A Place that Wows at Every Turn - United Hub

Iceland: A place that wows at every turn

By The Hub team

"It felt like a different planet. Everywhere you go is beautiful."

Iceland: A land of diverse and breathtaking Nordic landscapes – from glistening glaciers, incredible waterfalls, exploding geysers and more, you can find it all across this vast land of marvelousness.

For freelance photographer Tim Landis, a trip to Iceland was a dream come true – an island of immense beauty asking to be captured through a lens.

But Tim's dream was fulfilled both professionally and personally. Thanks to United's MileagePlus® program, Tim's wife Staci and their three children -- Makenzie (16), Madden (13) and Amara (11) – came along for the incredible experience.

"Soaking it all in was amazing but watching my family experience it as well was even better," said Tim.

World-famous Blue Lagoon

It was the ultimate family adventure – four days filled with the best of the best that Iceland has to offer. The trip kicked off with a stop at the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa whose vivid turquoise water attracts tourists from all over the world. Each day that followed brought a new sense of curiosity and wonder.

Day 2

A drive along the Golden Circle, stopping to marvel at the gorgeous sights of Thingvellir National Park, playing the waiting game anticipating when the geysir will erupt and taking in the massiveness of the Gullfoss waterfall.

Dyrh\u00f3laey cliff

Day 3

Continuing on to Vik along the stunning southern coast of Iceland visiting various sites along the way, including two of Iceland's most famous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. A bit of rain and fog didn't deter plans to check out Dyrhólaey, where the sea meets the dramatic cliff and where you can catch a glimpse of a puffin, Iceland's most famous bird.

Kayaking through the J\u00f6kuls\u00e1rl\u00f3n Glacier Lagoon

Day 4

The fourth day began with an early wake-up call to drive to Skaftafell National Park, home to some of the most precious natural pearls of the country. Here, you'll find breathtaking scenery, rugged mountains and beautiful glaciers, and a variety of plants and wildlife. The day continued with a boat excursion at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where you can cruise between the marvelous icebergs which regularly break off the glacier and make their way to the sea.

The Landis family will forever be able to look back on their Icelandic adventure through the awe-inspiring photography they captured. But beyond the unreal scenery, unforgettable memories and unbelievable experience, the family's #UnitedJourney trip strengthened the Landis' most precious treasure: their unbreakable bond.

"One of the biggest takeaways from the trip is that we all saw each other grow in a small way. As parents, we got to see our kids be creative while also allowing them the space to interpret the world in their own way," said Staci. "I didn't travel much as a kid so being able to be alongside them during this opportunity and watch them take it all in is truly special."

As for Tim, he says the chance to share this journey through Iceland with his family is almost indescribable.

"It was incredible to experience a multitude of 'firsts' together – new and different foods, a variety of new experiences, landscapes we're never seen before and experiencing the grandeur of so many amazing piece of natural history," he said. "This trip was one for the books and we're so thankful for the opportunity."

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

5 tips & tricks we learned during our Icelandic experience:

  • Layers, layers, layers! A famous saying in Iceland is: "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes." The expression reflects the notoriously changeable weather of the country, so pack for all four seasons because chances are, you'll experience them all in one day.
  • Rent a car. Most of Iceland's top attractions are remote and spread out around the island, and with no railway system, your options of getting around are limited. Rent a car and hit the road for the ultimate road trip! *Note: Car rental is quite pricey in Iceland but use your MileagePlus® miles to book via Hertz and earn miles for your next adventure.
  • Factor in time for extra stops. Driving around Iceland is far from boring and each turn reveals a breathtaking landscape after the next. Plan for extra stops along the way because trust us, you will want to stop and take in the beauty. Note: Fill up whenever you see a gas stations – you never know how long it'll be before you see another one.
  • Order fish and chips at least once. Surrounded by the North Atlantic, no wonder Iceland offers some of the freshest seafood around. Our favorite? The classic fish and chips, specifically from the small red shack at the entrance to Skógafoss. A must, if you ask us!
  • Prepare to throw off your sleeping habits. During the summer months, Iceland has daylight for up to 20+ hours per day while in the winter, the may only be a few hours of daylight. Either way, adjusting your body to a sleep schedule is tricky.

Inspired to take your Icelandic adventure? United offers seasonal, daily nonstop flights from Newark to Reykjavik – only a four hour and forty minute flight! Book at United.com.

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