We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
902 posts
218 reviews
Save Topic
DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Starting to think about a trip for next year, and I want to see as much of the island as possible. Initially, I was planning on signing up for a self-drive tour with one of the local companies (Iceland Unlimited, Nordic Visitor, etc), but I'm trying to determine if I wouldn't be better off doing my own thing, that way I'm not tied to day 1, be here, day 2, be here, so on.

I can see the advantages of an arranged tour, ease of organising accommodation and tours, someone to fall back if it all goes pear shaped, and I daresay that as long as I'm in my booked accommodation by nightfall, I can do whatever the heck I want during the day, but in the back of my mind is a feeling that I'm spending over the odds for something I'm just too lazy or witless to do myself.

What I probably need to do is work out how much car hire (w/GPS) + accommodation + mobile phone would cost for 2 weeks and see exactly how much 'over the odds' I'm paying and determine if it's worth it. Any thoughts?

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1,115 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Plenty of info already here in the forum, but keep in mind that much accomodation books out well before Summer, if that's when you're coming. You could book AirBnb www.airbnb.com/tell-a-friend… accomodation with a flexible cancellation policy and shift dates as needed, if space is available, otherwise camping will let you plan day-by-day.

Definitely more flexible with your own car...

San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
399 posts
263 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

I booked my accomodations for a July trip in February and had difficulty reserving anything at that time, so I think the only way to be loose about where you want to stay is probably camping + some hostels? And the hostels must book too.

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
902 posts
218 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Tks both. Just to be clear, if I do it myself, I'll still be hiring a car over there (which seems like a fraught enough exercise in Iceland) and staying in hotels classed as 'comfort'. I'm too old for Air B+B and camping :) So I'd be following roughly the same itinerary as the tour companies and I'd be paying for the same car and similar accommodation as the self-drive tours will get me.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1,115 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

2wd car and 'budget' hotel would probably be 200 Euro per day. Then fuel, food, entrance fees...

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
902 posts
218 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Oh now that's helpful, Vanilla_Iceland. My current options average between 230p/n and 380p/n (I think I did that one wrong), but knowing that car hire+accommodation is about that much helps me to decide if I think the extra is worth it. Thank you very much

Hampshire, UK
Level Contributor
1,016 posts
103 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

We did a week tour of the ring road in Nov and paid total £1,000 each all in for flights, 4x4 hire, fuel (split between 4 people), B&B accommodation in small family run hotels and all food & drink.

We paid £45 a night each for B&B all booked on booking.com once I'd done our route. I reviewed all the hotels bar the second night at Hotel Vik so if you look at my profile you can work our our route.

Car hire with blue car rental a Suzuki grand Vitara which came with GPS.

Flights with wow air.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1,115 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Parrotfish - I'm guessing that yours was a fair bit cheaper due to the 4-share? B&B was 4 people in one room, not 4 rooms?

Bradford, Yorkshire
Level Contributor
575 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

I dId 10 nights a few years ago, and I'm booked for another 10 nights later this year. I reckon booking myself in advance was at least 600 Euros less than an arranged self drive tour, and some of my hotels are more expensive. The main reason was to plan my own route, staying in the hotels I select, and for as long as I arranged.

One point to note is that out of peak season prices are noticeably cheaper. Peak season finishes at the end of August (I think it begins at the start of June) and I'm there early in September. One of my hotels with the biggest difference drops from 235 to 115 Euros between seasons for a superior room - 120 Euros a night less!

My booked vehicle is a 4x4 + my10 hotel nights, double rooms, B&B = about £1800 in September. Obviously much less for a 2wd car, also less for 'comfort' hotels, but dearer if in summer. Hope this helps.

Edited: 06 July 2014, 22:19
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
902 posts
218 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

It does tks. The more I read about the various tours, the less I want to be tied down to go to A, do stuff, sleep there, next day go to B, do stuff, sleep there. I'm aware though that most of the companies offer a more bespoke option, so I'm going to do some initial investigation of prices for car and accommodation so I'll know in advance if what they offer is wildly overpriced

Bradford, Yorkshire
Level Contributor
575 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: DIY or a la carte self-drive?

Your posts suggest you are travelling solo. I've done a quick recalculation of my 10 nights as base single rooms in the same hotels, with shared facilities where available, for both Peak and Off Peak.

I also priced a 2wd car, one step up from the basic with the same company.

Depending on your actual dates, I reckon Off Peak would be close to £1200, and Peak around £1500. Different hotels could reduce the price further.

Edited: 08 July 2014, 00:58