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APRIL'S TRAVEL TIP TOPIC: Travel Insurance
Unlike the US and most European countries, Iceland’s electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz AC and work off a rounded, European two-pin plug. An adapter is necessary and can be found in most duty-free shops in the airport, Brookstone, Bed Bath & Beyond, or in most hardware stores or pharmacies such as Walgreen’s. Check if the label near your appliance’s power cord shows 100-240 v and 50-60 Hz. If it does not, you will need a “step-down transformer” (also called a converter). Please see our Adapter/Converter blog by clicking here!
Half the year there is a 5-hour time difference between Iceland and EST. 12pm New York = 5pm Iceland. Iceland does not observe Daylight Savings Time, at which point there is only a 4-hour difference.
Children under 6 years of age are not permitted on luxury escorted tours.
“If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes” is often said about Icelandic weather, meaning it changes frequently! Most visitors can expect a mix of sunny and cloudy conditions as well as rain and wind, sometimes in a single day. In winter, snow comes and goes. June, July, and August are the warmest months, with temperatures in the 50’s and you’ll have the most daylight (18-22 hours) from May to August. In the winter, expect only 4-7 hours of daylight and temperatures hovering in the 30’s during the day and 20’s at night.
Check out Iceland’s average monthly temperatures below:
Depending on your cell phone plan/carrier, your cell phone will work in Ireland and the UK but will come with connection fees and minute charges. Digital Phones with GSM capabilities and an International roaming agreement will work but we recommend you contact your mobile company to see if they have a specific plan available or it will be expensive. Local cell phones are available for rent through Tenon Tours.
As a Group Leader and Organizer you will be the liaison between the travelers and our Groups Department. So to get started on the research here are some of the details you will need:
What country would you like to visit?
When were you thinking of traveling?
How long would you like your trip to be?
How many people would you like to bring?
Does you group have a specific theme or interest, e.g. Golf, Music, Historic sites?
Will you be traveling together from one locations or from all around the US?
Need some ideas? View our sample itineraries.
The next step is to contact us to discuss the type of itinerary you would like and to receive a customized quote
U.S and Canadian citizens may enter Iceland without a Visa for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. Iceland is a member of the Schengen cooperation which exempts travelers from border controls traveling between 26 EU and EFTA countries. A uniform Schengen visa issued by one of the Schengen states is valid for travel within the whole Schengen area. (http://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/) If you hold a passport from a different country or plan on staying for more than 90 days, please check with your local consulate.
A group can be any size, however most group discounts start with a minimum of 10 people. The more people in your group, the lower the price will be per person.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. Click here for more information.
It is never too early to book a group. Keep in mind that the further out from the departure date the better chance you have of reserving the perfect hotels, tours etc. If you are planning to travel between the months of May and September we highly advise at least 10-months notice to if you are set on securing particular properties. Any group that wants to book and travel inside 90 days would have to pay in full to secure the booking.
If you are renting a car, a valid credit card (Visa, Mastercard or American Express) in the driver’s name will be necessary in order to rent the vehicle. This is necessary for the security deposit taken as you pick up the car. Visa and Mastercards are the most widely accepted credit cards internationally. Rental car companies (as well as other vendors) do NOT accept Discover credit cards, so be sure to have a secondary major card if you primarily use Discover in the US.
The average group size varies depending on the trip that is selected. Most of our land journeys average 20 to 40 guests.
An escorted tour includes an experienced Tour Guide or Driver Guide that stays with your group throughout your whole tour. Depending on where you are traveling you may be required to have a Driver and a Tour Guide. In Ireland and Scotland most tours are operated by a Driver Guide who acts as both.
You will work with your Personal Travel Specialist to prepare a preliminary itinerary for your chosen dates including your transportation and accommodations in order for a quote to be provided. Upon approval of the group tour details and pricing a deposit is required to secure the land components. You will also receive a payment schedule so you will know when all deposits & balances are due. If you would like us to hold group airfare for you we would also require a per seat deposit (depending on the airlines deposit terms) to hold the airline reservation.
It is extremely safe to drink the fresh local water in Iceland (it’s actually some of the cleanest in the world!). In fact, we recommend you bring an empty water bottle with you as you travel, to help avoid the cost of expensive bottled water.
We suggest checking with the front desk at the hotel or asking locals for recommendations based on what you’re looking to eat and how much you want to spend. Iceland is a very friendly and hospitable country when you are looking for suggestions or are needing questions answered.
Organizing your own group to travel gives you the flexibility to set the pace of the tour to match your interests and budget. It also allows you to take advantage of groups discounts in hotels, on tours and with airfare. You can reserve the land and air space with a minimum deposit to allow you time to promote the trip and gather participants.
Airlines require that you have at least 10 people traveling on the same itinerary in order to be considered a group. Your per seat deposit will hold airline reservations and guarantee your base fare until 90-120 days prior to departure depending on the airline. Tax and fuel are subject to change until paid in full and tickets are issued.
Wheelchairs and certain types of motorized scooters can be accommodated on some luxury escorted tours. It is best that you inquire for the specific journey you are interested in. As a general rule, wheelchairs and motorized scooters are not accepted on luxury escorted tours. The international community does not adhere to the same accessibility standards that hotels, restaurants and public buildings do in the United States. That combined with tour itineraries that might require a considerable bit of walking in old historic city sections, in and around attractions, over cobblestone streets, up hills and climbing staircases make wheelchairs impractical to bring.
Your travel documents will be issued via EMAIL 7 to 10 days prior to departure. Documents will include your assigned hotel accommodations, transfer details and times, vendor contact information, emergency numbers and more. All you need to do is print out all of these documents and take them with you. You may forward them to friends & family to share your trip details and contact information.
Escorted Tours: Travel documents for escorted tours are mailed and will be delivered via USPS (sent from our office in Massachusetts) and should arrive approximately 7-10 days prior to departure.
Tenon Tours accepts checks and the following credit cards: VISA, Mastercard, Discover and American Express
Many times you will be asked if you want to be charged in your home currency OR the local currency. We suggest choosing the local currency of the country you are visiting and in that case your bank/credit card will determine the exchange rate (which may be more favorable for you, especially if they have no International Transaction Fees). If you choose your home currency then the establishment you are in will determine your exchange rate (note: you may also still be charged an International Transaction Fee even if it is your home currency).
In Iceland, almost all consumer products are subject to Value Added Tax — VAT, for short. VAT is a “hidden tax” — already added into the purchase price of any souvenirs bought on a visit. Americans are entitled to get a refund of VAT paid. In order to get this refund you have to get a VAT-refund check at the time of purchase from each store in which you shop and present it at the Reykjavik refund center or the airport before you depart. This is very important! Unlike business travelers, tourists aren’t entitled to refunds on the tax they spend on hotels, transportation and meals. The refund can be given in cash. But as a guarantee, one needs to present a MasterCard or a Visa which is valid for a minimum of three months.
The local currency in Iceland is the Icelandic Krona. Current exchange rates can be found at xe.com.
Banking hours are generally Mon-Fri 09:00AM-4:00PM
If you would like to have cash upon arrival we recommend exchanging around $100 before you leave. You can then withdraw money from local ATMs as needed, or use your credit card (Visa & MasterCard recommended). The ATMs will give you the bank’s best exchange of the day. You may also exchange a small amount of money at your hotels. We do not advise exchanging a lot of cash at the airports as they generally give you a less competitive exchange rate. Traveler’s Checks are NOT accepted at most locations outside of airports so we do not recommend them.
It is suggested, but not mandatory. Most banks have adapted to this technology and have been reissuing cards with a chip. If you have not received one yet you may call your bank to request one. These Chip & PIN cards help protect against fraud by requesting a pin to be entered to complete a transaction rather than the standard signature we have been used to. The main time it may become an issue if you do not have a chip is at unattended kiosks such as train stations or gas pumps where there is not a person to physically process the card for you. If this is the case we would just advise to find an ATM to withdrawal cash and pay that way.
It varies greatly from one person to another, but we recommend budgeting $100 or about 13,000ISK (Icelandic Krona) per day to allow for lunch, dinner, drinks, and other expenses.
Food/Drinks: Tipping is never expected, but is appreciated! Some restaurants will include a service charge in the bill. If the service charge is not included it is customary to leave 10% depending on how you valued the food and service.
We work directly with the suppliers on the ground and as a result have competitive contracts and experience in negotiating special rates with vendors. We also stand Price, Product and Policy Promise to make sure you receive the best deal and best service.
Of course! In fact, we encourage it! Your driver will be an amazing source of knowledge for the area you’re touring, so be sure to pick their brain as much as possible!
If you arrive to pick up your car before your confirmation time and a car is available they will let you pick it up early. If you pick up the car early your return time will then change to the same time on the day you need to drop it off as car rentals are valid for a 24-hour rental period.
Generally there will not be a Tenon Tours representative at the airport upon your arrival unless you booked a private taxi. Please follow the directions you were given on your transfer vouchers and/or travel documents in order to locate your appropriate transportation company (car, bus, private taxi).
You may think that the main idea you need to keep in mind when driving in Iceland is to stay on the left side of the road. That’s important, true, but there are a few other details to remember when you’re doing a road trip in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland and the UK.
Automatic vs. Manual. Many overseas rental agencies charge a premium for automatic cars. If you’re used to driving an automatic at home, you may not want to try to save a few bucks by renting a standard. Remember it is better to be safe and comfortable than to save some money and struggle through your trip with a transmission you aren’t used to.
Park the cell phone. In Iceland, driving while using a handheld cell phone is illegal, and fines are steep.
Remember that every drive takes longer than you’d think. Major high speed highways don’t exist in Iceland as you may be use to in North America. Roads are small, often windy and can often be closed due to weather. On the bright side, most of the scenery you could be crawling past is very pretty.
4×4 can be mandatory! Depending on the time of year you are traveling, a 4×4 SUV vehicle may be mandatory. Self-drive tours are often only booked May through September but we understand that some people would like to travel in the winter months. While that isn’t a problem, a 4×4 vehicle will be required due to the unpredictability of the weather.
Although tempting to find that remote beautiful view, off road driving is illegal in Iceland! Safety is the most important thing, as you never know how unpredictable the weather is and how well your car can handle the roads (or lack there of) of where you are traveling.
Budget wisely for gas. You think your gas prices are high? Keep in mind that the price listed is per liter! (Roughly 4 liters make up a gallon.)
Look before you pump. Diesel is more widely available in Iceland than in the US/Canada. Make sure you’re pumping the right fuel before popping that nozzle in the tank. Damaging the car due to wrong fuel is not covered by insurance!
Don’t rush! Allow yourself time to get lost, and you’re almost certain to discover a special volcano, pub or puffin nest far off the beaten track.
Bad weather is always a possibility. It is important to stay aware and up to date while traveling. The best way to stay informed is to check Road Conditions and weather in advance by checking http://www.road.is/ or to call 1777 (if you have problems use +354 522 1100). Remember, if you ever get stuck an emergency situation, dial 112.
Yes! For each door-to-door transfer with a driver or day tour with a tour guide (such as on our optional tours) it is customary to tip between 2 to 5 Euros or Pounds per person, per transfer based on the service and information provided by your driver and/or guide. No tipping is required for drivers of scheduled/public transfers.
Private chauffeur drivers are required to follow restrictions for the amount of hours per day they may drive, breaks they must take, and the amount of days they may work in a row. Drivers are legally allowed to work for only 8 consecutive hours per day of transferring and touring. Driver are also required by law to build in certain break times to their day which means your itinerary will also need to allow for this. For more details on restrictions on the private drivers, download our 10 Tips for Hiring a Private Chauffeur Driver Guide here!
Hopper tours, depending on your country and itinerary, utilize a combination of transfer types including door-to-door transfers with a driver, trains and/or scheduled bus.
For scheduled Hopper tours with guaranteed door-to-door transfers between towns, vehicle types will vary depending on group size. While we don’t retain a single vehicle for the duration of your trip, we do work with several local transportation and tour suppliers to ensure comfortable, hassle-free transfers and sightseeing excursions. The type of transfer may vary and is subject to change based on the total number of travelers traveling to/from the same destination on any particular date.
Airport transfers to/from the airport are provided via scheduled service shuttle buses to the city-center. Upgrades are available for door-to-door transfers with a driver.
If customizing your own Hopper we can help you set up various types of transportation between towns including a private driver, train and/or scheduled coach bus transfer. When utilizing scheduled transportation the proximity from pick-up and drop-off points to your assigned hotel may require up to a few block walk or hiring a taxi at your own expense. Maps of locations will be provided. Upgraded pricing available for all private transfers, please contact your travel specialist.
Yes. In Iceland, the driver must be 21 years old to rent a regular car and 23 years old to rent a 4WD vehicle. This varies from company to company. There is no maximum age.
The Super CDW is additional insurance you can add to your regular CDW for an extra cost. The Super CDW insures against the CDW deductible amounts. Tires, wheels, fuel contamination and loss of keys are not covered by premium. If not included in your quote, daily cost is approximately €/£12.00-22.00 EUR depending on car category.
Your car quote includes all compulsory insurance – Collision Damage Waiver insurance (CDW with an excess/deductible), theft protection insurance (TP), sales tax (VAT), unlimited free mileage, third party liability insurance, one driver (unless otherwise noted), airport surcharge, free road map of Ireland or the UK and 24-hour peace of mind break down coverage. We highly recommend that you read through all of the terms and conditions of the car rental so you are familiar with what is included and what is not, as they will present you with several options upon pick-up (increased insurance, GPS, etc.).
Many credit cards offer additional insurance coverage, however it is VERY important to note if the country you are visiting is included. Ireland in particular is often an exception to this additional insurance coverage. If you’re one of the lucky few where Ireland is covered, all we need is proof of coverage from the credit card company to receive to book.
Yes! Your driver, while they may have accents native to their respective countries, will always speak English.
Most hotels have modern accessories, although specific offerings vary by hotel. We recommend you check the hotel website for details pertaining to complimentary and optional inclusions and services.
If you take prescription drugs, ensure that you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip and always carry them in your hand luggage. If you rely on medication, glasses, contact lenses or dentures, it is a good idea to carry a prescription with the generic drug name so it can be filled abroad. Iceland has medical facilities of similar standards to North America and no special vaccinations are necessary to travel here.
Typically, check-in is 3:00pm, although many places will allow you to check in earlier once rooms have been cleaned and inspected. Luggage can be stored in a secure area for early arrivals.
With a commitment to immersing travelers in the culture of each city, Tenon selects accommodations that enhance a traveler’s experience. Accommodations are carefully chosen based on location and quality in an effort to meet our travelers’ expectations and ensure satisfaction. Hotel locations provide easy accessibly to attractions, restaurants, pubs and public transportation. Whether it’s a boutique hotel or a large chain property, our hotels will always have a quality rating of three or four stars and a TripAdvisor rating of three or higher. Tenon offers a wide variety of hotels in each of the cities on our Hopper Tours. Hotels are subject to availability and the discretion of Tenon Tours. Hotels of the same class not listed below may also be substituted. Travelers’ exact hotel assignments will be issued with travel documents 7 to 10 days prior to departure.
Comfortable, casual clothing is best, and no matter what time of year, we recommend dressing in layers! You can never go wrong with a mix of casual and comfortable, as well as a bit dressier if you plan to visit one of the nicer establishments. A wind and rain-resistant jacket is a must; and a fleece jacket, scarf, and sunglasses are a good idea all year round. In the winter, thermal underwear, gloves, hats, scarves, and a thick jacket or coat are essential. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes (or boots in the winter) and swimwear for visiting one of the heated pools or geothermal spas! Check out the official Tenon Tours Iceland Packing List below:
To ensure the comfort of all our passengers, we do not offer the option of sharing service for solo traveling passengers on escorted tours. We do, however, offer a single supplement whereby you will have the privacy of your own room.
For tour options specific to solo travelers and/or roommate matching options please see our solo / singles travelers options here.
In some instances for international travel, you are allowed one piece of checked luggage and one carry on, although many airlines are even charging for the first checked bag now. For example, WOW Airlines, a popular choice for Iceland, allows only a small carry-on and requires you to pay for extra carry-on and checked bags as well. It is best to check with your scheduled airline for specifics regarding size, weight, and number of items allowed.
We recommend purchasing travel insurance. Tenon Tours offers a tour protection plan to cover your trip plus airfare – whether you purchase airfare through us or not. Travel insurance is affordable and gives you the extra peace of mind should anything happen during your trip. For specifics on our travel insurance coverage, contact your personal travel specialist.
Yes! All US citizens must have a passport that remains valid 6 months beyond the dates of your trip. All non-US citizens must check with their local consulate for documentation requirements. If you do not have a passport, one may be obtained through your local post office, which also offers expedited processing. ALL NAMES PROVIDED TO TENON TOURS MUST BE AS THEY APPEAR ON YOUR PASSPORT (first and last names only). You may want to make a copy of your passport and leave it at home with a friend of family.
Due to motor coach space limitations, most luxury escorted tours only allow for one normal sized suitcase per individual. Remember, a wise traveler packs light! We also encourage just one carry-on bag per individual (for carrying items that might be needed during the day’s sightseeing excursions or camera/video equipment). Dimensions for carry-ons should not exceed 17” x 12” x 10”, allowing it to fit under the seat or in the overhead rack of most motor coaches.
Play it safe and plan to arrive 2.5 to 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure time to allow for any unexpected delays in traffic, check-in, security, or long lines at the newsstand!
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