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The Cheapest Way to Get the Most Out of Iceland

I have to admit that when I agreed to go to Iceland, I had very little idea of what Iceland had to offer.

Iceland, that sounds cold. For the record, it was cold, but I’d freeze my butt off a million times over to see the amazing sights Iceland has to offer.

When I visited Iceland 2 and a half years ago with my best friend Sara Iceland was well on its way to becoming a popular destination. I mean heck there’s even a direct flight from Denver, Colorado. And let’s be real, good things can only remain secret for so long. These days I get asked about Iceland must sees, dos and itineraries more than any other place I’ve been. Every second photo on my instagram is someone in Iceland standing in front of a waterfall.

 

Another amazing waterfall!

Case in point…me in front of waterfall #192

Iceland is nature in its finest form. The natural wonders, wildlife and activities this island packs into a mere 39,000 mi2 (103,000 km2) is unreal. Take your pick, depending on what time of year it is, you can experience everything from the Northern Lights, to insane glaciers and glacial lagoons, to geothermal activity unlike anywhere else on earth.

Geothermal activity near Mývatn

The most geothermal activity we saw was in the North just before you arrive in Mývatn

Iceland won’t break the bank. Iceland can be affordable, but for the record we aren’t talking Bali affordable  (i’ll get to that in a future blog post).

The best tip I can offer for an affordable Iceland trip is to roll your accommodation and transport into a beautifully bundled, minivan shaped package with one of hundreds of campervan offerings. We went with CampEasy and can definitely recommend them. The van was well equipped, easy to drive and the pickup and drop off were quick and easy.

Let’s do the math, for a total of $2200 (including insurance) we had accommodation and transport. Divide that by 2 people, divided by 10 nights is about $110/night each. We also saved money by cooking in our campervan most nights and did our shopping at discount grocery store Bonus (locations throughout the island). Seriously we had lunch in some of the most beautiful places, just pulled over on the side of the road.

Cooking dinner in the back of our van

Gourmet meal in the back of a van!

Iceland is affordable because the natural wonders, geothermal activity and wildlife that you go there for are all…wait for it…completely FREE! Our planet is amazing place and when you think about it there is so much to see all brought to you by nature for free….thanks nature!

Detifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Iceland.

Nature is amazing!

Genius flight options. Iceland Air will allow stopovers of up to 7 days on the way over to Europe for less than the cost of a round trip from Denver to Reykjavik.

So what will you do with all the money you save? Activities of course!

Here are just some of the activities we did in Iceland. There are of course many more that are offered, here is a comprehensive list of things to do in Iceland. 

Ice Climbing 

Hiking a massive glacier and getting to try our hand at ice climbing was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Its both incredible and incredibly sad at the same time, as the glacier guides will tell you these glaciers are vanishing more rapidly than ever before. You can even see how much they’ve receded in just 100 years time. An important reminder to be kind to our planet.

We did this glacier hiking and ice climbing tour with Arctic Adventures, I highly recommend it!

Glacier hiking in Iceland.

Ice climbing in Iceland is rad AF!

Underwater MassageBlue Lagoon 

The first day we were in Iceland, basically driving around in zombie mode after the flight, we visited Blue Lagoon. You’ll find that some reviews complain about the locker rooms being gross (most locker rooms gross me out but I got past it) but I believe if you have the time, a visit to the Blue Lagoon won’t disappoint. We decided to take it to the next level and book a water massage. Talk about full relaxation, besides shriveling up like a prune, I felt like a floating zen baby. Imagine floating partly submerged on a large yoga mat and being massaged by a large nordic looking man, enough said.

Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon! Have a cocktail and float around.

Hot Dogs

Yes I said hot dogs. This is definitely the cheapest “activity” on the list, muster up about $5 and you’ve got yourself an Icelandic dog. For some this may not sound adventurous, for others it will, especially if you’re typically gluten free like me. But heck, when in Rome, right? Oddly enough, hot dogs are Iceland’s most beloved fast food. Our Icelandic friend recommended Bæjarins beztu as the premier dog stand. Judging by the long line of cars in the drive thru we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.

An Iceland hotdog.

Mmmm….hot dogs. This one had Fritos in it!?

Now if you’ve made it this far into my first blog post, bless your heart and thank you! Just for that check out my next post about Campervan life: A 10 day itinerary around the Ring Road.

By echmelik, April 10, 2017
About Me
Hey there! I'm Erin.
Welcome to Have Compass Will Travel, an adventure and lifestyle blog that follows me from one adventure to another while I share the tips and tricks to living a life of more with less. I'm Erin, a Chicago native who has traveled to over 20 countries. In the last two years I set myself free of material commitments such as rent and car payments to live a flexible lifestyle that allows me to travel, work and save money!
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