How to afford Scandinavia

Five simple tips on how to afford Scandinavia

Throughout my travels I have met so many people who were very envious of my time in Scandinavia, but just ‘couldn’t afford it’. To this I always reply ‘Yes you can, just make some changes’ of which I then explain to them how I afforded it.

People use money as a huge excuse to not branch out and try something new, when in fact they could afford it if they made some different choices about how they would travel. It might require a little research on prices and calculations,but this effort is nothing compared to the reward of being there.

If you really want to go travel somewhere, there is nothing stopping you except yourself. I spent half the amount of money in Norway for two weeks than I did in Croatia for ONE week, because of all the tourist traps. There is also a disillusion that places are ‘really cheap’ so you end up spending more as you care less.

1. Couchsurf

If you couchsurf you can save $60-$100AUD a NIGHT on accommodation (that’s how much it can be normally). That’s anywhere from $420-$700 a week!

This is free accommodation and I could not emphasise this enough! If you couchsurf you completely change your experience in that city.

I know how much fun it is to find the best rated hostel, meet loads of travellers and exchange awesome stories about how awesome you all are, but if you have done this a lot you know this can get tiring. Also in Scandinavia there isn’t as big a hostel culture as there is in the rest of Europe.

Make a profile on http://www.couchsurfing.org, search where you want to go and you will see hundreds of people willing to give up their couch to meet a cool traveller. Trust me- it’s not creepy. I’ve done it in 10 different cities and have never once been hit on, felt uncomfortable or unsafe in any way.

Drinks with my couch surfing host and another surfer in Prague!

Drinks with my couch surfing host and another surfer in Prague!

2. Cook and pack lunches

This can save you $30-$70AUD a day! Meals can be anywhere from $15-40AUD depending on where you are and if you’re buying this twice a day it will add up very fast! I would try one or two signature dishes but you aren’t missing out culturally if you don’t always eat out.

If you’re couchsurfing (which you totally should) then it is very normal to cook with your host as obviously they don’t eat out often living there. Supermarkets are cheap so this isn’t a problem. Most of the time my hosts cooked delicious meals for me and were super generous!

If you’re in a hostel then make use of the kitchen and pack sandwiches or leftovers for lunch.

If you’re in a hotel (sometimes there aren’t hostels) they often have complimentary breakfast with breads, cheeses and hams, in which case pack some sandwiches also for lunch and even dinner!

3. Pre-drink

This can save you anywhere from $50-$150 a night out! Drinks at various bars and clubs can cost anywhere from $10-$30 a pop, so you can’t afford to be drinking there all night!

This is something we’re all already familiar with at home, but in Scandinavia it is a must! It’s also a good way to get to know your couchsurfing host and their friends, or people in your hostel. People don’t go out until after midnight anyway so you can kill some time this way.

4. Research museums and attractions before

This is also where your money can go quickly; if you’re visiting several attractions a day you can be spending $10-$40 at each one.

Before you go into a museum or attraction, check online to see how much it is. If it’s expensive have a look to see if you think it’s really worth it to go inside. Sometimes places like Royal Palaces can look similar to others you’ve seen (unless you’re really interested in them) and the outside can be enough!

Some places can look just as good from the outside!

Some places can look just as good from the outside! Vienna, Austria

5. Find where the students go

Locals aren’t paying the prices of tourists when they eat and go out, so find out where they go! Student deals at bars and cafes can save you an enormous amount!

When I was in a little cafe in Copenhagen it was normally $15 for a wine or beer but then from 4pm-6pm it was only $5! Have a look online and you will surely find places like this mentioned.

Scandinavia is the most beautiful region I’ve ever travelled so stop using money as an excuse, make some changes and go!

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