Welcome to the Land of Fire and Ice, Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. There are some amazing experiences to be had in Iceland.
I recommend Insight Guides Iceland, this was very helpful during
The temperatures range her from cold, colder to coldest, with a very short and mild “summer”. The average summer temperature is anywhere from 65-70’s. Even on warm days you can be chilled to the core by the winds. They do get snow in Iceland but it doesn’t usually stay on the island long due to the winds. There is also black ice during the winter months. When they tell you it’s windy they really mean it…a lesson I learned the hard way. Be very careful when exiting your car during a windy period, as in my case a gust of wind caught it and flung it backwards breaking the door. This is a common occurance in Iceland, so be extra careful. This is not covered by insurance either. Luckily my husband and his friend were able to fix mine, others have not been so lucky and have to get it fully replaced.
Another unique aspect of Iceland is it’s period of darkness and lightness. From June to mid July there is a period of round-the-clock daylight with June 24th being the longest day of the year. During the winter you have long periods of darkness and on the longest day of darkness only 3 hours of dusklike light. If you are affect by not having sunlight I recommend that you bring sun lamps with you for the long winter period.Time Zone
Iceland is GMT (Greenwhich Mean Time) so when it’s 3 pm in Iceland it’s:
11 am in New York (Eastern Time)
10 am in Texas (Central Time)
9 am in Utah (Mountain Time)8 am in California (Pacific Time)
I use http://www.worldtimeserver.com/current_time_in_IS.aspx to figure out what time it is in the states to call family. On the left side you can choose each state and see what time it currently is.
Northern Lights, these can be seen during the winter months when it acutally gets dark at night. The base weather channels post your chances of seeing them for each night from low, to high. An amazing sight you don’t want to miss.
Midnight Sun, The Midnight sun is when the sun descends into the ocean to start rising once again.
There are plenty of Volcanoes (Fire), Glaciers (Ice), waterfalls, lava tubes and more to be explored in this amazing country.
Getting To Iceland:
The Rotator aka Patriot Express is leaving in Oct so I am not sure how that will affect getting to Iceland. Currently families leave Baltimore, MD and fly the 6 hours straight to NAS Keflavik. There is a USO at Baltimore which provides snacks and free US long distance calls. There are toys for the kids and a TVs, tables, and information. This is only available to military members. You leave Baltimore around 11 pm and arrive in Keflavik around 8 am Keflavik time. You will be very tired but it is recommended that you try to stay up
Our family has came to visit us in Iceland via Iceland Air. www.icelandair.com you can get really good rates in the off season. The peak season (higher rates) are from June to August. Make sure you sign up for the Lucky Fares and they will email you with great rates. The rates currently are $408 per person from Baltimore, M
First off I recommend that you use www.afcrossroads.com to locate some starting basic information. You have to be military to acess the site and have/sign up for a log in name.
The MWR base website can be found at http://ww3.mwr.is/ there is some good information on here.
The base newspaper can be found at http://www.nctskef.n
**Warning Childcare is VERY Limited with often up to a 1 year wait!! Put your name on the CDC list as soon as possible if you are going to need daycare. After school care at the Youth Center has a long waiting list as well. I have never seen childcare as limited as on this base. Home Daycare providers are desperately needed, contact the CDC if you would like to become one. I was a provider on base for 7 months and provided shift work care. I had children in my home during the evenings for the single parents who worked swing shifts. Daycare is also expensive at the home providers the current rate is $140-$150/wk for infants up to 24 mo and $130-$140 for those 24 months and over. Drop in rates range from $4/hr per child to $8/hr per child. Before & After school care is $90/wk per child. If your looking for a job being a provider lets you stay home with your children as well as earn some good money.On base facilities:
Shopping on base:
Commissary which has a limited selection of items, closed on Mondays for restocking. If you see something that you like or need, buy multiples of it because once it’s gone it may take awhile before it’s restocked. You can special order items BUT you have to purchase a case of them, so when my husband special ordered some Quaker Strawberry snack we had to purchase the case of them which was 12 boxes of them. The fresh produce is often not the best, you can go to the nearby Bonus (Icelandic grocery store) right off base but the cost will be much higher. We are allowed to use expired coupons up to 6 months here.
Navy Exchange aka NEX also has a limited selection of items and is not very large. Plan on doing online shopping while here in Iceland as the clothing selection is very limited and goes fast. If you think you’ll need it while in Iceland, Bring It With You! I also recommend that you use the online shopping program Ebates while here:
Ebates is an online shopping site that pays you (up to 25%) to shop online! I’ve made over $150 by linking from their site before making my online purchases, I don’t know of any other site that pays you to shop online. The best part about it is they have over 800 stores like Gap, Old Navy, Barnes & Nobles, Priceline, ect so somewhere you shop is going to be on here. Also they offer money saving coupons too. You can also download a notifier so if your at a store that is part of ebates you’ll automatically get credit for it, Too Easy! If you sign up with my link they will give you $5 free and $5 to me for the referral:
Thrift Store is a great place to get some good deals as many people donate their stuff there when leaving as to not have to deal with it. It is also a great place to volunteer. I volunteered here for the 2 years I was in Iceland and loved it. It’s family friendly and I was able to take my little ones with me while I worked. Many shifts are available.
Banks on base are Navy Federal Credit Union and Community Bank.
Library is small and has very limited newer selections. You can buy books from the Shopette at the Viking Mall, the selection varies. I have used www.Amazon.com a lot while here in Iceland. They have a decent shipping time as well.
Beauty Shop is located at the Viking mall and is ran by Icelanders, which results in expensive prices for services. For example as full set of acrylic nails is $85 and to get them filled it is $40. It’s about the same off base.
Barber Shop is also located at the Viking mall and during busy hours can mean a long wait. Prices here are reasonable $7.95 for a kids cut and $8.95 for a military style adult cut.
Drycleaning is a bit high here and the price seems to go up fairly often.
Playzone is an indoor playground. This is great place to take your children during the dark winter months.
Polar Roller Rink offers skating as well as blow up bouncey’s for birthday parties.
Dental Services are now limited to sick call for basic cleanings for dependants and all other services are to be sought off base where you pay up front and then will be reimbursed. This is due to the short staffing at the Dental Clinic.
Medical Services are basic services needed, anything major is sent off base to Reykjavik. When my son broke his arm last year and needed it set under general anesthesia we were sent to the Reykjavik hospital. The staff was nice although since we arrived at 10 pm they were unable to treat him that night and we had to come back the next morning. There is no where to eat in the hospital as my husband found out the next morning for the long wait, so bring snacks if you have to go there. Also 20 wk pregnancy ultrasounds get done in Reykjavik as well. All premature births are sent to Reykjavik. The clinic is good about trying to get you in the same day, as long as you call first thing in the morning. They also offer free OTC medicines from the Pharmacy, each family has a certain amount they can get each month. This is a great program.
Mail comes out of NY and can often be slow. The Air Force picks up their mail at the Air Force post office which is located across from TLF. They have limited hours now it’s 11am-1pm and then 2pm to 5 pm M-F and Sat 9am-12 noon. The Navy picks their mail up from the Post Office at the Viking Mall (I think) and I’m not sure of the hours for that.
Recycling Center is located next to the Thrift Store. Recycling is a must in Iceland, as you are charged a 10 cent deposit on cans.