Norway is an extremely expensive country, well above the European average. It is the second most expensive country in Europe, after Switzerland. If Norwegians are lucky enough to have as high revenues as the prices, this is usually not the case for travelers. So how to survive in Norway when you have travel on budget? To not cancel this trip that is totally worth it, I offer you some tips that I myself sought before leaving. So I thought it might interest you to find them here too?
Let’s go for the 10 tips for traveling cheap in Norway!
1. Choose your region
Norway is a huge country. One would not guess! To have a good stay, I strongly recommend you stay in one region. This will save you from spending your entire trip in transportation!
In addition to being a country stretched from North to South, Norway is intertwined by Fjords. It is therefore necessary to multiply the transport times to reach one point to another. If you want to make the most of your stay, avoid long distances because you will otherwise spend your entire trip in transport.
To give you an idea, I put on the map the transport time between the extreme points of Norway, from South to North. There are about 2500 km or at least 37 hours of travel by car (with no pause of course).
A word of advice: to make the most of your trip, choose your destination. Choose either North or South, but do not think to visit the whole country in 2 or even 3 weeks! Do not think that you will not have seen enough of the country if you are confined to a region. You will benefit all the more from it!
I speak to you knowingly because I spent only 5 days between Tromso and the Lofoten Islands, and that was not enough. Seeing the map, this area seemed very small, but honestly, I would have liked to stay 2 weeks just in the Lofoten Islands.
I take this opportunity to tell you also that if you hesitate between several regions of Norway, choose the Lofoten Islands for your first trip! This place is so heavenly that it will make you want to return to Norway to discover other regions, such as the Fjords of the Bergen region. If you want to know my favorite places of the Lofoten Islands, read this article.
In addition, tickets to Norway are really affordable from Europe, you can have a round trip for less than 100 euros (from France or Germany for example) very easily by booking your plane ticket in advance.
2. Book your tickets in advance
Speaking of booking in advance, I take this opportunity to advise you to book your train tickets well before your departure also. The company that runs the trains in Norway is called NSB.
To book your tickets, go to their website here.
It is possible to buy tickets 3 months in advance with preferential rates. Then the prices increase the closer we get to the date of departure, until the last day! If you are a student, enjoy a preferential tariff.
The train is convenient in Norway especially to reach quite long distances. This will save you endless trips by bus or even worse hitchhiking. In addition, there are also night trains, allowing on the one hand to save a night of hotel / hostel, and on the other hand getting to the next destination without having the impression to lose your day.
For my part, I found the night trains quite comfortable even if the seats are seated and not lying. (It is also possible to sleep in bunks but the price is much more expensive). They provide plaid, inflatable cushion, headband for eyes and earplugs. Also, the two times we took a night train, we were lucky to have each 2 seats to lie down. I think that traveling off-season helps on that side.
For your information, we made the night trips: Trondheim -> Bergen and Bergen -> Oslo.
3. Do hitchhiking
For short distances, I strongly recommend you to do hitchhiking in Norway. But beware ! While it works very well in the North of the country and especially on the Lofoten Islands, it is much more difficult to be taken hitchhiking below Trondheim.
Indeed, the mentality is very different between North and South. In the North, the inhabitants are very open, friendly, and generally appreciate tourists who come to visit their beautiful country. In the South, they are much colder and taking tourists hitchhiking doesn’t belong to their habits.
I draw this conclusion not only from our personal experience, since we traveled all the way hitchhiking in the Lofoten Islands and without any problem. Further south, towards Otta to reach Geirangerfjord, this was almost impossible. Speaking of our feelings with a Norwegian, he explained that Norwegians in the North are much more open to people of the South. I was able to read this testimony later on other websites.
So if you go to the Lofoten Islands, really consider to hitchhike to move! We never waited longer than 20 minutes there to be taken.
4. Sleep by locals
Some of you are certainly familiar with Couchsurfing, but I am sure many of you have never tried the experience.
In short, Couchsurfing is a community of travelers who welcome each other for free. Each person has a profile, like Air Bnb, with a description of oneself. We can search for accommodation according to the cities we visit, and ask to be hosted. The host can then accept you, or refuse your request. As on Air bnb, each person is rated. This notion is very important because it allows you to go to someone “trusted” because validated by the community. Similarly, a host will pay attention to the rating of his future visitors. Sleeping in Couchsurfing is totally free. You can, however, if you can, offer a little something to your host. Some write squarely in their profile that they like to receive cigarettes or alcohol bottles from duty free because the local price is exorbitant.
In Norway, as in so many countries, the Couchsurfing community is important. But keep in mind that you are not the only clever one looking for cheap travel in Norway. Indeed, there will be proportionately to other countries many more requests. So remember to send your reservation requests a little early. When I say a little in advance, tell yourself that 2 or 3 weeks maximum is good, no more. Because the hosts are average people and do not want to be forced to block their agenda months in advance while they do not know what they will do next week.
On our trip, we stayed at 6 different Couchsurfers for about 10 nights, allowing us to save a lot of money.
5. Sleep in hostels
Sleeping in youth hostels when not finding Couchsurfing can be a very good alternative. Even though the prices at night are not around 10 euros as in some countries, they will generally be well below hotel prices. Count on average 30 euros per night in Youth Hostels.
Find your hostel on Booking and get 10% discount through my link here.
6. Bring one tent
Also, and especially if you do not travel in winter, think of bringing a tent to travel cheap! Indeed, Norway is often thought of as an extremely cold country, but know that temperatures are generally around 20°C in summer and can easily reach up to 30°C, even in Northern Norway!
It is therefore quite possible to sleep in a tent. Moreover, there is no problem to do wild camping in Norway. Indeed, the Norwegian “Allemannsretten” stipulates that everyone can enjoy nature and its landscapes. It is even possible to camp on private property, as long as you stay at least 150 meters from the houses in order not to annoy inhabitants, and as long you don’t sack nature.
You can also easily find campsites with showers and toilets.
There are now tents for travel, small, light, so easy to carry. I put some examples found on Amazon by tapping on the search bar “hiking tent” and each having more than 4 and a half stars. Simple and effective way to travel cheap!
7. Bring provisions
Before leaving, remember that everything you can buy outside Norway will cost you less than on site (unless you live in Switzerland sorry!). So do not hesitate to buy some provisions that you can eat on site.
If you plan to go on long hikes, buy cereal bars in supermarkets. It’s light, it does not take much space and it will serve you inevitably. (PS: do not take the fitness bars that replace a meal, they are frankly not good!).
Another light thing you can take away: instant soups, super practical!
8. Do not go into restaurants
I like restaurants, I love it even! But if I hate something, it is the feeling of being ripped off. And when I see on the menu that the cheapest dish is a pizza at 18 euros, it is this feeling I get.
So if you want to save yourself from that feeling, just do not go to restaurants. I would say maybe go one time for trying a local dish, but no more. We are here to travel cheap or not?
9. Buy food in supermarkets
The solution available would be to go to supermarkets to buy food you can warm up (supermarkets often have microwaves available). You can also buy a portion of the catering department for cheap (about 5 euros).
Avoid taking cheese and desserts, really overpriced.
10. Buy off-tax
It is possible to recover VAT in many shops. Some show “tax free” on their front, others do not display it while they do it. So in any case, do not hesitate to ask. You must ask at the counter where you made your purchase of more than 315 Nok to fill out a “Global Blue” form. Food products (15% VAT) require a minimal amount of 290 crowns. You can get a refund of up to 19% of the purchase amount !! It’s really not nothing at all.
You can claim the refund when you leave the country at “Global Blue” refund points. They can be found at borders, at ferry terminals or at airports.
11. Bring your student card
Like I said in the transportation section, if you have a student card, do not forget to bring it! You can therefore have discounts on transport, but also for some visits.
However, I noticed that you had to be a student from Norway sometimes to have student discounts. In any case, do not forget to take it with you to get the right to some preferential rates.
12. Travel off season
Last tip for traveling cheap in Norway: traveling off season! This advice, although valid everywhere, is not to be neglected. On the one hand, this will allow you to have cheaper plane, train and bus tickets.
On the other hand, you will be able to book your hostel/hotel rooms at preferential rates. If you sleep in a guest house (cheap accommodation solution that abounds in Queen for example, I told you about it in this article), the fact that there are fewer travelers at this time will allow you a nice negotiation 😉 And yes, try your luck, you have nothing to lose, except a refusal.
Finally, the last advantage of traveling off season is obviously tranquility! What better than to admire the beauty of Nordic landscapes without tourists! You will enjoy all the more landscapes and your trip in general.
So what are you waiting for traveling to Norway ?!
See you soon and don’t forget
Practice makes perfect