Planning a trip to Iceland but don’t want to break the bank? Read our handy money saving tips and save hundreds of dollars without sacrificing any of the experiences you’re dreaming of. Like what you read? Subscribe to our blog for more insider tips and amazing giveaways!
1. Book tours and excursions well in advance:
While the prices tend to be similar between tour operators they do get full and sell out. Your best chance of scoring a special is to book a few months out, when certain tour operators may offer 10-20% off. Keep in mind there is no “low” season and many of the experiences are seasonal and therefore only available certain times of the year.
2. Bring snacks in your carry on:
Everything costs more in Iceland and many of their snack options like smoked and dried fish may not be palatable for International visitors. If you like to snack between meals on things like protein bars, granola, jerky, trail mix or nuts pack and bring them along. You can save a couple of hundred dollars this way as a single protein bar in Iceland may cost you $5-6.
3. Book your hotel wisely:
Choose a hotel slightly outside (but still within walking distance) from the main center of Old Town Reykjavik. This is a small, safe and very walkable city, so staying a few blocks further may save you up to $100/night.
4. Take public transportation:
Taxis are notoriously expensive in Iceland and there is no Uber-like service available. A ride from the airport can run well over $100. The buses are extremely timely, clean and provide free wi-fi to utilize.
5. Breakfast included:
Choose hotels with complimentary breakfast included. This will save you time and money even though the room may be slightly more expensive. We had great breakfast options included in all of our hotels. On the days we went out to sample local fare instead, we ended up spending around $30-$40 per person for things like oatmeal with fruit and coffee and pretzels with cream cheese and smoked salmon with a latte.6. Purchase alcohol in the duty-free section prior to arrival:
Alcoholic beverages are extremely expensive in Iceland. If you like to have a few drinks or glasses of wine with dinner purchase in advance at the duty free area and have them prior to going out. Be prepared to spend around $15-$20 for a glass of wine and $20-$30 for drinks in Reykjavik.7. Skip the Blue Lagoon:
Avoid the temptation to visit this highly overrated tourist hot spot and opt for one of the other less crowded, commercialized and expensive options like the Secret Lagoon.
8. Pack well and layer:
Double check your packing list and your suit case a few extra times prior to departure. Weather in Iceland can change very quickly and even a trip in the middle of summer requires rain gear and warm under-layers. In every country we visit we inevitably forget to bring some much needed items and end up purchasing them in the local stores. If you run out of socks because they get wet in the waterfalls or find you need extra layers be prepared to spend. We saw pairs of socks for $50-$80, sweaters for $200-$300 and souvenir t-shirts for $40-$50. On day trips, keep an extra pair of socks and gloves in your bag because no matter how many times the guides will warn you, everyone inevitably gets wet at some point.
9. Review the tipping guidelines:
Icelanders in restaurants do not expect a tip and a 10% service fee is usually already included. We like to tip tour guides if they provide exceptional experiences but the norm is around 10% of the tour cost, as opposed to 15%-20% commonly expected in other countries.
10. Take advantage of the free wi-fi:
Iceland is one of the only countries I have visited where wi-fi is offered for free on almost every tour bus, transfer, airport, hotel and restaurant. If you are used to pre-paying for data roaming on your devices save your money and take advantage of the free connections.
11. Let it go:
Ok so this is not exactly a money saving but a good piece of advice to stay mindful. This is an incredible country with some of the most spectacular sights in the world. They are extremely limited in what they can grow and produce on their land so most items are brought in. Remember you are on an island so expect to pay a premium and enjoy your time.
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