A Thrifty Black Girl’s Solo Trip to Iceland on a Budget

If you haven’t noticed via Instagram, my cousin Krista is my favorite travel buddy. We’ve traveled to at least five countries together on flight deals and a budget. Over the summer she found a cheap flight to Iceland, but due to my long trips to Mexico and Morocco, I had to sit this one out. After not finding anyone to travel with, Krista decided to travel to Iceland solo. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, it gets pretty expensive. Today Krista is sharing some activities from her solo trip to Iceland and things to do on a 4-day trip to Iceland on a budget.

A Thrifty Black Girl's Guide to Traveling to Iceland on a Budget

Flight from NYC to Iceland

Leaving JFK, the cost of my flight from NYC to Iceland was $302.67 on Iceland Air. The flight was not full and I was able to move 12 seats up. Alcoholic beverages and food were available for purchase, but I packed a $4 turkey and cheese sandwich (condiments in separate little packages) from a Bodega in Queens and a $1 Chobani Yogurt. My flight from NYC to Iceland was about 5-6 hours; know thy belly. 😉 Many cities on the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwestern parts of the U.S offer flights to Reykjavik daily.

Getting Around Iceland: Rent a Car!

Renting a car is one of the most convenient ways of getting around Iceland. I went with ACE Car Rental and the car rental office is 1 block from Reykjavik Airport. I paid $178 USD or ISK18879.0 for a Hyundai Elantra for 4 days and immediately realized there was no GPS. One vehicle over, I overheard a couple from New York also going into the city and they, in fact, had a GPS so I stalked followed them on a dark empty highway for 45 minutes. After visiting 3 gas stations and a drunk person almost attacking me, I made it to my hotel. When renting a car in Iceland, make sure you’re ready to pay for gas because prices are around $7.50 a gallon. Winter weather in Iceland can be harsh. If you’re visiting Iceland during the winter and are not an experienced driver, use shuttle and taxi services.

Traveling to Iceland on a Budget: Low-Cost and Free Things to Do in Reykjavik

My solo trip to Iceland was on a budget so I didn’t purchase any of the tours. All of my Reykjavik sightseeing was done alone after doing research. I walked around a lot, and used my rental car and a physical map. If you don’t rent a car, you can also arrange tours from your hotels in Reykjavik. Here are some low-cost and free things to do in Reykjavik.

  • Hallgrímur’s Church (Hallgrímskirkja): Walking distance from hotel *Free – If you want to go to the top, there is a suggested admission of $10 USD. Iceland’s tallest and largest church is also its most photographed site. Named after 17th-century hymn writer and church scholar Reverend Hallgrímur Pétursson.
  • Harpa: Walking distance from hotel *Free – One of Reykjavik’s easiest structures to recognize is its concert hall and conference center
  • Laugavegur: For open-air shopping, stroll along Laugavegur. This shopping-centric street is filled with boutiques selling souvenirs, clothing, and specialty foods
  • Perlan: Walking and driving distance from the hotel – The view from the top is amazing. There was an actual Glacier you can walk through.  Admission is around $20- $25 USD.
  • Solfar (Sun Voyager): Walking distance from hotel *Free – This steel sculpture, which was designed by Jon Gunnar Arnason, mimics a Viking ship and pays homage to the sun.
  • Golden Circle: Driving Distance *FreeIceland’s Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. It is the area that contains most tours and travel-related activities in Iceland.
  • Blue Lagoon Spa: Driving Distance *Free – If you want to visit the Blue Lagoon, there is an admission for entry, slippers, towels, and every little thing costs money. Not only is there a cost, but you must reserve a spot online in advance starting at $58.  I was satisfied with walking through the facility for FREE99. The Blue Lagoon is a 15-20-minute drive to the airport and my last stop on the trip. I visited the morning before going back home.
  • Search for the Northern Lights: Visiting Iceland and seeing the Northern Lights isn’t 100% guaranteed, but you can see the natural wonder with Reykjavik excursions on a Northern Lights Tour.
A Thrifty Black Girl's Guide to Traveling to Iceland on a Budget

Read More Travel Guides Below

A Quick Guide to Visiting Marrakech in 2 Days

What to Pack for Europe in the Winter

3 Days in Barcelona: Things to Do and See

Have you done a solo trip to Iceland before?

15 thoughts on “A Thrifty Black Girl’s Solo Trip to Iceland on a Budget

  1. Cottonhead Jones says:

    I’m looking forward to going to Iceland and thank you for answering my questions. Admittedly I was skittish about going to Iceland (as a Black unicorn, I have to be cautious). I plan to go twice this year: summer – looking forward to swimming in Seljavallalaug Pool and in the winter – hoping to see the Northern Lights.

  2. Cottonhead Jones says:

    Thank you so much for answering my questions re: traveling to Iceland. It’s been on my bucket list of places to visit and admittedly, I was a little skittish (since I’m a Black unicorn and I have to be cautious). I’m looking forward to my trips – summer: looking to swim in the Seljavallalaug Pool and Christmas: hoping to see the Northern Lights.

  3. Tiffany H. says:

    I have never traveled to Iceland, but ever time I see pics of the blue lagoon, it makes me want to hop on the plane and go. She didn’t mention food, I heard that food is very expensive.

  4. Kiwi says:

    I will be honest I was not interested in going to Iceland. I know the lagoons are there but other than that its was too cold for me to just put that on my to visit list. Well I had no idea the Blue Lagoon spa was free wow?!!

  5. staciesayzso says:

    I’ve never thought to visit Iceland before. Since I’m in Minnesota anything with ice in the name just scares me even though I know it’s not bad.

  6. Kita says:

    Iceland definitely didn’t cross my mind for travel. The name alone reads cold to me but I am definitely intrigued by her experience.

  7. Marliceia says:

    I never considered going to Iceland, but now you have put it on my radar. I’m going to do some research and add it to my list. I have a lot of world to see. Thank you for the tips.

  8. Crystal Nicole says:

    I’ve never considered going to Iceland or traveling alone but they both sound like great choices! I don’t know if I can handle the cold though.

  9. Sheena Steward says:

    I’m very frugal so this trip was right up my alley. I was reading and calculating the prices like yooo I could totally make this happen. So glad you had a great time on a budget. Thanks for the inspo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: