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Iceland; By the Dollars

09 May 17
Heidi Kumm
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We did minimal planning prior to hopping on a plane to Iceland. From time to time we’d talk about sitting down to plan. Every once in a while I’d scroll through a list of “5 must visit” or “8 best” list looking at photos + cocking an eyebrow at the Icelandic words. About a month before we showed up at the airport we decided we at least needed to find a place to sleep. A few Google searches + a colorful pros/cons list later we had our camper van booked. We also made reservations at a hotel in Reykjavik for our final nights in Iceland.

As I said in the first post about Iceland — I’m not much of one to tell you how to go about scheming up an adventure. However, I am willing to share what worked for us + toss out some numbers. This might not help anyone plan anything, but I’ll toss in a few Icelandic photos + make it all worth while…okay? Great. Here we go!

Iceland; By the Numbers

We spent seven nights in Iceland. Five of those nights were in a camper van along the highways that snaked around the southwestern chunk of Iceland. Two nights were spent in a fancy hotel near downtown Reykjavik where we gorged ourselves on hot showers + incredible breakfasts.

While we were in the van we cooked every meal — breakfast, lunch + dinner. Breakfasts were often an egg scramble with veggies. Usually lunches were on the road + more snack based than meal based. For dinner we’d pull together pasta, veggies + some sort of protein. We also indulged in “road trip snacks” such as a caffeinated sugar water, odd Icelandic candy, chips + KitKat bars!

Groceries + Road Trip Food: $84.55

dinner + a sink full of apples!

Once we got to Reykjavik we started eating out with minimal regard to the expense. By that I mean we went out to local, recommended restaurants such as Islenski Barinn + Cafe Loki. We also stopped by highly recommended bakeries post-dinner like Sandholt + Braud & Co. After two days in Iceland’s capital we had spent the same amount of money on food as we did on 1,342 miles worth of fuel!

Eating Out: $185.48

the coast of Reykjavik

With the camper van we drove 1,120 miles over the course of six days. Immediately after dropping off the camper van we started the process of getting a rental car, which we drove a total of 223 miles. The camper van was diesel + we spent about $40 per half tank of fuel. The rental car used unleaded fuel + only needed $20 to fill up half the tank. Obviously, tank size comes into play here, but for reference…that’s what we were spending.

Side Note: We also donated about $15 worth of fuel to a rather obnoxious + not at all helpful car rental company [SAD Cars]. They had an “empty tank” policies with their cars — you get them empty, you return them empty. As I wasn’t comfortable attempting to catch a flight on an empty tank I gave them over a quarter tank of fuel. I am still annoyed by this + would not recommend SAD Cars, for what it’s worth.

Camper Van Diesel Fuel: $188.34
Rental Car Unleaded Fuel: $47.14

why the van + car were worthy expenses — we stumbled upon this because we drove up a random mountain pass!

This was the jist of our on-the-island spending. However, we obviously spent a bit prior to arriving with our rentals + reservations. As I just mentioned, I was *not* a fan of the SAD Car rental we had the headache of dealing with. They were cheaper, but we also got a crappy car + they had shoddy customer service.

On a much brighter note, we rented the camper van from Happy Campers + I can easily recommend them. Highly. We weren’t very needy renters + didn’t chat with them much outside of our pick up/drop off interactions, but those interactions were great! The van was also awesome with a great layout + all the things we needed for a week of car camping. Zero complaints. Heck, if it wasn’t an island I would have considered just taking the van home with me…

Happy Camper 1 EX Rental: $653.28*
SAD Car Rental: $109.48**

*5 nights, with an added driver [$35] + WiFi/HotSpot access [$40]
**48 hours, with CDW insurance added [$10]
***No, the irony of moving from Happy Campers to SAD Cars was not lost on us, unfortunately

the van, in “sleep mode” + a rather typical night in the van — sleeping bags + books!

Then, lastly, we had the hotel in Reykjavik. It was a nice hotel…the kind of hotel where two smelly, wet van dwellers look out-of-place until they can throw themselves into a hot shower a time or two. Fancy nice. I’m rarely a “hotel person”. I’d rather hit up AirBnB or find a cabin or get a little villa, but this hotel hit the spot at the end of a long week in a van + before a few months living hostel life. I kind of loved the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. I mean, I definitely did wash all my clothes in the big ol’ bathtub then use the towel warming rack to dry them…it’s called balance.

This wasn’t a cheap chunk of our trip to Iceland, but it also wasn’t astronomically more expensive than any other hotel or AirBnB in the area. Iceland is pricey! It should also be noted that the Grand Hotel Reykjavik also had an epic breakfast buffet. Epic! I ate for about an hour. Probably.

Grand Hotel Reykjavik: $345.82

yup, we belong in fancy hotels. obviously.

If you’re doing math along the way you’ve already figured this out. We’ve spent $1,614.09 so far. So far. We also paid $15 for a 12V USB charger, $10 for a tunnel toll fee + $50 on cash at an ATM [spent bathroom fees + such]. That puts us at about $1690 for 7 nights + 8 days in Iceland. Much more than any week I’ll spend in Switzerland [I hope!] but well worth it.

Total Spending: $1,690
Two People, Seven Nights, Eight Days

massive glacier + Robb, on the remnants of the glacier [not the best idea, we bailed off + back to solid land after!]

All of this spending was initially done in Icelandic Kronas + Euros, but converted to US Dollars for myself + the sake of this post on an US based site. There are a few things to note, regarding how we made some of these numbers happen…

— If you’re grocery shopping, go to the “Bonus” store with a big pink pig in the logo. It seems to be similar to a Walmart + had the best prices on food.
— Credit/Debit cards can be jerks at gas pumps, but fully functional in the building or at an ATM. Try to stop for gas when the attached stores are still open, just in case.
— In the off-season, most campgrounds are closed. The ones that are open do have a fee listed, but there is rarely anyone to actually pay as. Based upon photos during the busy season, they’re much busier + worth having someone around to collect all payment. We did pay about $20 in camping fees [in cash, as listed above].
— There is no mention of flights, simply because flights are so subjective. Robb flew round trip from Denver, I flew one way from Minneapolis to Zurich.

This is a pretty comprehensive list of what/how we spent in Iceland. While in the van we reverted to a life similar to the time spent in the #yourlead Teton Sports van. It worked + we were both fully prepared for it, thanks to our trip to the Grand Canyon last year. I may have missed a thing or three, so feel free to ask questions.

1 Comment

  1. Iceland; One Stop at a Time – Heidi Kumm // Oversharing Life May 9, 2017 at 9:35 am Reply

    […] Take a peek at our spending breakdown // Iceland; By the Dollars […]

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