Early morning, we packed our bags, walked from the studio to grab our daily cuppa and then got in our car (and filled up on gas) and started to make the drive along the Ring Road (road 1, the main road in Iceland) to go south to Vík!
Quick note about gas along the Ring Road: I was so super paranoid even before we got to Iceland that we’d run out of gas and wouldn’t be able to find gas stations along the Ring Road. I kept hearing stories about how once you get out of the city and into the more rural/country parts, a lot of the gas stations are unmanned and your U.S. chip and signature card won’t work because the machines only do chip and PIN and since there is no one at the gas station, you can’t sign for the purchase. I heard the best thing to do was to buy gas cards at the major gas stations while in Reykjavik so you could use those at gas stations along the Ring Road.
Let me just tell you, from one nervous Nancy to another: don’t overthink this and don’t freak out because we encountered none of the above. We never ran out of gas, we never had an issue getting gas. We passed several gas stations along our way down and like I mentioned before, since most of your drive is high speed on an open road with no stopping and going (traffic), you really don’t use up that much gas anyway. I still made Jason get gas whenever we reached half a tank but there was never a time where we made it to a town and couldn’t get gas. Not sure if this works with every card but with Jason’s Capital One Venture card, even if the machine asked for a PIN, we just pressed ‘enter’ and it let us purchase gas. I had my Navy Federal Flagship Rewards credit card and with Navy Federal, you can set a PIN on your credit card in case a merchant doesn’t do chip and signature then it defaults to chip and PIN. Super convenient because a couple times, we couldn’t bypass the ‘enter’ with Jason’s card so we stuck mine in and it allowed me to use my PIN. Basically what I’m trying to say is: gas is not an issue along the Ring Road. Just keep an eye on your gas tank and you’ll be fine! Oh, and Iceland gas stations are a bit different in that they ask you how much gas you want to buy. We learned that about half a tank is 5000ISK but what we usually did was pushed the button for ‘fill tank’ which basically, like in the U.S., puts a dollar amount hold on your card and then once your purchase is complete, a couple days later, it changes to what you really purchased. Therefore, I recommend using credit cards and not debit cards at gas stations.
Okay, now that we have the gas talk out of the way…