Budget for Iceland | 5 Affordable Ways To Save Money

Budget for Iceland | 5 Affordable Ways To Save Money

Is Iceland expensive? That’s the most common question I get asked all the time. Yes it is expensive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t budget while visiting this beautiful country. In my experience, it was very hard at first but once you get into the routine and be aware on what you spend, then you’ll be fine.

 

Here’s Five Affordable Ways To Budget In Iceland


1. AVOID TAXIS/TOURS – RENT A CAR

 

There is no denying that the best possible transportation in Iceland is renting your own car. You have the freedom to navigate your own route and admire the amazing landscapes Iceland has to offer. The best perk is that you can stop whenever you want.

Cost – Before arriving make sure you research a reputable car company. The lowest prices can be steal but it could cost you more then you think. If your car breaks down you would be left alone to fix your own situation. What’s the solution? The vehicle should be relativity new which means less maintenance problems. Yes it might cost you more but at least it’ll last your whole trip. Also note that the fuel can be quite a hefty price but your rental company (not sure all) can provide you a discount fuel card if you fuel up in a particular gas station brand. The starting point is to visit SADCARS which is known to be one of the most affordable for renting cars.

InsuranceEven if you have insurance back at home to cover accidents it doesn’t mean you won’t be paying for the damages in Iceland. This is very visible in their policy so it’s a good lesson to read their notices when you enter the rental store. For example; if a stone hits the windshield you will need to pay for the damages as it’s your responsibility even though it’s not your fault.

Inspect – This is anywhere. Inspect the car before you sign the agreement form. Otherwise once you leave you are eligible for any defects on the car which you haven’t committed.

Tips Before You Arrive

+ Driving in Iceland might be a different experience then driving back at your home country.

+ Check out Safetravel and follow the road signs and keep updated with the weather conditions.

We rented a 4×4 Volvo XC90 at Thrifty.

One of the best feelings is an unplanned road trip.


2. DON’T EAT OUT – COOK YOUR FOOD

 

I found the food in Iceland was more expensive then anything else. Eating inside a nice restaurant seems like a typical holiday must do but if you’re ready to fork out your money then be prepared as even the cheapest meals could cost you. It seems daunting cooking your own meals whilst you’re supposed to be out exploring, but trust me it saves you so much money. The goods news is that all accommodations have kitchens.

Cost – Now this can depend how long you visit of course. If you have a car buy the groceries in bulk so you are not tempted to spend more than you could afford. Buy mostly the necessities such as; eggs, milk, bread, cereal, pasta.

Meal Preparations – Don’t over do your meals otherwise you won’t have enough ingredients for the next day or the next. Cook simple meals.

Tips Before You Arrive

+ The best supermarket in Iceland is called Bonus. It’s the most affordable and cheapest food store you can find.

+ Pack processed food, coffee/teabags and snacks inside your suitcase. This will limit your groceries.

+ Bring a thermal flask so you have enough hot water to make instant foods on the go.

There’s over 20 Bonus stores in Iceland.  This map will help you find the closest store.

There are many varieties in Bonus especially for meat lovers.

Stopped over to make some instant noodles after a 2-4 hours drive.


3. BLUE LAGOON IS OVERRATED – VISIT FREE HOT SPRINGS

 

You can’t visit Iceland without visiting Blue Lagoon as they say. Well.. from my experience it wasn’t anything special. It’s a very touristy place. There are other options out there with a cheaper price. The easiest way is to find them is on Hotpoticeland.

Cost – Avoid Blue Lagoon at all costs. There are lots of hot springs which costs less or even free.  One of the most popular hot springs is Secret Lagoon which is 2800ISK adult price (£17.66/$22.92). That’s roughly £40 difference to what I paid.

What To Bring – Bring your own swimsuit, towel and flip flops. Most commercialised hot springs will rent you them but it can be expensive. It’s also recommended to bring some conditioner as most hot springs have high levels of silica which tends to damage the hair.

Tips Before You Arrive

+ Go early in the morning or late in the evening to beat the crowds.

+ Bring your own swimsuit and towel. You can rent them but they might be expensive.

+ Shower naked before you step into the pool for sanitary reasons.

+ Bring a bottle of water to avoid dehydration.

Blue Lagoon is one of the top hot springs in Iceland, but it’s not cheap so look elsewhere.


4. HOSTELS? – GO CAMPING

 

If there one thing I regret not doing in Iceland was camping.. although that doesn’t mean I haven’t done my research just incase I go back one day. Hostels are considered still very cheap in Iceland but if you wish to add more thrill in your adventure why not camp outside. It’s one of the most unique ways to see the country. To find your perfect campsite go on Campsite.info.

Cost – If you look on the campsite.info page you can select a campsite and some of them will give you a price. Most campsites have showers/electricity equipped but you have to pay a little extra. If you’re planning to enter many campsites then consider purchasing The Camping Card for €149 (£130.17/$168.93).

Weather – The weather can be unpredictable so it’s good to be cautious with your surroundings. If the weather turns out to be stormy and windy then make sure you’re prepared – bring extra food, sleep in the car and find a last minute accommodation nearby.

What To Bring

  • Thermal Clothes – Underwear, socks, trousers .etc. Everything from head to toe.
  • Waterproof/Windproof Tent.
  • Sleeping Bag/Sleeping Pad – Make sure it’s a proper sleeping bag that can withstand the cold nights and a sleeping pad for your own comfort.
  • Flashlight – You need some guidance in the dark if you want to use the loo for example.
  • Thermal Flask/Utensils/Camping Mug – They come in handy if you want a quick meal/beverage.

Tips Before You Arrive

+ It’s better to stock up on food as most campsites don’t have food stores.

+ Water in Iceland is very clean and safe.

Unfortunately my group and I didn’t do camping. This is one of the apartments we stayed in.


5. DO A FREE CITY TOUR

 

Want to know more of the history and culture of Reykjavik? You can book a time slot at CityWalk or show up at Free Walking Tour without booking. They operate everyday and should be fine in all kinds of weather. The walk is roughly 2 hours. You can also book a private tour but it would cost you.

Cost – The best part that it’s free. However if you feel like the tour was worth it you can pay tips. Any price you feel like.

Key City Attractions

  • Parliament Building
  • The Concert Hall Harpa
  • Hallgrímskirkja
  • Lake Tjörnin
  • The City Hall
  • Sun Voyager
  • Old harbour
  • Höfði House
  • The Pearl
  • The Botanical Garden

Tips Before You Arrive

+ Bring your own snacks/meals as it’s not included.

+ Wear comfortable shoes.


HOW MUCH I SPEND IN 4 DAYS?

Accommodation (4 people)
Total = £465.80 | €531.71 | $601.98
Per Person = £116.45 | 
€132.92 | $150.50

NIGHT 1 – £147.50/€168.36/$190.61
Bakki Hostels & Apartments

NIGHT 2 – £162.07/€185/$209.43
Laekjaborgir Guesthouse

NIGHT 3 – £156.27/€178.35/$201.90
Heart of Reyjavik – Luxury Apartments

Transportation & Fuel (4 people)
Total = £360 | €410.63 | $465.21
Per Person = £90 | 
€102.65 | $116.30

Thrifty Car Rental

Food (4 people)
Total = £140 | €159.77 | $180.91
Per Person = £35 | 
€39.94 | $45.22

Bonus Supermarket
Gas Stations

Restaurant Food (4 people)
Total = £198 | €225.97 | $255.86
Per Person = £49.50 | 
€56.50 | $63.96

SALT Kitchen & Bar
1 Starter
3 Courses
Bottle Red Wine

Activities/Extras (4 people)
Total = £248.87 | €284.26 | $321.83
Per Person = £62.21 | 
€71.01 | $80.45

Blue Lagoon = 9466.36ISK (£240/€274.13/$310.22)
x2 Pay ‘Display’ Parking Ticket = 1400ISK (£8.87/€10.12/$11.46)

 

TOTAL Per Person = £353.16 | €403.13 | $456.63


2 Comments

  1. November 18, 2018 / 10:07 pm

    What great ideas you have here. I wish I could go back to Iceland and stay longer – would love to make some food there too

    • Sarah
      November 22, 2018 / 7:59 pm

      Thank you Bejal! Me too I definitely would love to go around Iceland for a longer trip. Food was definitely the hardest espiecally all the cheap stuff you have to consume blergh xx

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