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One of my first adventures roaming through Europe has been one of the most memorable. And it all started with the idea of a road trip around Iceland.
Our flight to Paris on WOW Air included a free stopover in Iceland and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to explore the unique country.
Iceland is a pricey country to visit, and the excursions are no different. Travelling on a budget meant day-tours and guided activities were not on our to-do list.
After seeing requests for travel buddies on Couchsurfing, we decided a road trip around Iceland with strangers was the right choice.
How to Road Trip Around Iceland With Strangers
While travelling in a large group means you get to split the cost of your trip, not everyone finds themselves in that position.
So when you’re in a new country with roads waiting to be explored, why not reach out to strangers? By strangers, I mean fellow travellers with a similar itinerary in mind.
Travelling solo (or as a couple) doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to splitting the bill. With the help of the internet and this article, you too can road trip around Iceland with strangers.
Find Strangers for Your Iceland Road Trip
We’ve all been on Tinder by now. So it’s no surprise connecting with people in this era is easier than it has ever been.
Websites like Couchsurfing are filled with travel requests on their forums. And since Iceland is a country best travelled by car, it won’t be rare to find others willing to split the cost of a rental.
I saw a few posts on Couchsurfing and decided to make one of my own with the dates that I planned on being in Iceland. I received a ton of responses and was able to align my plans with others.
While Couchsurfing worked best for me, there are sure to be a number of other websites, boards and forums you can use.
Meet Your Strangers
While I’m all for hitchhiking, if you can meet your group beforehand, the better. This way, you’ll get a better idea of who you’re travelling with.
This is especially important if you’re travelling solo. You want to make sure you’ll be comfortable with the group you’re with so there’s nothing to spoil the fun.
We told all of the travellers who responded that we would rendezvous at a cafe in the afternoon to meet each other and discuss a plan. The cafe was the perfect place for us to relax and get to know each other.
Creating an Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
Once you’ve met your new road trip crew, it’s time to get down to the fun part. It’s best to have a loose plan of where your road trip will take you to optimize your time on the road with your group.
While I wouldn’t recommend sticking to a strict schedule, be sure to highlight landmarks you all want to see. While every traveller is different, making a plan with strangers for a road trip in Iceland is not as hard as you think.
While we may have lucked out with a great group of strangers, everyone was really excited to see anything! It didn’t take much time before we came up with a plan.
We decided to rent a car for two days. One day we would head down to Vik, and the next we would see the Golden Circle.
That being said, we all forgot to plan the time it would take to drive back. Which led to two very tired drivers.
Best Iceland Road Trip Itinerary for Travelling with Strangers (or without)
There are two easy Iceland road trip itinerary options I’d recommend for first timers in Iceland.
Adding the Golden Circle to Your Iceland Road Trip
The Golden Circle is the most popular Iceland road trip either by car or tour. Since this route is so close to Reykjavik, it will be easy to get to and from the sights.
Iceland’s Golden Circle sits off the ring road, taking about half a day to complete. This is great if you only have a short time to see Iceland by car.
The road on the Golden Circle is quite easy to drive as well. The route is easy to handle, making it hard to get lost.
Famous landmarks along the Golden Circle include Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and The Great Geysir.
South Iceland by Car
If you have extra time, or you want to go a bit of the beaten path, a south Iceland road trip might be for you!
Head down to the town of Vik, and you’ll have a number of breathtaking sights to see along the way.
Two of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland sit along this path, and if you make it to Vik before sundown, you’ll be greeted by a black sand beach.
The road headed south isn’t very different than the Golden Circle, just expect a full day excursion for this one (or split the trip into two).
Choose the Best Option to Travel Iceland by Car
This all depends on the size of your group and your budget. You can rent a car, van, camper, or motorhome – there are a lot of options for a road trip around Iceland.
Since we all happened to be budget travellers (birds of a feather), we opted for the cheapest yet reliable rental company. And since there was eight of us in total, splitting the cost into two cars was the most feasible.
Every Road Trip Around Iceland Needs a Driver
Our only options in Iceland were standard vehicles, and while we all had our licenses, only two of us could drive a standard. So it was pretty easy to pick our drivers.
That said, its best to pick a driver who is most comfortable behind the wheel if you can. Nervous drivers will make the entire group nervous, and won’t be able to enjoy a road trip around Iceland themselves!
Seasoned drives and road trip veterans are best for this one.
Include Snacks in Your Iceland Road Trip Itinerary
While you’ll be splitting the cost of the vehicle and gas, you all still need to eat. Be honest about your budget when it comes to planning your trip. This way you can easily decide between stopping at a restaurant or a grocery store.
Since we were all budget travellers, we opted to stock up on groceries at Bonus. We quickly planned together to get materials for sandwiches, and other snacks like granola bars and drinks.
Pitching in for groceries was a great way for us to save money while making sure we were all fed on the road. This allowed us to get more food than we would have on our own too!
That being said, if you already have some food at your guesthouse or hostel, you can bring that to share instead of pitching in dollars.
Enjoy Every Moment of Iceland by Car
While the notes above are important when it comes to planning a road trip around Iceland, don’t forget to enjoy the moment.
A road trip is filled with sights and activities, and with strangers, you’ll have plenty to talk about!
Travelling with a group means you’ll always have someone to take photos of your adventure too!
So, the next time you find yourself travelling alone in Iceland, try a road trip around Iceland with strangers?