Skógafoss Iceland
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Trying to Mitigate His $450 Mistake in Iceland

Iceland may be downright cheap to which to travel; but it is a very expensive place to visit in many respects — and Andy Luten of Andy’s Travel Blog unfortunately learned the hard way about committing a careless mistake which wound up costing him at least $450.00 and several hours of his time.

Trying to Mitigate His $450 Mistake in Iceland

“I had pulled into Skogafoss at about 2pm”, Andy wrote in his article pertaining to what he calls The untold story of the dumbest thing I’ve ever done while traveling. “It was crowded all over the place so I didn’t really worry too much about taking many pictures. I figured I’d stop by to see it, then drive to my lodgings for the night, about 20 minutes north of Seljalandsfoss.”

In his haste, he accidentally locked his keys in the rental car he was driving in Iceland. Although I was extremely fortunate with my inexpensive rental car experience in Iceland, I have heard some stories of customers being charged exorbitant amounts of money for what seem to be even the slightest of anomalies — so I was not surprised to learn that none of the options which Andy faced once his keys were locked inside of the car were anywhere close to favorable.

Starting with a component of the rental car which malfunctioned and apparently contributed to this situation, the tone of the article is clearly that of frustration — and understandably so. A simple error can result in a major alteration of your travel plans — and, usually, in your travel budget as well.

I know Andy and read his articles; and as a photographer with passion, I know that he knows that the best time to take photographs is usually either around dawn or around dusk. Not only is the ambient lighting usually dramatic enough to improve the photograph in general; but crowds are not typical at those times of day like they are at 2:00 in the afternoon…

…but he likely just did not have the time to commit during his trip to Iceland to be at Skógafoss — which is a popular waterfall located on the southern coast of Iceland approximately 156 kilometers southeast of Reykjavik — either early in the morning or late in the evening. With few exceptions located within or near the capital city, no road in Iceland is wider than two lanes — one lane for each direction — and numerous roads are unpaved; so traveling the equivalent of almost 97 miles will take at least two hours.


I admire Andy Luten for admitting what he calls the dumbest thing he had ever done while traveling and sharing his embarrassing story for others to learn from it. Guess what, Andy: do not feel bad. Chalk this up to an expensive lesson…

…and anyone who claims that they have never committed stupid errors while traveling is being dishonest at best. In fact, I will even go so far as to say that the flubs and blunders are what can actually make travel more interesting — but not at the time they happen, of course — and become legendary stories. I mean, come on: about which would you rather read — another article about an uneventful stay at a Hampton Inn; or the time when I spent four hours at the border between South Africa and Lesotho with a flat tire during a torrential thunderstorm and was locked out at the hotel property when I finally arrived at approximately 1:00 in the morning?

I have accidentally locked keys in the car twice in my life — both times when I had something significant on my mind and I was not paying attention. Fortunately, both times were close to home; and a second set of keys were readily available — so my cost was perhaps 45 minutes of my time with each incident.

Also, I always keep my keys in my pants pocket — I never put them in a coat or jacket or other item — so the chance of me locking my pants with my keys in a car are virtually impossible.

Andy will unfortunately never get his $450.00 and his time back from the error which he readily admits was his fault; but I hope that you please read his article about his experience.

I was fortunate to have spent eleven days on a road trip in Iceland last year — and although that amount of time was still not enough for me to see everything on my list, it did afford me flexibility to see certain points of interest at optimal times and alter plans due to weather if necessary.

Thank you for giving me the inspiration to continue to post articles about my experiences in Iceland, Andy — although I still have not even finished Day One of trip reports of my eleven days there — and for what it is worth: your photograph of Skógafoss is much better than mine, in my opinion. Your mistake was not in vain, as there is always something positive which comes out of negative experiences.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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