How to Travel to Iceland on a Budget

Blue Lagoon Clinic

I’ve just returned from a last-minute jaunt around Iceland and as it turns out, the land of ice and fire is just as majestic as you’d imagine. From black sand beaches to natural hot springs, from lava fields to Icelandic ponies, this country offers a huge variety as far as what to see and do. And, trust me, it’s totally possible to do it on a budget -- despite what you may have thought.

Here’s why you should definitely have a trip to Iceland on your calendar for 2016, and how to do it on the cheap.

Hotels in this story

Flights

Photo Credit: Emran Kassim, Flickr

International Airport; Emran Kassim, Flickr

Search
for flights via discount carriers like WOW Air, which offers $99 one-way fares
from major hubs like Washington, D.C., Boston, and Baltimore.

Icelandair also offers a free stopover of up to seven days
to travelers coming from many cities in North America to Europe. So, if you’re already flying from
New York City to London, why not stop and spend a few days in Iceland? You can
book your free stopover on this Icelandair page.

Food

Traditional Harðfiskur; Richard Eriksson, Flickr

Traditional Harðfiskur; Richard Eriksson, Flickr

The food in
Iceland can be pricey, so to save pennies, you’re going to have to stick to
grocery store-bought convenience meals and fast food. Stretch your budget by popping into a grocery
store to pick up basic breakfast foods you can heat up at your hotel or hostel.
If you’re out and about, try to be smart about your purchases. In general I
found I was spending roughly $10 per meal, which was a bit more than I hoped for,
but not terrible.

Accommodations

I
chose to stay at Hlemmur Square, which is both a hotel and hostel. Since I
had a busy schedule I opted for a hostel in a female-only room, which cost
roughly $20/night.

Hosteling not your thing? Check out hotels like Radisson Blu
1919
 (pictured), where rooms run about $150/night. 

Tours

The Frost and Fire Hotel

Frost and Fire Hotel

If you’re
taking a longer trip (anything over a week long), consider renting a car and traveling across the country, stopping along the way. But if you’re on a quick trip, like I was, I recommend booking tours
to get you around and show you the landscape. I booked two tours with Extreme
Iceland
, which offers a Golden Circle tour ,with a Northern Lights sightseeing tour, for
about $150.

If you’re really looking to do a budget trip to Iceland,
being flexible is key. Jump on a flight deal when you find it, and start to narrow down your hotel options as early as possible. 

Have you ever been to Iceland? What tips would you add? 

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