When planning a trip to Iceland, it is most probably a common worry that you will be breaking the bank whilst you’re away. If you are interested in avoiding this, and are willing to slum it a tad, then follow these simple steps and tricks to help you save some dolla on your trip to Iceland.
The trick to a cheap trip to anywhere, is beginning with the transport getting there. If you read our blog on Paris, you will know how savvy I am at finding the cheapest travel options, wether it be plane, bus, train or car.
If your only option is to travel by plane, and you’re happy to fly at any time of the year, I suggest finding a travel website that allows you to chose the option to choose whole months as opposed to specific dates. This will allow you to find the cheapest days to fly on, without having to sift through every outbound and inbound combination there is.
Skyscanner is one of my faves: but be sure to check flights and any holiday info in Private mode.
When to go
Following on from my previous tip, deciding WHEN to go to Iceland is somewhat impacted by its peak and off-peak seasons. We visited in November, which is considered to be an off-peak season. Meaning less tourists, lower prices and as an added bonus, better photos.
Not to mention, your chances of catching the Northern Lights will be higher during the winter months.
If you can, try and stock up on food before coming to Iceland. Buy some snacks from wherever you’re flying from and fill up at the airport.
After picking up our car from Blue Car Rental we drove straight to Reykjavik city centre. Parking here was easy to do due to our arrival time. This should be something you should check yourselves. We walked around for a bit, and found a lively little bar that was still serving food. We ordered 2 cheese burgers and chips, that came with a drink for a total of 4,400 ISK at Lebowski Bar.
For the rest of our trip, food didn’t really cross our minds. I think for the whole of Saturday we only shared a packet of crisps and some muffins that we bought from a supermarket. Now obviously this will not be the case for many of you, so I did note down some cheap-eat options that I noticed on my trip:
I found the best places to eat were at restaurants we passed in the car, that were not located in larger populated areas. If you are road-tripping Iceland, I suggest stopping off at some of these before arriving at larger towns.
Take a look that this blog for some more ideas!
Eddie and I didn’t drink during our trip. As we spent most of our time on the road, and conditions were bad enough, drinking was not an option for Eddie (the designated driver). I only thought it fair that I didn’t drink either.
However, if you are interested in grabbing a pint in Reykjavik… the Hard Rock Cafe serve a pint for only £3. A steal to two individuals travelling from London, where the prices of a pint on average are about £4.
Shop around for a rental car
Depending on what time of year you decide to visit Iceland, a 4×4 may not necessarily be imperative. For us, we figured we would rather be safe than sorry. We opted for a car rental using Guide to Iceland, and the total price for the car for 3 days + their premium insurance came to £140.
Now obviously this was kind of perfect for 2 travellers. However if you’re looking to further reduce the price, then consider inviting more people on your trip!
If you’re willing to sleep rough for a few nights or even just one like we did, then this is definitely an option.
In Iceland there are many campsites dotted around, especially around some of the top sights and destinations. However, on our way to one of these campsites on Friday night, the weather conditions became so brutal, we had no choice but to pull over into the car park of a closed and isolated petrol station, on the side of the motorway.
Our plan was to stay here until the weather settled and we felt safe enough to drive again… no such thing happened. However we were prepped for this, due to our plan to camp in the car anyway, so we unpacked our sleeping bags and got comfortable.
Hostel or Hotel
By Saturday night, we had bathed in a natural hot spring, been drenched by several waterfalls, and hiked up multiple hills and ridges. A shower was needed. We decided to book a room at a hotel in Vik, Southern Iceland. A choice that was not in any way regretted. Our hotel room cost £120 for the night. We had paid for a bungalow style room, with a beautiful bathroom, kitchen area, coffee table, coffee machine, with coffee, sugar, milk and tea provided. Once we had checked in, we had our wash and settled into bed to watch the hotels built in Netflix!!!! BONUS!
Of course there are cheaper alternatives, we just fancied a bit of luxury, given we had work bright and early on Monday morning.
Alongside the Black Beach suites, there is also a partner hostel, The Barn. Newly furbished, it is most probably the fanciest and cleanest hostel I have visited.
Choose activities wisely
In a stunningly diverse location such as Iceland, you can easily have an amazing time without spending money doing specific activities.
Iceland offers so many free hot springs, and although Blue Lagoon does look like a beautiful place to visit, it just wasn’t in our price range this time around… we also quickly ran out of time.
Spend some time researching some free spots to explore, they’re all worth it!
How much did we spend?
(excluding our flights)
- Car rental + Insurance : £140 / 22,362.69 ISK
- Dinner and a soft drink : £27.55 / 4,400 ISK
- 2 x Coffee at Geysir : £5.63 / 900 ISK
- Snacks from a supermarket : £15.03 / 2,400 ISK
- Parking at Seljalandfoss : £4.38 / 700 ISK
- Hotel : £120 / 19,168.02 ISK
- (Breakfast was bought at supermarket on Saturday)
- (Coffee was provided by hotel)
- 2 x Coffee at black beach : £6.26 / 1,000 ISK
- Fuel for car : £31.30 / 5,000 ISK (whole weekend)
- 2 x Subway foot long : £13.77 / 2,200 ISK
TOTAL for 2 people: £363.92 / 58,130.23 ISK
Obviously this price list wouldn’t be suitable for everyone, for starters, you will probably want to eat something on Saturday. However, I hope this has been helpful in giving you a rough idea for prices.