Iceland Pier

10 Ways To Visit Iceland On A Budget

Is Iceland expensive? Yes!. The country is small, has a short growing season, doesn’t have a lot of crops, and has to import a lot of things it needs.

So again can Iceland travel be expensive? Yes. Can you beat the system and visit the country on a budget? FOR SURE! You just need to be mindful of your spending. A typical iceland budget is usually around $80 -$100 a day per person. So if you have ever thought is iceland cheap? Then answer is no. The best way to travel in iceland is to go during the off season in winter when you can get cheap flights.

1. Hitchhike

Iceland is one of the easiest and safest countries in the world for hitchhikers. You can find rides throughout the country. Though harder, it’s also not impossible to find a ride in the off-season or in the sparsely populated north. Be sure to do your research so you aren’t stranded. 

2. Drink Tap water

— The water in Iceland is safe to drink and healthy. A plastic bottle of water costs about $3 USD, so bring a metal water bottle with you and refill from the tap. It will save you a lot of money and help the environment. There’s no reason to buy water here.

3. Camp

— In Iceland, Camping is available nearly at all places. You can camp in designated campgrounds for about $14 USD per night and some hostels allow you to put up tents too. Camping is significantly cheaper than hostels. Bringing your own sleeping bag would certainly help. Also, if you really intend to save money and are on a really low budget, then just camp in the wild . It’s legal as long as there’s no sign posted to the contrary, it’s not private land

4. Become a Hostel International member

— Most hostels in Iceland (especially outside Reykjavik) are part of the Hostel International group, which means they give discounted rates to members. Hostel dorms cost $27-33 USD per night, and HI members get $5 USD off, so if you plan on staying in hostels, the $28 USD annual membership will pay for itself in no time

5. Bring your own sheets or sleeping bag

— Many hostels in Iceland charge you a fee for bed sheets if you don’t have your own or a sleeping bag (pillows are free!). Linen fees begin at $10 USD; however, be sure to research your hostel thoroughly as some will not allow you to bring your own sheets/sleeping bag

6. Drink alcohol as little as possible-

As taxes are quite high in Iceland, it becomes really expensive to drink there. Here are some rates-

  • Beer: $10 USD (happy hour: $6 USD)
  • Wine: $12 USD
  • Bottle of wine at the store: $20 USD
  • Bottle of wine at a restaurant: $30+ USD
  • Shots: $8 USD

Don’t drink and your budget will be fine! OK, maybe once in Reykjavik since it’s nightlife is world famous. But other than that, don’t. You’ll save a lot and feel a lot better. 

7. Cook your own food and shop from grocery

— I found the food to be the most expensive thing in Iceland. Eating out costs about $15 USD or more per meal. 

Go grocery shopping.  Buy everything you need — such as eggs, cereal, pre-made sandwiches, and pasta — and cook. All hostels, guesthouses, and campsites have kitchens. 

Try to shop at BONUS stores as they have the lowest prices.

8. Eat hotdogs

— If you are going to eat out, eat at sandwich and hot dog stalls you find throughout the cities. They offer the cheapest (but not healthiest) food in the country. A hot dog costs about $3.50 USD and a sandwich will run you about $13 USD (about $17 USD with a beverage). 

9. Get a bus pass

— During the summer months, you can purchase a countywide bus pass for $323 USD. On the off chance that you would prefer not to bum a ride, this will be your next least expensive alternative for getting around Iceland on a financial limit.

10. Rent a car

— If you are coming in the off season, staying for a week or less, or don’t want to hitchhike, I would rent a car. They cost between $40-70 USD per day but you can split the costs with traveling companions (or by picking up travelers on the road!) and you’ll get a lot more flexibility than if you take the bus. The best of Iceland isn’t found along its main highway.

 

Common Questions about Visiting iceland on a budget

Yes, it is possible to visit Iceland on a budget. Although Iceland is known to be an expensive destination, there are several ways to save money, such as staying in budget accommodations, cooking your own meals, and taking advantage of free activities and attractions.

 In Iceland, you can find budget-friendly accommodations such as guesthouses, hostels, and camping sites. These options offer affordable rates and often include shared common areas and kitchen facilities, allowing you to save money on food.

To save money on transportation in Iceland, consider using public buses or shared shuttles instead of taxis. Additionally, renting a campervan or car can be a budget-friendly option, especially if you are traveling with a group and can share the costs.



Yes, there are several free or low-cost activities in Iceland. For example, you can explore the natural wonders like waterfalls, geothermal areas, and hiking trails, which are mostly free of charge. Additionally, many museums and cultural sites offer discounted rates or have certain days with free admission.

To save money on dining in Iceland, consider purchasing groceries and cooking your own meals. Many accommodations provide kitchen facilities where you can prepare your own food. Also, look out for local restaurants and cafes that offer affordable lunch specials or happy hour deals.

To save money on sightseeing tours or activities in Iceland, consider booking in advance to take advantage of early bird discounts. Additionally, look for group tours or shared excursions, as they often offer lower rates per person. It’s also worth checking out tourist information centers for any current promotions or package deals available.

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Start Planning Your Iceland Trip Now!

Book Your Flight:

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flights. A travellers favorite way to book flights, as it searches websites and airlines around the world with one click.

Book Your Bus or Transportation Within Iceland:

There are two ways to book your transporation, ask your hotel or hostel, go to the local bus terminal, or book online, for a less stressful trip using 12go.asia

Book Your Accomodation: 

Find the best hotels or hostels at HostelWorld, Booking.com, Agoda.com. Perks include with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out and Free cancellations.

Dont Forget Your Travel Insurance:

Two popular choices are SafetyWing and WorldsNomads. A traveler should buy traveler’s insurance to protect themselves against unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost or stolen baggage. It provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Useful Apps

Busbud / Bus Radar / 12go.co – Booking Bus

Whatsapp / Be Real / Telegram – Communication

Booking.com / Hotels.is / Agoda – Booking Hotel

Rail.cc / Omio / Seat61 – Booking Train

Wolt / Food Chow – Food Delivery

Talixo / Welcome Pickups / Hreyfill Taxi

Want More Information On Iceland?

Be sure to check out my nomad travel guide on Iceland for even more tips.

Last Minute Travel Deals?

Find a group tour with G Adventures!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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Comments

  • Dan & Beck
    May 31, 2020

    Hey Justin,

    We really enjoyed the Iceland budget tips.

    Iceland is our favourite country in the world. We’ve been twice we loved it so much! It’s great that most of what Iceland has to offer is in it’s natural beauty. So all the hikes and natural attractions are thankfully for free 🙂

    We found cooking our own food (that we bought from Bonus) and camping (we took our own gear from the UK) to be the best ways to save money when travelling the island. Your other tips are insightful also.

    Cheers, Dan & Beck from Travel Made Me Do It

    reply

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