Travel to Iceland for Only $1000
When reviewing my pre-trip article for Iceland I realized I made a critical mistake which was not giving you, the reader, the context of the whole trip so here’s the breakdown.
Where: Reykjavik & Akureyri, Iceland
Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Group Size: 6 People
First off, Iceland is AMAZING. The word amazing actually does it no justice. It is a place with endless landscapes and too many options on what to do. We were there for almost a week and I feel like I could spend a month there and still not get my fix. I decided on the first day that it will be a place I visit again, many times.
While I will try to keep most of this article about the costs of a trip to Iceland I will warn you ahead of time that I’m going to get distracted and go more in-depth about the trip and of course throw in some pictures.
The first thing we talked about a couple weeks ago was the flights. Like you already know, we flew on WOW airlines. What you probably didn’t know though was that it is rated the worst airline in the world! This annual study is done by AirHelp where they rank 72 different airlines around the world. They take into account all kinds of statistics like on time %, lost baggage, and overall customer satisfaction. We knew this going in and were open to whatever happened. Luckily for us our flights were awesome! Well, as awesome as an 8-hour flight can get.
Since we did our research ahead of time we brought our own water and a ton of snacks (mostly candy). I didn’t opt to pay for seats ahead of time, instead, I just asked if I could switch with someone on the flight. Doing this saved just $10 per flight.
Overall I thought WOW did a great job. The flights were smooth, I had a ton of leg room which is rare at 6’2”, and the flight attendants were extremely attentive. We left on time both flights and if I remember right we actually landed early on the way to Iceland. WOW gets two thumbs up from me and I think the rest of the crew feels the same.
Final costs for the flights per person was: $305
Where we Slept
If you are going to Iceland I’d 100% recommend using Airbnb. We stayed at three different places on our trip that were perfect for our needs. The two we used while in the capital, Reykjavik were within walking distance of all the cities attractions as well as places to eat.
When we went to Akureyri we had an upstairs apartment in a farmhouse all to ourselves. The farmhouse was definitely the group’s favorite. There was nothing more relaxing than drinking wine, grilling out, and taking in the view of the bay. Also, they had a hot tub so that automatically makes it the best.
Obviously, our needs were a little different as we had a larger group than most people do while traveling. Even with six people, I thought we had plenty of options and all of them were decent to good.
The total cost per person for the Airbnbs was: $230
When I wrote the pre-trip article I said we were going to drive a lot. Well, a lot was an understatement. We drove a TON and that’s ok. Most of the places we wanted to go and see were a couple hours from each other. A quick estimate is that we spent 20 hours in the car or about 3-4 hours a day. Again, we knew this coming in and it was completely worth it.
What was a surprise though was the $57 fee I got hit with for being under 25 years old. This was unexpected but not a big deal. Unfortunately, we were all under 25 so no one could step in for me. The worst part? the closest person to turning 25 was just 11 days away.
The car we got was great but as most people probably know unless you have a full-size minivan fitting 6 people and luggage in a car is going to be a struggle. We were cramped and because of that, we took turns who rode in the very back. The fact is unless you are willing to dish out a couple thousand for a Land Rover you are going to be short on space. Cars there just aren’t that big.
Since we are talking about our rental car we might as well talk about gas. Iceland imports almost everything and this, of course, makes it much more expensive. Gas was $8.15 a gallon. No, that’s not a typo, it really is that expensive. As we just talked about we drove a ton so we spent quite a bit on gas. When we did our trip estimates we thought it would cost around $180 total or $30 per person. Well, we were way off, we actually spent $325 on gas or $54 per person.
The total cost per person for the rental car and gas was: $225
Food and Drink
What you eat and drink in Iceland isn’t excluded from the import fees as well. A standard dinner is going to run you anywhere from $20-$30. While we did eat out and eat some good food which I’ll talk about in a minute. Most of our meals we made at the Airbnb and got groceries from a store called Bonus.
Now if you are on a budget Bonus is for you. Most things are the standard prices you see here in the states if not cheaper. I say most because a pack on bacon with 8 strips was $20, that’s obviously extremely expensive. We didn’t go crazy on what we got from the store. Instead, we stuck to what we knew we would like. Sausage and eggs for breakfast, sandwiches and chips for lunch, and hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. Seems slightly boring, I know but if we would have eaten out for every meal it would have been $50-$100 per person per day.
We did eat out though. The first place we did was actually a Domino’s Pizza, we really got out our comfort zone I know. But we needed something quick and three pizzas were still $50. Besides that, we had fish and chips, lamb, seafood stew, and even fermented shark. Yes, it essentially was rotten shark which you can see in the picture below. It wasn’t the most delightful thing but supposedly it used to be a tradition in the old times. Either that or we are just suckers.
When it came to alcohol you need to be sure to do get anything you want from the duty-free store at the airport. We even saw some of the flight crew stocking up on a half dozen bottles of wine. The prices here are normal to what you would pay in the states. We got a couple bottles of wine, some 6 packs of Icelandic beer, and a bottle of whiskey all totaling around $100. We did enjoy a happy hour where each large beer was relatively cheap at $5 but outside of happy hour that same beer was over $10 and a simple cocktail was at least $20. If you want to learn more about the beer in Iceland check out my friend’s blog post about our trip here.
The total cost per person for food and drink was: $150
The last of our expenses were leisure items or things we bought as souvenirs. For instance, I bought a simple patch to add to my backpack and a magnet to add to a travel board that I have.
The largest of these leisure items was the ticket to the Blue Lagoon at $80 per person. The Blue Lagoon is all inclusive spa that is centered around its geothermal baths or as most people call it, a hot spring. To be honest I was highly skeptical of the Blue Lagoon at first but it turned out to be an awesome end of the trip treat. They have different packages that you can purchase but we just bought the most basic. With each ticket, you got one drink, a silica face mask, and access to the hot spring. Putting on a facemask for the first time was slightly weird but it was relaxing, I won’t lie. Overall I’d highly recommend checking it out.
Total miscellaneous costs per person: $100
Wrapping it Up
There you have it, that’s how we spent almost a week in Iceland for $1,000! Like I said, in the beginning, all this trip did was make me want to come back again and again. I’m thinking next time take a bush plane around to see the country from above as well as some glacier hiking but that I’ll figure out in the future.
If you have any questions about Iceland drop a comment below or use the Contact Me page. Lastly, if you want to see more pictures from the trip or pictures from my travels in general then follow me on Instagram @Shelbygrosch.
Looking for cheap flights? Check out: How to Find Affordable Flights 101
Looking for the best places to stay? Check out: Where to Stay While Traveling 101
Want to learn how to become financially independent? Start here: Top 5 Personal Finance Priorities in Your 20s