A Thrifty Black Girl’s Guide to Iceland on a Budget

Did you know you could visit 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.

Iceland on a budget + Iceland in 4 days + 4 days in Iceland

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. ūüėČ 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 a 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.

Hallgr√≠mur’s Church (Hallgr√≠mskirkja): 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 Hallgr√≠mur P√©tursson.

Harpa: Walking distance from hotel *Free

One of Reykjavik’s easiest structures to recognize is its concert hall and conference center


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 *Free

Iceland’s Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjav√≠k 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.

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3 Days in Barcelona: Things to Do and See

A Thrifty Black Girl's Guide to Traveling to Iceland on a Budget + 4 days in iceland

Have you done a solo trip to Iceland before?

15 thoughts on “A Thrifty Black Girl’s Guide 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. Jamila says:

    I’ve never been to Iceland, I’ve never thought about traveling there before. From the photos looks like a nice place to visit.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?!!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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