Iceland waterfall

Iceland Travel Tips

Iceland on a budget? – 15 ways to save money

Are you travelling to Iceland on a budget? Well don’t worry, I’m here to help you. Whatever your budget, Iceland is known for being an expensive country to travel around. But I’m going to offer you a few hints and tips for reducing your costs.

Although food, accommodation and transport can be expensive. The best thing about Iceland, the stunning landscapes, numerous hiking trails, the beautiful waterfalls and geysers are all FREE. Iceland is the most beautiful country I’ve ever travelled too. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram check out my collection of gorgeous photos here and you can see what I mean.

how to enjoy Iceland on a budget?

Tips for saving money in Iceland - budget travel

1. Hire a campervan for your trip


Of course, there’s still a big payment up front. But remember the campervan becomes your home and transport for the duration of your trip. Saving you costs on accommodation and expensive tours to visit the tourist spots. Read about my campervan experience here.

2. Bring food from home

This depends on what your weight allowance is for your luggage. But packing a few essential items can save you money whilst you are travelling. Now I’m not suggesting that you fill your suitcases and rucksacks with food! Just a few staple ingredients that will keep you going on long journeys.

Read my Summer Iceland Packing list for everything (including the food I packed).

3. Try hitchhiking

Did you know Iceland has been rated the safest country in the world? If you’ve never tried hitchhiking then maybe here’s the place for you to try. The Ring Road does have a steady flow of traffic, although be prepared to wait sometimes.

During my Ring Road trip, I gave a couple of hitchhikers lifts. And karma returned its favour when I missed the airport bus at midnight and had a lift from a local Icelandic lady within 5 minutes!

4. Shop at Bonus supermarket

‘Bonus’ is one of Iceland’s cheapest supermarkets. It’s the one with the big pink pig so you can’t miss it! Stock up here for your food whilst you are in Iceland. If you’ve hired a car or campervan then make sure you have plenty of food. This also gives you the freedom to drive and stop whenever you want, without your tummy rumbling.

5. Pack up lunch for the day

There are plenty of little cafés and restaurants in the South of Iceland. However, these can be a little expensive. Yes, you’re on holiday so treat yourself even now and again. But if you take a mini pack up for the day you hopefully won’t need to spend as much money. (See tip 4 for where to shop!) 

6. Visit all the FREE tourist spots

Iceland on a budget - visit free scenery
And you won’t be disappointed. The majority of Iceland’s tourist spots are completely FREE. No park administration charge, no parking costs. It’s all there for you to enjoy and spend as long as you want there.

The exceptions on my trip were:

  • Thingvellir National park – all day parking was 500 ISK
  • Keird Crater entry – 400 ISK
  • Reynisfjara black beach (toilets!) – 100 ISK

And that was it, in 12 days they were the only costs I paid at tourist stops. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

Thanks Iceland you are awesome!

7. Book the FREE TOURs IN Reykjavik

I spent my last day in Reykjavik and by this stage, I was pretty spent up. It might have had something to do with the fact I was caught speeding boo hoo and had to pay a fine. (See tip number 12). Anyway a day in the big city. There’s plenty of exploring to do for free on your own. But if you want to learn a little too then check out the FREE city walking tours.

The idea behind these tours is that you meet at a central point and go on a 2-hour tour of the city. If at the end of the tour you had a fantastic experience then you simply TIP the guide. So of course, nothing is ever free but if you’re on a budget in Iceland this is a great option for you.

Click here to book your tour with City Walk Reykjavik. Must be booked in advance.

8. Puffin tours versus seeing them for free

Iceland on a budget - visiting the puffins for free
Puffins arrive in Iceland in May and leave mid-August. The options to see them depends on your timescales and mode of transport. But if you’re driving the Ring road. Be sure to check out other places you can see the puffins in Iceland before you pay out for a tour.

Read my guide here on where I saw puffins for the first time in Iceland – for FREE! Ok, so I did have to rent a campervan and pay for fuel but it felt free to me!

9. Find a friend to travel with

Many people rent a campervan or vehicle for their Iceland trip. But what if you’re a solo traveller? Fuel and hire costs can be expensive. If you can’t persuade any of your friends to join you. (They are mad because Iceland is beautiful).  Then you can always put out a few requests on Facebook groups. I’ve found this group regularly have people asking ICELAND – tips for travelers

10. Blue lagoon – tips if you decide to go

Firstly, please be aware that this is expensive. But if you really want to go then make sure you book in advance. I didn’t do this and ended up paying more for what was already an expensive activity. Yes, you can say it, I’m an idiot, I know!!

Secondly, if you do want to go and you’re on a budget remember to take your own towel. Saves you having to pay for one. I would recommend a quick dry microfibre on if you’re travelling in your own vehicle so that it dries quicker. More tips here if you decide to visit the Blue Lagoon.

11. or Skip the Blue Lagoon for a cheaper option

Iceland on a budget - free hot springs
As I mentioned the Blue lagoon is expensive but there are other options. Including some hot springs that are FREE! (If you can find them first). I will be telling you where to find them soon so follow me on Facebook or Twitter to read my posts first.

In the north of Iceland, you can visit another natural bath –  Myvatn Nature Baths. Although I didn’t visit them myself I’ve heard great things about them. And had I not already visited the Blue lagoon I definitely would have stopped by for a quick dip!

12. Know the road laws

If you’re hiring your own vehicle in Iceland (money saving tip number 1). Please make sure you know the road laws including speed limits. I will be honest, I knew what the speed limit was. However, 10 minutes from my campsite at 10 pm I put my foot down a little too much.

Flashing lights followed about 2 minutes later! Anyway a big fine and nearly an hour later I was pretty grumpy. But all mine own fault. So I’m just passing along my ‘what not to do advice’. You can read my full article here on Driving tips for Iceland.

13. Bring your own water bottle

Iceland on a budget - take your own water bottle
Firstly, this reduces the number of plastic bottles. That’s always a bonus for the environment. But Iceland’s water is the cleanest and freshest water I’ve ever tasted. I even drank it straight from the glacier on my Glacier Walk!

So save yourself buying water and fill up from the tap.

14. And for hot drinks bring your own flask

I made myself a peppermint tea each morning and filled my Sigg Hot & Cold flask. So I had a hot drink for the day. If you’re camping or staying in a hotel/guesthouse then you should have access to a kettle. Just remember to bring your tea bags or coffee from home to save even more pennies!

15. stop drinking Alcohol (Or reduce)

Sorry I know you’re on holiday but I’m just putting it out there! Alcohol is really expensive. So if you like your drinks be prepared to pay above the odds. One way to save here is to buy it from the duty-free at the airport when you arrive.

Or option 2 is don’t drink. There’s so much to do in Iceland you really need a clear head to fit everything in. And if you’re driving it’s, of course, better not to drink and drive.

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I hope that’s given you some useful money saving tips for travelling in Iceland on a budget. I had such an amazing time and following these tips I didn’t spend as much money as I thought. I will be sharing my full budget soon so keep following if you want to know my costs.

And most importantly remember although money is essential. It’s the Iceland memories and experiences you’ll be talking about for years to come. Have an amazing trip.

Tell me about any more money saving ideas in the comments below:

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Are you travelling to Iceland on a budget? Here are 15 great ways to save money on your trip and see this beautiful country without breaking the bank! Camping tips | Road trip | Eating out | Iceland travel tips | Saving money in Iceland | Blue Lagoon money tips

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Comments (10)

  1. Great tips — I like your idea of bringing your own coffee/tea so you don’t have to buy it each day. How was the driving as a solo traveler? I’d be nervous to be on the road alone for that long.

    1. Hi Carrie, I actually bought a lot more than tea and coffee, defintely saved me quite a bit of money! Plus saves doing too much shopping when you arrive! Although I did all the driving I did travel with another girl I had met on a Facebook group…. to save on costs!!! To be honest I think I would have felt happy driving on my own, especially during the summer when it’s daylight so much of the time! Iceland is known to be a very safe country as well. 🙂

  2. Great tips! Tips I haven’t read before on other blogs so you did a really good job!
    I also take food with me on trips to expensive countries! It’s a great way to save up.

    1. Thanks Cristina, I’m glad that I’ve given you a few additional tips. I never really thought about taking food with me before but I’m defintely going to do it on future trips. Although I always take tea bags he he

  3. Just as a heads-up, you also have to pay for parking at Seljalandsfoss. I think it was 700-800 ISK, which was pretty pricey, in my opinion. We were just there two weeks ago.

    1. Ah thanks Beth, that’s really useful to know. I wonder if it’s only just been introduced as I don’t remember seeing any parking signs when I was there in June. Although I did visit very late at night 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. Island is on top of my bucket list, but I heard it is so expensive – especially when you travel solo and don’t use hostels ;-). I like the camper van idea, never done this before. Can you drive such a thing with a normal driving license? I’m glad you’re into reducing plastic bottles, too. 🙂

    1. Hi Nicola, yes I think it’s just a balance how you spend your time and money. Self-catering makes things a lot cheaper and accessible for more people to travel around. I have a normal license, although not sure whether there was an age limit? Oh yes I’m all for NOT using plastic bottles they drive me mad!!!