If you are going to travel in Iceland the best option is to rent a vehicle to move around the country. And although you can hire a tour, it’s still better to rent a car. In this occasion, I will give you some tricks and tips to travel by motorhome through Iceland, renting a car at a good price, reliable and make your visit complete and unforgettable.
There are dozens of car and motorhome rental companies in Iceland. Just search in Google you will find that there are many and almost all offer the same. Although the one that is usually in the lead by trajectory, options and prices is Northbound and usually gets very good reviews from users as well.
Sometimes renting a car in Iceland can be a little daunting. Since this experience is very different from that of other countries. For this reason, we have decided to divide this guide into several well detailed steps. So you can rent the best car and enjoy the best experience in this beautiful country.
1) Plan the trip
The first thing you should ask yourself is, when is the best time to rent a car in Iceland?
For many the best time to travel to Iceland it’s the summer one, but things are much more expensive. On the other hand, in winter there are fewer tourists and prices are very low both for renting cars and for paying for excursions.
Maybe you can think that travelling by motorhome through Iceland in winter is a good idea because there are much fewer tourists, prices are lower for car rentals and excursions, flights are cheaper, etc.. But no! Don’t make that mistake.
Every year in Iceland there are accidents by tourists who want to tour the country in winter. This is a difficult thing even for the locals. The weather is very bad, the road freezes and there may be storms that leave you unable to move forward.
Never, ever drive around Iceland in the winter. Even the locals avoid it.
The best month to travel to Iceland
Beyond the seasons you can also choose the month that suits you best to plan your trip. Since the price varies from month to month, for example to rent a 4×4 vehicle for four days these are the prices:
January: 59,562 kr. February: 56.739 kr. March: 56.513 kr. April: 59.460 kr. May: 62.493 kr. June: 72.412 kr. July: 93.734 kr. August: 102.906 kr. September: 71.425 kr. October: 52,742 kr. November: 51.059 kr. December: 51.619 kr.
Prices are approximate and may change depending on the vehicle. The prices are in Icelandic koruna for you to make the conversion into the currency of your country.
2) Choose the vehicle that best suits your needs
For this, three very important questions have to be defined: where are you going, how many people do you travel with, and finally, how much luggage do you carry?
By answering this, you will be able to better choose which vehicle to rent for motorhome travel in Iceland.
You should also bear in mind that you must book the rental in advance. Because in high season the vehicles are in great demand, and in addition the economic ones are exhausted first.
Keep in mind the areas you are going to travel to decide the type of vehicle you are going to rent.
If, despite my advice, you have chosen the winter season for better prices, it is best to rent a 4×4 vehicle. Especially if you decide to travel between December and March, when it is most likely to snow. It is also a good option if you decide to travel the northeast of Iceland, where the road has not been paved.
On the other hand, if you choose to travel in summer and want to follow the circular route to visit the most popular places, small or medium vehicles will suffice. However, if you decide to take the upland routes and follow the F roads, then a 4×4 is better.
But bear in mind that it is also important to choose the most appropriate 4×4 vehicle. Because some F roads like the F-35 can be perfectly travelled with a small 4×4. But the F-26 must be driven with a bigger one like a Ford Expedition.
How to rent a car in Iceland?
To rent a car and be able to make your motorhome trip through Iceland is necessary to do a little research.
So you can get the cheapest options, fortunately there are several websites with which you can investigate. For example, Google, Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook y Northbound (the most important caravan rental company in Iceland).
See the opinions of other users before renting a motorhome.
Here the important thing is to compare prices and take into account the opinions of other users. This will allow you to rent the car that has the best rating, although it may be a little more expensive. But the benefit will be great for the experience on your trip.
Is it necessary to pay insurance for the rented car?
Insurance packages are optional and can be very expensive for expensive vehicles, but you should still consider it. It is best to compare vehicle prices with and without insurance.
It is likely that the most expensive car can be cheaper with all the cover, and of course don’t forget to check the “own risk”. Because some car rentals may include your “Super Collision Damage Waiver” insurance.
What should I take into account before renting a car?
It’s always important to read the terms on which you rent the car. Sometimes on the booking page there is a summary, but these are the most important things to keep in mind:
If you can only drive an automatic one, then rent an automatic one. Also keep in mind that you will be able to travel the roads you want to take. And of course, make sure you can fit all the passengers and luggage. Insurance coverage is important as well. You should check what the “Collision Damage Waiver” covers, sometimes covering everything except water damage, undercarriage, gravel damage, tire damage, or ash and sand damage. But this is something that varies between rental agencies. Some agencies tell you that it is necessary to leave a deposit with your credit card to trust your vehicle. This withholding is usually the same amount as the “own risk” of the chosen insurance. So it is advisable to travel with a credit card with a high limit (between 500 and 4000 euros). Verify the “own risk” amount. Because while insurance may cover everything, it doesn’t mean you’re responsible for a certain amount of money. Generally, these insurances have an amount of own risk that is the maximum amount for which you would be responsible. It is very important to check all the details of the insurance and avoid a bad surprise. Sometimes it is advisable to pay a stone protection insurance. For example, if you’re in Reykjavik, it won’t be necessary. But if you plan to drive down the South Coast, the Golden Circlethe ring road or F roads is completely necessary. When it comes to sand and ash insurance it depends strictly on what you will do and when you travel to Iceland. That is to say, this protection is a good idea if you are going to travel near volcanoes or in the sand fields of Iceland. During the months of February, March and April it is necessary to purchase this insurance. On the other hand, during the winter it is not necessary to buy this insurance.
3) Getting to Iceland and looking for the car
If you have already booked your car with a pick-up service at Keflavik airport, you should go to the arrivals hall. You should review the coupon and verify what it says about the collection procedure (if you didn’t print it, there should be a copy in your email).
There are insurances that cover damages such as stones that could destroy part of the vehicle.
The agent may be waiting for you in the arrivals hall with a sign with your name written on it depending on the company with which you contracted the vehicle. Or you might have to take the bus to the car rental area. The bus leaves every 15 minutes, but the truth is that the rental area is 3 minutes walk from the terminal.
If during the reservation you did not verify the terms of the contract, this is the best time to do so before signing. Of course, you must also make sure that the contract price matches the coupon price.
Also be sure to clear up any doubts with the agent. Remember to ask him to show you the mechanics and characteristics of the car. It might even provide you with a map of Iceland if required.
Be very careful with the wind and the animals on the road, they can make you go through a bad time.
Last but not least, check the condition of the car in great detail. That is, check that all pre-existing damages are marked on the agent’s sheet and take some pictures of the car, both inside and out.
4) Explore Iceland
You’ve arrived at your destination, you have your car, it’s time to start your motorhome trip through Iceland.
As you explore this wonderful country and its beautiful landscapes, you should keep in mind some websites. These websites allow you to have regular data about Iceland which is very important.
The climate report is very important. Since you can get updates on how the weather is. In addition, it can indicate the activity of the northern lights.
The web SafeTravel is a database organized by the Icelandic Search and Rescue Association. Provides a lot of information and alerts about events that could jeopardize your trip.
The web Road.is is the best source you can have to verify road condition and safety.
The web GSM Bensin is a feed that shows current fuel prices and where it’s cheapest.
Precautions when travelling by car in Iceland
The Icelandic wind can sometimes be dangerous. So you need to make sure all the doors are locked tightly.
It also holds the door tightly when you open it, because if the wind is too strong it could slip and damage the hinges. This is very common in Iceland and repair can be very expensive. Also make sure you park upwind and keep the door in place.
Always keep your eyes wide open, as sometimes a herd may come across on the way. It is very common that on the roads the sheep cross freely without taking into account the approaching cars. This is especially true in areas with large open fields and grassy mountains.
Many roads in Iceland have gravel. So you have to travel these roads with slow speed, so the rocks won’t come out shot and hit the car. The damage caused by gravel is one of the most popular in rented cars in Iceland. So if you didn’t take out gravel insurance, the repair could be expensive.
5) Return the car and don’t miss your flight
At the end of your motorhome trip through Iceland, you should return your car to the agency and prepare to return to your country. However, it is important to have a window of time in case of any eventuality.
Return the car at least 3 hours in advance to avoid having to run or miss the flight.
It is best to return the car at least 3 hours before the departure of your flight. Since who knows, the office could be busy or there could be some other inconvenience with the car.
You will also be required to return the car with a full tank of fuel, as most rentals are what is called “Full to Full”, meaning that you are given the vehicle with a full tank and you must return it.
So to avoid trouble, make sure you fill the tank before you leave the car. Otherwise, you will be charged an additional fee that could be a little higher than filling the tank yourself.
This is all you need to know. Just follow the steps to the letter to travel by motorhome through Iceland and I assure you that you will have the best experience of all.