Iceland

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Where did you go?

Iceland

Were there any language barriers? 

No, most locals speak fluent English. There is no local expectation that you can speak any Icelandic.

What tourist attractions did you visit?

  • Golden Circle day tour which covers some of the main attractions in Southern Iceland including geysers, Gulfoss Waterfall, national parks, volcanic craters, and a geothermal power plant.
  • Watching the Northern Lights was a trip highlight. A once in a lifetime experience that had me staring in awe at the sky enduring sub zero temperatures in a field for several hours.

Other recommendations:

  • Glacier Trekking
  • Vik (Black Sand Beach)
  • Blue Lagoon

Most sights are seen as part of tour groups due to their distance from Reykjavik. All the tours I was on had fully equipped buses and all stops has bathroom facilities. 

Did your IBD cause you any issues on this trip?

I was on plenty of medication for this trip as my Crohn’s had been flaring on and off for a while. Thankfully, other than the fatigue associated with Crohn’s, I had no issues.

Was there anything out of the ordinary that stressed you out, or could potentially stress out someone with IBD?

Ensuring I could get travel insurance that covered pre-existing conditions was an initial concern, but managing all the medications whilst travelling was also challenging. I didn’t think travelling across Europe with Humira was practical, and in consultation with specialists double dosed before I departed Australia. I also had a doctor’s letter that explained the medications in case of any issues with customs.

Can you recommend any specific providers that can cater for people with IBD? 

The best, easiest and most common way to see Iceland is with organised tour groups. The distances between attractions is significant and the weather can make driving dangerous for those not used to the conditions. The main tour operators seems to be Grey Lines and Reykjavik Excursions. 

Can you tell us what the food is like? 

Due to it being a remote island in a harsh climate, seafood is a major part of their cuisine, along with lamb. Dairy also seemed to be quite prevalent, with fresh vegetables and fruit not common.

Did you ever need medical attention? What did you do?

No. However whenever I travel I do a quick search to find out what is considered to be the best hospital in the city I’m heading to, so if in the unlikely event that I run into any issues I know which hospital to head to.

Do you recommend any hospitals or a GP that people with IBD could potentially use?

The National University Hospital of Iceland appeared to be the major hospital in Reykjavik.

Can you recommend how many days/weeks is a good time to visit this location?

4 – 5 days.

Toilet advice?

In Reykjavik they were good. At the various tourist attractions outside the city (ie national parks) they were very basic, but as an IBD sufferer I’m somewhat desensitized to bathroom conditions. 

On a scale of 1-5 how much does your IBD affect you?

(1 being in remission and 5 being in a flare)

5 – have just had surgery, which I’m hopeful takes me to a 1 for a very long time.

On a scale of 1-5, how difficult was it to manage your IBD while on this trip?

(1 being no issues and 5 being very difficult to manage)

2 – predominantly managing the medication and fatigue.

Were there any activities which challenged your IBD management? 

No. I try to not let Crohn’s limit what I do in life. Like anything I try to be sensible, and I understand my body well enough to know when I’m running into problems.

Would you recommend this place for people who have IBD? 

Yes, I have travelled to approximately 40 countries and Iceland is one of the most fascinating and unique places I have ever visited. It’s surprisingly easy to get to from the UK and mainland Europe.

Additional comments?

Get travel insurance that covers you for pre-existing medical conditions. I wouldn’t travel without it. For someone with a chronic illness it’s not worth the risk and it gives you peace of mind.

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