Yes, Iceland is expensive! I will not try to sugar coat that. It is. Normally, when I travel on a tight budget, I resort to grocery shopping and cooking my own meals, but my friends, even with all my money saving tips, Iceland is expensive. Iceland knows it can be expensive because it’s ICELAND. It’s amazing. Not many people will say “oh never mind Iceland. It’s too expensive.” and go on about their day. It’s in high demand. So the prices are high as well. To be fair, however, the man who took us on a tour in Iceland did explain that things are so expensive because everything after that is free. Medical is free, education is free, and so on. Now, this is an opinion, I know, but I think Iceland is 100% worth going to if you can. You will not regret spending your money there!
Here are somethings to keep in mind and do:
- Check out flights with WOWair and book yourself a cheap round trip.
WOW air often has sales and deals that you should definitely take advantage of. I got my flight to Iceland for so much less because I chose one of their deal days and ended up saving a few hundred. They even off flights to several other places that are very popular but for the sake of this post we will focus on Iceland.
2. Don’t be too picky about your dates.
As mentioned, WOWair has discount dates. This means that travel on CERTAIN days will get the discounts. It all depends on the day you go and come back. Explore your different options, check out their suggestions, and be flexible! If you are not able to save on both directions you may save on one and that’s already better than nothing.
3. Know why you are going to Iceland.
So, if you are going strictly for the Northern Lights then do your research and find the best days to see them. They vary a bit so be sure to check the latest updates on what the forecast is for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Typically, the summer is not the best time to see them. The Winter is good and part of the Spring as well. This will affect the dates you choose of course but you are trying to get your money’s worth, right?
4. Beware of the lighting and weather situation in Iceland
Iceland can have days that see barely 3 hours of sunlight in the winter. Similarly, they have days in the summer that see almost no darkness. Be prepared for all this when you book your trip to Iceland. If you want sun all the time, maybe don’t visit in the middle of the winter. If you don’t care, then even better! You can probably save more haha. As for the weather, know that it can get very cold in Iceland. I know several people who told me they did not expect it to be as cold as it was. Well, it is. It can be very cold and the type of cold that is drying. Again, do your research and know what you are getting yourself into. Equally, it can be warmer. When I was there, it was a bit of a mix, and it was lovely. I was there for Spring break earlier this year. Of course, I come from Montreal where having days and days of -30C is normal. Nevertheless, I promise it was not that cold; maybe refrigerator temperature! Like anything else, do your homework and plan. I have just heard very different stories about people’s experiences in Iceland and I want to make sure you have the best stories to tell!
There is SO SO much to see in Iceland. Believe it or not, people don’t visit a lot of the country. They go to spas, resorts, walk around town a bit, etc. I met many people who did that, and that is an experience in its own right! Iceland has amazing spa and resorts. You can afford to take one of those trips to Iceland, I say go for it! 100%. However, i think you should also explore as much as possible. Chat to the people, walk around the different towns, hike in the mountains and volcanos, get up close and personal with the spring and waterfalls, walk along the black sand beaches, and try to see the entire island. It is not a big country, nor is it very populated, with most people living in Reykjavik and everything being quite spread out. This allows for a wide range of different scenes though, depending on whether you are going to the north, the south, the centre, and so on. That’s what I loved about Iceland is that there was so much land to discover and it was natural, massive, rugged, breathtakingly beautiful, and undeniably unique! I adored Iceland.
6. Spoil yourself at least once…
Yes, you spoiled yourself already by booking a trip to Iceland but that doesn’t mean it should stop there. Iceland is expensive as it is, so why not spend a bit more and allow yourself at least one nice and authentic meal. That is a big part of travelling too. So allow yourself the pleasure of delving into the culture in Iceland, as you would any other place. It will be worth it, and you have surely spent more money than you should have on other things that were way less worthy of it eh? 🙂 This will be part of the great experience that is Iceland. Fore example, a nice fish dinner, or a nice bottle of wine to enjoy as you watch the northern lights!
7. Try to get a place that has breakfast included.
Often these places are a bit more expensive but you save on food which is good! These hostels with breakfast included are sometimes 10$ more expensive (on average, but sometimes less), but then you can stock up on food and only eat once more later. That is something no? If you are really on a tight budget, anyway. This tip actually applies to budget travel in general but it can be especially useful in expensive destinations.
8. Do groceries.
Yes, once again this tip applies to budget travel overall, but in Iceland it can save you some significant money. Things are expensive in Iceland, that’s true but you can surely save if you do groceries instead of restaurants. So, Let’s say you spent an extra 7-10$ on your hostel to have breakfast included, then you need to eat once more at night. Great, you just spent 10-15$ on bread, some lettuce, maybe ham and/or cheese enough for 2 or 3 days. Don’t forget trail mix, I swear what a saver of money and life! Usually cheap, they are filling, and they last for days. I am a big fan of trail mix! Ok so back to the groceries; you spent 10$ + 5$ for that bit of groceries, = 15$ of food that day. This is a quick example but still not bad at all for a day in Iceland. So keep all this in mind. It can be done! Or just get a big pizza and have it over 2 days or something…
9. The people are great and so are their walking tours.
The people in Iceland are so funny and friendly! I loved everyone I met, honestly. They are kind, helpful, genuine, and a treat to chat with. MY mate and I had also gone on a free walking tour (another way to save money BTW), and the guide was a laugh and great chat! What a cool guy. They are so proud of their country and culture but they also don’t take themselves too seriously. Take advantage of these great people and make some new friends!
10. The Blue Lagoon!!!!
As I said before, Iceland has some amazing resorts and spas, but the Blue Lagoon is the one I visited and I swear it was one of the best days of my life. I am not being dramatic.
To be fair i love spas and resorts so maybe that’s why this place was so amazing to me but still, I highly recommend it to men and women alike. The thermal silica spring water is so good for your skin and the water is warm while the outside air is cold which just creates the most wonderful overall feeling! You can go on their website and purchase different packages. The prices according to the package that you choose of course.
There is also a restaurant at the spa that is amazing. This day ended up being ym cheeky splurge of the trip. A lovely spa day followed by a delicious, relaxing dinner, and the night ended with a sneaky sighting of the Aurora Borealis.
So there you have it folks! My take on Iceland 🙂
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