While researching budget car rentals in Iceland, my Google search results were pretty consistent: SADcars was the cheapest option every time.
My friend Luke and I found the name perplexing at first. SADcars? What makes a car sad? Would our car be particularly sad? Would its sadness rub off on us? Would our car weep car tears?
Turns out SADcars are on average 10 years old. Like the site says, “The cars have experience, so it is kind of like borrowing the car from a friend or family member.” They’re not particularly sad though, it seems. Our little car did stall out once in traffic, and occasionally she got a little cranky at start-up, but we made our way around Iceland without any other incident.
In my opinion, getting a car rental is the only way to do Iceland. My friends and I booked a camper rental on the first leg of our trip, but when our happy quartet dwindled down to two, a small car rental was the best option. We took our time driving through northern Iceland, into Akureyri and around Husavik. We crushed the Snæfellsnes peninsula, although I still have no bloody idea how to pronounce that name. (I preferred “Snuffleupagus.”)
We even picked up a straggler in Reykjavik, Nick. He became a good buddy of ours on the journey, and together we forced fermented shark upon the poor innocent souls of Akureyri. We are probably not allowed back there. But on what other occasion can you pick up drifters in Iceland?
A tip for prospective drivers: try to make your destination before nightfall. Seriously. Dirt roads + poor visibility = a lot of cursing.
And finally, budget for gas. Gas ain’t cheap in Iceland. Prices fluctuate, as they do anywhere, but we averaged somewhere between $2.00 – $2.50 CAD per litre. We spent anywhere between $250-350 in gas for the week, but it’s hard to say since we divided the expenses. We also spent several nights in one spot.
SADcars offered me a blogger’s discount. However, if you visit during the off-season like I did (in mid-October) you can rent a car starting from 292 EUR ($410 CAD) for a whole week. Peak season is a higher, starting at 551 EUR ($774 CAD). Comparatively, Hertz starts at $452 CAD in the off-season and a whopping $983 CAD in the on-season.
AND a final bonus: SADcars partners with Bus Hotel Reykjavik for sweet packaged deals. I loved this spot — ultra kitschy, clean, quiet, awesome staff, and within 20 minutes walking distance from downtown (or quicker…I’m a slow walker). I’ll write more about these guys later.