This was a fairly last minute planned vaca – if three weeks prior counts as last minute. But I went for it when I saw that I could get a round trip ticket for $600. I arrived around 6AM on a Sunday and headed home the following Saturday knowing that I could easily do everything in the south during that given period of time without feeling rushed.
Knowing beforehand that $$ can add up really quickly while traveling in Iceland I needed to make a plan. That plan was to only bring a carry on, pack trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars, live off of the gas station food, visit just the free tours and sites, and to sleep in my car. I was a bit hesitant about sleeping in my car but knew that I could just park at a campground and hop in my sleeping bag and pass out FOR FREE. I might be crazy, but that makes it more fun.
I rented a car from the airport in advance so that it could be ready for me upon arrival. It is cheaper to rent a manual rather than automatic by about $10 a day. They asked if I wanted insurance, a GPS, or WIFI for additional charges and I said “no, no, and no thank you.” Thank goodness for offline google maps which made my life so much easier. I also booked my first night of accommodation at Bus Hostel which was about a ten minute walk to downtown so I could meet people and have a little bit of comfort for the first night. Other than that, I knew I was going to road trip along the southern part of the Ring Road and find campsites along the way. There are tons of places to camp in Iceland so I wasn’t too worried about where I would sleep – just kidding, I was half freaking out deep down inside.
Be prepared to spend A LOT of $$ on gas and if you want to drink then buy booze at the airport in the duty free shop! I made that mistake of passing it by and although I only had one night out that definitely put a dent in my funds.
Here is a breakdown of how much I spent in 6 days converted to $USD:
Keep in mind I had a hostel for my first night and last night and free accommodation for the four nights in between.
Car rental: $180
Booze: $120 (ouch)
Two nights accommodation: $50
Total cost apart from the flight: $704
I’m not quite sure on what is “normal” for budget travel in Iceland; but considering over half of that money was on the car and gas I don’t think I did too horribly.