Iceland on a budget
Traveling in Iceland on a holiday is never giong to be very cheap. Iceland is an island in the Atlantic, everything the is not locally grown or otherwise produced is going to be imported. Fresh fruit and vegitables are flown in dayly from all over the world so there is no nee to worry, you can buy pretty much anything in Iceland and it will be top quality, but you will also have to pay top dollar for it, or Krona, since that is the Icleandic currency. Entering Iceland by air you will land at Keflavik international airport, a good 40 to 50 minutes outside of Reykjavik. A bus service is operated between Reykjavík and Keflavík International Airport where buses leave for Reykjavík on a regular bases. You can also return from Reykjavik via the BSÍ bus terminal where buses leave 2.5 hours before flight departure. The fare is ISK 1.700 one way for adults and ISK 850 one way for children 12-15 years. Prices are subject to rate list 2009. However, taking the bus is by far the cheapest option as a cab fare to Reykjavík for a four-passenger taxi is approximately ISK 10.000.
But getting around Reykjavik is does not have to be expensive if you avouid the taxi services which are anything but cheap. You can however either walk pretty much anywhere in Reykjavik or take the local bus. You can travel throughout the greater Reykjavik area for about 300 kronur but you need to have the exact change, or buy a ticket in advance. If you need to take more than one bus to get to where you need to go, just tell the driver that you need to change buses and you'll be given another ticket to use for the next bus. If you intend to be in Reykjavik for more than two days, it is probably worth buying a set of discounted tickets at one of the bus stations.
Traveling Iceland on the ring road on a budget is not easy. However there is an extensive bus service to most parts of the country and to the highlands, as well as a large number of organized bus tours. Reservations are generally not necessary and tickets to pretty much any region of Iceland can be bought either at the bus station or directly from the driver.
The ultimate budet tourist in Iceland may want to consider camping in Iceland. There are many Camping sites in Iceland with good facilities, showers and bathrooms and many are close to swimming pools in Icleand. Camping with no more than three tents is permitted on uncultivated, privately owned land all around Iceland for a single night, unless the landowner has posted a notice to the contrary. However, campers should always use designated campsites where they do exist. You should never camp close to farms without permission because that would be rude but most farmers in Iceland are friendly and helpful people wo more often than not speak english. However if a group of more than three tents is involved campers must seek permission from the landowner before setting up camp outside marked campsite areas.
Biking around Iceland is cheap but very difficult, there are many hills and mountains and towns are few and far between. But the landscape is brilliant and nature in Iceland should be enjoyed at a slow pace. Cyclists should however follow roads or cycle tracks where they exist and be aware that some paths are not able to withstand cycle traffic. In such cases biking is restricted and a sign put up.
Hitchhiking is probably the cheapest way of getting around in Iceland. Iceland is among the safest places in the world, people are quite friendly and the percentage of drivers who do give rides is high, especially in the off-season. However, if you plan to hitchhike in Iceland be aware of the fact that low traffic in areas outside Reykjavik makes hitchhiking in Iceland more of an endurance challenge than it may appear at first glance. Even on the main ring-road the frequency of cars is often less than one car per hour. Nearly all Icelanders speak English and as it happens most drivers are interested in conversations, some will even become a kind of local guide telling you all about Icleand and its culture and history.
Avoid hitching after nightfall tough, especially on Friday and Saturday night, not because of any particular danger but because it is harder to see people at night and therefore you put yourself at a greater risk and also because the weekends are when alcohol is at hand. Alcohol consumption is high in Iceland especially near the center of Reykjavik at the weekends, that's when Reykjavik comes alive and the nightlife is legendary. Unfortunetly alcohol-related accidents are not uncommon. Hitchhiking into the center of Icleand is tough, but everything works if you have enough time, you should calculate in days, not in hours. A good tio for lor longer distances or less touristic areas be prepared with some food, water and a tent. Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast as it can be awful and sometimes spoils the fun of this way of travelling.
Finally here are some budget shopping tips. When shopping for food or other basic necessities, look for the Bónus or Krónan shops, as they offer considerably lower prices than the others. This is at the expense of quality, of course. Downtown Reykjavik is also home to several second-hand stores like Red Cross and Salvation Army, which can come in handy for buying cheap warm layers. Expect to spend around 650 to 900 ISK on a pint of beer or glass of wine, 1500 to 2000 ISK on a pizza for one person, 350 ISK on a city bus ride and 330 to 500 ISK for a coffee or espresso drink. Cigarettes cost around 950 ISK for a packet of 20. Be aware that the law in Iceland states that cigarettes must not be visible in shops, however most gas stations, supermarkets and newsagents sell them.