planning my trip to Iceland

June 02, 2017

Since I'm currently in Iceland and (hopefully) enjoying my long-awaited road trip around the country, I thought I'd share some of my experience planning this adventure and saving up for the whole thing. As you may or may not know, Iceland isn't necessarily considered a budget destination. I obviously knew what I was getting myself into, booking flights and accommodations and a rental car for this 18 days long trip, however I don't have a ton of income and I have bills and rent to pay, so I had to do my research and plan ahead to be able to afford all of this. And here's how I did it:

I know it sounds quite obvious but having a goal in mind and knowing exactly what I'm saving up for makes it a lot easier for me not to spend my money. I don't usually spend a lot of money anyway and I constantly try to set aside some of it but knowing that I need x amount to be able to afford visiting Iceland really kept me from buying unnecessary stuff.

If I do spend money, I like to keep good track of where it is going. I regularly check my bank account and make sure I know exactly what I'm spending my money on. I'd say during the last couple of months, food was probably the only unnecessary thing I bought. (Which doesn't even really count because I do need to buy food anyway but what I mean by that is, I ate out a bit more than I'd liked to.)

Especially when it comes to travels, doing research and planning in advance can save a lot of money. Prices of flights and hotels for example can vary depending on the season, the day or the time of travel, which is something that should be kept in mind when planning a vacation. Before booking this trip, we (as in Philipp and me) spent a couple of weeks researching. We knew we didn't want to fly out during the summer holidays or in the middle of high season and took our time finding the right flights for us. We soon learned that the airline that seemed cheapest at first turned out to be much more expensive due to all the additional fees they charge for checked luggage and even hand luggage.

I'm not someone to plan my vacation one year ahead of time but when I was booking our accomodations for Iceland, I realized that I should have booked earlier. We started planning at the beginnning of the year and ended up booking everything in February (so approximately 4 months in advance) and when I was looking for apartments and rooms on Airbnb, most of the inexpensive ones were already fully booked. Same with the rental car. We spent too much time trying to decide whether or not we should get a 4x4 and by the time we had finally chosen a car, prices had gone up quite a bit. So next time I'm going on a longer trip, I'm definitely going to start booking hotels and whatnot as soon as I've settled on the destination to save myself a lot of stress and money.

Speaking of accomodations and Airbnb, I usually like to book places that have a kitchen so I can cook myself. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in restaurants can be quite pricey and really add up, especially when you're travelling for a longer period of time. Since Iceland is an island and many goods and foods have to be imported, things usually are a lot more expensive than in Central Europe, for instance. Of course this includes food that can be bought in supermarkets as well, but buying it there and cooking in an Airbnb still is a lot cheaper than eating out.

Last but not least, one thing I've kind of always done, consciously or unconscioulsy, is trying to avoid tourist mangets. I know it does sound kind of silly because when I travel somewhere, I obviously want to see the main sights. What I mean by it is, I don't necessarily feel the need to visit tourist attractions that have to be paid for. For example, I've been to London three times but I still haven't been inside the Palace of Westminster or the Tower of London and as of right now, I have no desire to see these places (from the inside). As for Iceland, nature is the country's main attraction and geysers and waterfalls and beaches and many other sights are free to visit. The only main thing (apart from glacier tours and stuff like that) that actually isn't free is the Blue Lagoon. And since I'm quite stingy, I've decided I don't want to spend a small fortune to be able to bathe in a mud pool with hundreds of other people. Sorry not sorry. I'm prioritizing and I'd much rather visit numerous of the less crowded and less expensive geothermal pools that can be found all over the country. I don't actually care if I'm missing out on anything or not.

(Since I'm writing this in advance and I haven't actually been to Iceland yet, I'm sure I'll learn a lot more about the country and gain some more experience while I'm there. I will try to write about the trip itself as soon as I'm back home, so make sure you come back if you want to read more about Iceland.)

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1 comment/s

  1. Findergordianus / ZZ etcJune 3, 2017 at 10:36 PM

    I hope you have a great time. I sure hope I don't come off as creepy but I've followed your youtube and flickr streams. etc for quite a while and you just seem like one of the nicest and certainly prettiest people posting out there. And you seem to have a lot of taste and creativity, at least in photography. So anyway, have fun and please don't feel any pressure to post until you're ready.