It’s no secret that Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. If you’re not careful, you can blow your budget pretty quickly. And who doesn’t want to save some money?!

I’m here to tell you that traveling in Iceland on the cheap CAN be done! With some planning ahead, using these helpful tips will ensure you are able to experience all of the beauty in Iceland, without breaking the bank.

This post is part 3 of the ultimate road trip planning series:

Here are 19 EASY ways to save money when traveling to Iceland.


  • Rent a manual transmission
    • Manual vehicles are in less demand – people don’t want to have to shift (ahem, Americans).
  • Rent a diesel vehicle
    • The diesel price per liter is more economical to fill up the vehicle.
  • Rent a smaller car
    • Are you visiting in the summer? Are you just driving the Golden Circle or Ring Road? Then you don’t need a 4wd vehicle. You can save looooots of money by renting a small car.
      • Want to save money on your car rental? Exclusive offer for IWAV readers, Blue Car Rental is offering 5% off your total rental price! The discount will automatically be applied at checkout when you use my VIP link above – no code needed!
  • Visit outside of peak season
    • Peak tourist season is between May and September, oftentimes rental companies list vehicles at a reduced rate outside of those months.
  • Skip the GPS
    • At $10/day, you’re better off using my handmade Iceland digital map in my book to find all the best spots!!
19 easy ways to save money while traveling in Iceland | Life With a View


  • Couch Surfing
    • I have never personally surfed on someone’s couch, but I think this is an awesome way to not only save money but make friends with the locals.
  • Camping
    • Of course, this requires bringing all of your own gear, but there are plentyyyy of options for camping in Iceland and I can’t even think of a more beautiful country to camp around.
    • Note: wild camping is NOT allowed in Iceland. Make sure to camp in designated areas only!
    • WATCH: The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Iceland
  • Hostels
    • Become a Hostelling International Member will give you discounted rates. There is an annual membership fee of $28 USD, but it will pay for itself if you use Hostel accommodations often.
    • Bring your own sheets and towels. Hostels are great, but will usually charge for bedding and towels.
  • Guesthouses
    • We primarily stayed in guesthouses on our trip around the Ring Road, and were very happy with the accommodations. We used to reserve everything which has an awesome 24-hour cancellation policy. They also have a super convenient app that stores all of your rentals in one place and lists all of the features of each place (check-in time, wi-fi included, parking info, etc.)
  • Camper Vans
    • Combine your vehicle and accommodation into one with this brilliant vehicle! Each van is equipped with sleeping and cooking capabilities! I seriously wish I would have known about camper vans when we booked our trip, it sounds like an amazing way to travel around Iceland!


No question, eating could easily be the most expensive part of your trip to Iceland. Although the food in Iceland is seriously delicious and I think certain things are worth a splurge, sometimes feeding yourself is not where you want to spend your money.

  • Buy food at a grocery store and cook at your accommodation
  • See if breakfast is included in your stay. This is obviously a great way to save money, and also to experience an Icelandic breakfast!
  • No tipping at restaurants!
    • Of course, Icelanders know that tipping is a big part of American culture so they would never turn down some extra added to the bill, but the wages for servers in Iceland is higher and the tip is already built into the cost of the meal.
3 tips for eating on a budget in Iceland | Life With a View


  • Buy alcohol at duty-free in the KEF airport
    • Do yourself a huge favor and get any sort of alcohol you would want for your tip before you leave the airport. This will be your second biggest money saver (next to food!) Even Icelanders stock up on alcohol at duty-free!
    • You can expect to pay $8-10 USD for a standard bottle of beer or a glass of wine at any bar or restaurant.
  • Bring a travel coffee mug
    • One thing you will not find in Iceland is a Starbucks (thank goodness!) But Icelanders LOVE coffee, and they know how to brew it well. You will be able to find coffee at any gas station, or often times coffee shops will be added on next to gas stations. I’ve even seen small cafe’s pop up at the major attractions.
    • If breakfast is included at your accommodation, have them fill up your mug before you head on on your adventure for the day!
  • Bring a refillable water bottle
    • Seriously, DO NOT buy water in Iceland! Iceland has the cleanest water in the world – it comes straight from the glacier! You can fill up from the tap, or from the stream you walk by on a hike. There was recently a scam in the local news about a hotel that charged for a bottle of water that they filled from the tap!

WATCH: How to Save Money on Alcohol in Reykjavik

19 easy ways to save money on your trip to Iceland | Life With a View


  • Check out the long list of FREE things to do in Reykjavik
  • Skip the guided tours and fancy attractions
    • Ex: Blue Lagoon. If you’re trying to save money, cross this off your list.
    • And while you can learn SO much more about Iceland from taking a tour, it’s gonna cost ya. If your budget is more important, there are PLENTYYYY of free things to do in this glorious country.
  • Shop at the flea market or thrift stores for souvenirs
    • I’m always a fan of getting something from my vacations that I can actually use, rather than something I’ll probably throw away someday. Although the flea market might not have magnets of Gullfoss or stuffed puffins, it’s a great place to find local goods at a fraction of the price.
      • Kolaportid – Address: Tryggvagata 19. Open: Sat/Sun from 11:00am – 5:00pm
      • Red Cross – Laugavegur 12. Open: M-F 10am – 6pm, Sat 12pm -4pm
The Sun Voyager or Solfar is a beautiful sculpture along the sea in downtown Reykjavik // 19 easy ways to save money while traveling in Iceland | Life With a View

Lastly: Book everything as far in advance as you can! Flight, hotel, rental car…that will give you the best prices. Tourism in Iceland keeps growing and growing, so give yourself peace of mind and have everything planned out ahead of time!

Have an awesome and affordable trip to Iceland!

Happy planning,



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