Norway is one of the most stunning countries that I have ever been too but it’s also one of the most expensive. I also went in the winter which didn’t help and so some of my tips are more effective in warmer months because they involve spending a lot of time outside! But in Norway, why wouldn’t you want to spend all of your time outside!
Here’s my 10 tips on how you can save money in Norway this year!
I haven’t hitchhiked all over the world, I know that in a lot of places it’s not safe but in Norway, it honestly never felt safer. You can get literally anywhere hitchhiking. I was always picked up quickly. (except for one time around 10pm when there wasn’t many people out) And if you aren’t traveling alone then there really isn’t any reason not to try your hand at hitchhiking. (ps I was traveling solo and hitchhiked all over the north of Norway where there were less buses and trains.)
Just like hitchhiking, couchsurfing was extremely safe. I stayed in the Lofoten Islands with the most amazing Danish woman, who I wasn’t even meant to stay with. I had a mistake in my accommodation, I knocked on this woman’s door at about 11:30pm and after hearing my story, she let me stay with her for several days. By the time I gathered my things and curled up on her couch, she had made me sandwiches and tea and brought her dog in to cuddle me. I spent the next few days driving around the islands and walking her dog along the ocean. Couchsurfing in Norway was one of my favorite experiences.
Cook, cook, cook
I cooked all my meals. I think I ate in a restaurant one time the entire 2 weeks that I was in Norway. It’s just wildly expensive. Head over to the grocery store and buy a bunch of things to cook up. No matter where I stayed, in hostels or people’s homes or hotels, I was always able to find a place to cook and relax to eat my meals.
I didn’t camp because I went to Norway in the winter, but if I were to go back in the summer it would be my first choice for places to stay. I would love to sleep under the stars, in the clean, fresh mountain air. In Norway it’s legal to camp as long as you are 500 meters away from people’s homes or businesses. This basically means that you can camp anywhere! So take advantage of that for sure!
Book things ahead of time
I did rent a car, even though it was pretty spendy. I just wanted to be able to explore the Lofoten islands as my own pace so I rented a car for 3 days. But make sure that you book flights, trains, cars and ferries ahead of time. That will save you money. I didn’t book my trains and ferries until the same day and they were pretty spendy.
Don’t stay in Oslo
I stayed in Oslo for two nights coming and one night leaving and it was easily the most expensive part of my entire trip. If you really want to save money in Norway, I would avoid spending too much time in Oslo.
Take your cans and bottles back to the store
That’s right, you can actually earn some coin while you are staying in Norway! Just return all your bottles and cans to the stores and you can get a few coins back here and there. If you want to drink a lot, this can be extremely helpful. Imagine taking a 12 pack of beer back to the store to get some money back for those. I wish that every country gave people and easy incentive to recycle like the Scandinavian countries do!
Travel with people
I traveled alone but I do know that it’s cheaper to do things with other people. It’s cheaper to eat and cook from the grocery store, book hotel rooms, rent cars, and go on tours if you are with other people. So while traveling alone is amazing, traveling with people could actually help you save money in Norway!
Are you traveling alone? Go ahead and stay in a hostel or get on couchsurfing and make some friends for the rest of your trip. That’s what I did!
Go your own, don’t take tours
Beware that this is harder to do in the winter. I couldn’t do several of the hikes that I wanted because in the winter you can only do guided tours. This is because it’s unsafe to go alone and I know why. I did one hike with these girls I met, even after they told us it may not be the safest. We ventured out on our own and got lost about 5 times (once on a very treacherous bike trail).
We ended up in snow up to our waists, fog so dense we couldn’t see, at one point we slid down about 3 stories into a ravine that we then had to climb up the next side and one of the girls was even wearing sneakers and jeans. In the end though, we also saw some of the most amazing views of my entire life and we did make it back to Bergen in time to drown ourselves in noodle soup to warm up. It was quite the adventure and I know that some of the other hikes I wanted to attempt would have been too hard alone in the weather. This being said, if you are going to go in the Summer, I would look everything up online and not take any tours.
Check out the grocery stores
The grocery stores will often give away bread for free if it’s a day old and you can always dumpster dive for fruits and veggies that get thrown away. That’s right guys - give dumpster diving a try! You would not believe how much fruit and veggies just get thrown away when they aren’t eaten. And with how much plastic we wrap everything in these days, it will still be perfectly safe to eat by the time you are finished. Definitely worth the shot especially when you are really trying to save money on your trip to Norway.