Car rental vs. bus tours
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Mar 27, 2012 5:38 AM Last Post By: dodelektrod
Mar 4, 2012 6:31 PM
Car rental vs. bus toursI'm planning a trip to Iceland with my sister at the beginning of April and I'm trying to figure out whether it makes more sense to rent a car or just do bus tours. We'll be there for 7 days and Orbitz is offering a car rental through Budget for only $250 for the whole time. Considering the fact that we were both planning on doing tours of Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle (which would come out to about $130 for each of us) it seems like it makes more sense to just rent a car since it would give us the opportunity to travel around the country quite a bit more. But I have a few questions.
1) How expensive is gas? And how prevalent are gas stations? The Lonely Planet guidebook has made it sound like they're somewhat few and far between and it would be a nightmare to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Also, do gas stations accept American credit cards?
2) Has anyone booked a car rental through Budget? I've never rented a car before so I'm just wondering if there are any hidden fees I need to look out for. I know that insurance is an extra 1500 ISK per day and that there's a fee for an additional driver but it still seems like it might be worth it. I'd love any insider advice you may have.
3) I've heard about the notorious Icelandic weather. Is driving hazardous?
We'd originally been planning to stick close to Reykjavik for the whole week with the exception of the two tours and maybe some of the nearby suburbs but a car seems like it would offer much more freedom. I just want to make sure I know what I'm getting into before I make a reservation. Thank you in advance!
Edited by: mezzanine27
Mar 5, 2012 1:14 AM
11) Gas is very expensive. Not the most expensive in the world, but still very expensive. It's around 250 Ikr. per litre of 95 octane unleaded right now.
There is a gas station in almost every town and along the most travelled highways. It's in the highlands and along the south coast that they are few and far between.
4) Driving can be hazardous in Iceland at any time of the year because of the weather. In April you could easily run into foul winter weather with snowstorms and icy roads, or lashing rain and wind, but you might also get lucky and get nice weather the whole time.
Mar 5, 2012 4:51 AM
2Don't be put off by post #1. You'll value having use of a car in a week. Yes, you might be held up by some snow in April, but it will rarely last longer than a day: just make sure you keep an eye on the forecast and leave a little time in hand to get back to Reykjavik at the end. Fuel isn't much more expensive than most the rest of western Europe. And even on the south coast it is never more than about 100km to the next filling station.
Mar 6, 2012 8:28 AM
31) Don't panic about running out of fuel. Finding gasoline around Reykjavik is as straightforward as it is in any other mid-sized city in the western world. Towns and villages along the Ring Road generally have at least one gas station; along the south coast I don't think there's any stretch of more than about 30 km between stations. For peace of mind, fill up the tank when you get down to half full, but don't panic. There are long stretches between stations if you're crossing the sandur east of Vik (on towards Klauster, Skaftafell, and Hofn), but even then it's less than 100 km between stops. Many stations in rural areas are just one or two unmanned, self-service, automated, 24-hour, pay-at-the-pump systems; manned stations accept credit cards or cash.
You can generally use your North American credit cards at Icelandic pumps. Note that you will need to know your credit card's PIN. It's also a good idea to advise your credit card company that you will be in Iceland before you travel, as otherwise your card may be declined at the pump. Most pumps provide instructions in English. When paying at the pump by credit card, you will usually be prompted to enter a purchase amount to pre-authorise; you will then be able to pump fuel up to this amount--if you pump less, your card will only be charged for the amount you actually used.
Self-driving in Iceland is a great way to travel, and there's no reason to be worried.
Mar 26, 2012 11:38 AM
4Hi there - if you pay for the rental car with a credit card you may already be covered with car insurance and will not have to buy the extra from the rental company. Call your credit card company beforehand and ask if they offer the coverage. It's not something you pay for, your credit card either has it or it doesn't. (For example, my boyfriend's Mastercard does and we have confirmed with them that they provide CDW for car rentals under 30 days and loss/theft protection for your belongings, etc. (At least, this information is accurate for holders of American and Canadian credit cards.)
You can try http://www.priceline.com for car rental prices as well.
Mar 27, 2012 5:38 AM
51) The gas is more than 260 ISK now, so expensive
2) I wanted to rent from Budget, but the friend of mine told me I should try some local companies. I checked the offer of SADcars, cheepjeep, but decided to rent from ICR ( http://www.iceland-car-rental.com ). I was quite happy.
3) Driving can be very hazardous in the windy days (most of the days actually).
Have a nice trip!!
Edited by: dodelektrod
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