Iceland In A Campervan – Luxury On A Budget

Iceland In A Campervan - Luxury Travel Hacks
Updated Feb '19

Iceland, a pristine marvel in its own right. With glaciers, fjords, impeccable scenery at every turn, Iceland has quickly become a tourist hotspot and understandably so. With such unique and picturesque landscapes Iceland has become increasingly popular for people of all ages. As with any up and coming tourist destination, one of the most significant contributing factors as to whether people visit comes down to the price. Iceland is nowhere near as cheap as some Asian, Eastern European or South American countries, such as Chile. However, you can still immerse yourself in this nation even if you are a budget traveler, but how exactly? Simply, see Iceland in a campervan. With your house and wheels all in one you are already saving money. Coupled with further budget tips in this article Iceland can be visited by all, without breaking the bank.

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Are you wondering what you need to pack for Iceland? Check out what to pack for Iceland in summer?

Road Trip Tips For Travelling Iceland In A Campervan 

Iceland Roads

Most of Iceland’s roads are paved. The Ring Road is paved almost the entire way are the island and most roads are paved near populated areas. However, given the wild nature of Iceland, there can be some damage on the road to always keep an eye out for. In saying that we have never had any issues with the Iceland roads, except maybe the ice. Always, be weary of ice on the road. Often this can not be seen and I always suggest driving to the conditions and travelling slower than you may think. 

I mean check out the ice in the photo below….

Iceland in a Campervan - Luxury Travel Hacks

If you are driving in Iceland you will be driving on the right-side of the road, which is the opposite to us in Australia. This can be hard to adapt to, however, when you arrive in Iceland at Keflavik Airport it isn’t crazily busy allowing you to ease into driving around Iceland in a campervan, which is great. However, I do recommend that you always carefully think about the side of the road you need to be on especially when you start to drive everyday. We may or may not have driven down the wrong side of the road momentarily but luckily we were in a remote section of Iceland with no other cars around at the time. 

If you are more interested in exploring Iceland’s interior you will only be able to do so in the summer when the notorious F roads are open. These roads are for 4x4s only so unless you can find a 4×4 campervan you will need to hire a car. Also, it is suggested that if you attempt to drive these roads you do travel with another 4×4 incase you run into trouble, which can be likely. Finally, you should know that off-roading in Iceland is illegal and the fines are huge. This is due to their extremely fragile environment. 

Iceland Gas Stations

ot only is fuel expensive in Iceland, but it can also be infrequently available. If you see a gas station and you only have half a tank, fill up! Since Iceland doesn’t have a large population, gas stations are not as available as they might be at home. It would be terrible to get stranded in Iceland. This another reason getting a fuel-efficient campervan was important for our Iceland road trip.
 
When renting our campervan in Iceland we were given a discount fuel tag for gas stations around Iceland. This is common so when hiring a car or campervan check out your keys. Often this discount tag is attached to the keys so please be sure to check this out. 

Iceland Insurance (according to Sadcars)

There seems to be hundreds if not thousands of options for insurance for cars/campervans in Iceland. Here I will break these down for you so you can make an informed decision on the best insurance for you. 

Third Party Liability Insurance

Included in the cost of campervan rental through Sadcars, this insurance covers the following: 

  • Injury to the driver of both cars
  • Injury to passengers of both cars
  • Damages to the other car in case of an accident

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Insurance

Highly recommended the CDW insurance covers you for damage of the rental car/campervan according to the terms of the company. 

At Sadcars towing and rescue is never included. 

Super Collision Damage Waiver (Super CDW) Insurance

Reduces the liability so it is cheaper than the liability for CDW.

NOTE CDW or SCDW insurance DOES not include (according to Sadcars):

  • Negligence
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Damage to tires (tyres in Australian language), headlights & windscreen
  • Damage caused by strong winds
  • Damage to the underside of the car
  • Damage caused by loose rocks, which get thrown at the car on gravel roads
  • Damages to the engine of the car

Gravel Protection

Covers damage to the windscreen, headlights and the car when gravel gets thrown onto the car by another vehicle. 

Tire (Tyre) Insurance

Covers you for damage and due to repair and/or replacement of tyres, valve stems and balancing. 

Sand & Ash Protection

Sand and ash storms are common in the south and west of Iceland. This insurance covers you for damage of: 

  • Paint
  • Glass 
  • Plastic Parts

Theft Protection

An obvious one. This insurance covers you for total loss of the car if it is stolen while you rent. 

Clearly lots to consider in terms of insurance when travelling around Iceland, but my motto is always when in doubt best to have it ha ha. However, always check what your travel insurance covers because you may not need aspects of the insurance above if your travel insurance covers it. 

NOTE: Credit Cards also often have travel insurance included if you use the card to book the holiday (another great luxury travel hack) so definitely check that option too.  

Budget Tips For Iceland While Travelling Iceland In A Campervan

Hiring Tiny Tina For Our Iceland In A Campervan Adventure

Hiring a campervan through Iceland not only provided us with the freedom to explore but was also a very affordable way to get around Iceland. Tiny Tina, our campervan,  from Sadcars was, as the name suggests, tiny, but perfect for what we were doing.

One of the benefits of an Iceland road trip was the ease of travel. The famous Ring Road allows people to travel around the entire island, stopping off as needed. We spent a week in Iceland, which while it doesn’t sound like a lot of time, we were able to comfortably navigate our way around the country. We could still stop off at various locations to take in the luxurious sights and be awed by the beauty that Iceland offers. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a smaller camper in Iceland was the economy of the vehicle. With fuel being a significant expense on any road trip, hiring a smaller car that had fantastic fuel economy ensured we were able to spend money on other luxuries, such as the sights, and food instead of unnecessary amounts of fuel.

Visiting The Grocery Store

With Iceland being very remote and in a climate that does not allow for much agriculture, fresh, healthy foods can be rather expensive. However, shopping at grocery stores and buying cheaper foods can ensure that you not only enjoy your time but will stop you stressing about finances. While in Iceland, we ate a lot of noodles, sandwiches, Nutella (lots of Nutella) and other simple but not necessarily healthy foods…..whoops. Did I mention we ate Nutella? Nutella on bread, Nutella on toast, Nutella straight out of the jar! Cleary we like Nutella.

Given that we were in Iceland for just one week, and we were towards the end of our 6-month adventure we were not overly concerned with the nutritional value of our foods. At one stage, however, we were splurging on $5 (approximately once converted to AUD) hotdogs from gas stations and I must admit they were delicious. Unfortunately, if you do want to eat out in Iceland, you can expect to pay substantially more than if you cook your own food. Luckily for us Tiny Tina did have a small stove allowing us to cook and save money by seeing Iceland in a campervan.

Enjoying The Sights

Given the current tourism climate in Iceland, visiting the tourist attractions can be very expensive. The beauty with Iceland is that you do not need to pay large amounts of money to enjoy the landscapes and sights when seeing Iceland in a campervan. Whether it be famous scenes from Game of Thrones, glaciers, fjords, iceberg-filled lakes, or simply beautiful roads Iceland has plenty of free options when it comes to attractions.

The key to this is spending time doing some research and taking time to explore. Some of the best sights are the ones which you find while exploring yourself without necessarily having a plan. Take some time to go looking, and you will witness some spectacular attractions for free, trust me.

Wanting to see more sites? Check out the 10 Best Iceland Tours.

Iceland, a place of sheer beauty. Both during summer and winter. In fact, traveling Iceland in winter can also make your trip cheaper. However, I have no doubt you will read and hear that it is expensive, and trust me it can be. However, if money is your determining factor on whether you visit Iceland or not, rest assured you can travel to Iceland on a budget. Importantly, just make sure you see Iceland in a campervan.

And to give you more reason to visit here are a few more photos….

Only have a short time in Iceland? Check out this 4-day itinerary

2 thoughts on “Iceland In A Campervan – Luxury On A Budget”

  1. Wow! I never thought of renting a camper van in Iceland – really hoping to go in the next 12 months!
    Your pictures are so beautiful! I cannot wait!

    Michelle

    1. #ljojlo - Lauren

      Thank you so much Michelle. Definitely consider renting a campervan ?. If you have any questions at all please yell out ?.

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