It can be tough trying to pack for a winter holiday, as the clothing you’ll need is that much bulkier and heavier than what you would take in summer. Don’t let this deter you though, particularly when your winter destination is Iceland. A successful trip to Iceland starts when you pack all of the right things. Use our packing list for a trip to Iceland if you want to avoid wasting time and money purchasing the little things you happened to forget.

Keeping warm

Although not the most attractive form of clothing, you should pack thermals as it helps to stop body heat from escaping while staying outside. Winters in Iceland tend to be cold, and many areas receive significant amounts of snowfall. If you’re going in the winter, you’ll need a thick winter coat and boots meant for walking in snow. Wear these on the plane to save some space in your luggage. Don’t forget waterproof gloves, scarves, and winter hats. Those who are planning outdoor-based activities might want to bring an extra set of these things, since it can be difficult to dry them overnight.

Keeping dry

Although Iceland has many stunning days during winter, there could still be days that aren’t so pleasant, so your luggage, as well as you, need to be able to cope with different kinds of weather conditions. For example, during winter time in south Iceland, you will most likely experience rain or sleet, combined with wind. So something made from a durable, water-resistant material is a perfect choice, as you want your gear to be protected when facing the elements. An additional water-proof cover for your backpack wouldn’t go astray either.

Travel documents & Payment

In terms of payment, all Icelandic stores accept both cash and credit/debit cards. You should also be able to use Apple or Google Pay, but some stores might be unable to process such payments. Before departure, make sure to verify that your bank allows you to use your card internationally. ATM‘s are located all around Iceland, if you prefer to pay with cash. And last but not least, don‘t forget to bring your passport as you will need it to get into the country.


The last thing you want when you’re on holidays is to end up sick, but it does happen, especially if you’re out in the cold every day. Pharmacies and medical centres are relatively easy to find in Iceland, but it might be inconvenient to access when traveling in the countryside. Pack medicines such as pain killers, cold tablets and throat lozenges in your luggage for day-to-day use, especially if travelling with children or people that are particularly susceptible to colds and flus.

A Camera

Winter in a country like Iceland is something to be truly marvelled at, so a decent camera should definitely be on your luggage list – and not just the camera on your phone either! It might be an obvious one, but it could also be something that gets missed if you’re distracted by all your other packing. Don’t forget!

Bring also…

For your own comfort, don‘t forget to pack: soap and shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, razor + shaving cream, makeup kit, nail clipper, lip balm, hairbrush and other personal belongings.

The ultimate checklist

Here is a checklist to help you make sure you don’t forget to do or pack anything before leaving for your Iceland vacation.

Before departure

  • Check your passport expiry dates
  • Buy travel insurance (cancellation, luggage, medical, civil liability)
  • Make a photocopy of official documents (passports, driver’s license, etc.)
  • Fully charge the batteries of your camera, video camera, phone, tablet etc

Travel Documents & Payment

  • Passport
  • Valid driver’s license and international license
  • Credit/debit card
  • Cash (Icelandic krona)
  • Booking reservations (where applicable)
  • Plane tickets (round-trip)


  • Smartphone
  • Power bank for your phone (thanks Gemma!)
  • Camera + equipment
  • Headphones
  • Converter / Adapter (electric)


  • Soap and shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant / Antiperspirant
  • Tampons / Sanitary napkins
  • Razor + shaving cream (or electric razor)
  • Hairbrush / Comb
  • Nail file / Nail clipper
  • Makeup kit
  • Glasses / Contact lenses
  • Lip balm


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Thermals
  • Durable, water-resistant Jacket
  • Thick winter coat
  • Boots meant for walking in snow.
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Scarves
  • Winter hats
  • Jeans, pants
  • Sweater (polar fleece or wool)
  • Scarf
  • Smart Outfit for restaurants & nightlife