Iceland on a Budget: Affordable Travel Tips


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Iceland has become an increasingly popular travel destination in recent years, and for good reason. With its stunning natural beauty, unique culture, and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s no wonder that so many people are flocking to this Nordic island. However, many people believe that Iceland is an expensive destination and may shy away from visiting due to budget constraints. Contrary to popular belief, Iceland can actually be quite affordable for budget travelers. In this post, we will provide tips and tricks for enjoying Iceland on a budget, so you can experience all that this incredible country has to offer without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaways

  • Iceland is a great destination for budget travelers due to its stunning natural beauty and unique culture.
  • The best time to visit Iceland for the best deals is during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
  • Saving money on flights to Iceland is possible by booking in advance, using budget airlines, and being flexible with travel dates.
  • Affordable accommodation options in Iceland include hostels, camping, and Airbnb rentals.
  • Budget-friendly transportation options in Iceland include renting a car, taking public transportation, or hitchhiking.

When to visit Iceland for the best deals

One of the first things to consider when planning a budget trip to Iceland is the timing of your visit. The shoulder season, which includes the months of April-May and September-October, offers lower prices and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months. During these times, you can still enjoy mild weather and longer daylight hours, making it a great time to explore the country without breaking the bank.

Another option for budget travelers is visiting Iceland during the winter months from November to March. While the weather may be colder and there are fewer daylight hours, this time of year can offer significant savings on flights, accommodations, and tours. However, it’s important to note that visiting during the winter months requires more preparation and careful planning due to the weather conditions.

How to save money on flights to Iceland

Flights to Iceland can often be one of the biggest expenses when planning a trip. However, there are several ways to save money on flights and find the best deals. One of the most effective ways is to use flight comparison websites such as Skyscanner or Kayak. These websites allow you to compare prices from different airlines and find the most affordable options.

Another tip is to consider flying with budget airlines or booking connecting flights. Budget airlines such as WOW Air and Icelandair often offer lower fares compared to major carriers. Additionally, booking connecting flights can sometimes be cheaper than flying direct, so it’s worth exploring different options.

Being flexible with your travel dates and times can also help you save money on flights. Prices can vary significantly depending on the day of the week and time of day, so try to be flexible with your schedule if possible. Additionally, booking your flights well in advance or taking advantage of last-minute deals can also result in significant savings.

Affordable accommodation options in Iceland

Accommodation Type Average Price per Night Location Rating (out of 5)
Hostel €20-€50 Reykjavik, Akureyri, Hofn 4.5
Campsite €10-€20 Throughout Iceland 4.0
Airbnb €50-€100 Reykjavik, Akureyri, Selfoss 4.8
Guesthouse €60-€100 Rural areas 4.3

Accommodation is another area where budget travelers can save money in Iceland. While there are luxury hotels and resorts available, there are also several affordable options to choose from. One of the most popular choices for budget travelers is staying in hostels or guesthouses. These accommodations offer shared dormitory-style rooms or private rooms at a fraction of the cost of a hotel.

Camping is also a popular and inexpensive option for those who enjoy the outdoors. Iceland has an abundance of campsites throughout the country, many of which offer basic facilities such as toilets and showers. Camping not only allows you to save money on accommodation but also gives you the opportunity to experience Iceland’s stunning landscapes up close.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, consider staying outside of Reykjavik for lower prices. The capital city tends to be more expensive compared to other parts of the country, so staying in smaller towns or villages can help you save money on accommodations.

Budget-friendly transportation in Iceland

Transportation is another aspect to consider when planning a budget trip to Iceland. Renting a car can be expensive, especially during the peak summer months when prices tend to be higher. However, renting a car offers flexibility and the ability to explore on your own terms.

If renting a car is not within your budget, public transportation is a more affordable option. Iceland has an extensive bus network that connects major towns and attractions throughout the country. The buses are comfortable and reliable, and tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of travel.

Hitchhiking is also a legal and common practice in Iceland. Many locals and tourists alike hitchhike as a means of transportation, and it’s a great way to meet new people and save money on transportation costs. However, it’s important to exercise caution and use common sense when hitchhiking, especially if you are traveling alone.

Eating on a budget: Tips for dining in Iceland

Dining out can be another significant expense when traveling, but there are several ways to save money on food in Iceland. One of the best ways is to cook your own meals using local ingredients from supermarkets. Most accommodations, including hostels and guesthouses, have shared kitchens where you can prepare your own meals. This not only allows you to save money but also gives you the opportunity to try local ingredients and flavors.

Another tip is to look for lunch specials and happy hour deals at restaurants. Many restaurants offer discounted prices during lunchtime or happy hour, so take advantage of these deals to enjoy a meal out without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive meal, try Icelandic street food such as hot dogs or fish and chips. These are popular local dishes that can be found at street stalls or small shops throughout the country. They are not only delicious but also budget-friendly options.

Free and low-cost activities in Iceland

One of the best things about Iceland is that there are plenty of free and low-cost activities to enjoy. Hiking and exploring nature is one of the top activities in Iceland, and luckily, it doesn’t cost a thing. The country is filled with stunning landscapes, waterfalls, geothermal pools, and hiking trails that are free to explore. Whether you’re visiting the famous Golden Circle or venturing off the beaten path, there are endless opportunities to enjoy Iceland’s natural beauty without spending a dime.

In addition to outdoor activities, there are also several museums and galleries in Iceland that offer free admission days. Take advantage of these days to learn more about the country’s history, culture, and art without spending any money.

Attending local festivals and events is another great way to experience Icelandic culture on a budget. Throughout the year, there are various festivals and events taking place across the country, many of which are free or have low-cost admission fees. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, there’s always something happening in Iceland that you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

Saving money on tours and excursions in Iceland

While there are plenty of free activities to enjoy in Iceland, there may be some tours or excursions that you don’t want to miss out on. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on these experiences as well. One of the best ways is to book tours in advance. Many tour operators offer early bird discounts or special promotions for those who book ahead of time.

Another option is to consider group tours or self-guided options. Group tours often offer lower prices compared to private tours, as the cost is shared among a larger group of people. Self-guided options, such as renting a car and exploring on your own, can also be more budget-friendly compared to guided tours.

Lastly, look for discounts and deals online. Many tour operators offer special discounts or promotions on their websites or through travel websites. It’s worth doing some research and comparing prices to find the best deals for the activities you’re interested in.

How to avoid tourist traps and save money in Iceland

When traveling on a budget, it’s important to be mindful of tourist traps and avoid unnecessary expenses. One way to save money is to avoid buying souvenirs in touristy areas. Instead, look for local markets or shops where you can find unique and affordable souvenirs.

Research and compare prices for activities and tours before booking. Prices can vary significantly between different operators, so it’s worth taking the time to do some research and find the best deals. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow travelers to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Lastly, stay away from expensive restaurants and bars in Reykjavik. While the capital city offers a wide range of dining and nightlife options, many of them can be quite pricey. Instead, explore smaller towns or villages where you can find more affordable options without sacrificing quality.

Final thoughts: Enjoying Iceland on a budget

With careful planning and budgeting, Iceland can be an affordable destination for budget travelers. By choosing the right time to visit, finding affordable flights and accommodations, using budget-friendly transportation options, dining smartly, and taking advantage of free and low-cost activities, you can experience all that Iceland has to offer without breaking the bank. Don’t be afraid to explore off the beaten path, try new things, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and unique culture of Iceland. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can have an unforgettable budget-friendly trip to this incredible Nordic island.

If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you might also be interested in discovering Austria’s top tourist destinations. From the stunning landscapes of the Austrian Alps to the cultural treasures of Vienna, Austria offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. Check out this article on to learn more about the must-visit places in Austria and start planning your next adventure.


What is the currency used in Iceland?

The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK).

What is the best time to visit Iceland?

The best time to visit Iceland is during the summer months of June to August when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so prices may be higher.

What is the cost of a flight to Iceland?

The cost of a flight to Iceland varies depending on the time of year and where you are flying from. On average, a round-trip flight from the United States can cost anywhere from $300 to $800.

What is the cost of accommodation in Iceland?

The cost of accommodation in Iceland varies depending on the type of accommodation and the location. On average, a night in a budget hostel can cost around $30 to $50, while a mid-range hotel can cost around $150 to $250 per night.

What is the cost of food in Iceland?

The cost of food in Iceland can be quite expensive, especially if you eat out at restaurants. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $25 to $50 per person. However, there are also cheaper options such as fast food and grocery stores.

What is the cost of transportation in Iceland?

The cost of transportation in Iceland varies depending on the mode of transportation. Renting a car can cost around $50 to $100 per day, while taking public transportation can cost around $3 to $5 per ride. Taxis are also available but can be quite expensive.


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