Monthly Archives: July 2013

Being cheap has it’s time and place. This wasn’t one of them…

So, I’ve managed to move forward with the planning of the Iceland trip today. The rental car has been secured.

When I started to look into rental car options in Iceland it was a bit of a shock as to just how expensive they were. I understand that, as an island, most of the consumables need to be imported, along with much of the heavy machinery and industrial equipment. But still, as I searched through the  various household name rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget I began to wonder if I had underestimated the sheer cost of the endeavour!

After a week of using Google to learn from others who had visited, the general consensus was that a four wheel drive was pretty much a requirement. Iceland essentially has two types of roads: The major arterial roads, such as route 1, which are mostly tarmac surfaces and passable by all vehicles and then the F-roads which are essentially gravel, compacted ground or rubble. Route 1, or the Ring Road as it appears to be called is a 1300km orbital road that connects many of the major sights on the island and has the benefit of taking you back to where you started if you keep moving forward. However, some of the more interesting sights can only be reached via the F roads. Want to see some of the less visited places? You need a 4WD…

However, as I checked out some of the rental companies I was getting quotes of GBP £1200 or more for a 16 day rental. Utterly crazy prices and it was at that point I started to make a big mistake. Sticking to route 1 would allow me to see a lot of wonderful sights. I didn’t need to stray off the tarmac roads at all. Sure, I’d miss a couple of places, but the rental would be half that of a 4WD.

Luckily I spent some time thinking about it and a couple of hours searching for any rental company, not just the big names. A few local companies came to the surface IcelandCarRental, Reykjavik Rent-a-Car, SADcars, Geysir etc. All had prices that were, whilst still high, much lower that the big names. And all had 4WD vehicles that came in at comfortably under GBP £1000 for a 16 day rental.

It’s very easy to get hung up on horror stories about rentals. Dig deep enough and someone, somewhere will have a bad story to tell about such-and-such a company. But a quick Google to for all four companies showed nothing obvious. IcelandCarRental came in with a Toyota Rav4 4WD for GBP £750 and, after a quick email to them I discovered that the vehicles are relatively new (2010 or newer) and that they are actually they are essentially the same company as Reykjavik Rent-a-Car.

So, a booking has been confirmed for a Rav4 and I’m really glad I did spend the extra money; it’s going to be an expensive trip anyway and so the extra £200-£300 won’t really matter once I’m back and the journey is a memory.  My justification is simply that, to me at least, whilst keeping costs down is a wise move, spending £2500 to have half an experience is worse value for money than £3000 to have the full experience. Plus, you never know – I may just get that killer shot…

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Plan C…

It’s been a while since the last update, mainly due to work being more hectic than usual. I’ve been travelling across the country visiting various clients, often for days at a time, and so I would have thought that being stuck in hotel rooms would have given me plenty of time to write some of the articles I have planned. But no, it hasn’t worked out that way. On top of that, weekends have either been spent on overtime or on other projects and so the Cambodia trip has taken a bit of a back seat. Until now.

Here in the UK we’re experiencing what we consider to be a bit of a heatwave. The past week or so has seen temperatures over 30 centigrade and we’ve all gone from complaining about how miserable the weather is to how unbearably hot it is! I’m one of the biggest complainants of all, not really liking hot weather and so it dawned upon me that spending four weeks in Cambodia, just as the country is coming out of the monsoon season and into it’s summer was going to be challenging. So it was early last week that I decided that a plan B was in order.

The initial thought was to head over to Las Vegas and from there take in the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Antelope Canyon. but after pricing up the flights, the accommodation and the necessary tours required to see Antelope Canyon, it quickly dawned on me that I was going to be spending a lot of money on getting to the destination for what would be a short trip. So, that idea has been shelved until I can spend more time planning it, making the flight costs seem more reasonable.

Plan C came about as a result of my stereotypically dubious reasoning:

  • As I was thinking of spending a lot of money on the travel aspect of the trip, then I should at least consider some of the options I have dismissed in the past due to cost.
  • Anywhere, absolutely anywhere would be cheaper than the Antarctica trip and so a bargain by comparison.
  • The last major trip was Japan and that came in at GBP £2500 for three weeks, so that seems a reasonable bench mark.
  • I prefer cold to warm and already have cold weather gear as a result of last year.
  • I want to spend less on getting there and more on being there.

One destination was a clear winner of this line of logic: Iceland.

So planning is well underway. All accommodation was finally booked yesterday and work have signed-off on the annual leave. Now for the fun part – the preparation…


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