Keep dreaming – Iceland is ready for another comeback

This nation of mine has managed to surprise me through the years.

Let me take a couple of examples.

Cod wars – Iceland has fought a few wars. The Cod wars against the Brits. We won. Here are some more information on the subject.

The economical crisis in 2008 – Iceland had a total meltdown in 2008 when all the banks in the country collapsed. People lost their jobs and homes and this nation needed to rethink it´s values and priorities. That was a success in many ways where Iceland continued focusing on fisheries and added a huge focus on tourism, having about two and a half million tourists visiting the country in 2019. Seven million went through the airport in Keflavik. Have in mind that there are 360.000 people living on the island.

Iceland´s national teams in football – Have in mind again that there are 360.000 people living in Iceland. We have sent both our women and men’s team to the Europa Cup in football and the men´s team even made it to the world cup.

Photo by Helga Stina

These achievements are something to be proud of and are important to have in mind when thinking of where you want to travel to in the future. What options are you going to have and where will you feel safe.

Iceland has been managing the Covid-19 crisis successfully and that is important to know when choosing a travel destination in the future. The information flow and the structure of the response has been noticed internationally.

Photo by Helga Stina

Have in mind that crisis are nothing new for the Icelanders. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, weather conditions and isolation has been a part of this nation since the beginning. The fish has come and gone and the weather changes constantly at times.

Being first with something is important to the Icelanders and sometimes it kind of happens, that the Icelanders are first with random things like

First woman democratically elected in the world

First parliament in the world – The Althing

First people to put licorice and chocolate together

First people to find America

and

Greenland

..and did you know that the name Iceland is a misunderstanding? Think about it. Why is Greenland called Greenland and not Iceland?

Photo by Helga Stina

Iceland is ready for another comeback

The ability to adapt to new situations is something the Icelanders are extremely good at and just as we speak the Icelanders are promoting traveling in their own country this year to support the amazing work that has been done in building up tourism in Iceland in the past years. Thinking out of the box and doing the job is a very Icelandic thing to do.

In my opinion there have been too many tourists in Iceland at times, making it difficult to preserve the fragile nature and authentic culture. In a new beginning there is a possibility of a change for the better in offering more personalized approached with respect for the nature and culture. See more about my thoughts here

Photo by Frida

The solidarity of the people is something the Icelanders are brought up with, knowing that everyone needs to take action to survive in crisis. Everything is interconnected and persistence and optimism is key, coming out of this challenging situation.

So Iceland is ready to have another comeback and will be ready to receive tourists again as soon you are ready.

Photo by Helga Stina

Me and my partners in Iceland will make sure to offer you a personal approach, hidden gems, connecting to the locals, having social distancing in mind. There is so much to see and do and there is plenty of space in Iceland.

More on what season to choose when traveling to Iceland

More on the importance of looking forward to

Contact Helga Stina for more information

Iceland Unwrapped by helgastina is a personal travel planning company with focus on personal approach, hidden gems and connecting with the Icelanders, Icelandic culture and nature.

We are also on Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

What’s next for travel? Possibilities in the challenges

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” (Rahm Emanuel).

I know many of us are wondering “where to next”? How is travelling going to look like? What is going to be possible? What, if anything, will remain the same.

I see this challenge as a great opportunity to change the way we look at travel and service to travelers. I see endless possibilities and creations in coming years in tourism despite this crisis.

My view on travel for years has been that less is more. Authentic is sustainable, and its immensely important to connect with the locals if we genuinely want to connect the world.

Where to next, is what many of us are wondering at this time – Photo by Helga Stina on a fantastic hike last autumn in Iceland

I have been running Iceland Unwrapped for the past five years. When I was researching about how to go about starting my approach, I came across blogs and information on celebrities who had been so fortunate to travel to fantastic locations, like Iceland, having a personal travel planner doing the planning.

I thought to myself. Why can I not offer this approach to people who are not celebrities. People who don´t want to follow the crowds and people who need a personal approach to their traveling and needs.

So I did.

Cliffs can be scary but to be able to get to the top you need to plan ahead as you do with every challenge – Photo by a client Claudia from The Netherlands

Meeting clients on their terms

Iceland Unwrapped focuses on meeting clients on their terms, having their needs in mind. Time, money and dreams play main roles in the travel planning approach. Getting people to connect with one another is also an aim – both to create a richer experience for the client, and to make the world a more connected place.

I have developed the concept and am now offering the same approach for people who visit Delft in The Netherlands, where I live.

I receive families, individuals, groups of friends, workplaces and specialist groups who want to be inspired in a new location.

What next?

Now we are in a big crisis for many people. Tourism has been hit in a hard way. Many of us are wondering what will happen next. How will tourism look after this crisis and how are we going to recover?

Even though I think many people are realizing how life can be more simple, with working from home and being confined to limited areas being the current norm, the yearning for something different remains alive.

The likely need for continued social distancing builds in a challenge for destinations and providers to meet the needs and importance of people to enjoy, connect, and experience the wow factor while keeping safe and being more physically distant.

Mandy and her group from Tennessee enjoying a wonderful dinner in 2019, opera singing and cultural experience in the company of Bergþór and Albert – Photo courtesy of Albert Eldar

How will this show up in real life?

Transport

Transport is not going to be the same. It will not be possible to shuffle loads of people in planes, ships, trains or busses having the principles of social distancing in mind, at least not until a vaccine takes hold.

As you know, there are two ways to get to Iceland. By plane or by ship.

There is a ship going from Denmark to Iceland with a stop on the beautiful Faroe Islands. It is possible to bring your car and therefore avoid renting a car in Iceland. My prediction is that there will be less people on ships like that or limited service to prevent people from dining together for example.

Flying will also be a challenge to ensure the social distance. Fewer passengers on each plane is a logical guess and less service perhaps.  It will be interesting to see how this develops because people are not going to stop traveling forever but we will be traveling in a different way and perhaps less frequently.

Highland road – Iceland offers a lot of space so social distancing is something we are very good at when needed – Photo by Helga Stina in Kjolur

Accommodation

A challenge regarding accommodation is the service level. Focus on personal accommodations, small or middle size with an experience of servicing smaller crowds, with the personal approach as key, is the future in my opinion. At least in the nearest future. We have to have in mind as service providers that people are skeptical and perhaps afraid of being to close together with people they don´t know. That is a going to something to have in mind when planning tourism in the future.

Could the future include breakfast rooms with more spaces in between and bye bye to buffets?

Everyone needs to eat so thinking out of the box is essential here. Less clients each time and more care when serving is key. There are many challenges here and also many entrepreneurs in  toursims that are geniuses in finding sollutions and fun ways of addressing this issue.

Flatey Island – Everybody needs some peace and quite in life and Iceland offers endless locations for just that – Photo by Helga Stina

Experiences

This situation offers a unique opportunity of making trips and adventures in Iceland and around the world more authentic and personal. Many fantastic companies in Iceland are offering trips for smaller groups and individuals and the creativity is incredible. I am fortunate to be working with partners that think out of the box with creative solutions and experiences as key. This will be essential when traveling and experiencing the near future. Talking together and finding solutions together is key here, to make tourism work again with a different focus.

Dining with the Icelanders has been the flagship of Iceland Unwrapped where 14 families and individuals open their homes to travelers in Iceland for the amazing experience of connecting and dining a simple meal together. The options are endless both in connecting people through interests such as cross fit, knitting, history, medicine, horses, photography, music or whatever the travelers are interested in knowing about.

In the future I can see this option being possible having sanitation and social distancing method in mind, at least until a vaccine has been discovered.

A wonderful meal and a typical Icelandic cake for dessert is an unforgettable and a simple way of adding the extra touch to a trip to Iceland – Photo by Helga Stina and the cake is called “Randalín”

 

Thinking out of the box

Overall these are challenging times but also an opportunity of growing, thinking out of the box and create a more sustainable tourism experience for travelers around the world.

It´s now we need to enjoy the creativity and braveness of the many entrepreneurs in tourism to be able to create fantastic options after this challenge we are facing.

So just to sum my ideas up.

More personal approach to meet the needs of clients with different needs than before, such as avoiding crowds during their entire holiday.

Cooperation between partners to use each others strenghts.

Thinking out of the box for soulutions.

Keep dreaming – Iceland will be waiting when you are ready

Iceland is going to be waiting for you when you are ready. To find solutions for you trip, contact your personal travel planner to maximize the experience.

More information on www.icelandunwrapped.com or contact Helga Stina directly for an informal chat about your options.

If you are a travel planner or a travel company feel free to contact me for a chat on how the future may look for all of us.

In the covid-19 crisis the world has connected in a unique way. There is so much space for continuing that development, also in the travel business.

Is it a bad idea to visit Iceland in the winter?

It’s officially winter now on this side of the globe. In Europe we have moved the clock. In Iceland, the clock has stayed out, but the weather is starting to get tricky in some areas of the country.

Time to relax and stay inside

To survive the winter where you are… Or…?

Have you ever thought about Iceland as a winter destination? Read More

Iceland by the seasons: and why you need a travel planner for each

A season-by-season guide to planning an Iceland trip

Iceland may be a small country with only 330,000 residents. But the combination of high tourist numbers and a difficult-to-navigate language makes local knowledge a valuable resource for a visitor who wants to get maximum value from their Iceland experience. In a country with turbulent, ever-changing weather, and extreme seasonality of sunlight, Iceland becomes several ‘different’ destinations as the year unfolds. Each of which requires very different travel planning strategies. Read More

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights dance?

Do you want to see the northern lights while staying in Iceland? For that you will need a bunch of luck and also a good forecast. The northern lights can vary a great deal. Sometimes they are barely noticeable, looking like a faint green veil on the sky. Other times they shine breathtakingly bright and dance across the sky in various shades of green, yellow and pink.

Read More

Why September is a good month to visit Iceland – Sunsets

You can enjoy unbelievable sunsets in amazing locations

Some of my most wonderful memories include beautiful sunsets all around the world. The one I saw on the Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro will never be forgotten. The one I saw in Lissabon some years ago on the last day of the year was also unforgettable. In Iceland I have seen some magical ones and last year I remember the one I saw at a beautiful place near to the airport where the open ocean was in front of me on one side and my favorite glacier Snæfellsjokull on the other. Truly a magical moment. Sunsets in Iceland are as different as the areas you visit, depends on location, light and I guess your state of mind.

Come to Iceland in September to experience  sunrises, sunsets, northern lights, people and wonderful food and drink. I guarantee you will keep Iceland in your heart forever.

More on personalized travel planning 

Iceland – Geothermal water and Northern lights

It is soon time. The time of the Northern Lights in the North is arriving again. The best time to witness this beautiful and extraordinary event in Iceland is between last September until March.
To be honest, I didn´t notice any Northern Lights when I was a kid. I guess when they are always there you kind of get used to it, it gets integrated in you, and I wasn´t very tall so I didn´t look that far up actually.
 
I remember seeing them or realizing them for the first time, sitting in a warm Jacuzzi in a summerhouse on the countryside in Iceland. It was in January, my face was freezing cold and I saw this amazing sight in the sky for hours. Unforgettable. Still get goose bumps when thinking about it.
I have, in the past 13 years, since I moved abroad, woken my family and friends up in the middle of the night, when travelling in Iceland, to see the Northern Lights in our pajamas.
In some hotels in Iceland, guests are woken up at night if there is a Northern light show going on. This is a natural phenomenon so you cannot just switch them on and off. That´s the good part for all the control freaks of this world to get us all earth connected.  It is truly an unforgettable experience and powerful.
In recent years people all over the world have chosen Iceland to experience the Northern Lights. Of course you have The Northern lights in other Northern countries, but what makes it unique in Iceland is the geothermal water and the warm pools around everywhere.  The combination of the two is worth a trip to Iceland in it self. That makes this experience authentic and truly unforgettable.
For further information on how to get to a warm pool and see the Northern Lights, please contact Iceland by helgastina and  you have a possibility of an authentic and personal trip to Iceland, meeting the Icelanders and exploring hidden gems.
Photo by Grétar Már Axelsson

WHEN TO GO

The beautiful thing about Iceland is that no two days are the same. And that’s because the weather can be so changeable. Iceland isn’t a country where people should wander about on their own, unless they are prepared for the weather. Some parts are so uninhabitable that I always recommend that my clients are accompanied by an experienced guide. After all, the wildest places are always the most spectacular, but also the most unpredictable.

So when is the perfect time to go?

Winter can be a very pretty time to visit, but it does get colder then. Avoid December to February if you don’t like ice and cold winds. Although it never goes below minus 15°C. For those who love photography and breathtaking views, just pack your thermals and get ready for sights that you’ll never forget!

Iceland seasons

Amazing sights and sites

When people think of Iceland, they often think of the Northern Lights, which appear from September until the end of March.

If you love taking photos and long days outside, then avoid November through to January. These are seriously dark days with just a few hours of sunlight a day. Because of Iceland is the land of ice and fire – on the flip side, the ‘bright nights’ are from April to September. with June and July giving you the chance to see the midnight sun. Yes, this sounds ideal but it also means that it’s difficult to sleep, so bear that in mind. By August, the nights begin to darken.

Whale watching and nature tours

For those interested in whale watching, contrary to popular belief this can be done all year round. From Spring to Autumn is best! I work with the country’s best boat guides and nature experts, ensuring that you will see some truly unforgettable animals.

Iceland travel planner

The best thing about having your own Iceland travel planner is that I advise on all the things that are vital for making your trip not only exciting but safe and comfortable. Driving conditions, security and clothing – you’d be surprised how many women I’ve known to climb a volcano in high heels!

Northern lights Reykjavík

Beyond the tourist places

I also ensure that my clients keep away from the touristy places, while still being aware of the most popular places. So you are free to pick and choose as you wish. Most importantly: I am in constant personal contact with all my colleagues and partners in Iceland. This ensures you get the very best in quality and personal service.

Every season has its charm

All in all, there’s no bad time to go to Iceland. Simply make sure you consider the time of year when we talk about the activities you’d like to do there, and the things you would like to experience.

You can read more in my blog about the seasons in Iceland and why you could use a travel planner for each.

If you have any further questions, just fill in the contact form and I’ll be in touch.