I had always been a little bit wary of AirBnB, mostly because of stories I’ve heard from friends or read online. It seemed to me that people either loved it or hated it. However, when I started planning my trip to Iceland, the prices for hotels were a little high for my budget. This coupled with the fact that I was traveling solo and wanted to meet people along the way led me to try AirBnB for the first time. I signed up and started perusing the options, instantly taking a liking to a private room that had glowing reviews and AirBnB Superhost badge. The location was pretty good too, situated in a neighborhood close to the main Grayline Bus Terminal and a short bus ride from downtown Reykjavik. Before I booked, I chatted with the host, Hulda, through email and instantly felt comfortable enough to go through with the booking.
Flash forward to a couple weeks before I was due to take off, I was panicking a bit because my flight arrived in Iceland at 7am and I wasn’t sure what I should do between then and check in time. The Blue Lagoon, a typical stop between the airport and Reykjavik, just wasn’t in my budget. I emailed Hulda and asked if it would be possible to drop my luggage off early and what time would be too early. She promptly answered yes, drop it off whenever. Not only was this a huge relief, but it also opened up more time for me to explore Reykjavik.
I arrived at the Grayline Bus Terminal after a 45 minute ride from Keflavik airport, and it was an easy 10 minute walk from there to my AirBnB. Hulda and her husband, Gustav, both greeted me at the door and cheerfully ushered me into their apartment, asking me about the flight and leading me to my room. Hulda showed me where to towels were, the drawer full of Iceland tourism brochures and maps, how to work the shower and the empty drawer in the fridge I could use for groceries if I wanted. She asked what my plans were for the day and then offered to drive me downtown since she had to run errands that way anyways. I gladly accepted and off we went.
Hulda narrated the points of interest as we went, pointing out Mount Esja looming beyond the bay, the sun voyager and Harpa Music Hall. She dropped me off at one end of the pedestrian street, and told me where I could catch the bus back to the apartment.
When I returned that evening, they helped me find a place near the apartment for dinner and drew me a map to get there and back. After dinner, I sat with them in their living room and had a wonderful conversation about travel and Iceland and just life in general. They were both so helpful, especially when giving me advice about what tourist attractions are worth it and which were fine to skip.
Because I was exhausted and the bed was so, so comfy, I woke up embarrassingly late. Even so, I was offered coffee and toast to go with the skyr (Icelandic Yogurt) I had got the night before from a grocery store. Hulda and Gustav offered to drive me over to Mount Esja that day, because they were headed out that way anyways, so as soon as I finished eating, I changed into my hiking gear and we got going. Again, they pointed out landmarks and Hulda talked a bit about her childhood, as this was the area where she grew up. When they dropped me off at the park, they made sure to tell me which buses to take to get back. That afternoon, they helped me plan out my activities for the rest of the night and mapped them out for me. By this point, I was feeling pretty spoiled to have such wonderful and caring hosts.
The next morning, before I checked out to move on to my next accommodations, I sat down with Hulda for breakfast and chatted for a while. It seemed like we were old friends already, talking about everything and nothing. I really lucked out to have her and Gustav for hosts; they were so kind and helpful and hospitable. I am so glad I got to start off my time in Iceland with them. I went into this not knowing what to expect and just hoping for the best, and after I checked out, I couldn’t imagine starting the trip off any other way.
If you find yourself planning a trip to Reykjavik and you’re looking for a place to stay, I would absolutely recommend checking out their private room with AirBnB!
A very big thank you to Hulda and Gustav for making me feel perfectly at home and for all their help and hospitality!