About to head off on a school trip to Iceland? Here are a few trips to ensure your trip is a smooth one!
Travel responsibly and use common sense
Most of us choose to visit Iceland for the incredible, unique landscape. But this is a wild country, where volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and severe and fast-changing weather reign.
Heed all official advice when it’s given to ensure you stay safe and don’t risk endangering others when they try to rescue you.
Please remind your group that the aim should be to leave no trace on this wild but delicate landscape. This, of course, includes the usual things, such as making sure you don’t litter.
But it also includes watching where you step. Where there are clearly marked paths you must stick to them.
The reason for this is that the high volume of volcanic ash in the soil means it’s very susceptible to erosion - and that in turn means the flora is also highly sensitive.
Your pupils will be tempted to walk on the spongy moss that’s found all over the country – but it’s really important that they don’t because if it’s damaged it will take a long time to grow back.
You’ll also need to ensure that all members of your group dress for the ever-changing weather.
It’s said that if you don’t like the weather in Iceland, you should just wait five minutes. And it really is true – if you thought the weather was changeable here in the UK you just wait until you get to Iceland!
As well as plenty of layers and waterproofs, it’s important to remind your group that they’ll need good, sturdy walking boots, especially in winter. Their trendiest trainers won’t be any use on slippery mud or ice and may not survive the trip!
You can find more information on this by checking out our Iceland packing guide.
Tipping is never expected, as service is included in the price. In fact, it could even cause offence, as it almost implies that you don’t view your server as a professional.
If you see a tip jar, you can give a tip if you want – but this will have been put there to make a little extra cash and perhaps even to make tourists feel more comfortable. It’s certainly not expected in Icelandic culture.
Icelanders use patronymic (or sometimes matronymic) names. So, if someone is called Jón Einarsson, you should call him Jón or Jón Einarsson, but never Mr Einarsson (or Dr Einarsson etc.) – it implies that you know his father, but he is not important enough for you to remember his name.
Visiting a pool
If you visit a hot spring, swimming pool or public baths in Iceland, you will be expected to shower naked with soap before you hop in. As most of these aren’t treated with chemicals, this is really important.
You’ll also need to remove your shoes before you step in to the changing rooms. There is normally a rack provided.
Icelander speak English remarkably well, so you really don’t need to worry too much about a language barrier.
However, learning a few key phrases in Icelandic will always be appreciated.
Hello/good morning – Góðan dag
Good evening – Gott Kvöld
Good night – Góða nótt
Goodbye – Bless
Yes – Já
No – Nei
Thanks (and please in many instances) – Takk
Thank you very much – Takk fyrir
How much does this cost? – Hvað kostar þetta?
Excuse me – Afsakið
Sorry – Fyrirgefðu
I don’t understand – ég skil ekki