I am back in the US, settled and missing Iceland more than I thought possible. Lily and I were wishing we could stay in that beautiful country much longer. There is so much to do, the people are amazing and the feeling that comes with exploring a new place and making new friends is indescribable. Although I am happy to be back to my friends and family at home, Iceland and the people we met along the way will always hold a special place in my heart. There are so many things that come to mind when I think of Iceland, and you probably do too as you search for places to go and how to survive in such a different country. So here are some of my tips and tricks that will help you save money and stay healthy during your time in Iceland.
Go to the grocery store (Bonus)
This is number 1 for saving money and staying healthy. Iceland is an expensive country, and eating out all the times adds up. It is also incredibly unhealthy to eat out all the time, you wouldn't eat out for every meal at home so why do it on vacation? Lily and I bought the Icelandic yogurt Skyre for breakfast almost every day with muesli and a banana. For lunch we made peanut butter sandwiches and sometimes ate out and for dinner we made spaghetti with pesto and spinach and also ate out a few times. Of course we wanted to eat out to enjoy the social aspect of eating out but it unnecessary to do so every night!
Rent a car
By far the best decision we made this whole trip was renting a car. We rented from a place called Sad Cars, they have locations in Reykjavík and Keflavík (where the airport is), so it is super convenient. We rented our sad car for 7 days and we paid $190 USD and we split it so it came out wicked cheap, if you split it between more people its even better. Gas was expensive but it was way cheaper than doing any of the tours we looked into doing, so it all worked out. This was a great idea for us because it allowed us to see so much more of Iceland, and do many more hikes, without our sad car we wouldn't have been nearly as active or adventurous!
Explore as much as you can and take advantage of nature
Iceland is a BEAUTIFUL country and there is so much free stuff to do. We hiked, walked through the city, walked on the beaches and glaciers and we only paid for the gas to get there. Every day was full of activity, there wasn't one day where I didn't get my daily activity in (thanks Polar watch) although we didn't do any traditional exercising we were burning calories.
Use an international credit card
This has nothing to do with health, but everything to do with saving money. I recommend getting a credit card that doesn't charge fees for using it overseas. I have the Capital one Venture card and I love it, I don't get charged any fees, I get reward airline miles for everything and they even overnighted me a new credit card when I lost mine after a long night out in Reyjkavík.
Eat the yogurt (Skyre)
I know I already had a tip about buying from grocery stores and not eating out but I feel like the yogurt needs a special shoutout. This yogurt is the best yogurt I have EVER had. Lily and I had it everyday and sometimes more than 2 or 3 times because it is just so delicious, healthy and full of protein. It was a great way to start a long day of hiking or refuel after we were done.
Stay in a hostel
Hostels are great pretty much anywhere you travel, because Iceland is so expensive I definitely recommend a hostel as a good money saving option. If you aren't too thrilled about sharing a room with 12+ strangers then look for hostels with private rooms, chances are they are less expensive than a hotel room. Another great thing about staying in hostels is that you meet great people with amazing stories, Lily and I have met so many amazing people just by staying in hostels when we travel!
Hitchhike/ share a car
We only hitchhiked once while we were in Iceland but it was the best experience, we met an amazing woman who was incredibly helpful. There are a lot of hitchhikers in Iceland, it is much more common (and safer) than it is in other parts of the world so we decided that it would be a gook place to try it! If you don't want to hitchhike you can also try sharing a car with other people, or just hook rides with people from the hostel if you are all going to the same place.
Those are some of my tips to staying healthy and saving money while it Iceland! I 100% recommend a trip to this country, we loved every second of our time spent in Iceland, we are already planning our trip back! So we will see you soon Iceland!