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Don’t Go Out To Eat: 7 Tips for Visiting Iceland on a Budget

 

How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | 7 Tips for Visiting iceland On A Budget |Cheap Travel To Iceland | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Although it is one of the most expensive countries in the world, it is totally possible to visit Iceland on a budget. Instead of swearing it off forever, there are more than a few ways that you can save money on a trip to this far-flung arctic island. We knew we wanted to check Iceland off our bucket lists, and to do so, we had to figure out how to make our pennies stretch whenever possible. Lucky for you, we did all the legwork including creating this handy Iceland packing list just for our readers! Check out our tips on how to make all your Iceland dreams come true without breaking the bank:

7 Tips for Visiting Iceland on a Budget

Fly WOW Air To Iceland

Never heard of it? We hadn’t either until we started getting down and dirty with our research and found out that WOW is a budget [but safe!] Icelandic airline. In all honesty, our trip to Iceland came about strictly because we were searching for cheap flights to mainland Europe. WOW Air popped up with $99 fares from the USA>Iceland and then $99 from Iceland>Berlin, meaning we only spent $200 one way! Don’t believe us? Check out our post about finding cheap flights using WOW air!

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow 'Me Away Travel Blog

We know that many blogs suggest stopovers in Iceland through Icelandair, but we found them to be much too pricey for our blood and highly suggest you fly WOW. You don’t even need to use Iceland as a stopover when you fly WOW because the options are so affordable. Visiting Iceland on a budget has never been easier because airlines have recognized the demand.

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow 'Me Away Travel Blog

Airbnb All The Way

Hotels are too expensive, hostels are alright if you want to share with a bunch of people, but Airbnb is the perfect marriage! In case you didn’t know, Airbnb lets you rent a room in someone’s house and use all the good stuff that comes along with living in a home such as fully equipped kitchen facilities, Wifi, and a washing machine.

Most hosts are happy to direct you around town, but are more than pleased to leave you alone to do your own thing. You have the privacy of your own space, and the convenience of living like a local. Airbnb helped us save tons of money on otherwise very expensive lodging and played a big part in helping us to see Iceland on a budget. If you are a first-time user, here is how to avoid scams on Airbnb. 

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow 'Me Away Travel Blog

Check out the view from our Airbnb in Reykjavik!

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Don’t You Dare Go Out To Eat If You Hope To Visit Iceland On A Budget

Going out to eat in Iceland gets mad expensive. A meal for two people can cost upwards of $50 USD for something a simple as burgers! Don’t even think about alcohol because the prices and tax are insane. If you get an Airbnb or lodging with cooking facilities, make a grocery store run and cook everything at home. If you want to cook yourself, check out our helpful post on what to expect from grocery stores in Iceland. If you absolutely must go out to eat, gas stations have reasonably priced Icelandic hot dogs and other goodies, but we still suggest making all meals at home.

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

What $20 USD looks like in food

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

For our Iceland trip, we actually brought 20lbs of food that we bought at Aldi back in the states. Once we arrived in Iceland, we went to Bonus [Iceland’s version of Aldi/budget store and purchased perishables to complement the food we packed. If you don’t have the space to pack food, just head to your local Bonus, which is the cheapest grocery store, and pick up all your essentials. If you forget something, gas stations have drinks and snacks that aren’t too pricey.

Rent A Manual Transmission Car To Save Money In Iceland 

If you can drive a stick, now is the time to put that skill to use! In Iceland (and most of Europe), you can rent a stick shift car for a fraction of an automatic. Unfortunately, neither of us could drive stick, and we wanted to be safe, so we were forced to pay more money and rent an automatic transmission car. Diesel fuel is cheaper than unleaded, so if you can rent a manual AND diesel powered car, you are going to save boatloads of money! Even better, check out these tours in Iceland so you won’t even have to rent a car at all!

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Don’t Drive The Entire Ring Road In Iceland

We know! What a sacrilegious thing to say. But here is the thing: gas in Iceland is expensive as all get out and can cost about $6-8 USD per gallon. We ended up paying $50+ to fill up the tank of our super tiny economy car with 1/4 of a tank still remaining. There is absolutely no way we can make the gas any less expensive, so you have to do your part by renting an eco-friendly car and keeping your driving to a minimum.

We know the Ring Road is the “it” thing to do in Iceland, but the truth of the matter is, many epic places can be found on the south/east side of the Island, from Reykjavik to Hofn. You can still drive a decent chunk of the ring road, while hitting awesome sites, and spending MUCH less on gas than you would if you drove the entire road. Check this 5 day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary for the perfect shorter driving route.

Just a few of the super sweet places you can see on the south/east side of the Island:

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Visit Iceland In The Winter

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

It’s pretty much a universal fact that epic destinations are much more expensive in the summer since the weather is nicer and people are off school. Don’t fall for this trap! Here are at least 7 reasons why the off-season is the best time to visit Iceland! Iceland is perfectly magical to visit in the winter, you have more options for lodging, crowds aren’t as crazy, and best of all, prices are a lot cheaper! If you are a photographer, visiting in winter allows you to shoot different Icelandic landscapes than the droves of tourists who visit during warmer months.

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Many people are scared away from Iceland in winter, thinking it will be extremely cold when in reality, it isn’t all that bad! We traveled in winter and weathered temps that ranges from 28*-35*F during the day. We are from Florida, so if we can do it without freezing, we have faith you can too!

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Bring A Water Bottle To Save Money On Water In Iceland

The water in Iceland is fantastically fresh and safe for Americans to drink. The water is so clean that travelers are often encouraged to drink straight from the source in order to save money! Don’t spend money on bottled water, plus disposable stuff is ew, so bring your own bottle! We love our Bobble water bottles, and they come with a built-in filter for extra protection. Your local Walmart should carry them or you could easily order off of Amazon. Every dollar saved contributes to the overall cost of visiting Iceland on a budget. Get your own Bobble here for less that $9!

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget | How To Visit Iceland On A Budget | Iceland Travel Tips | Follow Me Away Travel Blog

Sure, you are going to have to make a few sacrifices to make the dream work, but the second you step out of the plane it will all be worth it because you will be in Iceland! Oh, and your wallet will thank you for visiting Iceland on a budget.

READ NEXT: Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road

Have you visited Iceland on a budget? Did these tips help you? Let us know! 

23 thoughts on “Don’t Go Out To Eat: 7 Tips for Visiting Iceland on a Budget

  1. Xenia

    I agree with everything except Don’t drive the entire Ring Road
    There’s sooooo much to see in the east and especially the northern Myvatn area; Krafla, Hverfjall and of course the geothermal area Hverir – you can’t miss out on that if you made it all the way to Iceland already! And yes, totally agreed that the south is stunning!

    If you can’t afford doing the ring road, save up a little and go the year after – or don’t go at all.

    There’s only so much saving you can do. Be realistic – yes, Iceland is expensive.

  2. Joanne

    I visited Iceland from Scotland last November and it was lovely, it is expensive but there were some places that were reasonable to eat. I agree with the last comment and would rather save up and go the following year rather than scrimp and cook my own food, who wants to be bothered with cooking while on holiday

  3. Raoul

    Hey, awesome tips. I was thinking of going to island between dec 28 and 4 of januari.
    I have just one question. Will the days be long enough?

    Greetings from Holland

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Hey!!! That is a good amount of time to start in Iceland! During the winter, half the country is too snowy to access so that will be plenty of time to see all the accessible locations!

  4. Zsuzsi

    Fantastic info! I’m now 100% sold on our trip. We can’t do it until March though. Is it too warm and melted by then? I would love the idea of going in the winter but can’t unfortunately. It will be mainly a photography trip … surprise surprise 🙂

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      It is NOT too warm and melted in March at all! It is a winter wonderland and you will see a ton of snow! Other areas may be less snowy but you will still see a beautiful blanket across the country! Pretty magical 🙂

  5. Pingback: What 4 Days in Iceland Cost Me: Iceland Budget and Spending Breakdown

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      WOW is awesome! We have flown them 5 times in the past 8 months! Check your bag though because a carry-on actually costs more money 😉

  6. Cherry

    Thanks for sharing!

    My boyfriend and I are planning to go a few days to Iceland n the beginning of April.
    And I’m also planning to rent a car to save some costs, but I see there are so many places to do so. where did u rent ur car? And how much did that costs?

    Do you also know where to go to see the northern lights ?(I want to go there by ourselves and save a bit of money by not booking that excursions).
    Thanks so much!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      Ahh Cherry how awesome! We used Rent A Wreck [search it on our site] and also EZ car rental. For about a week the cost was about $350 which isn’t too bad and it is SO WORTH IT having a car. You can literally go anywhere dark in Iceland to see the Nothern Lights. As long as you head outside of Reykjavik where it is super bright you will have a better chance. We drove around about 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik and were on the same road as an expensive tour bus. April may be tough to see the lights as it will stay light longer, but you can always try! Good luck!

  7. Matt

    This was insanely helpful and inspiring! How long were you guys there? And what was your grand total (ballpark)

    I can’t wait to go, and will make sure to follow as many of these tips as possible!! Thanks!!!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      This trip we were there about a week and we would say the ballpark number may have been under $700 for two people not including the flight which was $99. Have a great time!

      1. Matt

        Wow! That is an incredible budget for a week! You guys smashed it!!

        I will! And thanks so much for the information!!!

  8. Priya & Praveen

    This is so helpful. Loved it ❤️ Have been saving for this trip to go from India 🇮🇳. The air tickets are so so expensive from there, that’s is my only concern right now 🙂

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