Going to Iceland in February with a toddler
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jan 22, 2013 6:45 AM Last Post By: Mraugh
Jan 18, 2013 11:41 PM
Going to Iceland in February with a toddlerHi,
We have booked to go to Rejiavik in mid February (12-17) with our 20 month old son, Xander. The aim is to see the Northern Lights. We have a 2WD car booked, hopefully a Polo.
Does anyone know:
1) Will our Tom-Tom Sat Nav, advertised as covering Europe actually work?
2) Are there any particular risks with a Sat Nav in Iceland beyond engaging brain before slavishly following the directions?
3) Will 2WD enable us to get far enough from the street lights to see the Northern Lights?
4) Any other thoughts on taking a toddler to Iceland?
Many thanks in advance for any contributions.
Jan 19, 2013 9:41 AM
1I have just returned from a week's trip over new year to Iceland and I have to say I was very glad we hired a 4x4. Of course it depends on how much driving you plan to do and how far north you plan to go, as the further north you travel the worse the snow conditions can become. Whilst we were there a storm came in across the country and we actually got stuck on a mountain pass in the snow and had to be towed off by the mountain rescue team. Little did we know the road had actually been deemed 'closed' at that point due to the hazardous road conditions, but if there is still ice and snow around in February I would seriously consider a 4x4, mainly with the amount of ice on the roads. Main highways get cleared quickly and the closer to Reykjavik you are the clearer they seem to stay. After being stuck on the mountain pass we were given this website with updates of road conditions regularly across Iceland, so is always worth checking out before driving. (I wish we had been told about this before we got stuck).
With regards sat nav, we hired a Garmin from the hire company and sometimes we had difficulty entering our destination because it has to be spelt in the exact Icelandic spelling. One of the hotel staff where we stayed in Reyjavik helped us to enter the location of Pingvellir national park before we set off one day so it was programmed exactly to where we wanted to go. Saying that, I'd also get a good map so that you can constantly follow and plan your route of where you are going if the sat nav does let you down at all. I think some of our problems we had with our sat nav may have also be due to the fact it hadn't been updated in a while.
You may also find this website useful which gives information about cloud coverage so you'll be able to see when may be the best chance of seeing the northern lights.
Iceland is such a spectacular country, we are already planning on returning in the summer. Have a great trip!
Jan 19, 2013 6:32 PM
2A Tom Tom is not good and detailed in Iceland.
No, sat nav can be good, but trusting it blindly, can be fatal in winter in Iceland. You should not do as the previous poster did: Put your brain in ,,dead mode".
A 2WD is good to get you to the countryside.
It´s your baby, so I guess you know best.
Jan 20, 2013 12:28 PM
3It's worth noting that 2wd are not allowed on all roads in Iceland. I definitely wouldn't gave driven on many of the roads in the countryside with a 2wd in the snow-Icelanders may, but if you're not used to driving in snow & ice it can seem a bit hairy at times. A sat nav should never solely be relied on in any country, but to have one with a good map and good idea of the direction you're heading you should be fine- as long as the road signs aren't covered in snow as they sometimes were when we were there.
Jan 20, 2013 2:28 PM
4If someone is not aware that the old germanic letter þ (like in þingvellir) bears no relation to P but is spelled th in English (like Thingvellir ..or Thorntree!) - AND you have not checked how to/if you can change the keyboard of your GPS to the national alphabets (like you can do sooo easily on an iPhone - where - alas - the map does not work!!) and not even if th is accepted instead of þ and d instead of ð .....then you should stick to good old paper maps!!!! (or never leave UK/USA)
Jan 20, 2013 2:30 PM
Jan 22, 2013 6:45 AM
I remember the main roads being in good condition like the motorways and roads to main attractions, but if you want to go somewhere a bit more rural, It gets worse pretty quickly. You can ask for upgrade prices to 4WD if you have paid for the 2WD already, usually it´s cheaper than to cancel the booking and do a new one for a bigger car. This depends on a company though. Also earlier the better, 4WD´s tend to be sold out during winter months.
Renting the sat nav from the car rental company would also be a good idea because of the weird spelling of some (most) of the places. They might also type in and save the addresses if you ask. Also, make sure you know their road service numbers before you leave. I might be a bit too careful with the matter and I´ve only been in Iceland once but with cars and car rentals you always get what you pay for.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$43.62 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$176.92 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.45 per night