Drive Through Iceland 2: Pre-planning

This is in continuation of earlier Blog: DTI:1:Setup………….

The planning for the big trip began!  The research convinced me that an Iceland trip needed proper planning, even better than planning a trip to all available parks in Orlando.

As usual, I didn’t opt for package tours with travel agents.  I wanted to learn about the country on my own. Its geography, specialities and then plan the trip as per my interests. From the reviews and research, I noted each major and minor point that I should be careful about while travelling in Iceland.  This, not only saved my time and money, but I now also knew my options in case of an emergency.

I made a list of interesting places after looking up photos and information on each site.  The list was long. I flagged the selected places on Google map.  A rough estimate looked like I would need at least 15 days to cover it all.  However, 50% could be covered in 4 days, 75% in 8 days and about 85% 10-11 days.

I picked a balanced “8-days”. I would miss some waterfalls, glaciers and the like but would be able to visit similar features elsewhere in my trip.  To avoid criss-cross travelling,  I would have to stay at a different place on each of the 7 nights.

Hotels were few and far between.  And for sure, very expensive.  At best, there were 3-star hotels at some places.   Rooms with attached bath were about INR 25 to 40 thousand a night!  Guest houses were clean, comfortable and relatively economical at about 15 to 20 thousand Rupees per night.   Most of the hotels and guest houses on our route offered only “shared bath”.

While selecting accommodation, another thing I looked for was “rooms with breakfast included” as it would be difficult to get right breakfast on the roadside particularly when driving on highland remote roads.

We wanted attached bathrooms which were few in the first place, and the ones that existed were already booked.  Out of these, those with “breakfast included” narrowed down the availability further.

At an additional 10-15% offered rooms with free cancellation.  I started booking whatever best was available on the day as per my planned route. At the same time, I made a list of better hotels in the area. Every day since then, I would check for fresh vacancies (due to any cancellations) and book better hotels when available.  I did this practically every day for over a month.

We would be staying in remote places on five out of seven nights. For these 5 places, I made 28 cancellations and re-bookings!  I had to, for better accommodation!  Every change meant a change in my route and itinerary. Finally, I froze the plan just a week before I left.

There were many local agencies that provided tour plans. But, I always enjoy the thrill of driving myself, on routes that interested me the most.   I realised I would not be able to reach some of the highlands, if I rented a 2-wheel drive. So, I went for a 4-wheel drive. Many local set-ups offered vehicles at much lower prices, but I wanted to go with a known brand in car rentals, so that the vehicles are reliable while driving on mountains, crossing rivers and passing through rough lava fields.  I selected Thrifty as that seemed the most popular amongst the International car rental agencies in Iceland.

I felt reasonably comfortable to take on the trip.

To be contd...

Written : Badri Baldawa

Edited  : Meeta Kabra

This entry was posted in Adventure travel, Challenge, Driving, My First Lessons, Will Power and tagged , , , by badri. Bookmark the permalink.

About badri

As I approached 68 (2013), my son, Anand insisted that I had proven enough in my 45-year long career and it was time I took life a little easier; enjoy traveling (that I love) and social life. Yet, I somehow wanted to contribute positively and was exploring my options. My son-in-law, Navin suggested that I should write and share my experiences, “being a self-made man, you should tell the next generation how you overcame various obstacles to reach this position, in both, business and social circles.” He pointed out that while I was sharing my experiences with family and friends, as they approached me, a blog had the potential to take your voice to many, many more. He also insisted that I start mentoring youngsters who were new in their businesses. I was convinced. I offered my services pro bono, as part of a Guidance Program. Also, I started writing on this blog, bringing out figments from my memory as experiences that might be of value to the readers here. My daughter Meeta is sweet enough to spare her time to edit what I write. As a youngster, I thought one meal a day, one set of school uniform a year, a public place to study, lack of finance and basic shelter would keep me from achieving my dreams. To compensate, I started giving 110% of what was normally expected. Yes, 110% even in bad deeds! This worked. The very limitations started inspiring me in different phases of my life – meritorious results in studies; strength to shoulder family responsibilities; satisfied employers; establishing a successful business of my own; and in my adventure trips and other travel plans. Having done what I wanted to, I agreed it was time for me to expose myself! I felt, through this blog, I could and should share my expereinces. Hopefully, readers would find some bits useful and if not, they’d enjoy reading. Look forward to interact with you. Happy Reading, Badri Baldawa

11 thoughts on “Drive Through Iceland 2: Pre-planning

  1. Nishi, so far I have written two more parts (total 4) and I have reached upto the time we had that navigation problem. I think it would totally spread to about 8-10 parts

  2. Yeh, Nishi, it was almost an hour or two every day for one and half months. That extra work teaches you a lot about the places and enjoy visiting them. This study also make a prepared for the options available for any contingencies

  3. I am also not a fan of starred accommodation. In fact I call myself ‘pahadi’ guy for food and stay! But this time I had my 8 year niece with me, hence had to ensure that I have attached bath and basic food availability at the places I stayed!

  4. You got it right. It is also a fun to go for impulsive trips. I do that sometimes. We just sit in a car and start driving without knowing where we intend to go! Diwali holidays a year before, I landed in Ajanta, Yellora, Ashtavinayak and in the process some unexpected discoveries! But to optimise the use of time and money, I had given a lot of thought and pre-planned most of the trips and surely the overseas ones

  5. i too use and cancel & re book but I start all that a day before I leave India. … hahahahha…. thats because my requirements are of a youth hostel type and I didn’t really travel to super expensive places except NORWAY!

  6. very very inspiring & an excellent example of a well planned voyage…. my trips are impulsively undertaken with little or no planning (as its a different fun) but you inspire me to travel more meaningfully & organised.

    I recently covered Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo & Bergen (Norway in a nutshell ) & it was supperrrrbbbb! !!!!
    Want to take many more trips to Scandinavia!

    Capt. Anand Baheti.

  7. I recently read your blog on Iceland.

    I live in UK & unfortunately I missed an opportunity of seeing you 🙂

    Your blogs are thrilling & shakes me from inside.

    Thanks for wonderful blogs.

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