Social media starlets, 14-month-old twins Leia and Lauren Lok, and their parents (of course!) recently took off on a two-week road trip, hitting Iceland’s vast open roads in their sporty Audi Q7.

If you’re regularly on Instagram, you might have come across Singapore’s most famous twins, 14-month-old Leia and Lauren. With more than 310,000 followers—and counting—from around the world, these globe-trotting toddlers are always pictured in beautifully composed photos, often set in stunning landscapes. All of these photos are taken by their parents, Audi customers and avid photography enthusiasts Amber Yong, 32, and Peter Lok, 40.

In August, the family of four took off on a two-week driving holiday to another extraordinary location—Iceland—on a journey that was made even more enjoyable in a sleek Audi Q7 3.0 TDI quattro.

Let’s hit the road

The family loves Iceland, and their trip there recently was their second time in the Nordic country this year. The foursome had visited in January to experience the chill of winter. This time around, they could witness the magnificence of Icelend’s midnight sun in high summer.

Their holiday saw them driving to the scenic Westfjords, which occasionally took them off-road—something the Audi Q7 handled beautifully. They soaked in an outdoor pool in Drangsnes, saw puffins up close in Látrabjarg and visited the majestic Dynjandi waterfall. “Exploring the Westfjords and its many unpaved roads was an experience in itself,” says Peter, who enjoys landscape photography.

The Loks also spent time in the north of the country, where they visited a charming and picturesque town called Siglufjörður. Another highlight was finally getting to see the hidden waterfall Gljufrafoss. In all, they covered ten towns over the two weeks.

"With only one major route around the island, the Loks say Iceland is incredibly easy to navigate"

Travelling in the sturdy and spacious seven-seater luxury SUV made the trip a whole lot smoother and more comfortable. The family had three pieces of check-in luggage and two carry-on bags; the twins themselves had one and a half bags, which included ten packs of milk formula. In addition, the Audi Q7 also contained two baby seats very comfortably.

“We had five pieces of luggage and one large stroller, and they all fit nicely in the boot,” says Amber. “As passengers, the whole ride was very enjoyable because it was so spacious. We could have all the baby items handy in the car.”

Peter was also impressed with the fuel consumption of the Audi Q7 during the 3,000-kilometre round trip. “It used diesel and we managed about 1,000 kilometres for each full tank. I needed only three full tanks over two weeks of intense driving.”

Adventures in Iceland

So how did they experience Iceland’s expansive landscapes with 14-month-old twins in tow? The Loks, who don’t have a nanny, had to take turns. This trip, Amber had the chance to go on a glacier walk at Vatnajökull national park, while Peter stayed behind at Hali hotel near Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon to look after Leia and Lauren.

The roles were reversed during the previous winter trip— Peter spent half a day exploring ice caves at the same national park while Amber babysat the twins. “There will always have to be a compromise. We can’t do these things together,” he says.’

That doesn’t mean that the twins didn’t get to do any fun stuff. “We soaked together in thermal pools, hiked with them to waterfalls and bird cliffs, and ate lots of Icelandic food, like arctic char and lamb goulash,” says Amber.

With only one major route (conveniently named Route 1) around the island, the Loks say Iceland is incredibly easy to navigate, especially with the navigation system in the Audi Q7 that is accessed via the Audi MMI.

One precaution they did take was to drive no more than 300 kilometres a day. This ensured that they weren’t on the road for too long each day and also gave them ample time to make frequent stops to get up close and personal with the region’s Nature.

So what did the twins get up to in the car during the long drives? “They watched their favourite programmes and music videos, which we could play on the MMI. We also had their favourite music playing and some toys for them to play with,” explains Peter.

Keep calm and be prepared

Amber says she started her daughters’ Instagram account @leialauren to document the twins’ growth and share their experience with other parents of premature babies. Born premature at just 32 weeks, Leia and Lauren were very small at birth. They are also monoamniotic-monochorionic, a condition known as “Momo”, which means they shared the same placenta.

Till today, the couple often get related questions from their social media followers, although these days, many also ask for tips on how to travel with young kids. For Amber, preparation is paramount. Her best advice is to keep a list handy with important numbers like the police and emergency services, and find out where the nearest hospital and towns are. “Bring your necessities like diapers, a medical kit and food. We brought only enough diapers for the first few days since we knew we could pick up more in the supermarkets in the city. A medical kit with a thermometer, fever patch, fever and cold medication, band aids and rash cream are a must for emergencies. For comfort food, we brought their favourite food pouches from organic food brand Bellamy’s.”

The Loks also timed their flights with their kids’ sleep routine to try and beat jet lag. The flight to Iceland took over 18 hours, including a three-hour stopover. “That was key because we could help to soothe the babies’ pressure in their ears by feeding them milk,” she adds.

Luckily for Amber and Peter, the twins were well behaved during the holiday. Amber says: “They loved playing in the heated pools and having a go on the swings in Látrabjarg.” As for the adults, they enjoyed the freedom of the open road and the experience of exploring new places like the remote Westfjords.

Clearly seasoned travellers, Leia and Lauren headed to Tasmania at the end of 2016, and are continuing to travel around the world. Follow their upcoming adventures on Instagram!

Tips for your Iceland road trip

  • There are no direct flights from Singapore to Iceland’s Keflavik International airport, in the capital, Reykjavik. However, you can easily get connecting flights from major European cities like Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Munich and Helsinki.
     
  • The Lok family kept mostly to Iceland’s Route 1, with some detours. Also known as the Ring Road, the mostly two-lane highway runs 1,332 kilometres around the whole island. The road gets you up close and personal to mountains, glacial plains, geothermal springs, as well as popular spots like Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
     
  • Traffic is busier in and near large towns and quieter the farther away from them. Note that the speed limit is 90 kilometres per hour on paved roads and 80 kilometres per hour on gravel. Most of Route 1 is open over winter except for the stretch between Breidalsvík and Egilsstair in the east. Always check weather conditions before setting off.
	
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