Iceland is a wealthy nation that relies heavily on imports; but at $180/£90 a night for "budget hotels," $15/£7.50 for burgers, and $12/£6 for a beer, Iceland's prices may come as a shock. High prices affect locals as well: special charter flights to Europe and the U.S. are arranged just for shopping expeditions. Remember that visitors are entitled to a refund on the value-added tax (VAT, or sales tax) for purchases of eligible goods.
Currency -- Iceland's monetary unit is the krona (sometimes abbreviated as "ISK," but written as "kr" in this guide), plural kronur. Coins come in 1, 10, 50, and 100 kronur denominations; bank notes are in denominations of 500kr ($8/£4), 1,000kr ($16/£8), 2,000kr ($32/£16), and 5,000kr ($80/£40). Prices listed in this book reflect exchange rates at press time: 62.5kr to the dollar and 125kr to the British pound. Dollars, pounds, and euros are easily exchanged for kronur. For current conversion rates, try www.xe.com/ucc.
ATMs/Currency Exchange -- You could spend a lot of time and effort obtaining Icelandic currency in advance of arrival, but ATMs are the most practical and reliable way to get cash at fair exchange rates. Upon arrival at Keflavík International Airport, you'll easily find ATMs and the currency exchange desk, both run by Landsbanki Íslands, which has fair exchange rates. Tip: Avoid exchanging money at hotels, which tend to have high transaction fees.
ATMs are found in most villages around Iceland, though not all ATMs are accessible 24 hours. Icelandic ATMs generally accept all major debit, credit, and cash-only cards. Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) cards are almost universally accepted in Icelandic ATMs .
Credit & Debit Cards -- Credit cards are safe, convenient, and generally offer good exchange rates. Note, however, that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% "foreign transaction fee" on all charges you incur abroad.
In Iceland you'll need a PIN to withdraw cash advances on your credit card. You will not need a PIN for most credit card purchases, but occasions may arise (particularly at automated gas pumps). If you've forgotten your PIN, call the number on the back of your card and ask that it be provided to you.
Icelanders love credit and debit cards, and will commonly whip one out just to buy an ice cream cone. Most shops and tourist establishments accept credit cards; you can even charge a taxi ride. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted, though American Express and Diner's Club are useful as well. Electron, Maestro, and EDC debit cards are increasingly accepted at retail stores.
Traveler's Checks -- These days, traveler's checks are less necessary because most cities have 24-hour ATMs. However, traveler's checks are still widely accepted in Iceland.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.