists (yes, they have signs in some parts thanking education and cooperation).

11. Don't do your needs in the open air, there are public toilets in the villages and if not, take a coffee or pay the service rental fee.
12. Be flexible with your interests, you could find closed roads and may be surprised by the hidden corners that Iceland has that weren't within your route. Go to small towns and observe the dynamics of people, stop in demarcated areas to appreciate the landscape, listen to nature, take your time.
13. The mountain passes in winter often have strong winds and snow, so visibility is poor, go very slowly and check out my Tips for Driving in Iceland during winter.
14. If you are traveling with someone be a team, especially if it's cold outside. Everything is done faster and better.
15. Communicate with your companions, you will travel 24/7 together and people always have differences. The important thing is to know how to handle a conflicts and solve them so you can enjoy the trip.

Do not argue, take the unexpected with humor.
16. If there's a good forecast for northern lights, choose a place during the day so you can sit and wait at night. Don't drive like crazy to find a better place while the spectacle is happening in front of you. Auroras can last 10 minutes or hours, nature decides.
17. If you are going to park on the road to appreciate a landscape or eat, do it in the demarcated areas. There are accidents by reckless drivers and there are designated areas in abundance just for the same reason.
18. I would not recommend driving at night, if during the day it was difficult to drive in some places, I can not imagine the enormous risk of doing it in the dark, especially in winter.

Enjoy to the fullest and try to feel comfortable with the discomfort that is part of the adventure. Not everyone can afford to live it. You can also read My experience in Iceland for 19 days!
If you have interesting or useful facts to share, let me know! I would love to hear from your experiences!


Photographer, aspiring film maker, dreamer, in love with the world!! Everything you want is on the other side of fear!!