From our blog
For the best choice it’s best to book well in advance. There are a range of operators and some like Budget have desks right inside the terminal building at Keflavik Airport for maximum convenience. If you plan to visit Iceland in the summer months, you should reserve your vehicle as far ahead as you can. SUVs and the best value economy classes sometimes sell out, leaving late bookers with less variety. If your group has particular needs, such as a requirement for a larger than average vehicle or a preference for a 4x4, then getting organised means you won’t risk being disappointed.
This is perhaps the biggest mistake travellers make when planning their Iceland road trip. You won’t need a 4x4 for most of the ring road as it’s a well-maintained asphalt surface. If you’re visiting Iceland in summer when the weather isn’t likely to be snowy or icy, there’s no need to increase the budget to secure a 4x4. Be careful when you pull off the road into the parking lots, as some of these can be a little uneven, but if you take it slowly, you won’t damage your bumper or paintwork. If you’re planning significant detours off the road in East Iceland or the Westfjords, then it pays to rent an all-wheel drive vehicle. And if you are keen to venture into the highland interior, then a high clearance SUV is a must.
Sometimes, it’s best to wait, but for those who have definite plans, paying up front can save you money on the total cost of your rental car. Check the small print to make sure you can reschedule your booking if your plans change unexpectedly – thanks to the pandemic, this is more common than it once was. You might also be able to split the bill: secure a lower total price by paying in advance but add on extras such as roadside assistance or additional drivers when you get to the desk. No matter how tight your budget is, don’t be tempted to skimp on insurance.
As travellers prefer the convenience of picking up a hire car at the airport, it sometimes pays to do the exact opposite. Sometimes you can save big by opting to collect your car in Reykjavik rather than at Keflavik Airport. There’s a caveat – you’ll need to check the current COVID restrictions to ensure that you are eligible for public transport transfers from the airport to the city. The Flybus restarts on June 1st and at the time of writing, only those arriving from countries designated as high risk wouldn’t be permitted on board. But if you are eligible, and you don’t mind carrying your own luggage for a bit, then you’ll save money on your car hire.
Likewise, don’t automatically think you should keep the rental car for the entire duration of your trip. If you’re planning a few days in Reykjavik at the beginning or end of your Icelandic road trip, then booking a central hotel could be a smart move. You won’t need to pay for car hire for those days and there’ll be no need to worry about finding suitable parking. Even if your hotel is in the suburbs, don’t rule this option out as Reykjavik has an extensive bus network and fares are reasonable. If you do decide to venture further afield you can always join one of the many excellent tours on offer.