I’ve been fortunate to have visited Iceland a couple of times, in 2005 and again in 2011, and both visits were amazing. I’m not really one for cold destinations but Iceland is different. First, it’s not that cold (or not as cold as you might think) and secondly, it’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. Since I haven’t been in 10 years and it’s one of the summer’s hottest international destinations for Americans, it’s the perfect time to share some helpful tips, like these ones from Johnny Jet reader/listener Larry Martinez, who just returned from Iceland. Here’s what he had to say:

As an avid Tech Guy listener and Club TWiT member, I wanted to let you know about my trip so far to Iceland after one week of travel:

1. It took a bit over one hour to get through the Covid testing at Keflavik Airport following my Delta flight from JFK last Friday. You are supposed to “self-quarantine” until a text message gives you the all-clear. My buddy and I picked up our rental SUV from SADCARS at the airport and proceeded not to Reykjavik, but to the volcano, which is about 30 minutes south of the airport. After 22,000 steps and 86 stories of climbing, according to my iPhone, we reached the summit of the mountains facing the volcano – a life changing sight as every 10 minutes, the crater erupted.

2. During the hour we were on top, the lava had flowed and filled the catch basin they were bulldozing. The lava since last Friday has gone over the top and is proceeding down the valley toward the road.

3. We are driving the Ring Road counter-clockwise and the weather has been fantastic. We heard that just before we started, there had been snowstorms, but we lucked out.

4. Went whale watching from Husavik; tremendous sights of snow-capped mountains and, of course, whales.

5. Myvatn thermal pools and a lamb shank dinner at a family farm restaurant, where you are sitting, literally, next to windows with cows on the other side.

6. The Glacier Lagoon – incredible. You don’t need to go out on the boats to get an up-close look at the icebergs.

7. The US is requiring a Covid test for our return within a 72-hour window. The clinic here closes tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am, our Delta flight is Tuesday at 11:15am. There are clinics in Akureyri, which is a big city for Iceland. We are going to Stykkisholmur, which does not have the clinic open on the weekend.

8. We could get tested in Reykjavik on Monday on the return drive. We also intend to re-visit the volcano at night. It doesn’t actually get totally dark so we should be able to hike it again!

KEEP READING: Part 2: Travel Tips for Experienced American Travelers to Iceland

BIO: For his day job, Larry F. Martinez is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the California State University at Long Beach, where he researches and teaches in the areas of international relations and law, with a research focus on outer space/cyberspace law and policy. These are all justifications for traveling abroad: his real love. He has lectured on Internet policy and governance in Britain, Germany, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and Ecuador. In 2007, he was a Cuesta College Honored Alumnus of the Year. Martinez taught international relations on the Spring 2018 Semester at Sea Voyage traveling with students from Japan through China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

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