Iceland is an expensive country to visit and this isn’t probably the first time you’ve heard this! The high cost of visiting Iceland may cause hesitation for some people but there are definitely ways you can definitely reduce costs while you there. Here’s a breakdown of how much we spent in Iceland for 10 days followed by some money saving tips. All numbers are rounded to the nearest whole for simplicity.
Total Cost: $551
We flew WOW Air and paid $310 per person for direct, round-trip flights from San Francisco, CA. Yes, it is a budget airline so do not expect to receive full-service. Don’t worry, it’s only a 8-9 hour flight from the West Coast; you’ll live 🙂
Money Saving Tip #1: Opt for a manual transmission cars if you know how to drive manual. These are generally cheaper than automatic transmission cars.
Total Cost: $238
Gas is expensive in Iceland. They can range anywhere from $6-8 USD a gallon! However, if you your itinerary is time optimized, this will help you save tremendously in gas. Check out our 10-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary for a day-by-day itinerary that will help you save time and reduce gas cost. We drove around the entire country of Iceland in 10 days and spent a total of $238, accounting for 7% of our total spending.
Money Saving Tip #2: Use the gas discount card that comes with your car rental. If the rental agency does not give you one, just ask!
Food & Drinks
Total Cost: $575 for 2 people
Food and drinks are expensive in Iceland and the food is not great tasting either. 18% of our total spending went towards food alone but we were able to keep this as low as possible by eating simple. Specifically, here is our breakdown of food:
Groceries & Convenience Stores = $132
Restaurants = $443
Groceries and convenience stores consisted of basic food items, such as yogurt and fruit, snacks, frozen food, and pre-made sandwiches.
For restaurants we hunted for moderately priced meals that were well-reviewed on TripAdvisor. We spend $120 for a nice meal at Fosshotel. We essentially had limited dining options in the area, so we opted for this meal.
Between grocery stores, convenience stores, and restaurants for 10 days, we spent $57.50 per day on food for 2 people.
Money Saving Tip #3: Eat simple meals and cook your own food. For lunch we ate pre-made sandwiches that we found at most grocery stores and convenience stores. We got sick of them after a few days, so we changed it up by eating frozen foods. You can find your usual yogurt, eggs, bread, pasta, etc. at grocery stores around Iceland.
Money Saving Tip #4: Don’t drink. Due to high taxes on alcohol, drinking can get very expensive in Iceland. Just don’t do it. Alcohol is bad for the body anyway 🙂 Plus do you reeeeeally want a hangover in Iceland while trying to enjoy and appreciate Mother Nature?!
Money Saving Tip #5: Bring your own water bottle. Don’t buy bottled water! Icelandic water is one of the purest in the world and Icelanders just fill bottled water with tap water, so don’t bother buying bottled water. Just bring a reusable one and fill it with tap water.
Total Cost: $1,077 for 9 nights
Accommodations were our biggest expense in Iceland. It was the hardest for us to cut down on spending since we did not want to stay in hostels (which would save a good amount of money), so we opted for hotels and Airbnbs, whichever was cheaper of the two. For a total of 9 nights, we spent $1,077, accounting for 34% of our spending. This comes out to $120/night.
Money Saving Tip #6: Go camping or rent a camper van. If you’re a big camper, try doing so in Iceland to cut down on lodging accommodations. Airbnbs and hotels in Iceland are not cheap and can quickly add up if you’re staying for a long period of time as we did.
Tours & Activities
Total Cost: $594 for 2 people
We explored most of Iceland on our own but we did opt for a couple of tours during our visit:
- Glacier Hike & Lava Cave Tours = $355
- Blue Lagoon & Myvatn Nature Baths = $239
For the Glacier Hike and Lava Cave Tour, we booked with Extreme Iceland and we loved them! They were incredibly organized and we had fun, knowledge guides leading us.
For the Blue Lagoon, we upgraded from the Standard package to the next level called Comfort. It’s an additional 2000 ISK ($19 USD) for the use of a towel, one drink of your choice, and an additional mask.
Money Saving Tip #7: Watch out for coupon discounts from Extreme Iceland. They were offering 10% off during our time of booking!
Money Saving Tip #8: Book the first time slot or the last for Blue Lagoon. Depending on the day or time of year, early and late time slots are offered at 1000 ISK less than other times. Plus, Blue Lagoon will be emptier for your enjoyment and photos if you go first thing in the morning!
Total Cost: $141 for 2 people
We brought $150 in ISK cash and this was way too much considering 99.99% of places in Iceland take credit card! But we wanted to use all the cash instead of exchanging it back to USD. We used cash to purchase gifts, souvenirs, and other small nik naks.
FYI: Icelandic chocolate is SO good but not cheap! We couldn’t help ourselves and bought multiple of them for ourselves and as gifts for our family and friends.
Grand Total for 10 Days in Iceland
Here is a summary of our costs in Iceland for 10 days:
All in all, we spent $158.80 per day per person on lodging accommodations, tours & activities, car rental, gas, food, and miscellaneous items. That is pretty expensive for a trip but if you opt for camping or hostels, eat simple, cook your own food, and avoid alcohol, you may be able to spend way less than we did. Lodging accommodations, food, and drinks are the most variable costs depending on season but also the easiest categories to cut down costs.