3 More Tips For Iceland Car Rentals.
Story by Randy Kalp Photos by Bethany Salvon
D riving the Ring Road (Route 1) in Iceland is like being in an 830-mile Choose Your Own Adventure book. In every direction, gravel roads splinter off from the blacktop, fading into some of the most physically diverse environments in the world.
riving the Ring Road (Route 1) in Iceland is like being in an 830-mile Choose Your Own Adventure book. In every direction, gravel roads splinter off from the blacktop, fading into some of the most physically diverse environments in the world.
Beth and I spent less than 35 hours on the storied road, driving as far as we could in one day before heading back to Reykjavik the next day. Though, that was more than enough time to learn some key information about car rentals in Iceland, which led us to write: 6 Tips for Renting a Car in Iceland.
With the possibility of a return trip to the country this fall, we’ve been doing some research about renting a 4×4 vehicle for our return. Beth and I both loved Reykjavik, but where Iceland really stole our hearts was out on the open road. This time around we are hoping to take a week or two road trip around the Ring Road, exploring the region on and off road. Inspired by our research and because Iceland’s high season begins in June, we decided to put together a few more tips to help out travelers looking to rent a car in Iceland.
A Van Down by the River
During the mid-80s my family did a lot of camping that involved sleeping in the back of our cab covered pickup truck at the then Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Campground in Ohio. This was my first introduction to budget travel, and it’s something that stuck with me into my adult years. In fact, our first road trip on the Ring Road involved a night in our rental car, which is nowhere as comfortable as a truck or SUV.
If you’re interested in traveling the Ring Road in a rental car, upgrading to a SUV is a great way to save money on lodging since the campgrounds surrounding Route 1 are a fraction of the cost that guest houses, hotels and hostels charge. Additionally, by utilizing the SUV as a sleeping space, then you eliminate having to setup and breakdown a campsite each night or even bring a tent with you for that matter.
Go Small and Save
When searching for our first Iceland rental, we went with Hertz. Why? We got a good price online and felt secure because they are a popular brand in the states. All in all, our experience with Iceland Hertz was good; however, we later learned that we could have saved a substantial amount of money on our rental by going with one of the island’s smaller, but highly credible rental agencies, like Car4Rent who has some of Iceland’s cheapest rates on cars and 4×4 SUVs.
Drive by Day
Driving the Ring Road after dark is like wearing sun glasses at night, you just can’t see anything. While it’s completely safe to drive the highway during the evening (there are no bandits or anything like that and the road is in good condition), there is one hazard–roaming livestock–that you should be prepared to encounter on your drive whether it’s night or day. Because of our limited time with the rental car, we wanted to get as far as we could, so we drove for a few hours after sunset. During that drive, we encountered roaming sheep packs crossing the road on several occasions during the day and at night.
Furthermore, by driving at night you are missing out on what makes Iceland so great: the landscape. Iceland’s environment is as varied as Yellowstone National Park and can change dramatically between villages, so it’s best to get a good night’s sleep and get on the road at dawn.
Do you have any tips for a Ring Road Trip? If so we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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