Frequently asked questions about hostelling, travelling in Iceland, HI memberships, booking hostels. Hostels in Iceland

FAQ

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions that apply to all our hostels and hostelling. If you don't find the answer you are looking for then send the question to us by using the contact form.

 

Can I book everything online?

All hostels except Fljótsdalur Hostel are bookable via our website. 

You can also contact info@hostel.is and ask us to book the hostels for you (3 nights minimum when booking through the Central Booking Office).

If you would like to book car rental package through us, we book everything for you, both car and overnights at our hostels. Please contact us for a quote at info@hostel.is. Please see below information needed for a quote. 

  • Preferred car type 
  • Number of persons 
  • Number of days with car 
  • Number of nights at hostels 
  • Preferred room type 
  • If you are travelling with children under 13 years of age 
  • Approximate start date of journey

 

I've already sent you my booking form, can I change my booking?

Yes you can. However, after we send you a final confirmation we reserve the right to charge a 6000 ISK changing fee if you change your booking. It doesn’t matter whether you have paid for the booking yet or not. Therefore, we recommend that you decide where you want to stay before you send us your booking form.

What happens if I want to cancel my booking?

If you booked your stay online (through our website or hihostels.com) then you need to cancel your booking online yourself; we cannot do that for you. Please see here for information on how to cancel your booking

If you booked your stay through our Central Booking Office, please send an e-mail to your booking agent for all changes or cancellations.

Below you can find our cancellation policy:

  • by cancellation until 4 weeks (28 days) before arrival we will give a refund of 100% withholding a 6.000 ISK cancellation fee.         

  • by cancellation 14 - 27 days before arrival we will refund 70%         

  • by cancellation 7 - 13 days before arrival we will refund 30%        

  • by cancellation with less than 7 days no refund will be given      

Please note that the cancellation policy applies as soon as payment has been finalised.

About HI Iceland
HI Iceland is a non-profit organisation, established in 1939. HI Iceland and all HI Hostels in Iceland are a part of Hostelling International, the largest hostel network in the world with around 3300 associated hostels in 89 Youth Hostel Associations.
 
HI prides itself on its variety of budget accommodation: within the network you will find a range of interesting places to stay, from medieval castles to modern eco hostels, log cabin ski lodges and there's even a hostel in a jumbo jet! Some are small and intimate with mostly private rooms, others are vibrant, buzzing places where you can share facilities with fellow travellers from around the world. Remember that your HI membership card can save you money on every HI Hostel booking, and many hostels also offer additional discounts to HI members.
 
Why should I book my package with HI Iceland?
The Hostel & Car Combo is a unique product and we offer personal service as well as local, expert advice. Once the booking process starts, you will be in direct contact with one of our booking agents that handles all the details of your booking.
 
Our car rental partner is very reliable and offers the highest standard of customer service. They are the first and only car rental in Iceland to claim certification according to the ISO14001 environmental standard; every year, they set new goals to reduce emissions. 
 
HI is a non-profit organisation with long history, both in Iceland and abroad. HI Iceland participates in responsible tourism here in Iceland and sustainability is very important in all our daily operations. When you book with us, you support the wonderful work carried out at HI Hostels all round Iceland. Be part of our community! See more information and take the Icelandic Pledge
 
Do I have to make reservations before arrival?

We recommend booking the hostels before arrival, especially if you plan to travel during high season in summer and popular holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Our hostels accept walk-ins and if you travel in off season, you can check availability and make reservations on short notice. 

How can I book?

You can book your stay using our website, or by contacting our hostels directly. Our Central Booking Office offers the service of pre-booking the hostels and we encourage you to have a look at the hostel & car combo that includes both car rental and overnight stays at HI Hostels; we handle all the details of the booking from start to finish. If you are booking for a group, please fill in the group enquiry form on this website and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

I cannot decide what to do and where to stay! Do you have any recommendations?
To help you plan your trip, we have made sample itineraries which are available to you, completely free of charge. The sample itineraries are suggestions that include points of interests and attractions along the way, but you can of course modify the plan and create your own itinerary. We encourage our customers to slow down and enjoy, make sure to have plenty of time to explore and stay more than one night at hostels when possible. 
You can send a request for a price offer, or a booking request directly from the website.
How I can change my booking?
If you booked your stay online, it’s best to contact the hostel you booked directly to change your booking. The hostels’ contact details are on our website. 
If you booked via our Central Booking Office, please contact us regarding changes. We reserve the right to charge a 6,000 ISK fee for changes. We are happy to advise and provide assistance before we start booking for you, and your booking agent will also happily answer all questions you may have during the booking process. 
Cancellation policy: what happens if I want to cancel my booking?
If you booked your stay online (through our website or hihostels.com), then please see here for information on how to cancel your booking. If you did not create an account during the booking process and booked as a guest, you need to contact the hostels directly to cancel your booking or the Central Booking Office for assistance. Online bookings can be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival (if booked via HI booking engine), the deposit paid upon booking is however non-refundable.
 
If you booked your stay through our Central Booking Office, please send us an email for all changes or cancellations. Below you can find our cancellation policy for individual bookings:
  • by cancellation until 4 weeks (28 days) before arrival, we will refund 100% 
  • by cancellation 14-27 days before arrival, we will refund 70% 
  • by cancellation 7-13 days before arrival, we will refund 30% 
  • by cancellation with less than 7 days before arrival, no refund will be given 
 
 
We reserve the right to withhold a 6,000 ISK cancellation fee for hostel & car combo. 
 
 
Can I change a booking made through the Central Booking Office after I have started my journey?
Hostel bookings cannot be changed through the Central Booking Office once you are in Iceland and have started your journey. If you want to change your booking, you need to contact both the hostel which is confirmed and the hostel you would like to stay at instead. If the previous hostel agrees to move the booking to another hostel, please send us an email to  to let us know. If the hostel with the previously confirmed booking does not agree to move the booking, but you would still like to stay elsewhere, then you need to pay the second hostel directly. Our hostels are often fully booked in high season so that all changes depend on availability at the hostels. 
How do I become a HI member?
If you are a resident of Iceland and hold an Icelandic social security number (kennitala), you can apply for membership right here on our website.
 
If you are joining from abroad, you can contact your local HI National association to purchase membership before arrival. All HI Hostels in Iceland sell individual membership cards that you can purchase upon arrival. The membership card costs 3,000 ISK per person and is valid for one year.
 
If you book via our website/the HI booking engine, you can purchase a 12-month electronic membership, eMembership, during the booking process.
What are the benefits of being a HI member?

HI members enjoy at least 10% discount of accommodation at HI Hostels worldwide, the membership is valid at all HI Hostels for one year. Many hostels have local partners that offer HI members discounts of products and services so be sure to ask about local discounts at your hostels. 

Is it mandatory to have HI membership to stay at the hostels?

No, it is not mandatory to have membership to stay at our hostels. If you are a member, we recommend you book via our website to ensure you the best possible rate. The prices advertised if you book via our website are HI member prices, so non-members pay extra upon arrival if they do not want to purchase membership. 

Is it worth it to buy membership if I only stay one or two nights at your hostels?

It’s usually worth it to buy membership if you’re staying at least 3-4 nights at hostels during your trip. Your membership is of course valid for an entire year and can be used at HI Hostels worldwide. 

What is the Hostel & Car Combo?
The Hostel and Car Combo is a package that includes a rental car and overnight stays at our hostels. We take care of all details of your booking and you finalise payment for your booking before arrival. Our packages are not fixed, but tailor-made so you can create your own plan with the help of our sample itineraries. We are also happy to give advice and choose the hostels for you. The number of days for the car rental and overnight stays at our hostels do not need to match. 

More information on our car rental packages can be found at our  Hostel & Car Combo pages.

What’s included in the package: 
All taxes
Pre-booked accommodation at HI Hostels
Rental car with unlimited km, VAT, basic insurance package, and up to 4 drivers
Road map of Iceland
Contact details for all HI Hostels
Bed linen is included at all hostels
Free breakfast at the Reykjavík HI Hostels when stay is included in the package
3 ISK discount of fuel at N1 service stations around the country
Audio guide to many places of interest around Iceland. 
HI membership for each guest, valid for one year at HI Hostels worldwide
 

 

What is included in the Hostel and Car Combo package?
Each package includes a rental car, unlimited mileage, tax, CDW insurance, 4 drivers and accommodation at our hostels. Our packages are not pre-booked so customers have the liberty to create their own itineraries with the help of our sample itineraries
 
The number of days for the car rental and overnight stays at our hostels do not need to match. 
 
Can I rent the car for 8 days but stay at hostels for 12 nights?

Yes, you can modify the package whichever way suits your needs best. You can choose the hostels when booking the hostel & car combo yourself or ask your booking agent to choose and book the hostels in the appropriate areas if you do not have a preference for hostels to stay at. 

 

Where can I pick up the rental car?
The pick-up places we offer are: Keflavík International Airport (24/7), our Reykjavík HI Hostels (pick-up is available at 8:15 or 10:00 each morning), and the car rental offices located at Skeifan 9 (not far from Reykjavík City HI Hostel) and Njarðargata (close to city centre and the domestic airport).
Can only one person drive the car?

There are 4 drivers included in our all packages. The extra drivers are not charged so it will not cost less to have for instance only 2 drivers.

 

What is the CDW insurance?

CDW stands for Collision Damage Waiver and is a basic insurance included in all our car rental package. Please read our insurance terms for more information. 

 

What is the difference between CDW and SCDW?

The difference is the amount to pay (self-liability) in case of any damage on the car. The SCDW lowers the self-liability – see our insurance terms. The SCDW also includes gravel protection against broken windows and lights. No insurance covers damage on the undercarriage of the car, tires, or damage due to theft or water.

 

Do I have to buy the SCDW? How about the SADW?
No, it is not mandatory to buy the SCDW, but we do recommend adding it to your booking as it lowers your self-liability considerably in case of an accident. 
 
The SADW (Sand and Ash Damage Waiver) is optional; the need for it is higher during the summer, and also depends on which areas of the country you intend to visit. Please contact us for more information. 
 
 
How old does a driver have to be to rent a car through HI Iceland?

The minimum age for a driver is 20 years old, and the driver needs to have at least one year’s driving experience. 

What is the currency in Iceland?

The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). The Central Bank of Iceland updates the exchange rate of the króna daily on their web page:  The Central Bank of Iceland 

 

What is the weather like in Iceland?

The only thing that is certain about the Icelandic weather is that it’s completely unpredictable. It is very good to monitor the weather when traveling during off-season and some parts of the country can be particularly snowy. The Icelandic Meteorological Office offers the most comprehensive information about the current weather conditions. 

 

What are the roads like in Iceland?

Although the ring road is mostly paved there are spots along the way where special care needs to be taken due to narrow roads and such. At road.is you can find updated information about road conditions all around the country.  

 

Can I drive anywhere in Iceland?
No. It is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland. Only if you have a 4x4 car which is suitable for highland driving you can drive on highland roads and marked paths. If you are driving one of our rental cars you are not insured for water damages, so driving over unbridged rivers is not necessarily  the most clever thing to do, nor does it cover damage on the undercarriage of the car. Please note that if you are caught driving off road the car rental agency is authorized to charge you for breaking that rule.
 
How much does fuel/gas cost?

Unfortunately there’s no official website that monitors gas prices in Iceland but you can find an unofficial one at www.gsmbensin.is

Are the hostels just for young people?

Not at all! Our hostels are a great option for people of all ages who want to meet new people and the opportunity to cook their own meals as all HI Hostels have a guest kitchen.

 

 

Can I reach all hostels by a normal car?
Yes, you can reach all our hostels by a normal car. The last 100 metres to Fljótsdalur Hostel are only accessible for 4x4 cars, but the road is otherwise fine for normal cars. 
 
You need a 4x4 car (at least the F type car) to drive on the highland and all F-marked roads. Driving off road is strictly forbidden and subject to fine. 
 
Do the hostels have set check-in / check out times?

Check-in at most hostels begins after 14:00 and check out is at 10:00. This time may vary a little between hostels, but these are the general guidelines. Please notify the next hostel on your itinerary if planned arrival is after 20:00 to make sure someone is available to welcome you and check you in, or to give you instructions so that you can get inside and find your room upon arrival.

 

Can I buy breakfast at the hostels?
Some of our hostels offer breakfast, please contact us at info@hostel.is or ask your booking agent for further information. 
 
Please note that the Central Booking Office does not book breakfast for individuals in advance, only travel agencies and groups. You can ask for breakfast upon arrival and pay for it separately. 
 
Can I bring food to prepare my own meal?

Yes, all the hostels have well equipped kitchens with all the basic utensils to prepare a normal meal. They probably don’t have a wok pan or a deep-frying pot, but the regular things like a stove, refrigerator, plates, cutlery, glasses, cutting board, pots and pans. 

 

I don’t have a sleeping bag, what can I do?
You can bring your own sleeping bag if you have one, or rent bed linen upon arrival at the hostels. A sheet is on each mattress and a pillow with pillowcase is also provided free of charge. You can bring your own duvet cover and borrow a duvet upon arrival if you do not wish to rent bed linen. Bed linen is included at a few of our hostels. 
 
Towels are available for rent at the hostels, and are sometimes included in linen rental.
 
Can I smoke inside the hostels/rooms?

Please don’t. According to our quality standards smoking is prohibited in all our hostels.

 

Where are the hostels located?

There are currently 34 HI Hostels all round Iceland, with something to suit every need and want. Each hostel is unique, most are family-run, and many are in buildings with an interesting history. They are located both in towns and in the countryside, close to nature with opportunities for activities at the hostels themselves and further away so we recommend spending more than one night at each hostel when possible. There are a sometimes several hostels in the same area, so you often have another option close by if your selected hostel does not have availability. You can see detailed information about our hostels on our website.

I can’t decide where to stay – do you have any recommendations?

To help you plan your trip we have made sample itineraries which are available to you, completely free of charge.

If you see anything you like you just fill in one of our booking form with the sample itinerary you want and send to us at info@hostel.is