Aurora Borealis 17 March 2015.

Safetravel in winter

New tourism for Aurora borealis


Increasingly, tourists come in winter to enjoy the beauty of the northern lights. Safety while travelling is always crucial, especially in winter conditions. The aim of Safetravel is to reduce the risk of accidents in travelling and tourism in Iceland.

Independent associations have an extensive role in prevention and rescue in Iceland. Thousands of volunteers dedicate themselves to work for the ICE-SAR rescue teams, for the accident prevention divisions and the youth sections. Their joint mission is to prevent accidents and save human lives and valuables. Extensive groups of volunteers are always available, night and day, all year round.

112 Iceland app

Safetravel provides 112 Iceland, an app which is easy to use. It can be used in emergency, if an accident occurs or if someone is lost. Tourist can also leave their "trail" in case of search. From Safetravel's web-site, the app can be downloaded for either Android phones, Windows phones or iPhone:

First of all you can call for help by pressing the red Emergency button. Your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response center. Remember that even though your phone shows no signal there is a possibility that you can send text message.

The green Check In button is for you to leave your location with us so if something happens we have more information to worked with. Only the 5 last location's are stored and we recommend you use this – don't worry – you are not disturbing anyone – except for our big computer who wants to be disturbed.

112 Iceland should not be used as the only telecommunications equipment. Based on coverage and conditions it is possible that a satellite phone is needed. In many rural areas, as well as the highlands, there is no mobile coverage. Nothing can replace the safe measure of leaving a travel plan behind.

Travel Plan

One of the most important things to do when preparing a journey is to make a detailed travel plan and leave with someone who can act if needed. Travel plan should always include the following information:

  • Date of travel, departure time and arrival time
  • Names of those who travel and information on relative or contact
  • Accommodation (GPS coordinates) and other places you plan to visit
  • Few words about the equipment
  • Plan B

Travellers can leave their travel plan with ICE-SAR, provided it includes a contact or relative whose responsibility is to alert ICE-SAR if the travellers do not arrive at the right time. ICE-SAR also provides a more extensive service with trip monitoring as an option within the travel plan.

Further information

A personal location beacon can be rented at two pick-up places. For glacier hiking, crevasse maps are available and for any tour, there are equipment lists. All travellers are encouraged to check the weather forecast and the driving conditions, including closed roads.


The web-page Safetravel is run by ICE-SAR and is part of a bigger project in which a number of companies, public institutions and individuals combine their effort in order to reduce the risk of accidents in travelling and tourism in Iceland. ICE-SAR's office leads the project with the help of many SAR team members as well as others with thorough experience in travelling in Iceland in different conditions.

Safetravel is supported by a number of sponsoring companies. The Icelandic Meteorological Office has supported the Safetravel project since its beginning in 2010.

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