Top Tips For a Budget-Friendly Trip to Iceland

Top Tips For a Budget-Friendly Trip to Iceland

05.01.2024 | Sinnead Robledo

Traveling to Iceland can be an amazing experience, and with some careful planning, you can make it budget-friendly. Here are some tips to help you plan a cost-effective trip to Iceland:

Hey! We are your local Iceland travel agent. We know Iceland inside ant out and we will help you plan a budget-friendly dream trip. 

Budget travel to Reykjavík

1. Visit in the off-season:

Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) to take advantage of lower accommodation and car rental prices. Winter can also be budget-friendly, but keep in mind the limited daylight hours. On the other hand, having a white Christmas and seeing impressive fireworks during New Year's will elevate your holidays to the next level.

Related articles:
6 Good Reasons to Visit Iceland in the Autumn
Top 10 Activities to do in the Autumn in Iceland

2. Book flights in advance:

Look for budget airlines and book your flights well in advance to get the best deals. Consider using flight comparison websites to find the most affordable options.

Booking flights to Iceland

3. Accommodation:

Choose budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels. Booking in advance can help you secure lower rates and guesthouses and/or farm stays have a unique charm and authenticity to your stay. They are a hidden gem when it comes to seeing Iceland from a local perspective; Rural areas have a “cozy” feeling for most Icelanders.

Camper van in Iceland

Camping: If you're open to it, camping is a cost-effective way to stay in Iceland. There are numerous campsites throughout the country. Be aware that some might charge you a small fee but they might offer also services such as a shared kitchen and bathrooms with showers.

4. Transportation:

Renting a car is the most cost-effective way to explore Iceland, especially if you're traveling with your partner or in a group. Book your rental car in advance and compare prices from different providers. This option can also provide much more comfort, so you can travel at your own pace and not being exposed to the changing weather in Iceland.

Driving in Iceland

Public Transportation: Iceland has a bus system that can be an economical way to get around, especially if you plan to stick to popular routes. But please check the options available and time schedules if you decide to use it.

Related article:
How to Survive Driving in Iceland

5. Food:

Grocery Stores: Purchase groceries from local stores like Bónus or Krónan. This allows you to make your meals and snacks, reducing the need for expensive restaurant meals. You can also indulge into the traditional Icelandic cuisine by searching for recipes and getting the ingredients to cook them on your own.

Icelandic hot dog

Eating Out Strategically: If you do choose to eat out, opt for lunch menus or budget-friendly cafes. Avoiding touristy areas can also save you money.

Related articles:
A Foodie Guide to Reykjavík
10 Best Vegan Restaurants in Reykjavík

6. Free attractions:

Take advantage of natural wonders like waterfalls, geysers, and hiking trails, which are often free to explore.

Nature exploration is free in Iceland

City Exploration: Walk around cities like Reykjavik to enjoy street art, architecture, and local culture without spending money.

Related articles:
Outdoor Locations to Visit Around Reykjavík
5 Budget Activities to do in Reykjavík with Kids

7. Bring snacks:

Snacks and meals on the go can add up quickly. Bring snacks from home or purchase them at local grocery stores to save money while exploring.

8. Utilities:

Water: Iceland has excellent tap water. Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it at taps to save money on buying bottled water.

Electricity: If you're using electronic devices, bring a power strip to charge multiple items simultaneously, reducing the need for multiple adapters.

9. Student and youth discounts:

If you're a student or a young traveler, inquire about discounts on accommodations, transportation, and attractions.
The elderly are also entitled to some discounts at some museums and attractions. They also have a free entrance to all pools if they are 67+!

City Cards: Some cities offer tourist cards that provide discounts on various attractions and services.

Using credit cards in Iceland

10. Credit card with no foreign transaction fees:

Use a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees to avoid unnecessary charges. Credit cards are widely accepted in Iceland. In fact, most locals don't use cash.

11. Pack essentials:

Pack Wisely: Iceland's weather can be unpredictable. Pack layers and a good waterproof jacket to avoid having to purchase expensive clothing on arrival. Is better to take some layers off than expose yourself to rough winds, rain or snow. 

Warm clothing

Related article:
What to Wear on a Trip to Iceland

12. Plan and Prioritize:

Having a clear plan of your trip can save you money if your accommodation is well located close to the attractions you want to visit and if you make sure they serve breakfast. Also, Iceland is a small country, and some services are vastly different than in large cities. The stores might close earlier, the services might be far away or non-existent (ex. Uber/Uber eats) or simply done differently. If you are uncertain, you can always request help from Hey Iceland’s travel experts to help you plan a trip that fits all your needs.

Planning a trip to Iceland

Related articles:
The Best Time to See The Northern Lights in Iceland
Why SMart Travellers Need Local Travel Agents
Wonderful Hot Tubs and Pools Awaiting You in Iceland

13. Emergency funds:

Set Aside Emergency Funds: Have a buffer in your budget for unexpected expenses. Iceland can be unpredictable, and having some extra funds can provide peace of mind.

Keep in mind that flexibility and adaptability are crucial when traveling on a budget. Keep an eye out for local events or special promotions, and don't hesitate to ask locals for tips on budget-friendly options in their area.

Remember that Iceland is known for its stunning natural beauty, and many of the best experiences are free or low-cost. With careful planning and budget-conscious choices, you can have a memorable and affordable trip to Iceland.


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