Planning? What planning?
While Iceland had been on my long travel list for a while, the decision to go there in October 2023 and on my own came rather spontaneous. In September, my whole focus was to finish and submit the dissertation for my master’s, which left me very limited time and headspace to actually plan anything. All I did was book a cheap flight and affordable accommodation in Reykjavík for a week. I quickly compared the cost of transport from and to the airport to the city and renting a car and decided that for a little more money, I’d get a lot more freedom, so I booked a small 4×4. Oh yes, and a “Northern Lights Tour with professional photos” for the second night. That was it. I’d figure the rest out as I went.
Spoiler alert: I did not see the northern lights because there were too many clouds at night. Given the chance to go out and try, postpone or cancel the tour, I opted for cancellation and got my money back. I heard from others that the nightly tours chasing the lights or a gap in the clouds to see them can be long and exhausting. Most of their pictures showed a slight glimmer on the horizon because the rest of the sky was overcast.
For me, that just wasn’t worth it as I needed a rest and lots of sleep. But to each his own, those who went can say they saw the northern lights. And those who went out on a tour and didn’t see them can come back for free within three years and try again. That’s not a bad deal either.