Luxury Travel Hacks

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Iceland Road Trip from Akureyri to Reykjavik - Luxury Travel Hacks

Iceland Road Trip from Akureyri to Reykjavik

An Iceland road trip from Akureyri to Reykjavik is the perfect way to spend your time in this stunning country. Driving in Iceland is no mundane experience, it’s pact with relaxing hot springs, waterfalls cascading from mountain sides, and glaciers melting off into the ocean.  If your timing is just right, you can even catch the northern lights dancing. We were lucky enough to experience all of this during our 8 day stopover in Iceland. Here’s the simple itinerary that we followed.

Kiwi Campers & Happy Campers NZ

We spent five incredible weeks travelling New Zealand in a rented self-contained Volkswagen Transporter from Kiwi Campers and Happy Campers NZ. It was an unforgettable experience and we often joke that New Zealand has ruined the rest of the world for us. We were really happy with the VW Transporter although we had some issues with Happy Campers Auckland which we’ll discuss below.

The Best Motorhome & Campervan Hire - New Zealand - Luxury Travel Hacks

Comparing the Best Motorhome & Campervan Hire – New Zealand

The perfect way to get around and see the island of the long white cloud’s best attractions is by motorhome or campervan hire. New Zealand is an incredible country to road trip when renting a motorhome or campervan. You will have the freedom and flexibility to see spectacular sights you might not otherwise see if you travelled by bus or train. But before you head off to live life on the road, you need to know the basics about hiring a campervan or motorhome in New Zealand. Don’t worry, we have you covered as road tripping is one of our favourite luxury travel hacks!

An Epic Adventure on the Diamond Princess_ Cruise Japan - Luxury Travel Hacks

An Epic Adventure on the Diamond Princess – Cruise Japan

Cruising can be a fantastic way to travel anywhere in the world, and the Diamond Princess makes Japan all the more accessible by boat. With a fantastic itinerary, amazing onboard dining and entertainment, and last-minute deals, this Princess Cruise may be the perfect way for you to see the lesser-known parts as you cruise Japan!

Adelaide to Melbourne - Great Ocean Road Itinerary - Luxury Travel Hacks

Adelaide to Melbourne Road Trip with a Great Ocean Road Itinerary

Our recent cross country adventure from Adelaide to Melbourne before continuing to Sydney sees us combining multiple luxury travel hacks. These include the road tripping type of travel, utilising Airbnb and the splitting of costs with a group of friends. These three luxury travel hacks will see us save substantial money and allow us to travel in a more luxurious way while road tripping.

Why I Hated My Antarctica Holiday - Luxury Travel Hacks

Why I Hated My Antarctica Holiday

Why I Hated My Antarctica Holiday - Luxury Travel Hacks

Updated May 2019

Antarctica, the 7th continent! I have no doubt it is on lots of people’s bucket lists. Am I right? Is an Antarctica holiday on yours? I am assuming it is otherwise you would not be reading this. However, before investing thousands of dollars have a quick squiz at this article on why I hated Antarctica. It could help you in your decision making to visiting Antarctica.

Wanting to save money on your Antarctic Journey? Check out Last Minute Antarctica Cruises – Everything You Need To Know

Table of Contents

An Antarctica Holiday - Why is it so Bad?

Smooth Sailing

Why I Hated Antarctica - Smooth Sailing - The Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo

Everyone wants to experience the Drake Passage! I heard tales of how rough it can be, how everyone is sea sick and to me, it sounded like a real adventure. What did we get, you ask? Something, known as the Drake Lake. Flat, calm, next to no wind and smooth sailing the entire way to and back from Antarctica. Talk about a disappointing Drake Passage experience.

Sunshine

Why I Hated Antarctica - Sunshine - The Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo

Sunshine, bloody sunshine everywhere while in Antarctica. I am so lucky I had sunscreen and sunnies on hand for other travels. I can tell you I would have been burnt to a crisp if I had not had these. No one wants the sunshine in Antarctica; you are supposed to be a cold continent…..shame on you.

The Crowds

I am sure you have heard that only 100 people can be on Antarctica at one particular point at one time. I thought beauty no crowds here plenty of space it is going to be amazing! BUT, no one mentioned the PENGUINS in Antarctica. You would not believe how many there are, they are literally everywhere and to make matters worse there are rules. You must give way to penguins, GIVE WAY I tell you! Sometimes when they are running down their penguin highways, yes they have highways, they decide to stop right in front of you. At this moment you must stop and wait for them to move. Talk about invading your personal space and wasting your time.

Disruption of Peace

Why I Hated Antarctica - Disruption Of The Peace - The Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo

You are taking a leisurely walk around the ship on the promenade deck when BOOM, a whale annoyingly pops up spraying water. In more extreme cases breaching may occur, and obviously, this is disturbing you from your walk. Also, a random piece of ice may fall from a glacier causing a cracking sound followed by a boom. Totally not what I signed up for when cruising in Antarctica.

Atrocious Activities

I mean no one would ever in their right mind want to kayak in Antarctica, would they? Not only do whales disturb the peace, penguins again can get in your way and then God forbid there are the obnoxious seals. These animals may either wreck your photos by lazing around on icebergs or worst still again disrupt peace like the whales by popping up whenever they god damn fell like. And then there is the ice, a thin layer of ice on top of the water that is there every now and again that slows the movement of your paddle. I mean how inconvenient! Oh, and you know how I mentioned about the sun! Well, when that reflects off the waters and gets in your eyes there really is nothing more to say. Avoid kayaking in Antarctica at all costs; you won’t enjoy it.

Scenery, I’ve Seen Better

White, white and a bit more white! If I wanted to see so much white, I could have hung out in Lapland, Finland, couldn’t I? I believe that is a white place and also much easier to travel to than Antarctica. I mean it gets boring seeing snow, ice, enormous glaciers, monstrous mountains, gigantic icebergs because they are all white. No colour at all and therefore making Antarctica is a bland and boring place to visit. Ok, ok to be fair there is a little bit of blue too but again….boring colour.

And Then There is The Ship

Enjoyed the #Garibaldi #fjord today from the comforts of our #zodiac that magically appeared out of the #MSMidnatsol, @hurtigruten

A post shared by Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo (@ljojlo_trvlblog) on

Why would anyone want to go on a ship to Antarctica? The food is second class with hordes of seafood, cheeses, meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta and sauces. And by that list, you can see there is clearly not enough of it. There are lectures, lectures I tell you! I didn’t sign up to go to lectures and learn about penguins, whales, research and anything related to Antarctica. Why in gods name would I want to know anything like that? Oh, and the staff! Always annoying you as they politely fill up your water glass for you, clean your room daily and are always smiling. Haven’t they heard this is the worst place in the world? There should be no smiling.

However, if you do want to look at cruises that may go to this horrible place, check out Hurtigruten cruises to Antarctica, their staff are always smiling!

So there you have it! Countless reasons why we hate Antarctica! I hope this clears up any misconceptions you may have about the continent and helps to solidify your decision on whether you want to visit.

I mean we hated it so much we can’t wait to one day visit again. Only, of course, to see if it has improved.

SERIOUS NOTE

Ultimate Repositioning Cruise

This is the luxury travel hack of all luxury travel hacks. I mean you don’t get more luxurious than an Antarctica holiday and why not combine it with an epic repositioning cruise. I mean this is a fantastic type of travel

Our Antarctica cruise left from the beautiful shores of Punta Arenas, Chile before exploring the incredible landscape of the Chilean Fjords, Antarctica, the Falkland Islands before finishing in Montevideo, Uruguay. Now with the costs of travel around South America being pretty horribly high, especially if you were flying this was the ultimate way to see Antarctica and get ourselves to the other side of South America all in one process. 

So, if you are thinking of visiting South America and Antarctica try and combine them with an Antarctica repositioning cruise to get the best bang for your buck. 

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Why I Hated My Antarctica Holiday - Luxury Travel Hacks
Why I Hated Antarctica - The Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo
Should you Choose to #Cruise, Instead of #Flying - #Luxury #TravelHacks By #ljojlo

Should you Choose to Cruise, Instead of Flying?

Can you can afford the time to allow for an extra 7 – 21 days rather than a flight of 8 – 15 hours to reach your destination? If the answer to that question is YES, you definitely should choose to cruise, rather than fly.

Iceland In A Campervan - Luxury Travel Hacks

Iceland In A Campervan – Luxury On A Budget

Iceland In A Campervan - Luxury Travel Hacks
Updated Feb '19

Iceland, a pristine marvel in its own right. With glaciers, fjords, impeccable scenery at every turn, Iceland has quickly become a tourist hotspot and understandably so. With such unique and picturesque landscapes Iceland has become increasingly popular for people of all ages. As with any up and coming tourist destination, one of the most significant contributing factors as to whether people visit comes down to the price. Iceland is nowhere near as cheap as some Asian, Eastern European or South American countries, such as Chile. However, you can still immerse yourself in this nation even if you are a budget traveler, but how exactly? Simply, see Iceland in a campervan. With your house and wheels all in one you are already saving money. Coupled with further budget tips in this article Iceland can be visited by all, without breaking the bank.

Table of Contents

 

Budgeting elements of your Iceland trip allows you to splurge on others. One of those splurges could be the infamous Blue Lagoon. Needing more information check out this Complete Guide to the Blue Lagoon.

Road Trip Tips For Travelling Iceland In A Campervan 

Iceland Roads

Most of Iceland’s roads are paved. The Ring Road is paved almost the entire way are the island and most roads are paved near populated areas. However, given the wild nature of Iceland, there can be some damage on the road to always keep an eye out for. In saying that we have never had any issues with the Iceland roads, except maybe the ice. Always, be weary of ice on the road. Often this can not be seen and I always suggest driving to the conditions and travelling slower than you may think. 

I mean check out the ice in the photo below….

Iceland in a Campervan - Luxury Travel Hacks

If you are driving in Iceland you will be driving on the right-side of the road, which is the opposite to us in Australia. This can be hard to adapt to, however, when you arrive in Iceland at Keflavik Airport it isn’t crazily busy allowing you to ease into driving around Iceland in a campervan, which is great. However, I do recommend that you always carefully think about the side of the road you need to be on especially when you start to drive everyday. We may or may not have driven down the wrong side of the road momentarily but luckily we were in a remote section of Iceland with no other cars around at the time. 

If you are more interested in exploring Iceland’s interior you will only be able to do so in the summer when the notorious F roads are open. These roads are for 4x4s only so unless you can find a 4×4 campervan you will need to hire a car. If this is something you are interested in check out this 10 day itinerary including the highlands. Also, it is suggested that if you attempt to drive these roads you do travel with another 4×4 incase you run into trouble, which can be likely. Finally, you should know that off-roading in Iceland is illegal and the fines are huge. This is due to their extremely fragile environment, so please don’t do it. 

Iceland Gas Stations

ot only is fuel expensive in Iceland, but it can also be infrequently available. If you see a gas station and you only have half a tank, fill up! Since Iceland doesn’t have a large population, gas stations are not as available as they might be at home. It would be terrible to get stranded in Iceland. This another reason getting a fuel-efficient campervan was important for our Iceland road trip.
 
When renting our campervan in Iceland we were given a discount fuel tag for gas stations around Iceland. This is common so when hiring a car or campervan check out your keys. Often this discount tag is attached to the keys so please be sure to check this out. 

Iceland Insurance (according to Sadcars)

There seems to be hundreds if not thousands of options for insurance for cars/campervans in Iceland. Here I will break these down for you so you can make an informed decision on the best insurance for you. 

Third Party Liability Insurance

Included in the cost of campervan rental through Sadcars, this insurance covers the following: 

  • Injury to the driver of both cars
  • Injury to passengers of both cars
  • Damages to the other car in case of an accident

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Insurance

Highly recommended the CDW insurance covers you for damage of the rental car/campervan according to the terms of the company. 

At Sadcars towing and rescue is never included. 

Super Collision Damage Waiver (Super CDW) Insurance

Reduces the liability so it is cheaper than the liability for CDW.

NOTE CDW or SCDW insurance DOES not include (according to Sadcars):

  • Negligence
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Damage to tires (tyres in Australian language), headlights & windscreen
  • Damage caused by strong winds
  • Damage to the underside of the car
  • Damage caused by loose rocks, which get thrown at the car on gravel roads
  • Damages to the engine of the car

Gravel Protection

Covers damage to the windscreen, headlights and the car when gravel gets thrown onto the car by another vehicle. 

Tire (Tyre) Insurance

Covers you for damage and due to repair and/or replacement of tyres, valve stems and balancing. 

Sand & Ash Protection

Sand and ash storms are common in the south and west of Iceland. This insurance covers you for damage of: 

  • Paint
  • Glass 
  • Plastic Parts

Theft Protection

An obvious one. This insurance covers you for total loss of the car if it is stolen while you rent. 

Clearly lots to consider in terms of insurance when travelling around Iceland, but my motto is always when in doubt best to have it ha ha. However, always check what your travel insurance covers because you may not need aspects of the insurance above if your travel insurance covers it. 

NOTE: Credit Cards also often have travel insurance included if you use the card to book the holiday (another great luxury travel hack) so definitely check that option too.  

 

Are you wondering what you need to pack for Iceland? Check out what to pack for Iceland in summer?

Budget Tips For Iceland While Travelling Iceland In A Campervan

Hiring Tiny Tina For Our Iceland In A Campervan Adventure

Hiring a campervan through Iceland not only provided us with the freedom to explore but was also a very affordable way to get around Iceland. Tiny Tina, our campervan,  from Sadcars was, as the name suggests, tiny, but perfect for what we were doing.

One of the benefits of an Iceland road trip was the ease of travel. The famous Ring Road allows people to travel around the entire island, stopping off as needed. We spent a week in Iceland, which while it doesn’t sound like a lot of time, we were able to comfortably navigate our way around the country. We could still stop off at various locations to take in the luxurious sights and be awed by the beauty that Iceland offers. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a smaller camper in Iceland was the economy of the vehicle. With fuel being a significant expense on any road trip, hiring a smaller car that had fantastic fuel economy ensured we were able to spend money on other luxuries, such as the sights, and food instead of unnecessary amounts of fuel.

Worried about sharing a tiny space with your other half? Check out tips for staying happy as a couple in a campervan.

Visiting The Grocery Store

With Iceland being very remote and in a climate that does not allow for much agriculture, fresh, healthy foods can be rather expensive. However, shopping at grocery stores and buying cheaper foods can ensure that you not only enjoy your time but will stop you stressing about finances. While in Iceland, we ate a lot of noodles, sandwiches, Nutella (lots of Nutella) and other simple but not necessarily healthy foods…..whoops. Did I mention we ate Nutella? Nutella on bread, Nutella on toast, Nutella straight out of the jar! Cleary we like Nutella.

Given that we were in Iceland for just one week, and we were towards the end of our 6-month adventure we were not overly concerned with the nutritional value of our foods. At one stage, however, we were splurging on $5 (approximately once converted to AUD) hotdogs from gas stations and I must admit they were delicious. Unfortunately, if you do want to eat out in Iceland, you can expect to pay substantially more than if you cook your own food. Luckily for us Tiny Tina did have a small stove allowing us to cook and save money by seeing Iceland in a campervan.

Enjoying The Sights

Given the current tourism climate in Iceland, visiting the tourist attractions can be very expensive. The beauty with Iceland is that you do not need to pay large amounts of money to enjoy the landscapes and sights when seeing Iceland in a campervan. Whether it be famous scenes from Game of Thrones, glaciers, fjords, iceberg-filled lakes, or simply beautiful roads Iceland has plenty of free options when it comes to attractions.

The key to this is spending time doing some research and taking time to explore. Some of the best sights are the ones which you find while exploring yourself without necessarily having a plan. Take some time to go looking, and you will witness some spectacular attractions for free, trust me.

Wanting to see more sites? Check out the 10 Best Iceland Tours.

Iceland, a place of sheer beauty. Both during summer and winter. In fact, traveling Iceland in winter can also make your trip cheaper. However, I have no doubt you will read and hear that it is expensive, and trust me it can be. However, if money is your determining factor on whether you visit Iceland or not, rest assured you can travel to Iceland on a budget. Importantly, just make sure you see Iceland in a campervan.

And to give you more reason to visit here are a few more photos….

Only have a short time in Iceland? Check out this 4-day itinerary

UK Road Trip Must Knows - The Traveller's Guide By #ljojlo

UK Road Trip Tips

Are you about to embark on the ultimate road trip adventure around the United Kingdom? If it is a resounding YES, have you actually considered UK road trip must knows?