10 Tips to Visit Iceland Without Breaking the Bank

Iceland is one of those places you simply have to visit once in a lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s not really the cheapest country to visit. If Iceland is on your travel bucket list nonetheless, these tips will help you to get the most out of your trip without breaking the bank!*

*This post was kindly sponsored and provided by EasyTerra Car Rental

 

1 - Plan your trip in advance

Actually, you can use this first tip for basically every trip. Whether it’s about booking your flight, accommodation, rental car or excursion: always book in advance.

In some cases, it pays to wait until the last minute, but most of the time you’ll end up with a mismatched, overpriced car or hotel room you’ll regret forever. Especially in the high season, everything can get sold out very quickly. So be wise and plan ahead.

 

2 - Plan your visit in the right season

You can visit Iceland anytime of the year - it’s beautiful in every season. Iceland is, however, most crowded in the summer months (July and August). So if you really want to save some money, you should travel in the low season.

budget tips to visit iceland

Starting from September to May, it’s much quieter and more importantly: the prices start to drop. Another benefit and reason for visiting Iceland in those ‘darker’ months, is the chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Downside: the colder weather conditions.

 

3 - Only visit the free highlights

Iceland is well known for ‘one’ big main attraction: it’s stunning nature. And the best part of it, it’s free! All the National Parks, waterfalls, and glaciers are free of charge and don’t have any parking fees. How great is that!

Forget about taking a dive in one of the most visited hot springs in Iceland: the Blue Lagoon. With an entrance price of around 6100 ISK ($58), it might be better to look for some alternatives. Check out Hotpot Iceland for one of the dozens of free hot springs to visit. If you do want to visit the Blue Lagoon, bring your own towel and slippers.

 20578388 - reykjavik, iceland - march 08, 2013: people bathing in the blue lagoon, a geothermal bath resort in the south of iceland, a 'must see' by tourists. the water is sourced from a power station nearby.

Another great tip is the Free Walking Tour in Reykjavik, twice a day, every day of the week. Showing you everything you need to see of Iceland's capital! Although tips are welcome of course. Also, don’t miss out on Reykjavik’s Street Art.

 

4 - Set up camp

When it’s not too cold you could go camping! Spending a night in the wide, open and diverse landscapes would be an ultimate travel experience! There are many campsites in Iceland and setting up for the night will cost you around $10-$20. 

For a total back-to-basic experience, you could go wild camping. It is allowed (if not indicated otherwise) if you keep nature in mind. 

 

5 - Rent the right car

Iceland is the perfect country for planning a road trip and practically impossible to explore without a car. Renting your own car gives you so much more freedom and is way less expensive than (guided) tours.

 42062296 - a car on the road at sunrise in the beautiful volcanic landscape of myrdalssandur in the southern part of iceland in winter

Design your own route and use a comparison website like EasyTerra to see which car suits your needs the best. It compares all the car rental agencies in Iceland and finds the best price in only a few clicks.

It’s a mistake to think you’ll need a big 4x4 car to handle Iceland's roads. It all depends on what you're planning to do. If you’re not visiting in the winter and only want to drive the paved roads, a regular two-wheel drive will do just fine.

 28070068 - impressive eruption of the biggest active geysir, strokkur, with tourists waiting around, golden circle, iceland

Download a Google map of Iceland on your phone and you’re good to go. One more tip: download the official 112-App, just to be sure. Because an accident can occur. Through this app, you can send a message to Iceland’s Emergency Service accompanied by your current location.

 

6 - Share a ride

If you’re a more adventurous person, there’s always the option of hitchhiking. Or take a look at this carpooling website Samfreda. Here you can look for others to share a ride with when traveling around Iceland and pay a small fee. A fun way to meet others!

 

7 - Skip the alcohol

Sorry to say this, but 7 or 10 dollars for a beer or glass of wine is not unusual in Iceland. Due to the high taxes, alcohol is really expensive here. Also, you won’t find any alcohol in supermarkets - they only sell it in special liquor stores.

 43531817 - beautiful aerial view of reykjavik city, iceland. with harbor and skyline mountains, seen from the perlan the pearl

So if you really want to celebrate your holiday with a drink, you’d better buy it in the duty-free store of the airport before or after arriving in Iceland.

 

8 - Bring a reusable bottle

Talking about staying hydrated, bring a reusable bottle on your trip. The Icelandic tap water is perfectly drinkable, so there's no need to buy any pre-filled bottles from a store. Refilling your own bottle is free of charge, you can get it (almost) everywhere and it’s so much better for the environment.

And as a nice bonus, it’s better for your wallet too. Want to add some flavor? Bring a travel size lemonade syrup.

 

9 - Shop (at) the right groceries

Next to bringing a bottle of alcohol to Iceland, it’s also wise to pack some snackable items. As a result of importing a lot of items to Iceland, the prices go up. Although groceries aren’t that expensive, it’s an easy money saver.

 26192008 - seljalandfoss waterfall at sunset, iceland  horizontal shot

If you do want to shop for groceries, go to Hagkaup, Bónus or Kronan (just remember a pink piglet). You also don’t have to eat out every night when your accommodation has a little kitchen to warm up some soup or make spaghetti.

 

10 - Pay with your credit card

It might not make a very big difference, but every Icelandic Crown saved is one! Every time you withdraw money from an ATM your bank will charge you with a small fee. So bring your credit card - VISA and MasterCard are accepted all over Iceland.  Iceland only uses cards with a chip-and-pin system, so only having swipe-and-sign cards won’t work.

 

And, is Iceland on your travel bucket list after reading these tips? Or do you have your own tip(s) to complete the list?

Let me know in the comments!

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