How to Travel to Iceland on a Budget
Iceland is known as one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world. It is not at the top of most budget travelers’ lists. But with careful planning it is possible to travel on a budget in Iceland and have an awesome trip.
Find a cheap flight.
One of the biggest costs of an international trip is the flight. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce that cost. First, check the price at budget airline WowAir. It’s no frills but the prices are great; they fly out of six major cities in the U.S. and are adding new cities.
Another great option is to search flights at momondo.com. They aggregate flight information from thousands of airlines and travel sites to find the best combinations of price and convenience.
Camp every night.
Camping in Iceland will cost you about $14/night in designated campgrounds. You’ll need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, etc., but if you already own these things you’ll save a ton of money by camping instead of staying in hotels of B&Bs.
If you want to camp for free, you can also wild camp on any area that’s not signposted as illegal for camping or designated a protected area.
If you’re thinking camping sounds okay but you don’t love the idea of a tent, consider a camper van. Camper van camping is more expensive than tent camping, but when you factor in the camper van as your mode of transportation, too, it can be cheap.
Or stay in hostels.
If you prefer to sleep indoors, hostels are the cheapest option if you’re traveling solo or in a small group. They average around $30/night for a dorm bed. Sheets are usually extra so it’s still a good idea to pack a sleeping back.
Tip: If you’re traveling in a large group, compare the split cost of a hotel room to the total cost of everyone’s dorm beds before making a booking. Those cheap dorm beds can add up quickly in groups of three or more.
Cook your own food.
If you’re camping or staying in a hostel, you’ll definitely have access to cooking facilities. You can cook whatever you like to eat and try some Icelandic snacks and specialties that you find at the store. The Bonus stores are the cheapest grocery stores in the country.
Tip: If you don’t feel like cooking, grab a hotdog to go. Hot dogs at gas stations and stands cost $3-4 and locals eat plenty of them.
Pack a water bottle and drink the tap water.
The tap water is safe to drink in Iceland, so bring your water bottle and fill it as often as you can. A bottle of water at the gas station is about $3, which means you’ll save a lot of money of the course of a week.
Skip the alcohol.
A beer in a bar or restaurant costs about $10 and a glass of wine around $12. If you have a soft drink or tap water, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and you definitely won’t be hungover during your adventures like exploring ice caves.
Visit the many amazing free sights.
Taking in the stark, beautiful landscapes in Iceland is free. Just about anywhere you drive or walk is bound to be beautiful or interesting. You can even hike to some great sights like Skógafoss waterfall for free. The Krafla Lava Fields are a captivating place for a full day of hiking. If you want to visit a hot spring, skip the Blue Lagoon and visit one of the many off the beaten path springs that are free or at least cheaper. There are even free things to do in Reykjavik like visiting the Reykjavik Art Museum or going to the beach at Nauthólsvík.