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Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Boston...
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Self drive: tour company or on our own?

I am just beginning to plan for September to drive the Ring. We hope to do 7-8 days.

I see that some people use tour companies that arrange your accomodation on your drive, and others rent cars and arrange accomodation themselves.

Is there a preferable way? Is one generally less expensive than the other?

Thank you

Reykjavik, Iceland
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1. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Yeah... Hamlet had a similar dilemma - slightly different subject though.

I think there's no 'right / wrong' with this question. It depends where you place the emphasis, what is important for you. Some folks have great fun organizing the whole vacation (and by the way, it takes a lot of time to organize a self drive), whereas for others, the work involved and the learning involved would be a burden, and would gladly have it done, ready-to-go.

As for prices, I think it's 'obvious' that a person can scrap endlessly from costs when you D.I.Y. And some say that the trouble doesn't pay off.

I don't think anybody can give an objective answer to that - won't it always be based on our own personal preferences, experience, and budget?

Best regards!

Bangor NI
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2. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Myself and two friends are going to Iceland in May. We were tempted to opt for the organised self-drive tour.

As we had plenty of time, we decided to do it ourselves. Doing your own research on routes, what to see and where to stay will give you a better knowledge of the country.

We certainly used websites such as tour.is as a guide to what is possible within our timescale and an idea of where to stay.

Buy a map and start from there ...

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Flannan-

Diane's answer is a good one. If you want to reserve a trip and not think about it until your plane lands, tours will take care of nearly everything for you. However, if you enjoy having control over what you do each day, where you stay, and where you pull off of the road to take photos, a self-tour is preferable. I should note that there are private guides who will plan everything to your whim, and this is the best of both worlds, but the cost will reflect that! For two people, I would venture that self-touring is cheapest. I self-toured in Iceland last year from August 31-September 6 (Westfjords, Snaefellsnes, Reykjavik/Golden Circle), and will be self-touring again this year from June 7-14 (Ring Road). I loved it but keep in mind that this involved hours of poring over forums, looking at pictures online, reading a Lonely Planet guide from cover to cover. I loved the planning but I have friends who scoffed and said they would have done this on the plane ride over! If you do choose to self-tour, this forum is a great resource for planning an itinerary. And, for that matter, getting recommendations for specific tours, should you go that route.

Cris P

Boston...
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4. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Thank you all. I always self drive and enjoy the planning and research. however,when I started reading here it seemed most self-drive had the route and accomodation planned for them by a company. I wondered if there was a particular reason for that.I havent seen so much of that in other countries.

I wasn't sure if perhaps accomodation was cheaper getting it through a package or something. I did some off the cuff pricing for accomodation for September and found a lot of well reviewed places have no availability already. I was wondering if they reserve rooms for the tour companies and that is why they were already booked.

Thank again. I am very excited abotu Iceland!

5. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

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Boston...
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6. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

I have a Lonely Planet from the library and will check out the Brandt. Thanks!

Expect lots of further questions from me. :-)

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

On my last trip I used AirBnB, mostly, with one hotel booked on booking.com; this trip will be the reverse. I find that many of the small inns and B&Bs do not have current, updated websites and that even some that do make you check availability through a third-party site, which smacdvanbc has said. My advice is to use booking.com or a similar site, and to check reviews and photos on TripAdvisor. If you really want a well-reviewed hotel that is showing no availability, it doesn't hurt to call the hotel to inquire directly. It is possible that blocks of rooms are saved for tour companies but that a direct call could get you one of those rooms.

I just booked 6 different hotel/inn/B&B stays over 7 nights last night, and found that the only area I will visit that has some completely sold-out accommodation is near Jokulsarlon and Skaftafell. Luckily, I found a place very close. For what it's worth, my 7 nights in June, all at well-reviewed places that have overwhelmingly-positive comments and user photos, will cost 700 USD/528 EUR.

Boston...
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8. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Double post deleted

Edited: 04 February 2014, 22:00
Boston...
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9. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

Wow! That's very economical. I'd better get busy.

10. Re: Self drive: tour company or on our own?

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Removed on: 10 February 2014, 08:09
Edited: 10 February 2014, 08:09