Saturday, November 5, 2016

How I Spent Only 474$ (RM2092) On A 12-day Round Iceland Trip With A Car: Budget-breakdown and 20 Tips

Two months ago, I had a chance to explore Iceland with 3 friends. We decided to rent a car and self-drive the whole journey without consulting a tour operator. Our journey around Iceland took us 12 days and we did it within a budget of 474$ (RM2092), not including flight ...Here is exactly how we did it. 

Tips :

Grocery / Food
1. You can cook yourself with portable camp stove (can be rented or be brought from home) and also canister(must be bought here) in Iceland. 
2. The store which is called “BONUS” provides relatively cheap groceries.
3. You can also get free foods left by other campers in camping sites. Same goes to used canisters!!! This could save you a lot!
4. Try some authentic Icelandic feast! Read more here.

5. Since the time we went was during Summer, we managed to save a lot by camping in various free camping grounds and also some paid camping sites with facilities readily available (shower, kitchen, and laundry).
6. You have no choice but to stay in a hotel or inn during winter for peak aurora season. So, plan ahead as accommodation could be limited in winter (hostels are rare in Iceland)!!!
7. Just to elaborate a bit more about camping in Iceland in summer, the temperature could fall below 10-degree celsius at night and hence, a good sleeping bag is necessary. 
8. Also, do bring a good jacket in Iceland even though you are visiting in Summer. 
9. Do bring an air mattress if you need one!
10. Campsites in Iceland charge around IKR1000-1500 (USD 9-13) per night per head with kitchen and lavatory facilities provided. 
11. Shower facility varies according to campsites. While some provide it for free, others charge for IKR100 per minute.
12. In case you are staying in a free campsite with limited facilities, you can always bath and get yourself freshen up at the swimming pools. Just pay a little entrance fee for bathing purpose and there you go! We did so during our trip!!! (Definitely cheaper than IKR100 per minute!!!)
13. As for us, we drove around few campsites in the vicinity for the best deals before making our decision on which campsites to stay. To further save on our expenditure, four of us took turns to sleep in the car and in the camp alternatively, which again, saved us a lot as we only paid for campgrounds for two!!!

14. You can always do your laundry in some camping grounds with a fee, of course. Laundry is charged for IKR500 and another IKR500 for drying

Petrol station in Iceland
15. The fuel per liter in Iceland basically ranges around USD1.5-2
16. Remember that most of the petrol stations in Iceland require card transactions and no cash is allowed. Please remember to have your credit card ready, or at least your debit card with international transaction activated before you venture into Iceland.
17. Always remember to refuel your car (full tank) before driving into secluded areas. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to get stranded in deserted places.

Car Rental
18. Check on how to rent a car here!

Entrance fee
19. Most of the tourist attractions are free in Iceland except for natural baths (Blue Lagoon and Myvatyn Bath); also for Kerio Crater (IKR200); Vestrahorn (IKR400) too.
20. You may join some private excursion trips which mostly departs from the capital with pick-up service from your hotels in case decide to ditch the car for a few days.

My trip budget breakdown (divided by 4):

Price quoted in Ringgit Malaysia (RM)

(3 nights free campsites; 9 nights on paid campsites)         : RM 174
Food                                                                                     : RM 141
Icelandic Feast                                                                     : RM 253
Car rental                                                                             : RM 945
Fuel                                                                                      : RM 385
Myvatyn entrance fee                                                           : RM 85
Canister                                                                                : RM45.5
Internet                                                                                 : RM 37.75
Laundry                                                                                : RM 8.5
Bath (swimming pool)                                                           : RM 8.75
Tol (only once)                                                                      : RM 8.5
Total                                                                                     : RM 2092
(Flight is not included in my budget breakdown as it varies according to your place of departure and promotion/deals!)

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Thank You for Reading! 

This post is written by MHF Contributor, Wong Wai Hoe. 

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