Although London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is possible to visit the capital of England on a tight budget, provided you know where to stay, what to eat and how to commute. Similarly, Iceland is also famous for being one of the least budget-friendly countries in the world but there are ways and means of visiting the country and doing some sightseeing on a low budget. Whereas some travellers report that they could have a decent stay by spending a total of $54 per day including food, accommodation, alcohol, transportation and activities, it is worth finding solutions to minimise the cost of your stay without in any way sacrificing on any essentials. The different ways to save money, lower costs, avoid over-spending and save some money for shopping or for any of your fancies are enumerated below.
Reduce Your Transport Cost
Iceland is basically a safe country and there is no danger in hitchhiking. It is easy to find rides all over the country especially in the southern part of Iceland even in the off-season. You can ask around in hostels for a ride because most people usually drive on the main ring road (M1) that circles the country. You can consult HitchWiki that offers a lot of information on hitchhiking in Iceland.
Avoid Buying Water Bottles
Since a plastic bottle of water costs $2.50, it is advisable to carry a metal water bottle and keep refilling it from the tap since the water in this country is pure and drinkable. You can save a lot of money and help the environment.
Opt for Staying in a Camp
Iceland has lots of camping facilities and staying in camps is extremely cheap as it may cost you only about $12 per night. You can also stay in hostels but camping is cheaper. You need to have your own gear and sleeping bag. It is also legal to wild camp or sleep anywhere you want. By doing so, you do not have to pay anything for sleeping like this but make sure that there is no sign posted to the contrary or it is not a protected wildlife area.
Become a Member of Hosteling International
If you become a member of the Hosteling International group by paying a $28 annual membership fee, you can get $5 off per night on the cost of staying in a hostel dorm which is between $27-33 per night, as most hostels in Iceland are part of this group. Membership can be obtained at any hostel or online before you go to Iceland.
Carry Your Own Sheets or Sleeping Bag
If you bring your own sheets, you can avoid paying $10 per night for bed sheets but pillows are free. Ideally, it would be more hygienic if hostels provide sheets that they can wash as there is no water shortage and it will reduce the spread of bedbugs.
The prices of drinks in Iceland are very high, because of high taxes. As such, to save money, you should avoid drinking except if you are enjoying an exotic nightlife for which Reykjavik is very famous and that too, maybe once or twice.
Avoid Eating Out
It is very expensive to eat out since at a sit down restaurant with service it can cost you $15 or more for a meal. It is best to do grocery shopping and to cook your own meals. This way, you can save a lot of money. If you are sightseeing and are out the whole day, you can eat at the sandwich and hot dog stalls where they offer the cheapest (but not healthiest) food in the country. A hot dog costs about $3 and a sandwich will cost about $7 and with a drink it is about $10.
Get a Bus Pass
If you do not want to hitchhike, you can buy a countrywide bus pass for $310 during the summer months but during winter months, most bus routes are closed and this pass is not available.
Rent a Car
You can rent a car if you do not want to hitchhike or if you are coming in off months for a week or less. You can split the cost of $40 per day with travelling companions and you will get a lot of flexibility than going on a bus. If you pick up hitchhikers along the way, they may partly for the gas.
You can get involved with the Couchsurfing community which is very active in Iceland. This way you can save money, get local insights, meet wonderful people, and get a free place to stay. You can meet a lot of people through the website who can take you and show you many places. Icelanders are very welcoming and so you will meet many locals.
With the help of these tips, it is possible to reduce the high cost of staying in Iceland and manage your trip within your low budget. No doubt, you may have to make some sacrifices like missing out on delicious food but you can relish the same when you go back home. Although Iceland can never be extremely cheap but staying at a low budget is not impossible.