After our fifth trip to Iceland...the fourth during the winter I thought I would share some thoughts...
This year, for both our summer and winter trips, we have seen a very noticeable difference in the exchange rate.
So how do you enjoy Iceland but on a budget?
Firstly I have to be clear that 'on a budget' to us doesn't mean backpacking, guesthouses with shared bathrooms, camping or hostels.
This year I looked at Easyjet. Briefly. By the time you factor in the additional cost of hold luggage and the lack of complimentary hot drinks on the flight...it made sense to just book with our favourite, Icelandair. Be careful what film you choose to watch. If you're flying from Manchester: with all the announcements and interruptions it is probably not possible to watch anything much longer than a two hour film. And you will need to start watching it as the plane taxis to the runway!
As one hold bag each is included in the cost of Icelandair flights - pack food.
We managed to pack a meal for 7 nights out of our 8. And that was only because the final night we had already planned to eat out.
We spend approximately £40 when we were there - on bread, milk, eggs etc.
Where to stay:
As already mentioned - our 'budget' is quite restricted...to not very cheap options.
But we have discovered over time that the best option is self-catering (hence the food!).
Super markets aren't cheap out there - but even if you do stock up when you get there you will still save. Eating out is expensive...and to be honest...it gets dull.
Our last-night hotel was very good value. And it did have a fridge and microwave in the room. Check out the Bergas in Keflavik.
A lot of cabins (take a look at Airbnb) have washing machines. Very useful when you've had to use one suitcase for food reducing the amount of clothing you can pack.
This year we used Thrifty car rental. We usually book with Hertz or Avis.
So Thrifty were quite a bit cheaper. The cars tend to be a little older, have done more miles and not as clean. But if you're on a budget...none of those things matter.
I did notice though on this last trip that's the tyres on our 4x4 looked quite worn and the studs were a little worse for wear. And we had little grip on ice. I didn't feel as confident driving as I have previously.
So I guess you have to weigh it all up.
Seeing the sights:
The very best thing about Iceland is that the whole place is just beautiful...and once you are there...you don't have to pay extra to take in the views! Unless of course you're staying in Reykjavik and booking day trips. We've always hired a car and stayed outside of the city. So I haven't done a comparison on city hotels and tourist trips against self-catering / self-drive.
Blue Lagoon is expensive. And in my opinion, over-rated.
Into the glacier: we did this last November. I'd really like to be able to say it was amazing. But we just weren't bowled over at all.
Horse riding: my favourite Iceland pastime. But one we won't be doing again until the financial situation improves.
Dog-sledding: We really enjoyed this. But similar to the horse riding...not essential on a budget:)
Hope this has been useful!