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scandinavia on a budget

I try to take my trips as challenges. It would be either hitchhiking during the summer or road-tripping with the strangers, or non-stop partying and Couchsurfing. I try to break those templates of properly planned and organized trips. Como on, man, you can be predictable when you are retired. Now, let’s just live the moment. 

 

But, there is one big BUT. If you want to travel as often as possible, you would need to learn how to save money and not t waste tons of euros when exploring Scandinavia or Switzerland. For that, you would need to plan. If you have chosen to hit the road at least once a month, but for some reason, you are not a millionaire, yet you die to experience the trip…

 Screenshot, save, share, or just remember the tips that have enabled me to spend no more than  10€ per day in Norway and Switzerland. 

I have talked about the ways to get to Europe for as cheap as possible in my previous post and in my podcast. Now, let’s see what we can do to survive in Europe. 

Accommodations

Yea, I have tried to sleep in the weirdest places, but from my own experience, you better plan your roof properly. 

 

Couchsurfing

The invention of the kindest and the most adventurous people. It is basically a website where you can ask locals to host you for a couple of nights. Check my other posts so to understand how it works and how to make a proper request so to avoid misunderstandings.

These last years, I have stayed with over 50 hosts all around the world – from Brazilian islands to small cute Georgian houses and crazy Spanish villas.

Camping

It saves money and time. In Norway or Sweden, you can basically put your tent wherever you wish. Norwegians even have their own ‘Right to Roam that literally says you are free to put a tent wherever you want. Just stay a bit further from private homes if you are not planning to make enemies friends.

If you opted to rent a caravan, here is a pretty good map with free camping spots.

FB  and Couchsurfing groups

I honestly hate searching for anything on FB, especially participating in groups. But some of them I super useful. I have been using mostly Erasmus Student Network or Erasmus in Nurnberg/ Hamburg/ Berlin. Usually, students share their rooms or flats with other travelers. Or they can give really good recommendations for a cheap hostel. 

Ask local students for any tips – they have tons of valuable information!

Here are some of the groups that I use a lot:

Traveling in Europe

Erasmus+ Projects

Erasmus+ Germany

Backpacking Europe

Backpacking Eastern Europe

Hitchhiking Europe

Hitchhiking Partners Worldwide

Create a public trip on CS

If you still struggle with finding a bed for the night, post a public trip on Couchsurfing. Local people will see your travel plan and might offer you a roof, a bed, or a cup of tea for the night.

Tip: write an eye-catching description. If you are going to a popular city, you will compete with dozens of backpackers so spend some time to write something really unique.

 

Take it as an adventure

If after all, you have failed to find a bed, don’t give up. You are living an adventure. You are here to learn how to travel, how to connect, and how to survive. 

I have slept at the port of Dubrovnik in my sleeping bag. In a tiny car in Italy. In an ATM room in Alicante. On the beach of Ibiza. Outside of the airport in Baden Baden (all people were kicked out at night in February). And in a sleeping bag at the bus station of Tuzla, which is in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

So try to be a bit creative 🙂

By the way, here is an awesome website for you to check if it is possible to sleep at the airport you are flying to or from.

cheap trip to norway

 

Scandinavian Food

So here is a thing, if you are a real gourmand and trying to visit all fancy and over-priced restaurants with traditional cuisine, then just skip this part. 

And those who are still with me, let’s see how we can save money on food.

No fast-food

I am all against going to McDonald’s or Burger Kind when you are in Finland or Denmark. First of all, it doesn’t differ from your home fast-food. Secondly, it gives you no vitamins or minerals to keep you moving.

Yes, it is better than to starve, but let me give you some more tips for your Scandinavian journey.

Homemade food for a Scandinavian trip

Before taking a plane or a bus or a train, spend some time and cook something good. It can be pasta with pesto and sunflower seeds. Rice with curry chicken. Hot salad with grilled mushrooms. Fish and broccoli with rice. Take 2-3 meals and put it to the collapsible boxes.

When you arrive at your destination, eat it ASAP. During most of a year, it won’t go bad as the temperature is low. 

You can transport food on a plane! Yea, airlines will tell you something different, but you can take your favorite cheese, ham, pasta, or rice.

Water on a plane to Sweden?

So let’s start with a fact that Scandinavia has the best tap water. And you can drink it wherever you go. I always use collapsible water bottles so to squeeze it later and don’t be overloaded.

I had been using this one for over 3 years, till I lost it one a hitchhiking trip across the Balkans.

Take your rice

Do you know those packs of rice that you throw directly to the water? I always take them with me. Even if I don’t use them, I will be always secure I have food to eat. Same with instant oat flakes, couscous, semolina, etc. You basically only need hot water and a bowl. 

A bowl that can be squeezed and hot water can be asked in McDonald’s or at a bistro. They give it for free.

backpacking in Norway

Food-sharing

Here supermarkets, markets, and people are trying really hard not to waste food. Either they bring boxes full of food to the dormitories and shelters or they place food-sharing stations. Everyone in a need, can just come and take the food he eagers to enjoy.

There is also an app for sharing food even faster and safer. Check it out!

Carry-on liquids

 So I had a really big problem. I wanted to bring homemade jams and honey with me to Germany and later to Scandinavia. I literally die without it. I can’t imagine my morning cottage cheese or oat flakes without it. So I froze it. And put it into a reusable plastic bag.

Ice is not a liquid. So if your struggle is real, just freeze water, jams, creams, honey. And unfreeze it when you get to your place. 

That is how I survived during my Scandinavian trip with my granny’s jams.

 

 

Scandinavian Transportation

 

Here, there is not a lot of magic. As I mostly stay with locals in Norway and Sweden, they all have cars. But I still have some tips for you.

  • Scandinavian inter cities transportation literally sucks. Either it doesn’t exist or there are only 2-3 vehicles on a road. (On the contrary to the city transportation – it is super good!). So use BlablaCar to share a ride with others.
  • Couchsurfing groups and events may help you to find people to share these cars, or simply ask if they have their own car and would like to go on a small Scandinavian trip.
  • Hitchhiking. There is maybe no safer place on the Earth for hitchhiking than Scandinavia and Switzerland. I was always super fast and met awesome people. Try for at least once in your life so to break out of your comfort zone.

Here are my Top Tips for hitchhiking and planning the road.

How to party for free and enter all clubs without paying the entry? I have talked about it in my 12th podcast episode. And I have given even more tips for reducing the costs.

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