Visiting Iceland on a Budget
Many people want to know if it's possible to visit Iceland on tight budget. That's why we've put together this handy guide with tips on how to save some cash when visiting.
Iceland can be a pretty expensive country for the average traveler. After all, it’s the fifth most expensive country on Earth. But visiting Iceland on a tight budget is very much doable if you cut down on certain things. Here we listed a few tips to help you, visit Iceland on a budget.
Don't dine out ALL the time
If you're looking to save some cash in Iceland, you'll need to limit when you dine at a restaurant. Iceland is famous for selling overpriced food at restaurants, and each meal will typically cost up to 50$ a person. You can find cheaper ones though.
We would recommend buying groceries at a supermarket like Bónus or Krónan. If you have a Costco membership, there is a store in Garðabær you might want to pay a visit. Also, bear in mind that gas stations in Iceland can be costly. We offer cooking equipment in all of our campers. So go on and get creative with all of the fantastic Icelandic produce!
Visiting Iceland on a budget is easier if you go during winter!
The tourist population in Iceland reaches it's top during the summer months (June, July, August) and by default prices for everything go up. If you come during winter prices will be lower and, since it's not too busy, you might even get better service.
Almost everything you might want to see will be open during winter. So you definitely won't miss out on all the fun activities. Heck, even the ice cream shops are open during December. If you're worried about not seeing the beautiful nature in Iceland during winter times, we can tell you that you´ll have to be very unlucky to sit stuck in a snowstorm the whole time and not see anything.
Chances are, you´ll be able to visit most if not all the place you’d like to see except the highlands. Just look at the photos from the Icelandic winter. Plus, the northern lights are only visible during winter, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to see them.
Don't drink (too much) alcohol
Yes, we know. How can you go on a trip and not drink a few glasses of red wine or try an exciting new cocktail? Well, if you are friends with your wallet, you might want to consider letting go of drinks for your visit. The importation fees and taxes on alcohol are rocket high expensive. That makes prices for alcohol some of the most costly in the world.
If you absolutely must drink in Iceland, we recommend purchasing alcohol in the duty-free store at the airport. Also ordering whole bottles is often cheaper than a glass at restaurants and bars.
Nature is free (mostly)
All natural things in Iceland are free to see. Waterfalls, geysers, lava, volcanoes, caves, forests, you name it. Nature is such an essential part of Iceland. Why waste your stay by not seeing all of the magnificent scenery the country has to offer?
Since you have a camper you don't need to spend a fortune on planned packages with various companies. You can just drive to those places yourself. You can even see the northern lights without a tour guide helping you! Just look at the aurora forecast and find a good spot (https://aurorareykjavik.is/aurora-forecast/).
You can also skip some famous tourist spots for an all natural equivalent. Take the blue lagoon for example. You might want to jump the entrance fees and pay a visit to the completely free Landmannalaugar. Or, other free and natural hot springs all across Iceland. By the way, make sure you check out our maps of hot springs in Iceland!
We say that nature is mostly free because some places have started to charge parking fees in order to be able to run bathroom facilities, build paths, etc.
Avoid tourist shops
Icelanders call the souvenir shops 'puffin stores,' and despite the cute name, they are a dangerous trap for gullible tourists. Ok, not life threateningly dangerous, but dangerous if you want to keep your hard-earned cash in your pocket. Often the stores are decorated in the Icelandic flag colors and with, quote on quote, great deals in the window.
These shops lure tourists in and keep them in. We say: ignore those stores entirely and get more personal souvenirs on your trip. Maybe you like a particular beach more than others. Then you might bring home a small seashell. Make your trip your own, don't get caught up in some touristy craziness. That being said, the stuffed animal puffins are seriously cute!