So I’ve already posted my itinerary of how I packed all my activities into my trip to Iceland and while it was only a short trip, it still wasn’t a cheap break like the many city breaks you see advertised.
I’m a firm believer that if you travel and there are things that you really want to do then money shouldn’t stop you, it is completely possible to budget for those more expensive aspects because the way I see it, the experience is worth it if it’s something you really want to do. So whilst I am willing to spend money to do and see the things I want, there are still some handy tips I found especially useful to save money and make the most out of the money I did spend.
- Shop at the store
- Look for deals
- Use public transport
- Stay outside the city
- Look for multi-trip deals with excursion companies
- Hopper bus
This was an absolute lifesaver. Food and drink is super expensive to buy from restaurants and cafés in Iceland, but supermarket bought food is significantly cheaper. On the first day I went to the supermarket nearest our hotel and bought bread, cheese and tomatoes to make sandwiches, some fresh fruit, crisps, nuts and some chocolate. These lasted us the 3 days we were there as handy packed lunches that we took with us every day instead of buying meals at the expensive rest stop cafés.
This is also linked to the food and drink. We had a deal where one evening’s meal was included in the cost of our hotel stay and that was really handy. For our other evening meals we looked for Happy Hours and these are everywhere in the city. Generally between 5pm-7pm but sometimes longer, food and drink is all around half price. You’re looking at £25 for two to eat, rather than £50. Also beers half in price from around 900kr (£5) to 400kr (£2.50).
I try to do this in every country I go to just because I feel like you get more of a sense of the city and the people and see more of communities on local transport rather than sitting on an air-conditioned tourist coach. We paid 500kr (£2.80) for a return ticket which took us the 40 minute journey into the city and back. Also, their buses are super punctual, even in heavy snowfall, 10/10.
This was probably our biggest money saver of the trip. We stayed in a lovely, well-catered for, well-located hotel with lovely staff, with all the tourism and transfer links to the city, airport and tours. It probably cost us less than half the price of staying in central Reykjavik. We were 20 minutes out of Reykjavik on the direct motorway route, or a 40 minute public bus journey. It also meant we were nicely situated half way between the airport and Reykjavik as Keflavik airport is 40 minutes from the city. So we were first drop off and last pick up for airport transfers. Same for Blue Lagoon trips which is out towards the airport too.
Lifesaver. It was so much quicker and easier to book through one company too. Often if you book one or two tours with them you can get other offers. We used Reykjavik Excursions. They also have a policy where if you don’t see the Northern Lights on your excursion then you can go again for free the following night, or every night for the rest of your trip, until you see them.
We used the city sightseeing bus which I really think is underestimated for travellers just because it seems touristy. But, for the equivalent of £25 it takes you to see all the main sights of the city, you can get off and spend as long as you like at each one, and the ticket is valid for 24 hours, so if you buy the ticket at 12 noon, you can use it just as a transport facility to get around the city until midday the following day too.