Iceland is one of Earth’s most naturally wild and awe-inspiring travel destinations. It’s also a road trip paradise, perfect for those exploring the island at their own pace.
But a word of caution: renting a motorhome in Iceland requires some knowledge beforehand.
Know the Areas You Want to Visit
Iceland is full of natural beauty and endless attractions to explore. From bubbling hot springs to glistening glaciers, there is something for everyone. But to make the most of your road trip, you need to know where you want to visit ahead of time.
Summer is the most popular time to rent a motorhome in Iceland. The weather is warmer, and you can see more of the country. However, this also means it will be busier.
It can be cold and snowy in the winter, but you will still find plenty to do. You can cruise around Thingvellir National Park to learn more about the nation’s history or visit Godafoss, a waterfall resembling Africa’s Victoria Falls. You will need a 4×4 vehicle to drive on F roads, the only way to get to remote parts of the Highlands. Some credit cards include collision damage waiver (CDW), but this does not typically cover campervans or RVs.
Know Your Limits
The beauty of renting a campervan in Iceland is that you’re not tied to a fixed itinerary or hotel room. You’ll be able to wake up whenever you want, visit whatever attractions you want, and stay as long as you like at each destination. However, it’s important not to overbook your trip. Overbooking can make your vacation stressful, so planning and leaving some free time between each attraction is best.
If you’re planning to rent a campervan during the winter, it’s also crucial that you know your limits. Most campervans in Iceland are manual; if you don’t drive stick, it may be difficult to operate the vehicle. The good news is that a few companies offer automatic campervans, but these vehicles are rare and usually cost more. If you need to know whether or not you can handle an automatic, check with the company you’re booking with to see if they have any available. Suppose they don’t consider booking your vehicle through a different company.
Be Prepared for Weather
The weather in Iceland can be unpredictable. It’s important to bring all the necessary gear, including cold-weather clothing, camping equipment, and a sleeping bag or down comforter. Also, be sure to pack a water bottle – Iceland has some of the cleanest and best-tasting drinking water on Earth!
If you plan on renting a campervan in the summer, it’s wise to book your rental well. This will give you the best chance of finding the model you want at a good price and ensure your camper is available on your desired dates.
Fall and spring shoulder seasons are also excellent times to visit Iceland. The weather is still warm, but the crowds are smaller, and you’ll have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights, which are typically visible from September through March. Check the weather forecast and ensure the campgrounds you plan to stay at are open. Also, be aware that high winds can damage the doors of your campervan, so take extra care when opening them.
Know the Rules of the Road
When renting a campervan, knowing the rules of the road is crucial. There are a few things to consider, including mileage limits and driving conditions. Iceland’s main roads are paved and easy to navigate with a sedan, but “F” roads or mountainous routes require a 4×4 vehicle and can be challenging.
It is also essential to know that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Iceland and can have severe consequences. Lastly, booking a campervan with a full-sized kitchen and sleeping area is best for maximum comfort.
If you’re planning to travel in winter, it is essential to know that Iceland is a small country, and the availability of vehicles is limited especially campervans. It is also recommended to reserve a campervan as far in advance as possible to ensure you get the type you want and are satisfied. Additionally, since the winter is Iceland’s off-season, it is typically less expensive than peak-season travel.
Know Your Vehicle
If you plan on renting a camper van in Iceland, it is important to know your vehicle. Almost all camper vans in Iceland have manual transmissions, and only a few have automatic options. So, if you are not comfortable driving stick shift vehicles, booking your rental car in advance or finding another option for travel in Iceland is essential.
The other thing to consider is whether or not you need a 4×4 vehicle for your trip. If you only plan on sticking to the Ring Road and Golden Circle, then a regular (non-four-wheel drive) car should be sufficient. However, if you plan on visiting the Highlands or traveling to other remote areas of Iceland, you will want a 4×4 vehicle.
When you pick up your camper, ask the rental company to walk you through all the features and functions of the vehicle. This will help you feel confident behind the wheel and avoid confusion later. Also, it is a good idea to download a map of Iceland on your smartphone before your trip to easily access GPS while driving around.