Iceland has a reputation for being expensive, at present, it is currently ranked as the third most
expensive country to live in. But with the draw of cheap flights and some of the most beautiful
and obscure landscapes in the world, Iceland is hard to resist.
While a visit to Iceland may not be as budget as visiting countries such as Poland or Latvia, it is
possible to be money savvy and not spend a fortune. Here are some top tips to help visit Iceland
on a budget.
1. Rent a car
Trust us, the best of Iceland is outside of Reykjavik and you will not want to miss it. Aside from a
bus, Iceland is not well connected by public transport. Therefore you have two options rent a car
or book on to excursion trips.
If you are able to drive, renting a car will be of far better value. Travelling Iceland by car will give
you the freedom to create your own schedule, you can stop wherever you feel and not be
restricted by the allocated stops on your excursion.
It also means you can beat the crowds and arrive before the hoards of tourists who are taking the
excursions from Reykjavik, this will make for a much better experience, especially during high
Booking onto multiple excursions for everything you will want to see will be costly in both time
and monetary value. You will find hiring a car, especially if you are traveling in a group, much
more cost effective.
2. Air B’n’b
Accommodation will be a large part of the expenditure when traveling to Iceland. Reduce your costs
by booking into Air B’n’B instead of a hotel. This will also mean you will also have a kitchen to
prepare meals and therefore save money on eating out as well.
If you are planning on driving around the South of Iceland, find accommodation along the way
rather than returning to Reykjavik each night. The area of Stokkseyri is in a great location and is
considerably cheaper than other more popular towns.
If you are travelling during the summer months (June – early September) have a true Icelandic
experience and camp! Not only will it cut your costs considerably it will also give you the chance
to full immerse yourself in the beautiful nature of Iceland. Camp sites are located across Iceland
with a large majority being in the popular tourist route of the South.
Due to extreme weather conditions, camping is not advised during the winter months, however
you can rent a camper van if you still want to have this experience. Choose overnight locations
away from light population and you may even have a chance to spot the Northern Lights!
Allocate some money for a few nice restaurants but use your apartment kitchen for the majority of
your meals. If you are planning on spending large amounts of time driving then make a packed
lunch in the morning for day ahead. There are plenty of supermarkets in Iceland to get food,
however, to keep costs down, head to Bonus, Netto or Kronan.
5. Go alcohol free
Alcohol is extremely expensive in Iceland, so to save money on your trip it is best to avoid it. The
price is heavily increased by the tax that is placed on all alcohol. However, if you do plan to have a
drink alongside your meals, here is a short article on buying alcohol in Iceland.
The drink drive limit in Iceland is 0.04% so keep this in mind if you do plan to drink.
6. Take a refillable water bottle
Help save the planet as well as your wallet by taking a refillable water bottle with you to Iceland.
Not only is bottled water expensive in Iceland it is also bad for the environment. Drinking tap
water is completely safe so fill a water bottle at the start of the day and local businesses are more
than happy to refill your bottle throughout the day if you are already purchasing something from
7. Free Attractions
Make the most of the free attractions in Iceland – many of which are some of the best! Main
attractions such as the Geyser Geothermal Park and the Vik black sand beach are completely free
to visit. Which means if you have rented a car you will not have any further expense (aside from
petrol) when visiting these attractions. Some attractions such as the Þingvellir National Park and
Selfoss Waterfall have a car park fee but no additional entrance fee.
8. Avoid the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions, however, it also comes with
a massive price tag and it is by no means budget friendly. If you do want to have a lagoon
experience in Iceland, we personally recommend the Secret Lagoon which is considerably
cheaper and has significantly less tourists.
9. Choose your time wisely
If you are looking to visit Iceland on a budget you will need to consider the time of year you want
to visit. Visiting during the height of summer or during Northern Light season (winter) will result in
accommodation being a higher fee. We advise visiting just before or after these seasons, when
accommodation will be reduced by you will still reap the same benefits of the seasons.
Iceland is a beautiful country with magnificent sites, it is not one to be missed due to the expense.
It is possible to visit Iceland on a budget but to do so it is essential to plan in advance. Planning in
advance will allow you to allocate money for your priorities and save money by skipping things
which aren’t as important to you.
A travel story on the top 9 tips to save money in Iceland by Sam Buss from Yoko Meshi.