This is intended to give you a rough guide to car rental in Iceland. This is definitely the best option to see Iceland as you will be travelling hundreds of miles to see all the things you plan to see. The points covered will be:
- Where to Rent?
- What to Rent?
- Optional Extras
- Terms and Conditions
1. Where to Rent
So this is a difficult choice, you have so many rental companies out there, how do you even choose which one to go for. This is something my group struggled with personally and we changed out mind a number of times. Truth is you will end up basing your decision on price. If you are looking for the cheapest price, I would probably recommend SadCars. This is the cheapest we came across but we weren’t convinced with the standard of the cars considering we were going to be spending 5 days in it.
There are many other choices from your large corporate companies that you can browse through and decide but the company we eventually chose and genuinely could not have been happier about was Lagoon Car Rental . This is a little more expensive but the standard of cars is a lot higher and they have cars you actually want to drive. This is completely your decision, I have no idea what SadCars is really like so I’m presuming a lot but the service at Lagoon Car Rental was absolutely fantastic. They pick you up and drop you off at the airport with other options if you wish and are just really friendly in my experience.
My advice to you is to do some research, look at reviews and be very careful about what you choose.
2. What to Rent
Your first thoughts are probably, are we going to need a 4×4? 4×4’s are a lot more expensive so you should consider whether this is for you or not. My advice – Unless you are doing the full ring road around Iceland or really getting your hands dirty and going places you probably shouldn’t then a hatchback is absolutely fine.
The hatchback are not allowed to go on F-Roads apparently and these are supposed to be easily marked but we drove well over 1000 km in total and never found one of these. The roads are absolutely fine and probably in better condition than the ones here in Scotland, and if you find a gravel road or two, the hatchback can handle it no problem. The hatchbacks also have studded tyres (check this) so they can handle more than you would expect.
Consider this, the car rental fleets are mostly made up with hatchbacks so these are suitable for most people. Plan your itinerary first, do a little research and then make your decision.
2. Optional Extras
So chances are you are going to be bombarded with optional extras after you chose the car you desire to drive. My first instinct as a budget traveller is to say no to every single one of these without even looking at them. The same way I do with Ryan-air, if only there was a NO TO ALL button. Now, each of the car rental companies with offer you different extras/optionals and you should truly consider each as a group. Here are the ones I would recommend to go for:
Extra Driver – We had one of our group driving the whole distance and she did an amazing job. I genuinely cannot praise her enough as she drove over 1,000 km in 5 days in a country and conditions she did not know on her vacation without complaining. You may say that you do not mind driving but it does not cost a lot and gives you peace of mind. Your choice but I recommend this as your driver may be more grumpy than ours.
Satellite Navigation – I would say this is a necessity, it does not matter how good you are with directions, this lets you see the map and where you are in real time and it helped us out on a number of occasions. The people I travelled with could not have been better at navigating when I was hopeless but this still helped us out incredibly. Swallow your pride and pay for this one. I would also recommend taking map screenshots with co-ordinates so you can type them in and compare as you cannot just type waterfall into a sat-nav and expect wonders.
4G Internet – This is something I only just discovered Lagoon Car Rental offers and I wish we took it. You may think you do not need internet but when you are chasing the Northern Lights at 5am wondering where there are no clouds etc, this can help. Check your phone network and see if they have a partnership in Iceland as I connected to Simmins or something similar for £1.99 per day with o2 and this could be an alternative option but I would have taken a laptop for music and entertainment on those long car journeys if I knew about this option
Gravel Protection – It sounds like one of those things that you should always skip but I would highly consider it. I was speaking to one of the staff members at Lagoon Car Rental and he advised that most claims come from the lack of gravel protection and this can cost a lot of money to repair. I know nothing about this but this was an informal chat and gives some insight into the value of gravel protection. I cannot remember if we took it but I certainly would next time.
4. Terms and Conditions
This is an important part. Your named driver will need a credit card and a large deposit will be taken incase you damage the car etc etc. We all know that nothing is likely to happen and these are just measures that companies take to protect themselves.
Usually we will all skip over terms and conditions and I know few people that read even one line but for this purpose I would recommend it. It will take you 10 minutes or so to gather the important information and could prevent you making a big mistake. We actually chose to stay clear of a few rental companies simply on the basis of their ridiculous terms and conditions. We did chose Lagoon Car Rental and found their terms to be fair but that does not mean you should not read them.
Stay Safe and Happy Travels.
If you have any questions, send them my way at email@example.com