Thinking of travelling to Iceland but worried about how much it’s going to set you back and whether you can afford it? Looking for ways to save money in Iceland?
I can confirm that my 5-day road trip travelling in Iceland was not the cheapest adventure I’ve ever been on, but it was one a hell of an adventure.
In my opinion it’s worth every penny you save for it.
If you’ve been with me a while you’ll know that I love a bargain. I don’t usually go for the luxurious option and in doing so, you can afford more adventure time!
Happy days. More adventure is what we all want right? Agreed.
Iceland is expensive for a few reasons.
To be honest, yes it’s an expensive destination, but for good reason. It’s so well preserved and so beautiful. It’s mind blowing how Iceland even exists as it does and as long as you know beforehand, you can save for it!
Of course though, if there’s a way to cut corners and save money. I’ll find it.
The rumours are indeed true. Iceland is certainly not cheap. Petrol is expensive, eating out is expensive and so is alcohol (relevant information for a road trip, gotta toast a glass under the stars). Food shopping wasn’t bad, as with any country you just have to suss out what’s good value before you start emptying everything into your basket!
I made notes of a few different things we paid for during our travels in Iceland throughout this post to give you an idea of costs…
I’ve left these in ISK so that if the currency gets weaker or stronger, you still have a good idea about what things cost. Check out how these prices convert to your local currency here.
The best way to save money in Iceland is to really think about everything you want to do and plan accordingly, so that you don’t get caught out paying for something at the last minute that you didn’t think of! The best thing to do is to be prepared.
Iceland is most expensive from June to August, during high season. If you can travel in shoulder season (May or September) or completely off season, you’ll definitely save some money! Keep in mind that the warmer months are better for driving and seeing wildlife, but the winter has its own fun such as seeing the Northern Lights!
You can get really good flight deals from the UK to Iceland with IcelandAir, Iceland’s budget airline! If you can be flexible with dates, you’re sure to pick up a bargain.
Top tip: If you’re flying between the USA or Canada and Europe, you often fly via Iceland as it’s the shortest route. IcelandAir don’t charge extra if you want to stop in Reykjavik for a few days, so take advantage of the layover and explore!
Camping is by far the cheapest accommodation in Iceland. We paid 1000-2500ISK per person per night at campsites in Iceland, plus an overnight tax of 333 ISK per vehicle/tent per night.
Camping illegally (i.e. not at a designated campsite) can result in huge fines (up to 100,000ISK!). Don’t risk it!
For 19,990ISK (overnight tax is excluded), 2 adults and 4 children can camp at over 35 campsites for 28 nights. Check out all the campsites and get yours here.
Couchsurfing is free, and it’s a great way of meeting local people too! Check it out here.
Accommodation (hotels and hostels) can book up really quickly in Iceland, and last minute bookings tend to be really expensive. Book in advance and you’ll definitely save some money in Iceland.
A lot of campsites don’t accept bookings in advance, but it’s a good idea to check in and pitch up early afternoon to guarantee a spot where you want to stay!
Using public transport in Iceland can be a lot cheaper than renting a car or a campervan.
All rentals come with mandatory, basic insurance (basic CDW). It’s 2,000-2,500ISK per day to upgrade the insurance to also cover things like physical damage, driving off road, etc.
Top tip: some petrol stations have discount cards that can get you money off fuel and the items in the shop!
If you do choose to rent a car, make sure you research your options to get the best deal, and only hire the car for the days that you’ll actually be using it!
There are lots of different opinions on hitchhiking, but Iceland is one of the safest places to do it. Don’t let it be your only transport option, but it’s worth a shot!
Alternatively, check at your hostel if there’s someone who’s driving to your destination who might want you to chip in for the petrol, or, if you’re the driver, there might be someone you can pick up in return for some petrol money!
Don’t get me wrong, I love solo travel, but it’s always cheaper to travel in a group and split transport and accommodation costs with other people.
Don’t overpack, or you’ll spend a lot on luggage, but don’t underpack either, or you’ll be spending money on items you can get at home much cheaper! Think about all the activities you’ll be doing and the weather conditions for that time of year, and pack accordingly.
Do a supermarket shop and swap meals out for meals on the camp stove. Do a supermarket shop (I spent 5,000 ISK and got meals and snacks for 4 days!). Supermarkets are so much cheaper than eating out or convenience stores! Seriously!
Fill up with water for free. The glacial water is insane. Don’t pay for water! Shop my reusable water bottle here.
Same with tea and coffee. Grab some tea and coffee from the supermarket and make your own – you’ll save money and help the environment by saving on single use plastic! Shop my reusable coffee cup here.
It would be even cheaper not to drink, but if you want to drink and save money in Iceland, bringing alcohol with you will save you a bomb!
1500ISK was the cheapest bottle I could find (if you aren’t fussy), they average around 2400 ISK. You can also pay around 4000ISK+ for a bag/box/sack/cask/goon.
Lots of things in Iceland are expensive, but not everything is. There are some free and cheap things to do in Iceland, including:
There are lots of ways to save money in Iceland on attractions, fuel and accommodation, and one of them is getting a discount card!
One night we had planned to drive 4 hours to sleep at the Glacier Lagoon in preparation for a sunrise Glacier Tour but a snowstorm had the visibility reduce to nothing. For safety we pulled over and instead got up at 4am to drive the remaining distance. Weather can be crazy here so try and account for that.
This will keep you up to date with weather warnings and predictions! For more apps you should download for your travels, check out this post.
I don’t know why but they are! I stocked up and bought some home.
Iceland is the home of Skyr! They have all the flavours and it’s perfect for a road trip snack.
These staple jumpers, made from Iópa wool, are known for their longevity but also their warm, breathable and showerproof qualities! My friends were adamant on picking one up to take home as it’s one of the cheaper places to get your hands on one!
What are your top money saving tips for Iceland? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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