Traveling alone VS Traveling with a guided group

Before I get started I just wanted to define what I mean when I talk about a group since many people could think about something else; I mean the tour you can take for about 10-14 days around a country with a guide and a group of other people where everything is pre-planned and taken care of. Whereas when I am talking about traveling alone I mean completely alone – no friends or travel companions in sight – at least not in the beginning!

When making travel plans the questions sooner or later appears if you should do the trip by yourself or with a group, especially if none of your friends have the time to come or you would rather do this on your own. I know that sounds very contradictory: wanting to travel on your own but choosing a guided tour through a country.

But it does make sense!

You are starting the trip alone but you make friends very soon and easily because everyone is a foreigner in the country you are visiting and you spend a lot of time together with all the tours and trips the group is taking. Also experiences bind a group together and your stay -when traveling with a guided tour- will be full of experiences. But on the other hand, always being with a group and having every day planned from start to finish doesn’t really give you the opportunity to meet locals and get to know the culture better.

The perks of traveling with a group to me would be that everything is planned for you and you don’t have to worry about anything. They plan your trip, they make sure you show up on time and they get you from one place to another. They feed you when you’re hungry and they make sure you have done some awesome stuff during your stay. Probably more than if you would have gone on your own.

But that is also the downside. Not having to fend for yourself and not being able to make plans on your own can make a trip also less memorable because eventually you don’t pay that much attention anymore to the things you’re doing. It can make you grow a lot as a person when you are completely on your own in a foreign country having to figure everything out for yourself without anybody holding your hand. You get to learn how to solve your own problems, so in a way, a vacation taken on your own can be not only an unforgettable experience but also a lesson for life!

The obvious reason though, and there is no argument against that, is that traveling in a group is a lot safer than traveling on your own, especially if you’re planning on spending some time outside of a city where there is limited reception and also a limited amount of help provided. There are groups that offer trips into the wild so being with a guide for those tours is a must since you can get severely lost or hurt yourself and have no chance of getting help. When you are traveling on your own, you are more likely to get into situations like this, especially when you have been traveling on your own for a while since you just get used to the feeling of being able to do everything alone.

For many people the thought of being alone on a trip is not very appealing, since you want to share your experience with someone other than yourself. It can be scary to think that your are completely on your own with nobody there to help you. But even though being on your own makes you vulnerable there are so many nice people on this planet who will help you with anything you could possibly ask for. But without being in need of help you will never get the chance to meet these people.

I do not want to push anyone in any direction; while writing this I tried to be as objective as I could. But I do believe that if you are playing with the thought of traveling on your own you should definitely try it because I believe that it makes you so much more aware of the country you are visiting and you get to know so many great people during your trip! But still: stay safe and make smart decisions!


And if you ever come to Iceland- on your own, with a group/ your family/ friends whoever- make sure to stop by at Norðurflug and take an unforgettable helicopter ride with us!

 

Lisa Rundel

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Daylight in Iceland in January

Iceland in January

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Picture by Eva. Sunrise today at 10:46. The Reykjavík University’s dome can be spotted on the left.

In January it feels like Iceland is slowly waking up from hibernation; the days are getting longer again and everyone is feeling a sort of awakening. During this month the daylight hours stretch from a mere 4 hours and 28 minutes on January 1 to 7 hours and 2 minutes on January 31.

During  January the daylight extends for about 3 to 5 minutes on an average day, so you are actually able to witness the daylight being longer every day!
Even though winter in Iceland can be rough, and a lot of travelers would rather come during the summer where the days are long and bright, winter in Iceland has its perks. Seeing the island cover in soft white snow in a beautiful low light makes me really understand the beauty of the country and why it‘s is so appealing.

Once you get out of the city the only thing you see are the snow covered road, meadows as far as you can see with Icelandic horses standing in the snow. In the distance you see snow covered mountains in the most gorgeous soft light and you will start dreaming…

The best thing about memories is making them

Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory

Christmas is around the corner and we are all struggling to find the perfect gift for our family and friends. We at Norðurflug know this struggle very well and therefore decided to give you as our customers an easy way out: We offer a special Christmas gift certificate for you to give to your loved ones in order for them to be able to make an experience of a lifetime!

This gift contains a helicopter flight over the beautiful city of Reykjavik and a landing on top of a mountain! During this flight you will be able to see the world‘s northernmost capital from a unique perspective and admire the beauty of the city and its surroundings. You will capture the intense blue ocean that hugs the city shore and see the rough mountains behind you which might simply take your breath away…

Who wouldn’t like to find a gift like that under the Christmas tree?
You can buy this certificate on our website or come to our office to receive it! The certificate is valid from December 24, 2016 until December 24, 2017.

 

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Christmas at Norðurflug

We love the Christmas season!

We celebrate various Christmas traditions here at the office, as we gratefully have people from different corners of the earth!
Here are some of the Christmas traditions as explained by the “locals”

Czech Christmas traditions
Everything starts on 5th of December and all children are very excited to see St. Nicholas (Svatý Mikuláš). Usually he is accompanied by devils and angels. Kids have to sing a song and the devil asks thsvaty-mikulasem if they have been good all year, if yes, usually kids get a lot of sweets, advent calendar and fruit. If not, devil might give them a lump of coal or „take them to hell“ with them. Kids also send a letter to Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) and put it behind a window to let him know what they wish to get under the tree.

 

Czech people, like most Europeans, keep the tradition of Advent Sundays, and burn a candle each Sunday for 4 weeks, counting down to Christmas.

Czech people call Christmas “Generous day” which leads to variety of food what they usually have for a Christmas dinner. During the day some people try to fast all day in order to see a Golden pig on the wall in a hunger-hallucination 😉 That should be a sign of good luck but usually does not always work. We also have some other traditions as cutting an apple or lead pouring.
The Christmas tree is usually decorated with traditional Czech Christmas ornaments, under the tree Czech people put a crib made of paper or wood. For everyone there are also some homemade sweets on a table.
Christmas dinner isn´t served until the first stars come out. We usually have fish soup (or lentils – means a lot of money for the next year) and for the main course fried carp with potato salad. This carp is usually bought the day before and we keep it in our bathtub over the night – alive! The table should be set for an even number of guests. We also should have an extra plate in a case we have an unexpected guest. No one should ever get up from the Christmas table before dinner is finished.
After dinner kids wait in their rooms and expect a „Baby Jesus“ to come through an open window to give them some presents. Kids usually sing few carols under the tree before unpacking. After unpacking, some families go to church for a Midnight Mass. We continue on 25th and 26th by having a great meals and visiting our relatives.

German Christmas Traditions
As in most European countries Germans celebrate the time leading up to Christmas starting from December 1st. Of course every child and every adult who is young at heart has an Advent calendar.
The four Sundays before Christmas Eve are celebrated as well. We always buy or make ourselves an advent wreath out of fir branches and decorate it with ribbons and four candles. On every one of these Advent-Sundays you light up one more candle, usually when having some Christmas cookies and coffee with your family until all four are lit and you know it is Christmas. It just brings the family together and helps you to countdown the days 🙂
In addition, in the evening of Dec 5th every child polishes their shoes and places them outside. The next morning, on Dec 6th, they will find chocolate or small presents in their shoes. Whoever wants to believe it believes that a person called Saint Nikolaus brings these goodies. This tradition stems from the very gracious Bishop Nikolaus of Myra. The story goes that he always gave everything he owned away and even begged on the streets to get money for the poor.

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There are many traditional dishes and sweets that are only sold in this time of year: Chocolate covered fruits, Gingerbread in the shape of hearts and „Schmalzkuchen“ (small cakes similar to donuts, with powdered sugar on top, always served hot). Of course you can also opt for the all time favorites like Bratwurst and potato pancakes. „Glühwein“, a hot wine punch with Christmas spices or almonds can be bought everywhere and is the go to drink in this cold season.
Christmas and the handing out of presents is on Christmas Eve Dec 24th. In some families the children have to sing some Christmas carols or recite a poem before unwrapping the presents. Afterwards we celebrate with a big family dinner. Traditions about the food vary depending on the region or family even. It could be a roast dinner with pork or fish or potatoe salad with sausages (very German indeed :D). The two following days mainly consist of big family meals and eating Christmas cookies for dessert and travelling to see all your relatives for this special occassion.

 

Merry Christmas – Or Scary Christmas?
Icelanders love Christmas! Due to lack of daylight every house is lit with Christmas lights and candles are all around. Christmas songs, family gatherings and exchange of presents are some of our traditions along with drinking delicious Jólaglögg (similar to Glüwein) and delicious cookies.

 

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There is however a twist in this whole “oh-so-cute-Christmas-Island-filled-with-snow”. That is, the scary lores of Icelandic Christmas: The two huge trolls who eat children during Christmas called Grýla and Leppalúði, their 13 sons – The Icelandic Santa Clauses (and yes, you read correctly, Thirteen Santa Clauses) – that give children cute presents if they behave well. Then there is the huge Christmas cat that eats children as well (as if two trolls weren’t enough). These trolls have even been an inspiration for a horror movie called the “Child Eater”.
Aside from all these scary trolls, cats and Santa Clauses, the Icelandic Christmas celebration is actually very cosy and heart-warming.
Hope you will enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas!

Pink Ribbon Day on Friday October 14th

October is the international Breast Cancer Awareness month and Iceland is no different!

 

On Friday October 14th Icelanders celebrate Pink Day and people are encouraged to wear pink to show solidarity with women fighting cancer.

 

The Cancer Institute of Iceland stands behind the Pink Ribbon project. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Iceland. The beast way to fight breast cancer is to get checked on a regular basis. In Iceland, women between the ages of 40-69 are offered to come in for a breast scan. Early detection can lower the death rate by 40%.

 

All the money raised for this project during the month of October will go in renewing the equipment in the cancer ward in the National hospital.

Find out more about the Icelandic Pink Ribbon here 

We at Nordurflug Helicopter Tours encourage everyone to support the project by purchasing the Pink Ribbon pin  sold at most retailers, groceries stores and gas stations.

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Marriage proposal in Iceland

Planning that special moment when you ask the question of all questions can be intimidating! You know the one I´m talking about…it begins with “Will you…”. Popping the question is a magical occasion, so what better way to do it than with the breathtaking view of Iceland´s Natural beauty in the background?!

With the help of our team, your special day will be unforgettable!

We recommend our Heli-Romance tour for proposals. The private tour includes a bottle of sparkling wine to toast the special moment. Follow the link for more details on this specific tour: http://helicopter.is/helicopter-tours/heli-romance/

Proposal in Iceland

We can also make any one of our helicopter tours private for the price of an additional seat. A bottle of sparkling wine can join you on the tour with advanced notice ! If you don´t mind sharing the tour with others, that´s great too! Our pilots can help you get the privacy you want.

The Norðurflug Team is excited to share this “once in a lifetime” moment with you 🙂

Marriage proposal in Iceland

Marriage proposal in Iceland

Waffles make the world go round!

In case you haven’t noticed already: Icelanders love waffles. Traditional Icelandic waffles are heart shaped and almost always served on special events and family celebrations.
Two weeks ago we had the brilliant idea to buy a waffle maker for our office.  It is incredible how much of a positive impact this small kitchen device has had on our company. Whenever we have time we make waffles for ourselves and our lucky clients! It is not only fun; it also brings our Norðurflug family even closer together and creates a cozy atmosphere. So now everyday feels like a celebration 🙂

For everyone who wants to try this at home, here is a traditional recipe:

5 dl (2 cups) flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
3.75 dl (1.5 cup) milk
salt

Decorate them with jam and whipped cream to get the real Icelandic experience 😉

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By: Lea Hagemann

We are winners!

Luxury Travel Guide has selected Norðurflug Helicopter Tours as the winner of  “Unique Tour Operator Of The Year” for 2017!

The Norðurflug family is both proud and honored to receive these awards. The Luxury Travel Guide Awards represent the pinnacle of hospitality achievement, championing the best in each field of work!

We work hard for our high level of customer service and strive to create unique experiences for our customers. ltg-logo-jpeg

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Equality. Diversity. Love.

We thought we might share our newest newsletter 🙂

We are celebrating Reykjavík Pride next week and the city is buzzing with excitement!

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