This is how they take your money in Iceland
In the tour agency lingo they are called “self-drive tours” and bring those same agencies a handful of easy money each and every day.
Team Total Iceland has been scouring the offers of some local agencies and on more than one occasion we came across rather dubious claims. Claims that will bring the same agencies quite a lot of easy money from you and you leave none the wiser.
First off, we never understood tour agencies offering “self-drive tours” or why anyone would buy into such scheme. Why would you need a special middleman for a self-drive tour in Iceland? Just go straight to a car rental agency and voilà! Unless, you actually like parting with more money than you have to.
However, same agencies offer itineraries for those same tours and most look quite honest and true for the most part. Except for one thing. On one or two recommended routes along the suggested journey a 4×4 type of vehicle is highly recommended. Those routes included, for example, the drive over Modrudalsoraefi and a 4×4 was also a must to get from Dettifoss waterfall to Asbyrgi National Park.
Naturally, anyone studying the plan would realize one cannot change vehicles midway through and if the agency recommends a 4×4 they must be right and one should be rented from day one for the whole trip.
Except, they are wrong. Unless you intend to drive around remote roads in deep winter there is absolutely NO NEED for a 4×4 vehicle on those particular routes. The spot of road between Asbyrgi and Dettifoss is not the best road in the world but it is accessible for all vehicles at most times. The track of road over Modrudal, roughly between Egilsstadir town and Myvatn, is also not taking any awards but it too is very accessible to all vehicles.
But the suggestion means you fork out a lot more money. Renting a 4×4 the whole way, even if just a small SUV, will easily cost you double as much as renting the basic economy type car.
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