Decisions, decisions…

Decisions, decisions…

My husband and I take ridiculous, over the top photos together and with the kids all the time. I can’t even tell you how many outfits I have just because my husband had an idea for a photo. So after looking at all the beautiful places in Iceland, I knew I’d have to bring a few outfits specifically for photos of us (or just me when my husband is shooting). Finding inexpensive dresses that were good quality and also would allow us to take those flowing dress photos I adore so much was quite a task. We took numerous trips to stores around us and normally left with outfits for the kids, we never had any luck finding the perfect dress. Then, while scrolling Amazon, I found a few that I liked and I saved them to look at later. I looked at those same dresses at least 30 times before finally just buying them. Even though they were very cheap dresses, I was worried they would all be disappointing. Boy was I wrong. These dresses (along with one I found at Forever 21 the day before the other dresses arrived) are stunning and feel like they were made just for me.

If you need photoshoot outfit ideas, look no further. Flowing dresses always look amazing. Being a destination photographer, I understand the importance of both looking amazing but being easy to travel with, these fit that bill! I know these may not be the best wardrobe choices for Iceland’s very unpredictable weather (even in the middle of Summer) but I’m so ready to wear these all over the Icelandic countryside. We made sure to get a color variety for all the locations we may visit. A bold turquoise dress on the black sand at Reynisfjara Beach in Vík. A vibrant red dress to wear in front of one of the many blue flowing waterfalls. And simpledresses to wear while running through any of the lava fields or while standing on the edge of a heart stopping cliff in the Westfjords.

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Take my money!!

But really, let’s talk budgeting for Iceland… after reading all about Iceland and the costs of everything from food to accommodations to gas, we realized one thing: Iceland is crazy expensive. The tickets may have been cheap (a total of $1148 for both of us roundtrip) but all the expenses in the country are pretty hefty. One beer cost upwards of $11 for just a glass, a single meal in a restaurant can start around $15+ for ONE PERSON (unless you stop at any of the world famous hot dog stands around the country for a cheap meal alternative), and hotel rooms/Airbnbs in the peak season started at $150+ per night in some not so nice places… Needless to say, camping out in the many campgrounds around Iceland and cooking our own food is an obvious money saving decision. We plan on bringing our own water bottles to enjoy the natural spring water Iceland has to offer while we are there, and only indulging in only one or two adult beverages while we are there.

We bought our airplane tickets through United Airlines (because I love their customer service, the flights they offered were short, and we get a free checked bag each) for $1148 after we added the extra insurance for our flights. We also booked our car through Iceland Car Rental, originally we booked a VW Polo, but decided to switch it to a Suzuki S-Cross so we could travel on the unpaved secondary roads and spent $580. Oh, and gravel insurance. GET. GRAVEL. INSURANCE. We haven’t even gone on our trip but I cannot stress how important it is so spend the $8-15 extra per day for that insurance. Almost every road has loose gravel on it, and if it is kicked up by your car or another car and damages your rental at all (most commonly, chipped windshields or paint), you will be spending a very large amount on repairs for the rental. So we already spent $1728 and the only remaining expenses are for food, gas, and any fees we have to pay for camping, park access, or any guided tours we may decide to do.

We looked at Mountain House dehydrated food to take with us to cut back on food expenses and found a 12 meal pack for only $65.99, we plan on buying snacks at the grocery stores over there and also buying groceries to make any extra meals we need. So including food we are bringing with us, we plan on spending around $250-300 for all the food and maybe $40-60 on any drinks we have.

I am expecting gas to be one of the largest, if not the largest budgeting expense, with gas being over $7 per gallon and us planning to drive a lot, I am estimating to pay anywhere from $500-700 total for the whole trip. It is crazy to imagine that amount for just gas, but knowing we will basically be driving around the entire country doesn’t make it seem so bad.

So what does our budget look like?

  • Flight – $1048 (purchased)
  • Car Rental – $580 (purchased)
  • Food/Drinks – $300-450 (budgeting a little higher, just in case)
  • Gas – $500-700
  • Campsite fees – $250
  • Trawire mobile wifi – $70
  • Iceland tours or extra fees – $300-500
  • Souvenirs – $400-600 (yeah, it’s really high, but why not?!)

Our total budget right now, including what we have already spent, is $4198 for 8 full days in Iceland. So we don’t plan on spending anywhere near this amount on food/souvenirs/tours/etc, but can you really blame us for adding those in to our budget plan? I can’t even imagine us spending this much on any of this while we are there, but we would rather be safe than sorry. We plan on keeping track of all of our expenses so that we can write an accurate budget plan after we get back for anyone planning to go, but this is a rough idea! It is so exciting looking at all the areas we plan to visit, and it seems to be one of the best places to travel as a couple.

Any suggestions on places off the beaten track to visit? A restaurant? Guided Iceland tours? Let us know and follow our Instagram to see what we are up to until we visit Iceland!

Adventure on the Horizon

Adventure on the Horizon

Picture this, two photographers meet, one is well traveled and focused on landscapes and wildlife, the other has never left the continental United States and adores portraits and all things people. Time passes and they get married and decide, hey, let’s plan a trip. So like every other person does, they planned a trip to Iceland for their honeymoon to see cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, and beautiful green fields surrounded by jagged cliffs. That is what everyone else does… right?

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Julio (the half-naked man on the left) and Hannah (the pigeon toed lady on the right)

So, married for just a month and a half, gearing up for our first (but definitely not last) international adventure together, and I have learned a lot about myself. Mainly that I may go a little too in depth with trip planning and probably need to calm down a bit and just go with the flow, but with this being my first time out of the States, I want to get as much out of this trip as humanly possible during the 8 days we are there. And yes, instead of doing a simple guided tour in another country or going on a cruise to slowly dip my toes into international waters, we are throwing ourselves right out there and completely embracing this trip and all it has to offer. We will be renting a car (thankfully a 4×4 so that we can travel to all the hard to reach places), camping in a tent, eating local foods (including the hot dogs we hear so much about), and taking hundreds of thousands of photos of everything while we are there. It is so difficult trying to narrow down what spots we want to go to, what guided tour we DO want to go on while we are there, and what waterfalls we REALLY need to see. Honestly, I never knew that choosing waterfalls would really be such a struggle, and yet here we are. So far, the second most difficult decision of planning was choosing a rental car for our trip there. We bounced around between 3 different companies and dozens of vehicles, do we want 2wd or 4wd, automatic or manual, diesel or petrol, and which extra insurance options do we really need? In the end, we decided on a 4wd manual vehicle, just so we can go off the beaten path just a little bit, but dang, choosing the vehicle was exhausting so you all can imagine what it is like planning everything else!

Iceland
Not even 1/4 of all the stuff we have sticky noted and circled.

We plan on sharing the budget for the whole trip, our gear, and all the places we decided to book through to save money, but we are always open to questions! So if you want to follow us on our pre-trip shopping excursions, our adventures here in the good ol’ U-S of A, or you just want to see where life takes us next, then tune in weekly (or bi-weekly, momlife is pretty intense sometimes) or just follow us on instagram!

-Hannah