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Iceland on a Budget

Updated: May 21, 2019

It is well known that Iceland can be an expensive country to travel in. The cost of living on this remote island way up in the North Atlantic is indeed quite high. Services, food, drink, and fuel – they all add up. However, there are ways and means to travel through this beautiful country on a tighter budget. We have covered lots of ideas in this blog. From transportation within the country to eating and drinking while you are here.

We do think that the number one way to save money on a trip to Iceland is by hiring a camper van. After all you will have somewhere to sleep, cook and hang out on your road trip, as well as transportation. Having said that we have plenty more travel hacks that apply to all travellers. Whether you hire a camper, rent a car, travel on public transport or on an organised tour. In this post we share some great tips and hacks for exploring on a budget. We promise, travelling to Iceland doesn’t have to break the bank!


View from the back of a camper van out across a green landscape. Camping is a great way to see Iceland on a budget

When is the best time of year for a budget trip?


With this one it is a case of swings and roundabouts. Winter is low season in Iceland, so prices for accommodation and vehicle hire are more budget friendly. However, with the wintery conditions you will need to spend more on food and fuel. With the shorter nights and colder temperatures, it will not be as easy to camp. Therefore you are likely to want to book into a more costly hotel. Also, with more hours of darkness you will probably spend less time out doors. Thus you are more likely to spend money on entrance fees, shops and restaurants.

If you travel in high season, from June to August you will pay more for your camper hire and campsites. However, this is the prime time to go camping in Iceland. With all the daylight hours you will have so much to see and do out and about in Iceland. And so many of these activities will be completely free. Hiking, walking, picnicking, sightseeing and generally enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t have to cost a thing. It is also the most comfortable time of year to tent camp or to camp in a motorhome. Temperatures are at their mildest and the rainfall is at its lowest.

Many people argue that the shoulder months of May and September are the best times to travel Iceland on a budget. There is certainly something to be said for this. These months are not considered high season, even though the weather and the daylight hours can be quite similar to June or August respectively. With this in mind hiring vehicles and booking into hotels and campsites is a little less money. Often prices will be set at low season level, although some places might have a sliding scale. Also, the weather is still generally mild and calm enough to tent camp comfortably and to camp in a motorhome.