Week in Iceland on A Budget: How to travel to Iceland with $100

Sooner or later you’ll want to visit an expensive destination that will challenge your budget. Instead of letting this deter you from traveling, accept the challenge and try to save as much as you can. Although Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, this did not stop Natasha over at The World Pursuit from enjoying a week in Iceland on a budget.

That’s right – while most people spend over $100 a day, Natasha only spent $100 during her week in Iceland. To see the big difference in spending, you can check out my 4 day Iceland budget.

So even if a trip seems out of financial reach, there is always a way to make it happen by being resourceful and having a bit of financial discipline.

 

A Week In Iceland With Natasha Alden

I started traveling at a young age to many domestic locations within the U.S., but never truly traveled abroad. During my junior year of college, I decided to study abroad in Australia. While there, I met so many other young people from around the world. They talked about their trips around Europe, gap years and eating $1 pad thai in Thailand. I knew that I had to experience more international travel in my life.

When I returned to the states to finish up my double major in film and marketing, I set a goal to save $10,000 to travel around Europe after I graduated college. I worked at an Italian restaurant waiting tables for the next year and a half while in school.

 

How Iceland Picked Me 

Since I didn’t care where I started my trip to Europe, I looked for the cheapest flights to Europe. After months of searching on Skyscanner and other booking sites, I randomly typed “Iceland” into the destination tab.

I found a $300 flight to Reykjavík with onward travel to Oslo, Norway. I jumped on the deal.

So I suppose I didn’t really decide to visit Iceland. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I thought Iceland looked and sounded amazing. However, it was the cheap flight that led me to this experience. 

 

Accommodations and Food

During my week in Iceland, I spent roughly $100. This was extreme budgeting, but – since this was the beginning of my 8-month trip, I was nervous about maintaining my budget. I hadn’t done much research about Iceland before booking my flight, so when I saw that hostel beds were $45 a night, I knew I had to explore other options. By Couchsurfing, I didn’t spend any money on accommodations.

 

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing allowed me to get to know the locals and save lots of money. We became friends and I shared unique experiences with them that maybe would not have been possible if I stayed at a hotel. 

The first couch I “surfed” on was at a couple’s apartment. The couple cooked with me, and they even took me to the bars one night. Cooking your own meals may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however, it allowed me to save money on food. The second house I stayed at was a young musician’s house, which proved to be loads of fun. Every night he had a gig playing at a local bar which was my free entertainment.

 

Food & Drink

I’m not a big drinker, so I only had a couple of beers a few times. At $8 a beer, even a few times quickly became too many. The only restaurant I ate at was Sægreifinn (Seabaron). They served excellent fish soup with fresh-baked bread. Besides this luxury, I lived off Icelandic Skyr, prepackaged salads and an amazing hot dog stand that can only be found in Reykjavík called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.

 

FREE BONUS: FOOD & DRINK COSTS ICELAND

ENTER YOUR INFORMATION BELOW TO GET A LIST OF FOOD AND DRINK COSTS FROM SPECIFIC RESTAURANTS IN ICELAND. (JUST IN CASE YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO THINK OF HOW MUCH TO BUDGET).

 

Hiking and Local Thermal Baths

Besides joining my hosts and other travelers in the city’s many pubs, I spent a lot of time outdoors. Iceland is a beautiful and vast country and there are plenty of hiking opportunities just outside the capital. The local buses run to all the jumping off points for some amazing hikes. I loved taking a dip in the Rekjadalur hot springs just outside of Hveragerði and hiking up Seljavallalaug. I visited Iceland in June, meaning I never had to “get somewhere before it got dark”. Sure, this messed with my sleep schedule, but walking back from a hike at 1 a.m. felt wild.

With a whopping €40 price tag at the time, I decided to skip the infamous Blue Lagoon. I knew this would break my budget, and besides, all the locals told me not to go. “It’s touristy, overrated, and not something an Icelander would do,” they told me. Instead, one of my hosts took me to a local thermal pool and I enjoyed a nice sunny day chatting with locals.

Skipping the Blue Lagoon and filling my days with free nature hikes led me to keep my costs low. I don’t regret the experiences I skipped out on in Iceland because of my budget. I actually think it led me to have a better time. 

If you’re traveling to Iceland chances are it’s because of nature. Reykjavík and its surroundings are lush, green, and so gosh darn beautiful that you don’t need to spend money on entertainment. Nature is free! 

Yes, a week in Iceland can be done on the cheap.

 

About Natasha Alden: Natasha is a five-foot blonde that believes she is short so she could fit in air, train, car, and bus seats comfortably while traveling. She lives out of her backpack and documents her travels on The World Pursuit. Her day usually doesn’t start until she has had at least one coffee and a yogurt. She has traveled to over 40 countries across 6 continents. You can find her and her partner gallivanting around the world on Facebook and Instagram.

18 replies
    • The Thought Card says:

      Indeed its quite expensive to travel to but there a lot of nature to enjoy which is free! Similar to Natasha, I enjoyed my recent trip to Iceland and I definitely want to plan to go back again soon.

      Reply
  1. Trisha Velarmino says:

    I don’t have much of an idea about the standard of living in Iceland and my introduction to the place is mostly through looking at pictures of their natural wonders but damn, $100 for a week is not a bad deal at all. I usually Couchsurf too. It saves you a lot of money and it enables you to make new friends and feel less lost in a foreign land. Thanks for this invaluable tip!

    Reply
  2. Once in a Lifetime Journey says:

    I definitely did not expect $100 to be enough for a week in Iceland! Although I agree that a common misconception is that you can’t travel without a large budget. I’m happy that these posts proves that wrong 🙂 Nature is truly a gift, free of charge.

    Reply
  3. Megan Claire says:

    Wow, very impressive! We did Iceland and did a two week drive of the ring road, and $100 was what we were spending each day on gas. Obviously if you’re basing yourself in one place and getting around on local public transport, it’s a brill idea for the budget traveler 🙂 We did also skip the Blue Lagoon too … I’d heard too many reviews that it really wasn’t worthwhile.

    Reply
  4. Natalie - From Tourist 2 Local says:

    What a great way to approach Iceland. Hikes and nature are usually free and it’s one of the big draws of the country anyway. I’ve also heard that going to the thermal pools where the locals go is more authentic. What a cool experience!

    Reply
  5. Kim-Ling Richardson (Travel-Li says:

    That is amazing to do all of that for around $100! Couchsurfing or staying with friends and cooking your own food is key though. Glad you got to experience an authentic thermal pool experience! In saying that, our friends went to the Blue Lagoon and loved it, so I would be tempted to still go!

    Reply
  6. Bernard Tan says:

    I have always known that iceland can be pretty expensive. to be able to only spent $100 for a week is crazy! I should start trying out CS.

    Reply
  7. Amused Observer says:

    It might be possible to travel cheap, and the Blue Lagoon might be expensive and touristy, but I wouldn’t like to miss it. Neither would I want to miss diving, so I guess I’d better wait till I have more money 🙂

    Reply
    • Danielle Desir says:

      Similar to Natasha, I’m skipping the Blue Lagoon, but I’m heading to some of the natural hot springs outside of Reykjavik which should be lots of fun. I’m Iceland bound next week!

      Reply
  8. Mansoureh says:

    Iceland is where I dream to visit, but I am not sure when is the good time. It is good you can manage to visit it and stay on your budget

    Reply
  9. Terri Huggins says:

    I love that the thrifty outlook didn’t effect the overall experience of the trip. Skipping touristy attractions doesn’t make or break a trip.

    Reply
  10. Danielle Desir says:

    Shayan we have to chat more about the culture differences! I would be super interested in hearing all about how culture plays a role in finance/travel. But I agree, if you are traveling so far, you want to do and see as much as you can in that time frame.

    Reply
  11. Shayan Naveed says:

    Although I commend her for saving so much money and being so disciplined…I think people from my culture think completely differently. We would rather go when we HAVE the money to spend. If I’m going all the way, I expect to splurge so when I am a millionaire, I’ll go there. heheh

    I would want to go to the blue lagoon but of course also visit the local spots. It is just too far from where I live to pass out on the touristy stuff.

    Reply
  12. Jojo says:

    How expensive Iceland is is definitely a deterrent for me. Couch surfing does sound like a great idea especially making new friends and getting the local experience, I am still not comfortable possibly getting mixed up with a less than welcoming person. I still do want to visit Iceland and all it’s outdoors though!

    Reply

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