When we were doing our research for this trip, I did a lot of Googling about traveling to Iceland with a baby. Pickings were slim. There's one guy who answers just about every question about travel to Iceland on those travel message boards, and he seems really grumpy. I think he even said it was "irresponsible" for someone to travel to Iceland with a baby in winter. Jeebus. Nobody needs your judgement, buddy. I think that baby's parents can decide what they and their babe can handle, not some grumpy travel forum troll. Anyway, here are my own tips for traveling to Iceland with a baby. Let's hope the SEO is good on this one!
First off, L. is 9 months old. And he's not new to traveling. By the time he is one year old, he will have taken 12 flights (10 so far). So, he's kind of a pro. He's also a laid-back, easy-going baby. He's also the cutest. So, I know we kind of have it easy when traveling with him.
We traveled in late March, and it has been an unusually cold and snowy winter (here and there). More than the temperature, it was very windy there - and that wind was bitterly cold. For evening walks, L. wore his fleece bunting AND his little fleece-lined puffy coat. During the day he was happily bundled in just his coat, a sweater and a warm stroller sleeping bag thingy (we have a BundleMe).
Let me first say I know nothing about Icelandic law. But, from what I read online, babies must always be in car seats, in cars, taxis and on coaches/buses. American car seats are apparently not allowed. However, most coach companies (including the Fly Bus at Keflavik airport and the Grey Line bus tours) have car seats that you can use. And taxis do as well, though you may need to book ahead to reserve one.
You can book your Fly Bus ticket and car seat online before you go. We didn't do that, but still had no problem getting a car seat when we got to the airport, but they only had one available. It was an infant rear-facing seat, but it didn't actually fit into the bus seats.
Here's the odd thing about the car seats. We used 3 Icelandic car seats (which were all Britax car seats). None of them really fit properly, nobody helps you install them, and it didn't seem to matter if your baby was big enough (or too big) for the seat you were given. I'm pretty sure my American car seat would have been safer.
|Facing forward, it's cool.|
We did a lot of walking around Reykjavik, and mostly used our stroller. For the record, we have a Baby Jogger City Mini, which is lightweight and folds up easily, so it's great for traveling. Some people opt to buy an umbrella stroller, but I don't need to buy another stroller when I have one that I like.
We brought our stroller just about everywhere, including going up, up, up Hallgrímskirkja church. There is an elevator up, but then there are quite a few stairs, so the stroller could only get up to a certain point - not all the way up. We just took turns going to the top.
As I mentioned the other day, we also did the 6-hour Grey Line Afternoon Golden Circle Tour. We booked a car seat ahead of our tour, and picked it up before getting on the bus. I booked the shorter afternoon tour, because I thought it would be easier with the baby. However, there is no less travel/bus time on this tour, it's just shorter stops at each of the sights. I didn't feel rushed, but if you're wondering which of the two might be better for a kid or baby, that's the difference between the two.
While we were able to stow the stroller in the luggage compartment on the bus, we only used our carrier for each of the stops. It was unusually snowy and icy when we visited, and some sights - like the Gullfoss Waterfall - have a lot of stairs. When you get to the bottom of the stairs, only a low rope separates you from certain death. I didn't go near it, because of the ice - and if you're traveling with a more mobile kidlet, be very careful.
The cafeteria at Gullfoss has changing facilities, but seemingly no high chairs.
In Reykjavik, we stopped by the little pond Tjörnin where they feed the ducks, thinking L. would enjoy it. However - being geniuses - we forgot to bring bread. Whoops. However, L. still enjoyed looking at the ducks and geese.
L. is pretty good in restaurants, but we still aimed to eat at places that seemed child-friendly. We also ate earlier than the dinner-rush. Everywhere we ate was accommodating to us, and our stroller, and as I recall, all had high chairs available.
One place that deserves special mention is the Laundromat Cafe. Leave your strollers with the others out front, but this cafe had nice breakfast, and has an AWESOME play room in the basement for kiddies. L. was too young to appreciate it, but it was a great playroom. They also had a sign that I really appreciated that said something along the lines of "go ahead and breastfeed, we likes babies and boobs". Sometimes it's nice to know you're in a safe place when you're breastfeeding.
I mentioned in my last post that we stayed at the Hotel Odinsve, which was great for us. We were on the ground floor (room 11, holla!), and had lots of space to stretch out and dump our junk. And lots of space for L. to practice his crawling.
I'm not really qualified to advise on babies and time zone adjustments. It all depends on your babe. We took a short overnight flight, where L. slept most of the way. He also slept on the 50-minute bus ride from the airport to the hotel, and then snoozed in the stroller while we explored Reykjavik in the morning. Usually he goes to bed at 7pm, and obviously he stayed up much later on this trip, and we didn't really try to stop that since it worked in our favor when the morning came round.
(Re-entry for this little space oddity hasn't been so easy though, as he has gotten so used to sleeping in bed with us that we're having to re-sleep train him and get him acclimated to crib-life again).
And there you go. Just a few tips I would have liked to have known about before we went! I hope it's useful to you!