Iceland is hands down the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited. It’s also the most expensive.
I’m not joking—both the beauty and the prices are out of this world! If you really want to take a trip out there and are looking for ways to keep your wallet from bleeding dry, here are 10 ways to save money when visiting Iceland. Enjoy!
T R A V E L
- Rent a car from Green Motion car and van rentals. This was the company with the cheapest prices for a four-wheel drive Jeep (necessary in Iceland). You definitely want four-wheel drive, just without the absurdly high prices. Not to mention, they have really friendly employees (shout out to Bridgette!). They pick you up straight from the airport, take you to their building, help you fill out your paperwork, and then give you your rental car.
- Travel in a group and not alone. This isn’t just about safety but rather keeping gas costs down. Some people will tell you that you should pick up hitchhikers so that they can chip in for gas costs. If you’re into that, then go for it. Personally, I am not into picking up strangers on the side of the road, so I would rather split the cost of gas with a group of friends.
- Get a Wi-Fi plan before you go. My service provider (Three) gave me free service in Iceland, and that was amazing! They also gave us free service in Indonesia, Spain, France, Ireland, the USA, and many other countries! If you can’t get any data, download the Maps app so that you can use it offline. Super helpful for when you don’t have service, even if you have data (many of those remote places don’t have service).
F O O D
- Go to either Kronan or Bonus (grocery stores) and stock up on snacks and food. We asked our super-friendly friend at the car rental place for grocery store recommendations, and she mentioned the two above. I prefer Kronan, as it feels like a normal grocery store, whereas Bonus definitely feels discounted. But both Kronan and Bonus are less expensive than the ordinary grocery store.
- Since Iceland has to import most of their goods, alcohol included, the prices are sky high. Make use of local happy hours and definitely buy some duty-free alcohol at the airport. You could check in the legal amount in your luggage, but the duty-free alcohol in Reykjavik was actually cheaper than the UK airport duty-free shop.
- Lunch prices are significantly lower than dinner prices, even for very similar meals. If you really want to eat out, eat a heavy lunch when you’re out and about. This way, you can make yourself a light dinner or snack in the PM without draining your wallet.
- Don’t buy bottled water. This is seriously one of the best ways you save money when visiting Iceland. Bring your water bottle and just fill it as you travel! Icelandic tap water is about as clean as water can be. I carry my stainless steel (S’well) water bottle everywhere, and it really does keep the water chilled all day.
A C T I V I T I E S
- Tours are such a fun way to explore a new place. BUT they are freaking expensive here. Unless you’re on a school trip, have a season pass, or in a large group, tours are very expensive in Iceland. My husband and I bookmarked multiple sites we wanted to go to, and instead of taking the official tours at these destinations, we just rented a car and drove. We explored for hours and hours without dropping hundreds of dollars. Not to mention, we could veer off whenever we wanted to for a coffee, bite, or restroom break.
- There are some activities that you have to plan ahead for; otherwise, you miss out or the prices could be much higher. Make reservations ahead of time and save an extra buck or two while you can. You’re more likely to find a deal on hotels/activities if you look on multiple days than if you start looking a few weeks before your journey. We booked our hotel eight months before our trip, and we saved hundreds of dollars because the dollar was stronger when we originally booked.
- If you’re questioning whether or not the Blue Lagoon is worth it, I will tell you that it is! You can read more tips on how to budget for the Blue Lagoon here in one of my earlier blog posts.
I hope you get the chance to visit Iceland. It truly is one of a kind. Remember these 10 ways to save money when visiting Iceland, and you’ll feel smarter about your decisions!