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Our first, “real trip” with a kid in tow was to Iceland in 2011. Calais was 10 months old.
(We did bring Calais to San Fransisco when she was 2 months old, however that one didn’t really count!).
To be honest, we never really thought about the fact that we were dragging our 10 month old across (almost) the Atlantic Ocean for a 2 week adventure with essentially no plans other than a car rental and our last 3 nights in Reykjavik. Most people didn’t even question us about travelling with a baby, they were more concerned about why on earth we were going to Iceland! This was before going to Iceland was “a thing”, before Icelandair increased it’s service to North America, and before great Iceland itineraries were readily available online.
It sounded like an interesting, off the beaten path experience. So off we went!
This trip was the beginning for us…
We spent 10 days with a rented car travelling around the country. We spent our time soaking in hot springs, hiking in the countryside, and watching the country go by out the window of our rental. Really, there is only one road, the ring road, that goes the circumference of the entire country so it’s next to impossible to get lost! We found our lodging along the way. Sometimes we made a booking the day before (like in Akureyri because the previous day we had driven 200km more than anticipated, all the way to Husavik, because there was nowhere to stay in the small towns along the way, AND I think we actually got the last possible available accommodation for the night in Husavik when we got there!). Mostly we just booked accommodation when we arrived. Twice we spent the night camping in our tent because there was simply no other option.
I just want to clarify – we were there in July. At home it seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea to bring a tent with us for the “just in case”. Anyone who has been to Iceland in July will know that it is MUCH colder, even compared to northern Alberta! We bought toques, a winter jacket for Calais, and pretty much wore all of the warm clothing that we brought with us just to sleep in the tent. At least it was better than sleeping in the mini Rav4 we had rented, and I was sure glad to use the tent since we hauled it all the way across the Atlantic!!
Even with a few road-blocks, this trip was travel-changing for us. We had a wonderful time and really felt like we got off the tourist trail. It was the first time we really felt like “Travellers”. The lack of itinerary was wonderfully relaxing for us and it has shaped our travel since. It also inadvertently helped us realize that travel is doable with kids.
Yes, we did have to do things differently travelling with kids, but I would rather travel differently than not travel at all!
There’s so much more I’d love to do in Iceland, like horseback riding, and a food tour in Reykjavik. I’m sure I’ll get the chance because I know we’ll be back!