Tips for Traveling Iceland on a Budget

Next to the natural beauty and wonderful locals, the next thing many people mention about Iceland is the cost. Because we’re on an island in a relatively remote location, many travelers worry that they cannot travel to Iceland on a budget. But yes, you can!

That’s not to say that you can visit Iceland for little or no money. Your Friend in Reykjavik suggests budgeting at least US$80-100 a day. And we have a few tips on how to make the most of your money and time.

Iceland on a budget is possible!

Don’t let a little thing like money get in the way of making the most of your trip to Iceland! Of course, the bigger your budget, the more you can do, but you’d be surprised at how a few minor tweaks can make all the difference. And you’ll still have a fantastic time on our tiny island!

Eight money-saving tips for your Iceland visit

Visit in low season

Reykjavik and Mt Esja in March

The off-season in Iceland is wintertime, from November to March. The weather is a little colder, and some outdoor activities may be out of reach, but you can still have a great time. The main issue for some would probably be the really short days, with only four to six hours of sunlight. But that means plenty of night-times to catch nature’s light show, the Northern Lights! Iceland benefits from exceptionally long twilights, so even if the sun sets at 4 in the afternoon in January, it will not be completely dark until an hour later.

The two shoulder seasons in March-April and September-October are also great times to visit. Winter travel to Iceland is becoming more popular, but the shoulder seasons are still relatively quiet.

Share the wealth (and the cost!)

We think traveling is more fun when you can share your experiences with friends and family. An added bonus is that you can also share some of the costs! Splitting accommodation costs or car rental fees should definitely stretch your budget so you can splurge on a memorable excursion or a local extravagance…Fermented shark, anyone??

BYOB from duty-free

If you enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two, you may find your finances taking a hit in Iceland. At around US$10 a pop, you’ll probably want to check out specials and happy hours. We recommend downloading the Appy hour app (Android and iOS) to find the best happy hour prices. Better yet, you can join us for a pub crawl tour to get the best bang for your buck.

If you are one of those who like to party, you may want to consider taking advantage of duty-free discounts when you land. But take it from us; you can have a great time whether you enjoy water or wine.

Eat like a local

Enjoying local cuisine should be a part of every visit, whether in Iceland or anywhere in the world! Besides getting tasty inside scoops, you can save some cash too! Start the day like we do with some Skyr or enjoy an Icelandic hot dog or three after a day of exploring. If where you’re staying has some sort of kitchen facilities, go truly local and visit the grocery store for provisions! We recommend Krónan or Bónus.

Take public transport

You can easily get around most towns by walking, but sometimes you want a ride. There are taxis available, but you should check out the public bus system. For getting around Reykjavik or traveling from town to town, the Strætó route network is pretty convenient and affordable. There’s also a hop-on-hop-off bus service for a little more flexibility.

Use refillable water bottles

We Icelanders pride ourselves on having clean, fresh water available straight from the tap. So, there’s no need to buy bottled water when you can refill your travel bottle for free. Save money and help keep the environment clean while keeping yourself hydrated!

The best things in life are free (or really cheap)!

Of course, we want you to join our walking tours, but there are also plenty of free activities in Reykjavik and across Iceland. Make your visit to Iceland a true adventure — take a local bus and pick a stop. You may be surprised at what you discover when you venture truly off the tourist-y path. 

Check for discounts

To make the most out of your Reykjavik stay, check out the Reykjavik City Card. You get free admission to museums, public pools, and more and free bus rides around the city. There’s also the Icelandic Coupon scheme for discounts from car rentals to squash courts. 

Ask Your Friend in Reykjavik for money-saving tips and tricks!

Exploring Iceland on a budget should not be hard. Your Friend in Reykjavik wants you to enjoy Iceland to its fullest. Our guides will share their knowledge not just of our favorite hometown but also, if you ask nicely, the best way to enjoy your Iceland stay! 

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