Recently, Iceland has become probably the most popular destinations on the planet. It’s the land of roaming sheep, postcard-perfect waterfalls, northern lights, otherwordly hiking trails, volcanoes with unpronounceable names (try saying “Eyjafjallajökull”), and crazy high prices.
Just like the rest of Scandinavia, Iceland is consistently ranked among the least budget-friendly countries on the planet. Yet it’s a country I find myself visiting often because it’s just so fun and beautiful.
After driving the ring road, hitchhiking the West Fjords, and partying the nights away in Reykjavik, I could tell you that planing a trip to Iceland can be carried out on a budget. Not the cheapest budget, but a budget nonetheless.
It will require some planning, but it’s not impossible.
Suggested Cover Iceland
Just how much does it cost to visit around Iceland? Well, less than you think! On the reduced end, you can get by on 7,400-9,0300 ISK ($60-$75 USD) a day. That budget includes using local transportation, residing in a hostel, budget Airbnb, or camping; take free tours only; cooking all your food (restaurant meals are actually expensive); and drastically limiting your drinking.
On a mid-range budget of 12,000 ISK ($100 USD) each day, you could eat out occasionally (at cheap places only), drink the casual beer, rent an automobile, and do more paid activities. That is more of a mid-range budget travel budget instead of a genuine mid-range budget.
At 29,000+ ISK ($235+ USD) or even more a day, you could stay static in a budget hotel or private Airbnb, eat out on a regular basis, take any tours you want, rent an automobile, go whale watching, and do whatever you wanted here.
Extreme budget travelers who anticipate hitchhiking, cooking almost all their meals, Couchsurfing, or camping with their own gear will get away with spending around 6,000 ISK ($50 USD) each day.
Avg. Daily Cost
18 Methods to SPEND LESS in Iceland
There are plenty of things in Iceland which will eat into your budget, from booking last-minute accommodation to alcohol consumption to even just eating dinner out at a restaurant. Fortunately, Iceland is a land filled with FREE natural splendor. There are countless waterfalls, hiking trails, hot pots (hot springs), and mountains that you enjoy.
But there are various other ways to save lots of money here too. That will help you save money on your own next visit, listed below are my top 18 tips for staying on budget in Iceland.
Iceland is probably the easiest and safest countries on the globe for hitchhikers. You will discover rides through the entire country (though they are less common in the West Fjords and through the off-season). It’s especially easy in the southern part of Iceland, between Reykjavik and Vik.
Though harder, it’s also not impossible to locate a ride in the off-season or in the sparsely populated north. I hitchhiked in the Westfjords and it often took me one hour or more to locate a ride. However, in the south, you’ll rarely wait a lot more than 15-20 minutes.
One method to find rides is to discuss with in hostels. Travelers are often driving the primary ring road (M1) and, since gas is expensive, they often don’t mind picking someone up you can chip set for gas.
When on the highway hitchhiking, do your very best to look presentable. Ensure that your face is seen, that you’re smiling, and that you don’t have an excessive amount of luggage with you. Solo travelers or pairs could have the very best luck. Hitchhiking in groups usually ought to be avoided as the cars listed below are small and there is often only a couple of seats free.
HitchWiki includes a large amount of information on hitchhiking in Iceland. In the event that you anticipate hitchhiking, read HitchWiki first in order to avoid the most typical pitfalls.
2. Bring a Water Bottle
The plain tap water in Iceland is incredibly clean and safe to drink. Single-use plastic containers of water cost about $3 USD, causeing this to be a no-brainer: bring a reusable water bottle with you and refill from the tap. It’ll save you lots of money and help the surroundings. There’s no reason to get water here.
Campgrounds are available around Iceland. You can camp in official campgrounds for $15-20 USD per night for a simple plot (a set space for your tent, usually without electricity). Many campgrounds have common rooms in order that, if the elements is terrible, you can stay indoors and stay dry.
Additionally, some hostels may also let you pitch your tent on the property. That way, you’ll have a lot more facilities/amenities available.
Camping is significantly cheaper than residing in hostels should you have your own gear and sleeping bag. However, there are rental outfitters in Reykjavik in the event that you don’t. While renting gear can make camping more expensive, the costs are definately not prohibitive when split between a little group.
Wild camping, while still legal in Iceland, is normally frowned upon as the recent tourist boom has resulted in too many travelers abusing the country’s lax camping laws. Unless you’re visiting in the off-season, I’d not advocate you wild camp.
4. Turn into a Hosteling International (HI) Member
Most hostels in Iceland (especially outside Reykjavik) are area of the Hosteling International group. This implies they provide discounted rates to members. Hostel dorms usually cost at least $30 USD per night and HI members get 10% off that price. Since there is an annual membership fee to become listed on HI (around $20 USD) in the event that you anticipate staying in hostels throughout your trip, the membership can pay for itself very quickly. You may get a membership at any hostel or online prior to going.
5. Bring Your Own Sheets
Much like other Scandinavian countries, many hostels in Iceland ask you for a fee for bed linens in the event that you don’t have your own linens (they don’t permit you to use sleeping bags). The fee is just about $10 USD, which is intended to offset environmentally friendly cost to do so much laundry with heavy chemicals. However, make sure to research your hostel thoroughly as some won’t permit you to bring your own sheets plus some won’t charge the fee (so prioritize hostels that don’t charge the fee!).
Note: In the event that you anticipate residing in the same hostel for some days, you’re only charged the linen fee once.
6. Limit Your Alcohol
Because of high taxes, it’s very costly to drink in Iceland. Shots are almost $10 USD, beer is that much or even more, and wine is nearly $15 USD. If you need to blow your budget, hit the bar.
It’s true that Reykjavik has a lively nightlife if you want to participate just make an effort to hit the many happy hours around the town. Almost every single bar could have one. You’ll save a bundle still reach have just a little fun.
However, beyond the happy hours, I encourage you never to indulge. No one really wants to hike a volcano with a hangover and Icelanders usually don’t venture out until past midnight because they would like to get sauced in the home on the cheap first. If you wish to drink throughout your visit, fill up at the duty-free in the airport and take it with you. It’ll save around 30% off the expense of buying alcohol in the united states!
7. Cook Your Own Food
I came across food to be the priciest thing in Iceland. Eating dinner out, even on the cheap, costs about $15 USD or even more per meal. Something from a sit-down restaurant with service can cost $25 USD or even more! It’s easy for your meal budget to undergo the roof at those prices.
Instead, go food shopping and cook your own meals. All hostels, Airbnbs, and campsites have self-catering facilities. My grocery bill for three days of food was the same price as you meal at a restaurant. Ensure that you shop at BONUS food stores because they have the least expensive prices.
8. Bring Your Own Tea and Coffee
Tea, coffee, or hot chocolate cost 500-900 ISK – even regular drip coffee or a teabag you placed into hot water yourself will definitely cost that much! In the event that you bring your own, you can limit when you need to buy it and save a small number of krónur.
9. Eat Hotdogs
If you’re likely to eat out, eat at the sandwich and hot dog stalls you find through the cities. They provide the cheapest (however, not healthiest) food in the united states. A hot dog costs about $4 USD and a normal sandwich will run you about $13 USD. A little sandwich is approximately $9 USD. Icelanders have an odd obsession with hot dogs, in order long as the town has several road, you’ll look for a hot dog stall around. You can usually see them at gasoline stations too.
10. Ride the Bus
The buses listed below are cheap and slow plus they won’t visit main landmarks, however they are an inexpensive choice for anybody not seeking to drive or hitchhike. Given that they don’t visit the major sites, you can only just utilize them to get from point A to point B (never to sightsee) – but that’s still much better than nothing!
You can plan your route via the web site (straeto.is) or utilize the official app (straeto.is/is/um-straeto/straeto-appid).
Although buses operate year-round, don’t assume all bus follows every route each day of the entire year. You’ll need to plan accordingly and beforehand to make sure your bus will there be when it’s needed.
11. Rent an automobile
In the event that you don’t want to hitchhike, the ultimate way to get around the united states is by renting an automobile. They cost between $35-75 USD each day nevertheless, you can split the expenses with friends or by picking right up travelers on the highway. You’ll get a many more flexibility than invest the the bus and when you can split the ride with several people it’ll be cheaper too.
The very best of Iceland isn’t found along its main highway so to be able to visit more secluded (and less crowded) areas will make your trip more unique and more memorable. SADcars supplies the cheapest car rentals in the united states so check them out if you’re on a budget.
Utilize the website Samferda to find passengers. This site is quite popular and you’ll look for a lot of listings onto it, especially between a few of the bigger cities. ( Note: You may also utilize this website to find rides. Even though you need to pay the driver, prices are about 50% of the expense of the bus.)
12. Couchsurf with Locals
Iceland includes a very active Couchsurfing community. I stayed with hosts in Reykjavik and Akureyri and had another person take me around the famous Golden Circle (the ring of attractions near Reykjavik). Getting associated with the community this is a sure-fire way to save lots of money, get local insights, meet wonderful people, and get yourself a free spot to stay.
I met many people through the web site who took me in and showed me places I wouldn’t have entirely on my own. Even though you don’t utilize the website for accommodation, utilize the community facet of it and meet some locals. The Hangouts from Couchsurfing is an excellent way to find travel buddies, get tips, and find out about local events.
13. Find Free Hot Springs
As the Blue Lagoon could be the most popular hot spring in the united states, there are various others around the united states that are free (or at the minimum, less money compared to the overpriced Blue Lagoon). Go to the website Hotpot Iceland (hotpoticeland.com) for the best hot springs all over the island!
Some noteworthy free hot springs are Reykjadalur, Seljavallalaug (it’s not often that hot but it’s within an amazing location), and the tiny one near Djúpavogskörin.
14. Avoid Taxis
The cities in Iceland are small so there’s zero need to throw away cash on a taxi because you can walk virtually everywhere. The general public transportation can be reliable and far cheaper plus they run late so if it’s cold, you may take the bus! Iceland has already been expensive enough. Don’t make it worse! Taxis start at almost 700 ISK ($6) before you even travel an individual kilometer (they’re around 300 ISK per kilometer). That accumulates fast – skip them when you can!
15. Have a Free Walking Tour
Free walking tours certainly are a great way to understand in regards to a new city, its main sites, and get yourself a sense of the culture and history of what your location is. I take free walking tours wherever I acquired!
If you’re likely to be hanging out in Reykjavik, make sure you check out among the free walking tours in the town. CityWalk and Free Walking Tour Reykjavik both offer fun, informative, and comprehensive free walking tours to obtain introduced to the town.
16. Get the Reykjavík City Card
Understand this card if you’re thinking about visiting a lot more than two museums in a single day while in Reykjavik. With it, you’ll access Reykjavík’s museums and galleries, like the National Gallery and Museum, the Reykjavík Family Park and Zoo, the Árbær Open Air Museum, the ferry to Viðey Island, public transport, and the seven geothermal pools in the administrative centre area.
You’ll also get discounts at various restaurants, shops, and cafés, and on city tours. Order online (marketplace.visitreykjavik.is) and pick your card up at Reykjavík City Hall. It’s 3,800 ISK for adults 1,600 ISK for kids, and free for kids 6 and under.
17. Bring a Towel
Towel fees are astronomically high at hostels, the Blue Lagoon, the My?vatn Nature Baths, and elsewhere in Iceland. Fees start at 500 ISK per towel. Prevent them altogether by bringing your own. Also, you’ll need a towel in the event that you anticipate exploring any natural hot springs.
18. Buy Discounted Meat
I understand it sounds gross, but like the majority of Scandinavian countries, Iceland has super strict food laws which have them mark meat as “expired” way before almost every other countries do. The meat hasn’t gone bad – but rules are rules. As such, you could find meat at 50% off the initial price in the food markets on your day of expiration. That is when most locals buy their meat.
If you’re likely to be cooking your own meals here (and you ought to be) adhere to the discounted meat.
Iceland doesn’t need to be expensive to go to. Granted, it’s never likely to be considered a cheap destination nonetheless it doesn’t have to break your budget either. When you are flexible together with your accommodation, limiting your drinking and eating dinner out, and enjoying the abundance of free activities, you’ll manage to avoid the most frequent budget pitfalls the united states will throw at you.
Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway or a month-long road trip, Iceland could keep you entertained. And so long as you plan ahead and keep your budgetary wits about you, you’ll have the ability to enjoy (almost) all of the country provides without spending your daily life savings along the way.
Get the In-Depth Budget Guide to Iceland!
Want to plan an ideal trip to Iceland? Have a look at my comprehensive guide to Iceland written for budget travelers like yourself! It cuts out the fluff within other guides and gets right to the practical information you will need to travel and cut costs in one of the most amazing and exciting destinations on the planet. You’ll find suggested itineraries, tips, budgets, methods to save money, on / off the beaten path what to see and do, and the best non-touristy restaurants, markets, and bars, plus much more!! Click here for more information and begin!
Book Your Visit to Iceland: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you need to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. My favorite places in which to stay Iceland are:
- Hlemmur Square (Reykjavik) – A posh hotel with an excellent bar and traditional Icelandic communal dinners many times weekly.
- Kex Hostel (Reykjavik) – Includes a café and bar with an incredible happy hour, a comfy lounge, and a heated patio.
- Akureyri Backpacker (Akureyri) – Situated in the guts of the Old Town with a free of charge sauna and an excellent restaurant.
- Vagnsstadir Hostel (Hornafjörður) – An excellent, quiet place if you would like to explore glaciers and start to see the northern lights.
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to find the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I us