This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to get together, but like so many others, it just hasn’t come together. I have a similar blog post sitting in my drafts from my trip to San Francisco and maybe one day that will get done too. So here it is: A breakdown of my Iceland budget for four days and two people!
A special thanks to my friend and coworker who asked me how much it cost for me to go to Iceland. It reminded me that I needed to get my stuff together and the numbers on my blog. I already had them together in a notebook! Please note some of the links below are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.
If you’re interested in just one section, use these links to jump to different sections of this post:
When I’m planning a trip I always start by tracking my flights with Google Flights and Hopper. Both trackers send you notifications and have a slew of other helpful features for deciding when to buy your plane tickets. When I first began looking at flights, the cheapest option was with Delta at $585 (USD), roundtrip from Houston (IAH) to Reykjavík (KEF), a three hour layover in New York with an airport change (LGA to JFK) and no carry-ons (aka basic economy).
The price wasn’t bad, the times were what we wanted, but the airport change scared us. We knew we would be needing a checked back and we were wanting to take two carry-ons. Adding the checked bag was going to add another $120 to our total. We were going right at the end of winter, leaving February 28 and coming back March 5, and needed the extra space for winter gear! Click here to see what all I packed for this trip!
Travel Tip #24: Track roundtrip flights AND the separated legs.
It’s been a hot minute since I provided a travel tip, but this is one that has saved me big on my international flights. There wasn’t a nonstop, roundtrip flight from Houston to Iceland, nor would it have probably been in my Iceland budget for four days. I started tracking the IAH to KEF flights 100 days before take off, as well as the Delta leg from JFK to KEF and two options from IAH and Hobby (HOU) in South Houston to JFK. I saw that we could possibly get cheaper tickets with carryons included and a checked bag, if we split the flights and went with different carriers.
Iceland Budget for Four Days: Flights from JFK to KEF – $652.26
The number above does not include the checked bag, as I wanted to show you how cheap we could have gotten this leg. That’s $326.13 a person and what I will be showing in my “final” budget breakdown as everyone’s starting point won’t be Houston.
When I originally bought this ticket, I had the option of purchasing through Delta, Air France or KLM. However, Delta did not include a carry-on with the ticket and booking through Air France did and was $1 cheaper. So that’s just what I did. Then I added one $70 checked bag to fit our winter jackets, shoes and food we were bringing. We bought our tickets to Iceland 89 days before take off. The cheapest day to have bought would have been 106 to 120 days before the flights. As I starting looking 100 days before, this caused us to miss saving about $60 total.
If you’ll be needing a hotel to stay at before your flight out of JFK, click here to see a list of nearby hotel options!
Flights from HOU to JFK – $392.80
Next, we bought our Houston to KEF flights. JetBlue out of HOU ended up being the cheapest flight to JFK and we booked 74 days before take off. We paid $392.80 ($196.40 each) plus $54 extra for a checked bag on one of the tickets. There were three days the flights were offered at this price and it ended up being the cheapest option while I had been tracking!
If you’ll need a hotel before your flight out of Houston, click here to see a list of hotels in the city!
At this point, we’ve paid $522.53 per person, plus a checked bag for $124. Giving us a grand total of $584.43 a person for our flights to Iceland! Splitting the legs saved us the original price of the carry-on and was well worth it to not have to deal with an airport change. But we did have to deal with an airport change and let me tell y’all, it was stressful as all get out. You can read more about that nightmare here and how it added $182.67 to our expenses.
With only four days in Iceland, we wanted to see as much as we could. For us, that meant renting a car and not relying on tours and other people’s schedules. We decided to go with a 4×4, many will say it isn’t necessary, but there were two spots we wouldn’t have been able to get to if we had went with the cheapest car option. And they were so worth it!
I used Guide to Iceland to find the local car rental company, Go Car Rental, we used. We could have easily gotten our rental for $200-250, but our rental ended up being $326.62. We received an automatic Suzuki Jimny 4×4 with a GPS, collision damage waiver and gravel protection. Obviously we could have cut costs by not getting the extra insurance protections, driving a manual and going without the GPS or the 4×4 capability.
Travel Tip #25: When in Iceland, always keep a gas card on hand.
Surprisingly, in all the videos and blogs I read, I only saw one that mentioned anything about gas cards! It was literally the most helpful tip I saw before our trip! Having a car rental obviously adds gas/petrol to your trip expenses. But in Iceland, their gas pumps don’t work like ours here in Texas. We mainly used N1 gas stations in Iceland and they had gas cards in increments of 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 króna (ISK). We used these cards basically like a gas gift card and it was super simple.
What doesn’t make it so simple and what makes it such an important tip is that a lot of gas stations close early and aren’t 24 hours. Good luck finding an open gas station at 6am on your way to Diamond Beach! Fill up when you can and always keep a gas card on hand! Our gas expenses ended up being around $235.
Iceland Budget for Four Days: Car Expenses – $561.83
I would have loved to visit Iceland during the summer months and been able to try out a camper van! But we really wanted to see the northern lights and going during the shoulder season was best for our budget. I would also recommend booking your accommodations as soon as possible! There were several places I saw on YouTube and other blogs that I would have loved to stay in, but they were booked!
Airbnbs – $622.73
The price above includes a 5 percent cash back offer we received from booking our Airbnbs with our Bank of America cards! That ends up being $155.68 a night, just about $6 more than what we had been wanting to stay at. Our first two night were spent at Götur Cottages and even though it had a very woody, new build smell, I would recommend it! The picture above was the view from our cottage and we saw the northern lights over those mountains! You can also book Götur Cottages through Booking.com here.
Our second set of two nights was spent at someone’s apartment. That one wasn’t a winner, but it was a good distance between the city and the airport, which is why we chose it.
There were several hotels we considered, but they were either booked for the night we needed them or we just couldn’t justify splurging. Here are the ones we considered in case you are curious: Icelandair Hotel Vík, Hotel Vík and CenterPoint Hotel.
Iceland Budget for Four Days: Things To Do – $206.54
We really saved in this category by being our own tour guides with our rental car. With only two items on our itinerary charging an entry, we only racked up $206.54. That probably sounds like a lot, but one of them was our tickets/reservations at the Blue Lagoon. There was a set of waterfalls we wanted to see that had a pay for parking, parking lot. So we ended up skipping it and just drove through slowly as we were behind schedule. We also debated doing an ice cave tour, but ultimately decided against it. The second thing on our itinerary we paid for was entry to was the Kerið crater. It was 800 ISK (between 6 and 7 USD).
We spent less than $40 per person per day on food while in Iceland (this includes beer)! We achieved this by bringing food with us, getting things at grocery stores and gas stations and being picky on the restaurants we ate at.
Groceries & Gas Station Food in Iceland – $68.18
We didn’t buy many groceries in Iceland, most of the above money was spent on beer, lunch at a N1 one day and breakfast from a Netto one morning. You can see the breakdown of each location below.
Restaurants in Iceland – $208.34
I’ll update this blog when I’ve compiled a list of all of my thoughts from the restaurants we visited, however, go ahead and put Friðheimar (their tomatoes are pictured above) on your list! Reservations are recommend.
|Krambúð (grocery store – beer, bread)||$10.54|
|Brauð & Co. (cinnamon bun, coffee)||$7.37|
|Reykjavik Street Dog (hot dog)||$4.91|
|Old Iceland (restaurant)||$78.59|
|Center Fossbud Restaurant (coffee)||$7.75|
|N1 (beer, sandwiches, cookies, soda)||$54.41|
Travel Tip #26: Bring 6.6 pounds (3 kgs) of food with you!
If you’re wondering how much food 6.6 pounds is, just take a look above. Bringing trail mix and granola bars helped keep us from buying snacks at gas stations. The spaghetti we brought also fed us for not one, but two meals! For our second time eating spaghetti, we bought a baguette to accompany it. While we did still buy coffee a few times, we saved money and time in the mornings by bringing our own instant mixes. The above amount of food cost us $24.76 from our local HEB.
Iceland Budget for Four Days: Food – $301.28
Miscellaneous Expenses: $60.01
I couldn’t go to Iceland and not bring something back with me to remember the trip by! We stopped at several souvenir shops in Reykjavík and finally found something I wanted. We picked up a Christmas ornament for my boyfriend’s mom and a coffee cup with the outline of Iceland on it for me ($27.45). I also bought a map of Iceland and a map of the Golden Circle (at a N1) to help navigate if our GPS failed us (which it did a few times). The maps ($32.56) also marked points of interest which was nice!
As you can see from the grand total below, we spent just over $1,100 per person for our trip coming from New York!
|Things To Do||$206.54|
The above grand total does not take into account our airport shuffle headache or the food and alcohol we consumed on our way to and from Iceland. Those additional expenses added $269.34 to our Iceland budget.
Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for Iceland! Be sure to checkout the blogs I have posted for this unforgettable trip here. Let me (and other readers!) know in the comments below if you have any tips for an Iceland budget for four days!