travel

Traveling to Iceland on a Budget

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If you ever talk to anyone who has been to Iceland, I’ll bet my left elbow that they’ll gush over how beautiful and wonderful their trip was. Another thing I’ll bet on is that they’ll let you know straight up, it’s pricey over there. Although I completely agree with both sentiments, I do think there are ways to save money and this is 100%, a trip you MUST take. This was our most expensive trip, but considering the amount that we did and the amount of hype this place gets for their price tags, I think we did pretty well for ourselves. Overall for this entire seven-day trip, we paid $1,759 for lodging, activities, food, and transportation 

Airfare- $650 Per Person

These ticket prices are actually pretty expensive for Iceland. If you plan on traveling to Iceland during the off-season (anytime a lot of people are not on a break from school or work), you could be paying around $300 for a round-trip ticket! We went during the busiest time of the year (summertime), and also purchased travel insurance. However, this is was the lowest we have ever paid for international plane tickets. We flew American Airlines and found our tickets through the Hopper app. I am a strong believer in the Hopper app and have used it to help me find all of my plane tickets for international flights.

Lodging- $375 Per Person

We decided that for this trip we were going to call Reykjavik our home base. We traveled all around Iceland on different tours, but we thought it would be more convenient to stay in one place and just travel from there. We stayed in an Airbnb that was right in the center of everything in downtown Reykjavik. We love staying in Airbnbs for our trips because we’re able to get a homey, inexpensive experience of the town we are visiting. It also helps us save money on food since we have a full kitchen to prepare in. Click HERE to see the exact AirBnB we stayed in Reykjavik. We loved our stay here!

Tours and Excursions- $290 Per Person

65271879_2547746501904920_7683680339171999744_nDay Tours

One thing that I found from our last trip to Ireland is guided tours are the best. I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea during international travel but for me, it’s just so convenient and enjoyable! I love taking a big air-conditioned charter bus and being able to look out the window and see the country passing by. On this trip, we took two bus day tours which were; the Southern Iceland Glaciers, Waterfalls, and Beach tour, and the Golden Circle tour. We really enjoyed these tours and highly recommend them!

Airbnb Experience

Another thing that we found from our last trip to Ireland was Airbnb experiences. We love experiencing a part of a country from a local. It can also get lonely when you’re traveling and can be difficult to form relationships with the locals. We have found that these experiences enable you to meet people from all around the world. You will also get tips on where to go and what you should see for the rest of your trip. We love to hike so we took a Guided Mindful Nature Hike, which took us up a mountain to see the top of the Hvalfjorour waterfall.

Blue Lagoon

I think my favorite “excursion” that we did on this trip would have to be, the Blue Lagoon. I have read a lot of different articles that talk about how Blue Lagoon is too expensive for what it actually is, but I did not find that to be the case. Some people also 65123249_2546014745411429_6719559635482705920_ncomplain that it’s too crowded. We got there around 10:00 AM, which is pretty early for Icelandic people. It was slow at this time and people didn’t start rolling in until about 2:00 PM when we were leaving. Blue Lagoon is a little pricey considering that there are free natural springs around Iceland. However, the free springs don’t have swim-up bars, face masks, and the Kardashians so, worth it. The only weird/downside to the Blue Lagoon is that you have to get completely naked in your respected locker room and wash your whole body before you can go in. This was a little uncomfortable for me, but hey, at least you know the lagoons clean!

Food and Everything Else- $442 Per Person

$442 is kind of a lot to spend on food and extra things, especially compared to other trips I have taken. However, you could easily spend a lot more and even a lot less, depending on your preferences. One way that we saved money on this trip is we went grocery shopping and ate at the Airbnb for at least two meals a day. On all our excursions and tours, we packed a lunch which saved us a lot of money on overpriced touristy food.  We also did some research on places that had good deals for food. One place that I enjoyed and felt was super spending savvy, was Icelandic Street Food. Their soups were about $15 each, but you got unlimited refills! You could eat here as a late lunch and basically have two meals in one!

Blue Lagoon Eats

65103426_2546015302078040_6347846682918518784_nAt the Blue Lagoon, they had a restaurant called the Lava Restaurant. This restaurant is pricey, but we decided to eat here for lunch, which was a little bit cheaper than dinner. For a two-course meal is was about $60 a person, but this was the most money we spent on a meal for the whole trip. We wanted the experience of eating at the Blue Lagoon, overlooking the water in our bathrobes.

Nightlife

Downtown Reykjavik has some seriously fun nightlife. Every night we found something interesting to do from live music, comedy shows, drag shows, to helium karaoke. Our favorite bar we visited was  Gaukurinn. To find interesting nightlife, just looked on Facebook under your events around you.

Public Pools

Our tour guide on our Airbnb experience suggested that the best thing to do after a hike is to go to the public pool. She described it like no ordinary public pool that you might find here in the USA. They had seven different hot tubs with all different temperatures and had saunas and steam rooms. She said that they were more like a spa than a typical public pool, for only about $8 a person. We were very intrigued and decided to give it a try. The pools were exactly like they were described however, the locker room situation was a little uncomfortable. They don’t have chlorine in the pool, so you are required to get completely naked in your locker room and wash your body before putting your bathing suit back on and going into the pool. I thought I would be more confident with my body and myself, but I was really embarrassed to be completely naked in front of about thirty women I didn’t know (I guess it would be worse if I did know them though). But it was definitely an experience and we got a kitchen magnet to help us remember it always.

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65203019_2549629205049983_7350064077235814400_nHiking

On our last day in Reykjavik, we decided we wanted to do one last free hike. We googled what the most accessible and affordable hike was near us and found Mount Esja. To get to this mountain from downtown Reyjavik, you only need to take two buses which cost about $7 a person. We bought our tickets a the 10-11 (convenient store in Reyjavik), where we also found out more information about how exactly to figure out the bus routes. If you go to https://straeto.is/ you can find more information on the bus schedule and times.

Some Tips and Helpful Information

  • If you’re staying in downtown Reyjavik, everything is super close so no need to rent a car.
  • If you’re going in the summertime, bring eye covers (maybe some Benydrill). There is no nighttime.
  • All the tap water in Iceland is completely fresh and great to drink, so don’t buy bottled water.
  • There is virtually no crime in Iceland, so you can basically sleep with your windows open.
  • WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS, even on the bus. They are super passionate about seat belts here and if you don’t wear them, the one cop in the whole country will find you and ticket you.
  • Bring an outlet converter.
  • The Reykjavik Airport is about forty-five minutes away from downtown Reykjavik. You can take a FlyBus to and from the airport. No need to book in advance. When you fly into Reykjavik, just buy a round trip ticket at the kiosk. They cost about $50 a person.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my time in Iceland. This was definitely one of my favorite trips and I will recommend it to anyone I meet. If you have any more questions about anything, do not hesitate to shoot me a message.

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