The Road Trip Route
This Iceland road trip itinerary includes 1 day in Reykjavik, and stops along the southeastern portion of the Ring Road, and the Golden Circle completing a 7 day itinerary. The Ring Road is an 800+ mile road around the entire country, but we focused on the southeastern portion of Iceland as far as the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon bordering Vatnajökull National Park. This drive is approximately 5-6 hours depending on road conditions.
These routes are the most popular for tourists venturing outside of Reykjavik. Visiting Iceland in October affords you little or no snow, sunlight during the day, less traffic, and the possibility of viewing the Northern Lights. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is late September to late March. I was able to see the Northern lights in October of 2018, but 2019 the activity was low, and a constant cloud cover.
The most important thing you can do is start early each day. You will beat the crowds, and your lighting will be amazing for photos.
Visiting Iceland more than one time allows you to see more of this magical country, and offers better odds of experiencing the Northern Lights. The weather and lighting can dramatically change your experience.
There are many stops within Reykjavik. Reykjavik was founded in 1785, and is the capital and largest city in Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland on the Faxaflói bay. It is considered one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. We chose the following stops on arrival day, and saved the last day of the trip to return to Reykjavik before flying out. You can use the last day to explore this charming city further.
1. Perlan Wonders of Iceland - A prominent landmark in Reykjavik, and a nature exploratorium. The Perlan is a fantastic first stop before exploring the land of fire and ice. The museum is beautiful and does a great job of explaining the amazing natural aspects of Iceland's flora, fauna and unique geology. The tour takes about 2 hours, and if you spend quality time learning, you will be able to answer many of your own questions during the road trip.
2. Hallgrímskirkja - The Lutheran church founded in 1945 in the center of the city took 41 years to build. The unique design is similar to expressionist architecture. There is a 244 foot tower that offers breathtaking views of Reykjavik and the surrounding areas. The cost is 1000 Krona (about 8$). Definitely a great stop for photos.
3. The Sun Voyager - Is a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason described as a dreamboat, or an ode to the Sun. It was built to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city. The photo opps are great for the city skyline during the day and night. It is also one of the spots where we witnessed the Northern lights in October 2018.
To read more about this magical country and the best stops click the read more link!
Why do you need this essential list?
I created this list of essential travel items for women over 40 to help make your next trip more comfortable and less tedious. Recommendations for the latest and most innovative travel products to pack for your next trip. Plus... the best travel accessories including, clothes, shoes, electronics and gadgets. Hope it helps!
My Essential List of Travel Items
1. Global entry or a TSA pre-check card
This is my #1 important essential travel item. Preferably Global Entry over TSA Precheck if you are traveling internationally frequently.
In my opinion it is worth getting Global Entry even if you fly only one international flight this year. TSA precheck costs $85 and you get to go through the expedited line. Global entry allows you to go through expedited customs in the U.S. on your return trip. So for an extra $15 you will save yourself the customs process for the next 5 years (when your Global Entry expires). Don't forget about the "Real ID" license which will be required 10/1/2020 to fly domestically. You can use your Passport in lieu of the i.d., but your license is a lot more convenient to carry.
Here is helpful post on how to pack for cold weather trips
2. The Time Shifter app
I don't know about you, but Time Zone changes mess me up. I think age has a bit to do with it, and well ...hormones in middle age. Melatonin can be a great aid, but Time Shifter has worked amazingly for me. Basically you start waking up early or later (depending on travel direction) a few days prior, and then the app reminds you when to get or not be exposed to lighting. Lighting is one of the main component of sleep patterns. The app was designed by a professor of medicine and an expert in circadian disorders at Harvard Medical School. The first trip is free, and then there is an annual fee.
3. Lululemon On the fly pants
I love these On the Fly pants! They come in ankle and full length. The nice thing is that Lululemon will hem free. I have a few pair in different colors, and they are my go to flight pants.
They are more tailored than sweatpants and you'll use them at your destination as well. They are dry wicking material so they can be hand-washed and hung to dry. I never understood why Lululemon products were so expensive, but they are so worth it for comfort and price per wear. The biggest challenge is to not reach for them everyday.
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4. The Solis Hotspot
The Solis Hotspot by Skyroam has become one of my top travel gadgets. I like the Skyroam Solis because it gives you secured wifi in most places all over the world. The company has partnered with service providers in 100s of countries. You pay $10 daily and you can connect up to 5 devices to it. You can share with fellow travelers. However, it does slow it down if you have several attached. I like it because I don't have to monitor my usage compared to my Verizon International plan.
5. A waterproof fanny pack
Yes, and my next item is Birkenstock slides..LOL! Fanny packs are the most convenient way to carry my passport, cards, cameral and phone. This Hunter Fanny Pack is adorable and comes in several colors. My favorite is a 66 North Bum Bag from Iceland. It is cushioned and waterproof, but I could not get the link to work. Check it out!
Here is helpful post on how to pack for tropical weather trips
6. Arizona Birkenstock soft bed slide & Merrell fleece lined slides
All things 90s are back in style according to my daughter. For you fashion forward peeps, the Birkenstocks and the Merrells were both listed on Urban Outfitters website..so that's a relief:) I love the Birks for the Summer months and the Merrells for Colder months.
You can slip them on and off easily at the airport and they are a heck of a lot easier to put back on when you need to use the bathroom on the plane. If you are like me, your feet grow 2 shoe sizes during the flight..ewww..but that's why I recommend the next product!
7. Compression sleeves by 2XU
Now we are going into true midlife territory...with compression sleeves! But....these 2XU Compression sleeves come in pink! I like the option to wear comfier socks, so having your foot free is nice. They are a bit pricier than other options, but they come in different sizes, and I find them to be comfortable. They definitely help reduce swelling on long flights, and really any age can benefit from them.
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8. Sony A5100 mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses
I have owned the Sony A5100 for a year and I love it. It is tiny and easy to pack. It is an upgrade from a phone camera in that it has many options for interchangeable lenses. It costs about $550 for the body and the lenses are separate. I use both my iphone and this camera for different reasons.
I typically keep it set on intelligent auto when I am on adventure trips due to how fast we are moving. But..there is the option to take amazing photos on manual and use a tripod; shooting the Northern Lights, group photos etc.
9. Rovazzo ear plugs & The Calm App
These 2 items go together for me. The Calm App is a meditation app, but I primarily use it for the Sleep Stories section. You can dowload the sleep stories for flights. They are calming voices telling stories. My favorite are the travel stories. You will be grateful when you need to drown out the screams of the 2 year old behind you. These Rovazzo Earplugs are highly rated and are only $9.99 on Amazon. I use them on the plane, and in hotels & camping. A great investment.
10. A small travel pillow
I have tried all types of travel pillows, and this is my favorite. It is inexpensive, so if you forget it at the airport - not a huge loss. There is a separate pillow case that you can purchase, and I place it in a compression sack. I like using this pillow on a window seat against the wall for long flights. I always bring mine along.
11. Packable Osprey 18L rucksack
I am unable to pack my day pack with a frame and a padded belt because it takes up too much space. I love this Osprey 18L Rucksack for my adventurous trips where I'll be doing a lot of day hiking, or just want a more casual look. I can pack it in my larger personal bag and it takes up minimal space. This one is durable and inexpensive. For my International trips I use the next backpack.
12. Tumi Hudson Backpack
This Hudson Backpack is a splurge, but it is a bag I will have forever with its classic detail and quality materials. It has comfortable, streamlined styling, fits my ipad, has a protected card holder pocket, and has the Tumi Tracer feature. You can find a similar and more reasonably priced bag for International travel at stores like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx.
13. Personal bag with a trolley sleeve by Paravel
This was a great invention! You know when you have your personal bag sitting on top of your carry on bag and it keeps slipping off? Well the sleeve attaches the bag to your carryon luggage handle. This bag by Paravel works really well. It happens to be one of "Oprah's favorite things", so unfortunately it jacks the price up a lot. There is a $15 off coupon pop up during your first visit on the site.
14. Bric Carryon X Collection
This is from the X Collection by Bric. This X 21" carry on bag has spinner wheels, and most importantly is super light. Many airlines like Norwegian will check the weight of your carryon for international flights. This bag combined with the trolley sleeve personal bag by Paravel is a great combo. Both are light and offer great space. The soft-sided carryon on is helpful in regards to trunk space in a small European rental car.
15 - 18. Essential toiletries for female midlife travel
Mario Badescu Fascial Spray is my favorite. It is great in-flight for hydration and a refreshing pick me up. You can also use it as a toner after washing your face. Make sure to order the multi pack. The 2.8 oz for carry on size and the larger ones for home. I discovered Klorane dry shampoo in Italy after forgetting mine. I like that it has very little scent, it is effective and the container is smaller for travel.
The Trish McEvoy instant eye lift is amazing. This highlighter type cover up is perfect for jet lagged eyes. I look tired for a couple of days after arriving in my international destination. This is magic for brightening your eyes and making you look awake. I am a lip balm addict, but you really do need it for long flights. Have this Kiehl's Mango Lip Balm handy and close by all throughout your flight.
Here is helpful post on how to pack for tropical weather trips
19. Stainless steel water bottle from Swell
Remember to carry a reusable water bottle. Most importantly for the environment, but also to cut down on purchasing expensive bottled water at the airport. Pack it empty to go through security, and then re-fill at the water stations at the gate area. I like the Swell, because I use it for coffee in the a.m. as well. European hotels typically offer a nice breakfast. Fill up in your bottle and it will stay warm all day!
20. The Lululemon Scuba Hoodie
This hoodie is the perfect lightweight fleece, and looks a bit more tailored than the typical hoodie. I like putting my hoodie over me backwards and covering my face with the hood. Perfect for lights out with my earplugs or calm app playing.
What are some of your "Essential Travel Items"?
I used the term essential because it sounded great in the title:) Do you have some items that you travel with on a regular basis and swear by? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Road trip! through the incredibly scenic countries of Finland, Estonia & Latvia - capital cities & National Parks
We’re off to explore three countries that lie on the Baltic Sea! We’ll visit the Nordic nation of Finland and learn why it’s ranked The Happiest Place in the World! Then we’ll cross the Baltic Sea to go off the beaten path to the former Soviet Republics of Estonia and Latvia to check out these Baltic countries and their fairytale-like towns with their fascinating & beautifully preserved historic sites.
Get ready for a 10 day adventure exploring the capital cities of Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga with many other intriguing and fascinating stops along the way.
We’ll start our journey in Helsinki in the land of the midnight sun. We’ll enjoy the short but sweet season of Summer in Finland where the sun remains somewhat visible around the clock in June. We will take advantage of this soft filtered light while enjoying a traditional sauna experience with a sauna mama, riding fat tire bikes through the pristine Nuuksio National Park, exploring the charming medieval town of Porvoo, and learning more about the Russian & Swedish rule of Finland during a walking tour on the island of Suomenlinna.
Stop 1 - Helsinki - Capital of Finland
Stop 2 - Nuuksio National Park
We will continue our exploration of medieval towns by crossing the water on a luxury ferry boat arriving in the Fairytale town of Tallin Estonia. Our private guide will start our tour in Old Town Tallin - one of 200 Hanseatic cities around the World.
Tallinn was a member of the Hanseatic League of cities involved in the maritime medieval trading routes, dating back to the 13th Century. In the 19th century, Tallinn was called the Naples of Scandinavia. The Gothic architecture is reminiscent of a childhood fairytale with old town walled entrances, colorful buildings and stately church towers.
Stop 3 - Porvoo
Stop 5 - Heritage Sauna Experience
Click the "Read More" link to learn more about this amazing trip!
Travel Tips & Fun Adventures!
Hi there....Nice to meet you! I'm Judy and I love to travel to unique spots all over the World. I love experiencing beautiful places & different cultures. I also enjoy adding elements of adventure to my travels. I hope you find some tips & ideas here for your next trip.
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