Tips for renting a car in Iceland

JUAN MARTINEZ

June 20, 2016

Tips for renting a car in Iceland

Planning to rent a car in Iceland? Getting the right vehicle for your road trip is the first priority

Bumpy roads, an unpredictable weather and many other uncomfortable situations. This is what you will encounter every day if you are doing a road trip in Iceland. But don’t worry, if you rent the right car before arriving in Iceland, you won’t have to struggle at all. And even though, this is a task you can do with a couple of clicks, renting a car is definitely something you should do in calm, with proper time ahead and with a lot of patience.

These are my best tips if you plan to rent a car while planning a road trip in Iceland:

rent-car-iceland camping in the ring road
Camping while traveling the ring road of Iceland is very common all year round.

Insurance and planning tips for renting a car in Iceland

  • Plan your route ahead and find out if you need to rent a small car (only for driving on the ring road), SUV or a camper.
  • Insurances won’t pay for damages caused on roads you are not allowed to drive on.
  • Small accidents and car damages are common in Iceland. Get an insurance without liability costs.
    Don’t save at the wrong end!

I used the company FairCar, which offered a ZERO Collision Damage Waiver (ZCDW) insurance. This covered almost everything and we even used it while driving along the ring road.

Read more: Planning a 5 day itinerary in Iceland

Gravel roads - Rent-car-iceland
Gravel roads are only accessible for off road vehicles
  • Before driving to the highlands, check where the next gas station is. You don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
    The N1 Gas Station Map might come in handy for these cases
  • Car companies rent out mini campers for two people to sleep in comfortably and cheaply.
  • Overnight parking is usually allowed in touristic places, often for free, unless you have a camper or pitch a tent.
  • Rent your car in advance. Depending in which season you travel to Iceland, you might have some difficulty in finding something.
  • If you are looking for a more comfortable driving experience: car companies offer Wi-Fi hotspots, 12 to 220V car inverters and FM transmitters for an extra charge.
    An excellent choice if you want to travel around Iceland fully equipped.
  • All gas stations have free and extremely clean bathrooms.
  • Check the road conditions at www.road.is before you start driving and avoid uncomfortable surprises.
  • Check the weather conditions before you start driving.

Read more: Why Iceland is paradise for photographers

Check the weather conditions at Road.is for finding out information during your road trip
Checking road conditions beforehand will help you avoid uncomfortable situations along the road.

How to prepare for a road trip

  • Get a road map from Google Maps before your arrival. You can find these on amazon or directly at the airport.
  • Download an offline Iceland map from Google Maps before your arrival.
  • Have the following emergency numbers with you all the time:
    • Car rental telephone number
    • 24/7 service number
    • Road conditions number: 1777
  • Get an Icelandic SIM card for internet and emergencies. Prices start at 12 EUR at the airport.
  • Flat tires are mainly caused by driving too fast on gravel and F-Roads. Stay under the allowed maximum speed.
  • Bring sunglasses. With more than 20 hours of sunlight during Summer, you might experience sunsets that take ages and won’t let you see the road

Read more: Icelandic Highways – a gallery showing why Iceland is the perfect road trip destination

the beauty of icelandic roads when doing a road trip in Iceland
Some highways are simply the main object of beauty during a road trip in Iceland
  • Parking in Reykjavik from 6pm to 10am is free almost everywhere.
  • Driving in Iceland can be exhausting. Decide in advance, if you want to pay for a second driver and make your travel easier and way more comfortable. Car rental companies allows a second or third driver for an extra charge.
  • The only toll fee in Iceland has to be paid at the Hvalfjorour tunnel (8 EUR).
  • Wind is extremely strong in Iceland. Be careful when you open the doors of your car. Many car damages are due to this minor situation.
camper in Iceland-carrental-iceland
Renting a camper is also a popular choice

Planning a rent a car in Iceland?

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