Iceland RV Rental Adventures: 53 Things To Know Before You Go

The RV Atlas Podcast
Iceland RV Rental Adventures: 53 Things To Know Before You Go

Have you ever dreamed of booking an Iceland RV Rental and taking an epic road trip across the country? We have had that dream for many years–and recently turned it into a reality. The kids stayed at home for this one–and the trip was very much a sneak peek of what travel might look like for us when they fly the coop. We booked a 22 foot (automatic) motorhome rental from Rent Easy Iceland and had an incredible experience with them from start to finish. Below are are 53 things you should know before you go. Read this post so you are prepared and ready to have the trip of a lifetime.

To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie talk about 53 things you need to know before you take an RV rental  trip to Iceland–click on the media player above or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows.

Use code rvatlas10 for 10 percent off a motorhome rental with Rent Easy Iceland AND free pickup and drop off from and to the KEF airport. Do not book the transportation as part of your reservation or you will be charged for it. Send an email or direct message on social media with arrival and departure dates and your pickup and delivery will be arranged from there. Our code CAN be combined with any other discounts available on their website. This is not an affiliate code and we do not earn a percentage from your reservation. We truly hope to inspire you to go to Iceland and we loved our experience with Rent Easy Iceland.

Icelandic Culture

Blue Lagoon

1. Iceland is easy to get to. We flew direct from JFK for $500 each. For us this is closer, easier, and less expensive than flying to Yellowstone, Glacier, and California. Iceland is not Antarctica. It’s easier to get to than most people think.

2. Almost everyone speaks English in Iceland. Every single Icelander we met spoke English–and very good English at that. Iceland may look like another planet–but communicating there is very easy.

3. Iceland is (for the most part) very welcoming to tourists. Generally speaking–Icelanders like tourism. It is currently the number one driver of their economy. They also like Americans and American culture, music, and television. Iceland is a European country but very different than other  European countries we have visited.

4. Iceland is one of the cleanest countries we have ever visited. Period! End of story. Every town and national park we visited was meticulously clean. This is partly due to the small population of the country–but also due to a love of neatness and order.  Almost every restroom, shower, and spa we visited was spotless.

5. Icelandic people are “can do” entrepreneurial but also easy going and relaxed. Life moves at a more relaxed pace in Iceland (when compared to America at least) even though they are “can do” people.  Their unofficial national saying is “Thetta Reddest” which translates to “It will all work out.” This saying really does crystalize the essence of the Icelandic people–at least in our eyes.

6. Icelandic spa and thermal bath culture is amazing. There are big (heavily) touristed thermally heated spas like Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon–and then there are smaller community pools that also have warm water and showers. There is also everything in-between these two extremes.  If you don’t go to a spa or community pool–did you really go to Iceland?

7. The population of Iceland is 382,000–the country is not crowded when it comes to driving, parking, etc… 60 percent of those people live in in the greater Reykjavik area.

8. Free drinking water is available everywhere and it is fresh and good. Icelanders are proud of their drinking water and they should be.

9. Clean bathrooms are available just about everywhere that tourists might go. At least along the Golden Circle and along the south coast where we visited.

10. We found driving in Iceland (even Reykavik) to be easy and the roads are good. This was in MAY–not winter–and along the south coast.

11. Drive the speed limit or let people pass by putting your blinker on and slowing down. There is not a lot of traffic though and this was not really a stressful issue.

12. They drive on the right side of the road. This made driving there quite a bit less stressful. Though we have driven on the left side before in Ireland.

13. You need to bring appropriate layers of clothing to Iceland. Bring those layers with you everywhere. We had temps in the low 50’s almost every day in May. But the weather can change quickly–light rain comes and goes.  You should also bring real hiking shoes and bring long underwear for hikes and outdoor excursions–something good quality like Merino Wool.

14. Reykjavik is an incredible European city with great food and culture-–plan to spend at least a day there before heading out into the countryside. The Reykavik Eco Campsite is in the city and makes exploring the city easy.

15. Once you leave Reykavik the natural world is amazing and the population drops. You will start finding hiking, waterfalls, beaches, rivers, and incredible vistas almost immediately. 

Diamond Beach, Iceland

16. The most common first trip with an Iceland RV Rental is Reykavik, the Golden Circle, and the Southern Coast to Vik or Skaftafell–we went as far as Diamond Beach and headed back to Vik and then Reykavik–spending one more night in each place.

17. Iceland is not Disney World--there are things there that can killl you. Use common sense.

18. Consider the shoulder seasons of May and September for better pricing and even less crowded conditions.

19. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. We did not touch Icelandic Currency (Krona). One time we needed Icelandic coins for the pay showers at the Vik Campsite. They gave them to us for free. You can purchase them with credit card when you pay for your site.

Icelandic Camping Culture

Hveragerdi Campsite

20. In Iceland they are called campsites not campgrounds.  Their camping culture is amazing and there are campgrounds (uh… campsites) all over the country. Most are not all open all year though–so do your homework before you go.

21. Many guidebooks say reservations for campsites are not required. But we think that is changing. Our best tip is to make reservations whenever you can—and don’t show up late if possible. Have a backup plan if you are going in high season—but ultimately it all works out pretty easily.  Campsite prices ranged between 20-60 dollars per night while we there. Electric requires an additional fee.

22. Access to electricity was available at every campground we visited. There is not electric at every campsite–but many loops have a pedestal with multiple hookup points. Rent Easy Iceland includes a long power cord that will easily reach these pedestals.

23. You dump the tanks for your Iceland Motorhome Rental at gas stations or at public car washes. We know–this is weird for an American to do–but it worked out fine.

24. At some campsites you can’t reserve a particular site. If you leave and come back you may need to pick a different site. Sometimes you have all of the room in the world–sometimes the RVs are stacked up.

25. Individual campsites are not always well-defined in Iceland. Someone can pull in right next to you and other times there will be no one else around. Sometimes (within one campsite) they will have defined sites–and rows where the RV’s can be very stacked up.

26. Icelandic campgrounds are awesome but they are fairly simple. They often have common rooms for cooking, bathrooms, and showers–but not many amenities like playgrounds, pools etc. 

27. Campsites are often located right in the small towns and within walking distance of community pools, restaurants etc. In several situations we were able to walk to get dinner and drinks and then walk back.

28. You can pull in and pay in the morning in some situations–you can pay by app in other situations. Sometimes the welcome center or pay station is only open for certain hours and may be closed when you arrive—don’t panic! Pull in and grab a site.

29. Occasionally campsites have community showers like at the Vik Campsite. But many places have private showers like Skaftafell. Three of the days on our trip we went to a spa/pool and just showered there.

30. Some showers require Icelandic coins which can be purchased when you check in and pay for your site.

31. NATIONAL PARKS ARE JOYFULLY UNCROWDED, We were completely alone on at least one hike to the Glacier at Skaftafell. We parked everywhere easily. Stephanie kept saying this must be like what American national parks were like in the 1970’s and 1980s.

Iceland RV Rental Culture (and Van Rental Culture)

Iceland Motorhome Rental

Skogafoss (Near Vik)

32. Using an Iceland RV Rental is a very common and popular way to see the country–and it may be the best way to see the country. Many spots are one and done. You stay one night and move on. Hopping from hotel to hotel seems exhausting to us.

33. An Iceland motorhome rental or van rental is not cheap–but neither are hotels. And you can easily cook your own food and save money that way. This would be impossible to do in a hotel.

Interior of Etrusco Motorhome Rental from Rent Easy Iceland

Motorhome Rental From Rent Easy Iceland

34. Everything about European RVs is smaller and more compact. Don’t  book an Iceland motorhome rental and expect something the size and complexity of an American RV.

35. Consider a small motorhome–not a van. We loved working with Rent Easy Iceland. They have a fleet of small motorhomes (from 22 to 24 feet) that come in manual and automatic.  These come with efficient Truma Combi’s for heat and hot water. We used less than one tank of propane during our weeklong stay. You can also add on a linens package which was a must for us because we were flying in from America. The owners of this Rent Easy Station (brothers Diddi and Gardar) have imported American pop up campers, and they are currently an iKamper RTT dealer. They are both outdoorsmen who love camping very much and understand the needs of American customers very well. Their fleet of Etrusco Motorhomes is gorgeous and they have floorplans that can sleep up to 5 and have seatbelts for up to 5.

36. You can rent a motorhome and bring your kids. This would be difficult to do in a van–particularly if you have bigger kids like we do. We opted to take a couple’s trip which also saved us quite a bit of money.

37. Fuel is not cheap–but the small motorhomes are very fuel efficient.  At the time of this writing it costs 8 dollars per gallon for diesel in Iceland.  But our 2024 Etrusco motorhome averaged 23.5 MPG. So it balanced out a little bit in the end.


38. One night is enough at most places–even National Parks. This caused us to change our plans on the fly after one night in Skaftafell. After completing two of the most popular hikes at Skaftafell we decided to head back to Vik for dinner and another night at the awesome campsite there.

39. You can be spontaneous like it used to be here in America. As mentioned above, we changed our itinerary on the fly. Instead of a second night in Skaftafell we headed back to Vik for a great meal and to be closer to Reykavik on our last full day.

40. Even motorhomes can have cassette toilets in Iceland. We had a cassette toilet–like our old pop up had–we did a no #2 rule and it worked great. The cassette toilet is easy to remove and dump once you find an appropriate place to do so. We did not shower in the motorhome but could have if we felt the need.

Icelandic Food Culture

Black Crust Pizza

41. Icelandic food culture is amazing and very diverse–with both traditional food and ethnic food.  They have awesome pastries and breakfast options at bakeries in just about every town we visited. Sourdough and rye bread seem to be Icelandic specialties. We had amazing bread there and often would buy an extra loaf to bring with us and snack on in the motorhome.

42. Good food like food truck food) is often available in national parks and tourist spots–not just mediocre burgers, fries and pizza like we often get stuck with at home.

43. Shopping in an Icelandic grocery store is a lot like shopping in a grocery store at home. We found prices to be comparable too.

44. The easiest way to save money is to cook and use your motorhome kitchen and outdoor grill if provided. But the food is so good and not to be missed if you can swing the expense. You could do a foodie tour in Iceland if you wanted to. There are food trucks even at somewhat remote locations. We loved the food trucks at Diamond Beach which was as far east as we went. The lobster rolls were very good there. We did not make a single meal in the RV–but we could have. We also did not make coffee in the RV–they had it everywhere we went.

45. Prices are high in Iceland–but so are prices in America. We found food and activity costs to be very much like the northeast in America—-all of the guidebooks we used make it sound so expensive though.

46. Serving sizes for coffee and food are smaller than in America. Jeremy almost started ordering two AMERICANOS.

47. Candy and sweets are very popular. There are great chocolate and licorice options everywhere.

48. Eat the hot dogs Not the fermented shark. Icelandic hot dogs are awesome and not just a dumb tourist gimmick. Iceland fermented Shark was gross and felt gimmicky.

49. Stock up and refuel in towns before heading somewhere remote. It was not as remote as we thought in a certain sense–but research your itinerary and options for fuel and groceries before heading into less populated parts of the country.

Further Inspiration for an Iceland Motorhome Rental

50. Read The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland by Alda Sigmundsdóttir to learn a ton about the culture in a short easy book. You can purchase a copy here.

51. Watch the Vivid Iceland YouTube channel.

52. Watch the Chris Burkard Documentaries about surfing and cycling in Iceland. Even if you do not plan on surfing or cycling. They are incredible. 

53. People that go love to go BACK for another Iceland RV Rental. They often head to the he Snaefellness Peninsula, the Westfjords, and the north for a second and third trip—-adventurous people might even head into the Icelandic Highlands in a 4X4 and camp in more remote locations,

If you are dreaming of an Iceland RV Rental we encourage you to start planning and make that dream come true. It was the trip of a lifetime for us.

The RV Atlas Podcast
Iceland RV Rental Adventures: 53 Things To Know Before You Go

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