Iceland On A Budget: Top 10 Money-Saving Tips

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is unfortunately not a budget-friendly destination. 

How to visit Iceland without breaking a bank? Here is a list of 10 money-saving tips to visit Iceland on a budget.

1. Visit Iceland off-season

Although some attractions are closed or inaccessible during the off-season (October to June), accommodation and car rental services offer lower prices.

I visited Iceland in May, and it was great. The weather was excellent, and the attractions were not crowded. 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of the best things to do in Iceland.

2. Enjoy Iceland for free

There are several free things that you can do in Iceland, such as wildlife watching or enjoying spectacular views of waterfalls. Read here for more inspiration.

Iceland waterfall

3. Rent a car

The public transport system in Iceland is extremely poor, while the main attractions are far from the city. So, the two common options are rental cars or tours.

Renting a car will be ideal if you travel in a group of 3 to 5 people because it’s more proactive and cost-effective.

However, if anyone is not used to driving in the snow, you should not drive in the winter.

Even familiar and skilled drivers should consider it because the snow in Iceland is often very thick and slippery. Drivers with many years of experience in Iceland also experience troubles.

Iceland rental car

Read more: You can read our car rental guide and Iceland driving tips to prepare for your trip.

4. Buy a bus pass

If you can’t drive a car or feel comfortable doing so, purchasing a bus pass would save you money.

Although bus passes are limited to specific routes and travel times, they are cheaper than individual tickets.

5. Carry a tent

Iceland is an excellent place for camping.

It has many well-equipped campsites, and you can camp for free or pay a small price compared to staying in hotels. I had many fantastic camping nights.

Iceland camp

6. Bring a sleeping bag

If you can’t find a place to camp, sleeping in your car with a sleeping bag is not a bad idea.

Also, some guesthouse in Iceland offers a lower rate for sleeping-bag rooms, so you can save money by doing it.

7. Cycle around Iceland

Another great way to explore Iceland is cycling. You can enjoy Iceland at your speed, and it can help you by saving money on transport too! 

Iceland horse

8. Bring your food

Before flying to Iceland, pack food and drinks according to the duty limit.

Food and drinks are more expensive in Iceland than in other countries. Although I was living in Denmark then, I was surprised to see the price in Iceland.

9. Buy outdoor gear

If you travel to Iceland for more than one week, I suggest purchasing outdoor cooking gear.

You can buy a simple cook and some ingredients at local markets and make your dishes.

Iceland Skógafoss

10. Take advantage of Online discounts

Airlines such as Icelandair sometimes offer significant discounts for travelers.

You can set price alarms or frequently check the price and deal. Traveling off-season also helps in finding budget flights.

Also, don’t forget to use SAS Youth Fare if you’re 12 to 25 years old.

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  1. Bhushavali N says:

    We are hoping to visit Iceland as soon as we get our International Driving Permit and this is indeed the perfect guide for us.
    I always prefer to visit places in off-season just to avoid crowds. But as you say, during winter, driving in Iceland can be bad idea for us. I need to look into the tours and bus routes to see what would suit us.

  2. Linda (LD Holland) says:

    It is always great to read about money saving tips for expensive places like Iceland. We generally always travel at off season if we can. Good to know that May is a great month for Iceland. We would definitely rent a car to allow us some freedom to explore. A 4 wheel drive for sure! And a picnic basket of food too. But I am not sure I am up to a long bicycle tour in Iceland with its changeable weather. Can’t wait to go back to Iceland one day.

  3. Iceland is high on my bucket list, so I will gladly follow your hints. I am going to visit this beautiful island after the season because during the short summer there are a lot of tourists, and I don’t like crowds. I will camp in a tent because I love this kind of freedom and this style of travel. You have beautiful pictures and constructive tips for planning a trip to Iceland.

  4. Subhashish Roy says:

    Iceland is in our go to country list for next year. Since our international trips are mostly in May & June we should be able to take advantage of the off-season as you mention. Tent living would probably not suit my wife, but the tips would come handy.

  5. AMAR SINGH says:

    Iceland is a bucket list destination for most traveller and it does come at a price I agree but you have suggested some great ways to save some money. Visiting it a bit out of season can be a good way to save on accommodation. carrying packed sandwiches and food from supermarket was one i used to save money vs eating at restaurants and cafes. Cycling is another good way of saving money and being healthy as well. great pics of iceland

  6. Adele Gee says:

    Iceland is beautiful in all seasons. We were there for a few days and did not need a car. I plan to go back there and visit some other hard to reach parts with a car. So I am appreciating these helpful hints now. I did not know there is a bus pass, these could be an alternative if we go there in winter. And the information about the sleeping bag I will keep in my mind to do. Thanks!

  7. Great post!! I am planning to travel to Iceland now and your post came handy. I have many people who told me that Iceland isn’t that affordable. Yet your post gave me a great idea of what I would love to do when I have my trip to Iceland.

  8. First of all I loved all your pictures , they are magical. Iceland is definitely on my bucket list but never thought of making this trip in a budget. You are absolutely right about many free things there as am more into the nature. Also, renting a car is must when you are traveling as it saves more time.

  9. I hope to visit Iceland, and who doesn’t want to go there, right? It’s great to find tips for visiting in a budget, and you made it simple and easy to digest. Good to know that camping is a good option, too.

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