I’m a bit unlucky when I travel so every time I check-in my luggage I feel like I’m playing some sort of baggage Russian Roulette: Will I get my luggage back when I land or not? Most of the time it’s there but every now and again my luggage goes on vacation to far-flung places without me when it gets lost by the airlines. I feel a bit sad that my suitcases have visited more countries than I have!
I’ve heard from frequent travelers that this happens a lot when you have connecting flights and you check-in your luggage the whole way. Like when it took me three flights to get to Israel that time and my luggage arrived 36 hours later after getting lost somewhere along the way. Landing in Tel Aviv in the summer from Iceland after 24 hours of travel and not having anything to change into was not ideal, I can tell you that much. Thank the heavens for globalization and H&M, am I right?
Not really but you know what I mean.
Iceland doesn’t have any H&M (yet – this will change later this year) so what to do if your airline loses your luggage?
Question: Where can I buy underwear (and other basics) in Reykjavík?
First off, it’s always a good idea to pack at least one set of fresh clothing in your hand luggage in case of a baggage-related emergency. At the very least, I always try to have clean underwear and a toothbrush in my backpack. But in case your luggage got lost before you read this post and this groundbreaking awesome advice – here’s my insider’s guide on emergency just until I get my suitcase back shopping in Reykjavík.
In general, whether you’re a man or a woman (or you refuse to subscribe to heteronormative gender roles) the best way to find affordable (relatively speaking at least) basics is to go to Kringlan or Smáralind shopping malls. Kringlan is a little bit closer to the downtown area whereas Smáralind is a bit further away in the neighboring Kópavogur.
Both Kringlan and Smárlind offer free shuttle service from Bus stop number 1 at Reykjavík city hall and back. The short version is that the Kringlan bus leaves on the hour every hour while the Smáralind bus leaves a quarter to the hour every hour. The long version is that it’s not quite that simple so check out their schedule (in the links above). The city bus also goes to both of those places more frequently but the dedicated (free) bus service might be easier if you’ve just arrived and you don’t know what’s what.
For women and kids, the best bet for cheap basics is probably Lindex but they have everything from underwear to puffy coats (in the winter) for fair prices. For men, Dressmann offers more or less the same deal. Both stores carry current Scandinavian fashion so you won’t be stuck with hideous replacement undies that you need to burn as soon as you get your luggage back. Both stores are located in Kringlan and Smáralind. Smáralind also has a Dressmann XL which carries bigger sizes but Lindex has a decent selection of basics in sizes up to 54 (20-22 US). H&M will open in both Kringlan and Smárlind this year (2017) but the exact date has not been released yet.
Lindex also has an underwear only location on Laugavegur, the main shopping street in downtown Reykjavík. There are more places in downtown Reykjavík that sell underwear but I’m focusing on affordable since I assume you already have enough underwear in your suitcase that just so happens to be jet setting around the world.
If you arrive at strange hours when normal stores are closed there’s also a Hagkaup Super Market in Skeifan (just outside of the center) that is open 24 hours and has underwear and basic clothing on offer.
If you need outdoor clothing, Bankastræti (the bottom part of Laugavegur shopping street that you probably think is still Laugavegur but confusingly has a different name) is a home to all the Icelandic outdoor clothing brands. Although cheap is probably not the first word that comes to mind when you think about those stores it’s good to know that they’re there if you need them. If you need hats and mittens and such, you can’t go wrong with the Handknitting Association of Iceland.