Travel has changed a lot over time. In the past, the only options available were those offered by travel agents. Now, we have plenty of information available online. That allows most travelers to create a customized experience. You can decide how, when and where you go. So that everything is done correctly, organization is a must, and so is planning. That applies to any type of journey, including when you plan a trip to Iceland. Today we will provide some tips and tricks so you can get it right. Just like a pro travel agent would!

How to plan a road trip on Iceland's Ring Road

Yes, I know that the future is unpredictable, so we are unable to control everything. But planning is not about control; it means preparing for different situations and making better decisions. This way, we can make the most of our trip. No one likes stressful and complicated travel. Planning helps us to keep things simple and flexible. Ok, let’s get into this with planning mode on!

Planning a Trip to Iceland: How long and when?

I’m well aware that Iceland is an astonishing country. There are thousands of points of interest all across our country that no one should miss. But the truth is, not everybody has a whole month to travel freely around the island.

It is important to know how long we will stay in Iceland. This way we can narrow down the itinerary. As much as many travelers wish, it is not possible to cover the whole nation if you only have five days to stay on the Nordic island.

Knowing when to travel can make a huge difference. High season in Iceland is completely different from the low season. Prices can be 50% lower depending on the season. Also, Iceland nature is radically different: depending on the weather and time of year, it can either be a winter wonderland or a lovely scenery of green pastures. You need to decide which option you prefer and what you can afford.

The Weather Factor When Planning Your Iceland Trip

A planning list for an Icelandic trip wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t add the weather factor into it. Iceland is all about nature…and the weather. It changes regularly and is very humid, rainy and windy. Subtle differences depend on the season, so it is crucial to know what to pack. Proper clothing will save you from the harsh Icelandic weather. We have several articles about the weather all year long, be sure to check them to get an idea of what type of clothes you need to pack for Iceland.

Plan a trip to Iceland and pack your yellow raincoat!

The Travel Budget for Your Iceland Trip

We can’t deny it; money enables you to travel. So it should be one of the first things to think about. Now that we know how long we can stay in Iceland, we need to know how much we can spend. Therefore, we need to calculate a possible daily budget, and this requires some preparation.

Iceland is not a cheap country, so knowing the average price for hotels, transportation, activities, and food is a must. That will allow you to make a comparison between different types of travel and which one fits your needs better. Try to calculate what your daily budget will be and keep some extra cash on hand for any unforeseen situations. Personally, on most of my trips, an unexpected expense comes up. Having the money to cover it definitely puts your mind at ease.

Methods of Traveling

We already know how long we can stay and how much we can spend. It is now time to decide how you will travel while in Iceland. Something that I love about this place is the fact that the country allows several types of travel. And all of them are pretty cool! You can make a road trip on a motorhome or a campervan and spend the night at campsites. You can get a rental car and book a hotels. You can mix your road trip with planes and ferries. Or you can join a travel agency or tour operator excursion and so on.

Every type of travel has its own advantages and disadvantages; nothing is perfect. But there will surely be an option that will suit your needs better.

Road trips using motorhomes and campervans provide more flexibility and are one of the cheapest options. You can sleep in the vehicle, which will save a lot of money when it comes to accommodation. You can prepare meals with the car’s cooking facilities, which will also save time and money. If you plan on spending five days or more in Iceland, this is a great option to consider. Driving your rental car while sleeping at hotels is also a fantastic alternative but it is a bit more expensive compared to renting a motorhome or a campervan. If you plan to spend just a couple of days in Iceland, this is probably the way to go. Finally, a travel agent’s organized trips can be costly but are recommended for certain excursions such as Askja.

Plan a trip to Iceland in car, camper, or motorhome

Plan a Trip to Iceland: Route and Itinerary

Now is the fun part: deciding on all the places you want to visit and things you want to see.  Here are some tips:

  • Try to be realistic: try to keep it as flexible and simple as possible. I know you don’t want to miss a single thing but rushing from one place to the next is not a great idea. At the end of the day, you won’t be able to enjoy each site properly.
  • Avoid a lot of driving: if you add tons of places on in just one day, you will spend several hours driving, and the trip you dreamed of will eventually become a chore. The point is to experience Icelandic nature, not to be stuck in a car seat for hours on end.
  • Clock-wise or counterclockwise? If you are on a short stay, this probably doesn’t matter. But if you plan on going around the Ring Road, usually, I recommend doing the route counter-clockwise. There are several points of interest along the South Coast and eastern region of Iceland. Save more time for these areas. If you need to rush back to Reykjavik from the north or west of Iceland, you won’t miss as many sites.
  • Gas stations: You should also add gas stations and campsites to your itinerary. Iceland is not like many other countries where you can find gas stations every few miles or kilometers.  Several areas on the island are so remote and inhabited that the next gas station in Iceland can be 300km (180+ miles) away! It’s necessary to know precisely where the next stop to fill up your tank is.

How Do I Plan a Trip to Iceland?

Congratulations! You made it to the bottom of the list. That means you are fully prepared to start planning the trip of a lifetime to Iceland. These are the basic instructions, and they always work out well for me. I’ve tested them several times.

Feel free to add other suggestions to plan the perfect trip to Iceland. Reading other traveler’s experiences can also help people to get an idea of what to expect and what to plan for.  But do remember, keep it simple. It’s not about controlling every single aspect of your trip. It is about enjoying Iceland as much as you can!

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