Traveling to Iceland on a budget

I heard that it’s really expensive
to travel to Iceland.
Is it true?

Well… starting off a budget holiday…
in two of the most expensive countries…
I’ve ever experienced…
England and Iceland…
this has been interesting.

I am sure it was…

I thought the exchange rate
of the Pound Sterling was awful,
well… I thought so…
until I met the Icelandic Kronur.


I’d been warned many times
about the cost of travel in Iceland,
but the prices can still make your eyes water
even when you’re prepared.
Being charged 420 kronur ($4.20)
for a cup of green tea,
and seeing 2300 kronur ($23)
plain old green salads
was a little incredible.

Yes, I can easily imagine that.

Nonetheless, it surprised me
how quickly we grew accustomed to the prices
and became quite savvy in saving money.
In the end, we saw everything we wanted to see…
and even some extras…
for less than $100 a day…
including accommodation and tours.

Image by Juergen Adolph at Flickr, CC-BY

Right, so the actual travel
is not that expensive?

That’s right.
But… Keep in mind that…
we didn’t have enough experience
driving on icy roads,
So, we decided not to hire a car…
we were forced to do
reasonably expensive day tours.
Actually, you could save a lot
by splitting car hire between a few friends
if you are more confident drivers
or you are there in summer.

I see…

So, these are a few tips…
to help you stick to your budget in Iceland
and still enjoy this absolutely amazing country.

Sounds good.
So, what are these tips?

Number one…
Cook your own food.
If you are able to find
accommodation with a kitchen,
you will be at a big advantage
in sticking to your budget.
Yeah, and Icelandic hot dogs…
They are not only cheap…
but absolutely delicious!
For about 380 kronur ($3.80)
you can have a delicious hot dog.
They are, however, quite small,
so you may need two.

Image by Tomi Knuutila at Flickr, CC-BY

What about the drinking water in Iceland?

Drink water!
Icelandic water quality is fantastic…
as every proud Icelander will tell you.
It is also available for free
at all restaurants and cafes.
Take advantage of this!

Yes… and what about the day tours?

If you are like us…
and you plan day trips out from Reykjavik,
look into packaging your tours.
Even inclusions such as free airport transfers
will save you quite a bit of money,
as it is expensive in Iceland
to commute from the airport to Reykjavik.

Image by Marco Bellucci at Flickr, CC-BY

Is it expensive to buy alcohol in Iceland?

If you must drink, do it during happy hour.
Drinking is painfully expensive in Iceland.
The cheapest glass of house wine I could find
was 1000 kronur…
or about $10.
And beer is not even that much better.
That said, a lot of places do a good happy hour…
For example, they do 2-for-1 house wine
during happy hour,
bringing it down to a much more reasonable
$5 per glass.
I’ll drink bad wine at that price.
Just be careful.
They give you the bill at the end
and it’s easy to get a bit too happy with happy hour!
I speak from personal experience.

All right. What else?

Find a hotel with breakfast included.
I got a great deal on a hotel
by keeping an eye out and booking quickly.
It was a clean and comfortable guesthouse
right in the city centre,
with an absolutely delicious breakfast.
Remember that this is a country
where a coffee will set you back about $5.
and the hotel was $40 each,
I thought the breakfast was outstanding value.

Image by Hafsteinn Robertsson at Flickr, CC-BY

What about clothes?
How do you keep warm on your trip to Iceland?

Make sure you bring enough warm clothing from home.
Icelandic clothing is beautiful, and warm.
It is also very expensive.
Make sure you bring enough from home
and don’t bank on buying it in Iceland.

Great. I see.
Thanks a lot for the useful tips.

You are welcome.

Text credits: This traveller’s tales, CC-BY

Head image by Andrea Schaffer at Flickr, CC-BY