We were warned that Iceland was going to be expensive…very expensive. Our two hamburgers with minimal vegetables and one tray of fries cost near 35 U.S. dollars. We did not dare to buy another tray of fries nor bought any drinks — this would have added another 10 dollars to our meal.
So how did we “bootstrap” one of the most expensive countries in the world?
- We took advantage of our complimentary (generous) breakfast buffet each day we were there. We made sure breakfast was our largest meal for the day. And we packed a few things from the buffet.
- Buy snacks at the grocery stores.
- Bring a reusable water bottle — there’s a potable water everywhere!
- Face the facts that produce is going to be EXPENSIVE even if you are shopping in a budget grocery store. The produce aisle in Iceland is small. In California, our produce aisle takes about one-third of the store. In Iceland the produce aisle is a small shelf, while the cured meats and cheese had large section to have its own refrigerated room. Think about it, if you have seen the landscape in Iceland there is barely any vegetation and I must add, very few trees. The fruit and vegetables are either imported or grown in greenhouses which explains the high cost. This leads me back to taking advantage of the hotel breakfast buffet — we packed some fruit for our day trips.
- When it comes to buying souvenirs from ornaments to chocolate, it is better to buy them at the airport. If only we knew earl ier– there’s no sales tax in the airport which is why chocolate was cheaper than in any grocery store we’ve been to.
- Take advantage of the free things to do around Reykjavik – Just like living in Los Angeles, we take advantage of the things that are free: hiking, free musuem days, views, going to the beach. Reykjavik is a small city, but we still seek for things that were free such as:
Going into the Harpa Concert Hall
Northern Light Center – I highly recommend going to there before going out to the Northern Lights. You learn the science of how the Northern Lights are produced, what the expect, and you get to practice your camera skills on a Northern Lights simulator.
Go to the lake in the center of town. When the lake turns into ice, this turns into an instant park. I swear this really is a lake once all the snow and ice is melted.
Hang around the Hallgrímskirkja Church
Admire the Christmas decorations around town
… the public art
…and views from the harbor