Iceland has definitely been a hot destination in 2016. It seemed like everyone was talking about Iceland and posting beautiful photos. After seeing a photo from my friend while she was there, I buckled and immediately booked a flight to head there myself 2 weeks later, in November.
The biggest decision I had to make was whether we were going to rent a car and stay at hotels/guest houses along ring road, or if we should rent a campervan which would act as our transportation and accommodations. After spending a week in a campervan and driving all of Ring road, I can’t imagine seeing Iceland any other way. We rented ours from KuKu campers and were so happy with their customer service and with our van. Here’s my list of pros and cons if you’re trying to decide:
- slightly cheaper (it came to around 300 dollars less to use a campervan, however I did not factor in the cost of the extra gas consumption that a larger vehicle would use. In total we spend about 400 dollars on gas and drove about 2100km. Also keep in mind that we went during the off season so prices would be higher in the summer)
- save money on food cost. We found that the average dinner at a restaurant would cost around 30-60 dollars CAD. By buying groceries from Bonus (a budget grocery store) we were able to make meals for our whole trip for under 200 dollars. We also brought a couple of things from home like mac and cheese, oatmeal and granola bars.
- Don’t need to have a strict agenda. Now this is the BIGGEST benefit in my opinion. This let us look at the temperature when we first landed and we decided to go around Iceland clockwise as the weather up north was slightly nicer than in the south. This also let’s you figure out where you’re more likely to see the Northern lights and adjust your route accordingly. It also let us stay longer in some areas and cut other areas shorter depending on how we liked it.
- You feel more connected with nature
- If you ever needed a mid day nap or you were tired of driving, you could easily hang out in the back of your campervan.
- Can pretty much be by yourself the whole time. This can be a con depending on your personality but it was a nice break from the chaos of Toronto. We went 6 days without really interacting or seeing anyone. Just us, and beautiful mother nature.
- We had everything with us at all times so if the weather changed quickly and it started pouring rain, we had our wet gear already with us instead of back at a hotel.
- Let’s you roll with the flow. The weather in Iceland can be predictable. We got caught up in a bad storm and were able to just camp out for the night rather than being forced to drive to our next accommodations to keep a schedule.
- no washroom. But honestly, all the public washrooms we used were super clean and at night you can stay at campsites which have showers and toilets. We were never in a situation where we absolutely needed a washroom and couldn’t find out.
- in the winter, you could get cold depending on your campervan’s heater. Ours lasted about 8 hours on the battery. There were nights when we were so exhausted that we went to bed at 9pm. Which mean around 5am, the heater would stop running.
- For inexperienced drivers, a campervan may be more challenging to drive, especially around winding mountains. And if you’re going in the winter, keep in mind that the days are short so much of your driving will be done in the dark. And there streets are not lined with street lights so it’s pitch dark out.
- on windy evenings, you can really hear the wind on your van and it shakes it a bit so if you’re a light sleeper, this might be an option. I personally loved it and it made me feel like I was camping.
- You can’t really do laundry. Our boots got really wet one day when we hiked during a storm and had to hold them up to the van’s heater while we were driving to try to dry them out.
- Hard to charge devices. We had a converter that we plugged into the cigerette lighter of our van which kept our phones charged but if you have a lot of devices, you might find it challenging to keep everything charged.
- Hard to meet other people
- sometimes it was hard to find an open campsite in the winter. However, many campsites although closed, do leave their gates open so you can still go and park in there but the washrooms were closed.
- Uses more gas than a regular car. However, ours took diesel so it was a little bit cheaper.
We had originally rented a smaller category B van that was big enough for 2 people, however we were upgraded into a category c van and I can honestly say that it would have been more than enough room for at least 4 adults.
We named our van lil’ Sabastian and after 2 days, we were just absolutely in love with this little guy. He really did feel like home and helped us see so many different parts of Iceland. We loved cooking on the little butane cooker and having a sink was a nice luxury although really not required.
To get a full tour of the inside of our campervan, check out my Youtube video!
Here’s our map of places you can visit in Iceland