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Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

Sydney, Australia
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Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

So, I'm wondering... is it doable to do a self-driving tour of Iceland in mid to late October by hiring a car and getting on the road *without* pre-booking accommodation? The rationale is that I'd like to have the flexibility to spend more or less time at different locations depending on what I see there, without the pressure of having to arrive at the next stop by a certain time (other than the pressure of having to be back in Keflavik for the flight back, of course).

I'm guessing that it should be doable, since it's quite far from the high season, and I'd expect most places to have vacancies. Or would most places actually be closed for winter by then?

Any opinions? Am I likely to end up sleeping in the car if I try this?

Thanks for any suggestions.

-Wilson

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Florida
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1. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

Having gone last October I would say you may be OK but Iceland in autumn is not secret anymore and the country is not as sparse as you think... For example, when we got to Mývatn and tried to eat at a cafe we were turned away because they were expecting 2 tour buses... and that is up North! The capital and south coast are the more popular places and there were other tourists. Were accommodations sold out, no, but they were not exactly empty.

I know exactly what you want to do and its a tough call, my wife and I are trying to do the same thing through Arctic Scandinavia this autumn and most places want you to prepay. We thought Iceland would be desolate once you leave the capital but Arctic Scandinavia is a whole other level of desolation making us nervous about not having confirmed reservations. We want to adjust and go where clear weather is but not sure how we can have this flexability... we feel your pain, but in Iceland I think you should be OK. Just have backup options and 1 - 2 places in case someplace is closed.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

i would say that unless you don't care about the quality, comfort, or price of accomodations - then play it by ear. Otherwise, I would book ahead. So glad we did it for this trip in June - everywhere we went it was almost booked solid.

Florida
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3. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

Huge difference between June vs October...

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

Oh, yes, absolutely, for June I would definitely book in advance. Well in advance, in fact. I was mostly guessing that October would be easier.

(that said, it looks like self-driving packages may be significantly cheaper and easier than doing everything separately...)

Florida
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5. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

It does take more work to find accommodations on your own but compared to what we are going through for Arctic Scandinavia, Iceland seems like New York City. We found the self drive packages to be 1-2k USD more expensive than when we did it on our own. Iceland is a tourist destination so usually by all of the cool stuff to see you will find accommodations, not to say there are not desolate stretches when driving, but for the most part we saw hotel, guesthouse, etc signs all along the ring road.

October is a stunning time to go, the fall colors are nothing like you have ever seen. Check out my photos for a taste of what to expect in October, just bring your rain gear as October is statistically the wettest month of the year. Another plus is you will have a lot less tourist than the madhouse that is summer.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFJ44Nv

and if your lucky:

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFHEq4M

And that is a tiny subset of what we saw.

One last thing, do a private tour of the highlands with IcelandicGuide, worth every penny.

Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

RobBas, what did you do and where did you go in the highlands. I am going thru in August, with a private guide myself. Although I do not know for sure, I just say what I would like to achieve, and ,I just let the arrangements be made for me. I am assuming from what gets said, here, and from what I read myself, that it will likely be in a 4X4, but I have not asked it is just not important for me to know before, it will very exciting, and loads of fun, and with a really nice bloke

But If it will be in one of the 'big ones' - I hope it might have an 'elevator' :-))))))))

Edited: 8:32 am, June 11, 2013
Florida
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7. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

I have no idea where Icelandicguide took us besides generalizing by saying the highlands, we called it a Landmannalaugar tour, but is is not, you end up there, but for SEVERAL hours we were all over the place seeing unworldly scenery. I know we close to Hekla, but we started from Hella, he picked us up from our Guesthouse there. This was fall and snow was deep in the highlands, so we were in his super jeep with yes, giant tires =) We were out for some 8+ hours. Best tour we have done in all of our travels thus far.

I don't get a commission =) I just appreciate the memories his tour afforded us.

8. Re: Self-driving, October, no accommodation booked - doable?

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