If I have only one thing to recommend when traveling to Iceland, it’s to rent your own car instead of depending on giant tour groups. Most of the sites and scenes you will be visiting will be accessible via Iceland’s Ring Road (or Route 1). This is a paved, safe road and never far from some sort of contact. The cell service is excellent throughout the country, so as long as you stay paved, you’re good to go!
We recommend getting 4WD snow tires & portable WiFi. We love Blue Car Rentals.
Important to note, however, is the TIME OF YEAR you choose to travel. If you follow our lead and travel during the spring, fall or winter, you run the risk of hitting some dicey weather (this is true anytime in Iceland but the shoulder months and winter run the greatest risk of insane wind, snow and with limited daylight in fall/winter, driving in these conditions can be dangerous). With that in mind, we recommend you download the following apps on your phone: Vedur, and SafeTravel Iceland 112.
Vedur gives wind reports and travel warnings with push notifications.
112 is a way to register your car with GPS so that if you happen to get stuck, rescue services can easily locate you.
As stated before, Iceland has amazing cell service and you will have access to Google Maps wherever you are going, so it’s always a good idea to play it by ear and base your trips on the weather and what is near because you will ALWAYS find something awesome to check out.
A note about Icelandic Mud: It’s NASTY and frighteningly close to quicksand. Here is a video of some SUPER STUPID dudes dancing on the mud. Note that the more contact you have with the mud, the more you sink in (so these guys have it coming…do NOT do that on your own trip!!!). So imagine a mud road that has been driven to bits…without 4×4 there is NO WAY you will get your car out without a tow. Even with 4-wheel drive, there is a good chance you can get stuck. And while cell service is amazing, it could take HOURS to get rescued! So stay off roads marked “closed” and no matter what, DO NOT go off-roading!!!
And if you want to be extra prepared, read this spot-on article about other dangers you may encounter: “Things that can Kill You in Iceland“. As you know, safety is no accident!