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Iceland is one of the most beautiful and unique countries in the world. I highly recommend everybody who can visit Iceland to do it. However, you really need to know about wifi in Iceland, so you can plan accordingly.
You do not want to be stuck in rural Iceland with no wifi in cell service.
Especially if you’re in an emergency or your car breaks down.
Yikes! That is not have a dream Iceland vacation looks.
The wifi in Iceland is hit and miss at best. You’ll have better luck finding free wifi in Reykjavík, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Outside the capital, your chances of finding free wifi are even less.
The good news is that there are a number of solutions, and you can find ways to easily access wifi in Iceland. They come at a price, but it isn’t a high one. The cheapest option is to take your chances and rely on public wifi. However, I recommend renting pocket wifi while in Iceland or buying your own portable wifi device if you’re a frequent traveller.
Because of the unique nature of Iceland and the fact that you’re most likely renting a car and driving around part of the country, I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to have a plan to access wifi in Iceland.
My personal favourite solution to accessing the internet while in Iceland is renting a pocket wifi device.
They are super affordable.
You can even use them for GPS in your car, so you can avoid paying the expensive GPS rental rate car companies charge!
If you’re only visiting Reykjavík or are relying on group tours, it is less imperative that you rent pocket wifi in Iceland.
You can get by relying solely on free public wifi in Iceland if you want.
Public Wifi in Iceland
Public wifi in Iceland is kind of a tale of two stories.
One on side, you can pretty easily find free public wifi in Reykjavík.
On the other, I wish you luck on your journey to finding free public wifi in rural Iceland. Outside of your hotel, you probably won’t be able to find free public wifi.
You certainly won’t find any wifi while you’re driving through the countryside.
So, this can put tourists in a bit of a tough spot. Especially if you need to be connected to the internet for work or personal reasons.
If, however, you’re a casual tourist who just wants to check their emails or social media every once in a while, you can probably get by relying on public wifi in Iceland.
Most cafés and restaurants in Reykjavík offer complimentary wifi. Even some stores (like bookstores) offer guests complimentary wifi.
If free wifi isn’t offered, there is a good chance you can access it for a small additional fee.
And, of course, every hotel or apartment in Reykjavík will have fast, reliable wifi for you to use. There shouldn’t be an additional cost to use it!
In rural Iceland, every hotel should offer guests complimentary wifi. So, that won’t be an issue.
You will probably run into an issue when you try to access the internet when you’re out and about.
In my experience, it is hit or miss if a café or restaurant in rural Iceland offers complimentary wifi.
It probably doesn’t.
So, take this information into consideration when you plan your Icelandic trip.
You may want to rent pocket wifi even if you don’t rely on the internet a whole lot.
It puts you at ease in case you get lost, have an emergency, or need to find the nearest restaurant or gas station.
Renting Pocket Wifi in Iceland
I personally think renting pocket wifi in Iceland is your best choice.
It is super affordable, easy to use, and you feel confident knowing you can access the internet anywhere and everywhere.
I rented my pocket wifi when I was picking up my rental car last time I was in Iceland.
So, even if it is a last minute decision or you want the easiest solution possible, you’re covered.
Unsurprisingly though, renting pocket wifi directly through the car rental company is going to be the most expensive option.
I mean it is a car rental company. They kind of have a reputation of nickle-and-diming you.
Pre-renting your portable wifi device in advance is the most affordable option.
I personally like the company Trawire.
You order your wifi device online in advance and pick it up at the airport when you arrive. You can also pick it up at Polar Bear Gift Shop Laugavegur or any Icelandic gift shop.
There is an additional fee if you pick it up at the post office but not if you pick it up at the airport or gift shop.
At the end of your trip, you simply put it in the pre-paid envelope you get when you pick up your device and stick it in one of the two post boxes at the airport.
The only catch is you have to activate your wifi device as soon as you collect it.
Other than that, you can use your wifi device to connect to the internet anywhere and everywhere in Iceland.
Paying the small price to rent a wifi device is well worth it in my opinion.
I mean you’re going to have to figure out how to get GPS somehow. So, skip the price of GPS with your car rental and get a wifi device instead.
At least then you can make all your friends jealous by updating your socials frequently!
An Option for the Most Serious of Travellers
If you’re a travel addict like me, you may want to consider purchasing your own personal wifi device you can take with you anywhere in the world.
This saves you the hassel of finding pocket wifi to rent, picking it up, and dropping it off everywhere you go.
I’ve done it before. Trust me, it gets annoying pretty quickly!
In 2019 I purchased a Skyroam Solis, and it was one of the best travel purchases I’ve ever made!
It is my own personal pocket wifi device. I take it everywhere I travel, and it is such an amazing addition to my suitcase.
You can connect multiple devices to your Skyroam, so you can keep the whole group connected to the internet with one device.
I love the freedom and convenience of my Skyroam, but it isn’t for everybody.
If you only travel once a year or don’t need the internet when you’re on the road, you can probably skip getting a personal wifi device and rely on renting pocket wifi wherever you go.
However, if you travel more than twice a year and like to stay connected on the road, I can’t recommend Skyroam enough.
It has seriously levelled up my travel game!
The Importance of Online Safety
One of my goals with my blog is to make more people aware that they need to protect their online data when they travel.
I’m never not shocked by how few people take their internet safety seriously when they travel. Or how few travel bloggers/vloggers talk about it!
You put your online information and data at risk when you use public wifi networks when you travel.
End of story.
You need to protect yourself to ensure nobody tries to access your online information, steal it, and then sell it.
Cancelling all your bank cards while you’re abroad is not how you want to be spending your vacation!
Using a rented pocket wifi device makes your online data more secure.
While you’re using the pocket wifi, it is pretty hard for your online data to be hacked because you’re the only person who knows the password.
But you don’t use the pocket wifi 24/7.
It has to charge sometime, and when it does, you’re forced to connected to public wifi. Most likely at your hotel.
And I know what you’re thinking. Hotel wifi is most often password protected, so I’m safe to use it.
Anybody can access that password, so you’re just at risk as you are using a public wifi network that doesn’t have a password.
The only way to keep your online information safe when using a public wifi network is by having a VPN installed (and turned on) on all of your devices.
You take steps to keep yourself safe, and you also need to take steps to keep your online information safe.
My Favourite VPN
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel. And, honestly, most of them suck.
They slow down your phone to a crawl, and I ended up getting so frustrated that I just turned the VPN off and put my information at risk.
I know, I know. Not very responsible of me!
That all changed in 2018 when I found NordVPN.
I’ve been using them ever since and love the service they provide.
They are the fastest VPN on the market, and it doesn’t feel like your devices are being slowed down at all because of the VPN.
That’s why I recommend NordVPN to you!
I want you to have the best internet experience when you travel, and no VPN is better for travellers.
Plus you can cloak your location and access Netflix catalogues from around the world!
You can connect up to six devices on a single NordVPN account, so you can protect all your devices for a low fee.
A two-year subscription costs less per month than a single Starbucks latte.
There is no excuse to not protect your online data when you travel.
My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information!
I hope you’re more prepared on what to expect when it comes to wifi in Iceland.
I don’t want you to show up in Iceland and be surprised that public wifi isn’t all that available.
Which makes sense since most of Iceland is rural, and you’ll most likely be doing a lot of driving on quiet roads.
The main takeaway I want you to get from this article is that you need to have a plan before you arrive in Iceland.
I personally think renting pocket wifi in Iceland is the best idea, but you need to figure out what is best for you.
Figure out what your internet needs will be while in Iceland and go from there.
If you don’t need internet and are staying in the Reykjavík area, you can probably rely on public wifi to meet your needs.
If you’re road tripping around the country, you should seriously consider renting pocket wifi or bringing your own Skyroam device.
No matter how you choose to get your internet access while in Iceland, you need to protect your online data from prying eyes by installing a VPN on all your devices.