Find out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Self Drive FAQs
When is the best time to go to iceland?
Iceland is a great place to visit all year! The summer is the most popular time to visit due to the warmer temperatures, extensive daylight (24 hours of daylight at the peak of summer), and the ability to do some activities that are not available in the winter. If you visit from September to mid-April, you have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights and there are significantly fewer tourists, along with less daylight. Visiting in the winter means that some roads will be closed and not all hikes are accessible. Our favorite times to visit are the fall or spring, when there is still plenty of daylight, there's a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, and there are less tourists than in the peak summer months.
should i choose a self drive tour or a guided tour?
Depends on what you are looking for! Self drive tours are a fantastic way to see Iceland while being on your own schedule. Our guided tours are great if you are interested in traveling with a small group of like-minded travelers (this is often a highlight for many) and if you want to eliminate as many unknowns as possible. For those opting for a self drive tour, we provide a customized itinerary, suggestions of things to do and places to eat, general information on Iceland. The iPhone we provide will make your trip as enjoyable as possible with an Iceland guide book, maps of gas stations, ATMs, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Iceland, Icelandic music to listen to or books to read, over 75 hiking trails, and even a Northern Lights forecast. However, it is not the same as having an Iceland expert show you around! Our guided tours have deluxe accommodations with breakfast included, they include a variety of activities, and you have someone to answer questions and handle any issues that may arise.
What are the roads like?
Roads in Iceland are great for driving and easy to navigate. Cars drive on the right, all roads outside of Reykjavik are either a paved two lane road or a more rural one lane or paved road. The national speed limit outside of cities is 90 kph (~55 mph). The standard cars included with the self drive tours are two wheel drive, and are not allowed on "F" roads. If you would like a 4WD car to access more remote areas, we can arrange that.
What type of car will I receive?
We arrange car rentals with reputable companies that we have worked with for years, providing you with some of the better rental cars in Iceland. Our standard price includes a mini car for one or two travelers, or a compact car for three or four travelers. Upgraded cars are available for an increased price. If you have a larger group, we can provide a SUV, minivan, or 9 passenger van. The standard prices include cars with a manual transmission; automatic is available for an additional fee.
What do I need in order to drive in iceland?
To drive in Iceland, you just need a valid driver's license. An international driver's license is only needed if your usual license is issued in a language without Latin letters (i.e. Arabic, Japanese, etc.). The minimum age for drivers is 20 years old, but additional fees will be charged for drivers under 25.
What are the accommodations like?
Both the standard and upgraded room options include rooms with private bathrooms. Standard accommodations are in country hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, farmhouses, apartments, or cottages. All of the locations that we choose have received great reviews from other travelers. We choose locations that will add to the amazing memories you will make on your trip, such as cottages with private hot tubs, guesthouses on a working farm, hotels in a stunning location, etc. These are considered to be "comfort" lodging options in Iceland- they are not budget nor luxury (American-standard luxury accommodations do not exist in Iceland). Upgraded rooms include accommodations at nicer, more luxurious hotels. Breakfast is generally not included with the rooms, except for some of the hotels or B&Bs when choosing the upgraded room options. Further details will be given when you provide your trip dates and we can check availability at our preferred lodgings.
Will I get lost?
Roads in Iceland are easy to navigate and there are road signs at almost all intersections and turn offs. We provide you with an iPhone that has GPS navigation, free texting to any phone in the world, a variety of pre-loaded apps to enhance your stay in Iceland, and the ability to make calls for $0.20 per minute. All of this will help you in the event that you do end up off your planned route.
How many people can go on a self drive tour?
We arrange self drive tours for as few as just one person, or for as many as you would like! The largest rental vehicle available is a nine passenger van, but if you have more than nine people we can arrange for several vehicles to be rented. The prices we provide are based on two or four people- if you have a different number of travelers, contact us about pricing for your group.
What if i want to book excursions for my self drive tour?
We are more than happy to help book excursions for your trip! Options vary by trip- look at the individual trip pages, at the end of the "Trip Highlights" section, to see what activities can be included for your particular itinerary, or contact us if you have any specific questions. We can arrange a variety of activities such as snowmobiling or hiking on a glacier, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, whale watching, kayaking with seals or among icebergs, glacial lagoon zodiac tour, hiking inside a glacial ice cave or a lava cave, snorkeling, or dogsledding.
When do I pay for the trip?
To reserve your self drive tour, a 50% deposit is due to confirm the reservation, and the remaining balance is due one month before the start of the trip.
What is the cancellation policy?
If you cancel more than 30 days before the start of the trip, the deposit can be applied to any Carpe Mundo tour without expiration and without penalty, or we will refund your deposit less a $100/person cancellation fee. If you cancel less than 30 days before the start of the trip, no refunds will be provided.
How can I pay for the trip?
We accept payment via check or debit/credit card. You can pay for the trip deposit online or by mailing a check, and you will receive an invoice for the remaining balance of the trip cost to be paid at a later date.
What type of insurance do I need?
There are several different types of insurance that we recommend for your self drive tour:
- Medical insurance that provides coverage while abroad in case of injury or medical emergency. If you do not have insurance or your current policy does not cover you while abroad, we can provide recommendations for short-term insurance policies.
- Travel insurance/travel protection plan to cover the costs of your trip in the event of a cancellation. We adhere to our cancellation policy, and these plans will protect your trip purchase in the event you cancel under certain circumstances. If you are interested in purchasing one of these policies, please contact us for additional information.
- Additional insurance offered for the car rental. These include a loss damage waiver, gravel/windshield protection, and sand/ash protection. If the rental car is damaged for any reason while in your possession, even in circumstances out of your control, you will be charged to repair the damages.
Can you assist with airfare?
Our trips do not include airfare, but we would be more than happy to help you get the best flights possible. We can even help you use your frequent flier points to get to/from the trip destinations (additional fees apply).
Do you offer any special rates? How far in advance can I book?
We offer a discount if you combine a self drive tour with our Iceland Hiking trip. This is the best way to see Iceland, as you will get to see spectacular views and parts of the country that can only be accessed by hikers. If booking both a self drive tour and the Iceland Hiking trip, you will receive a 15% discount off of either one of the trips. A popular option for visitors to Iceland is to stop in Iceland for up to a week while flying between the U.S. and continental Europe. You will also receive a 15% discount if you arrange a self drive tour before/after one of our tours in continental Europe. We can book trips a little over a year in advance, but you won't be able to book flights more than 11 months in advance. The sooner you plan your trip, the better the availability at our preferred accommodations.
How are your prices so competitive?
We maintain competitive prices by designing our trips so you only pay for what you want. We specialize in doing only certain trips, and doing them well. This enables us to maintain lower overhead costs. We have searched long and hard to find the best value for both rental cars and accommodations. We obtain lower prices by working repeatedly with the same companies, and we pass those savings on to our customers. You won't be paying for a large administrative staff or expensive advertising budgets as may be the case with other companies. Your dream trip shouldn't be just a dream, and we want to help make it happen by having the most affordable prices.