How to not go broke in Iceland

As our public service for the day we’d like to pass on some hard-earned (i.e. expensive) knowledge for any potential visitors to Iceland.

Iceland is expensive. Really expensive. Stupidly, insanely expensive. Did I mention that it’s expensive here?  As a general rule you can assume that pretty much everything you do or buy costs about twice as much as you would expect.  So here are a few ways to ease the pain.

  • AirBnB rooms are about half the price of hotels. We have a lovely private apartment all to ourselves with its own kitchen . The Hallgrimskirkja church in the center of town is two blocks away so we’re close to everything. This is one of the more expensive AirBnb’s and it is $140 a night. The Fleabag Inn motel is about $300 a night.
  • Do NOT take a taxi from the airport into town. It’s about a 40 minute ride and cost us $170. Ouch. There are airport shuttles you can book in advance that cost about $30 per person.  They won’t probably drop you at your residence , but it’ll be close enough. Check out the bus stop locations. You’ll specify which one when you make the reservation. We have one 2 blocks from our place. The stops are all over the town and one will undoubtedly be close to your rental.
  • Food is CRAZY expensive. If you don’t mind doing a little cooking while on vacation then go to one of the local grocery stores and pick up some supplies.  Avoid the green 10 11 stores. Instead try Bonus, with the piggy as an emblem, or Krambuo, which is kind of like a 7-11. You can get eggs, milk, soup, and all sorts of supplies.
  • This goes for your tours as well. Most of the excursions include a lunch stop at one of the sites. A simple lunch for two can easily cost $70, so pack a sandwich and a soda.
  • Alcohol is also wickedly expensive. A cocktail at a local pub can easily be $22. A draft beer is usually at least $10. If you want alcohol in your room you’ll have to visit the state-owned liquor stores called Vinbuoin. They close at 7, and there are only a couple of them, but this should be much cheaper than restaurants and pubs.
  • Most every visitor takes tours. They’re terrific. However, with a rental car you can visit many of the locations for free, or for much reduced costs. In particular, Blue Lagoon has a big parking lot. You still have to pay to enter, but you control your schedule. Gulfoss Falls, Thingvillir National Park,  the Geysers, and many others are free to visit. You just have to be willing to drive in Iceland.
  • Book your tours well in advance (Thanks Amy!) . They sell out well before you get here.
  • A 3-4 day stay is probably long enough unless you  have specific goals in mind. Reykjavik is a little town and there’s not a ton to do outside of sightseeing