Norway has the reputation of being one of the most expensive countries for travelers as to living cost and accommodation etc. I cannot deny this, but with a creative mind, it is possible to travel on a low budget. All of our travels are budget friendly because this allows us to travel more often. Our New Year’s trip to Trondheim was no exception to that rule! I will give you 8 tips that will enable you to travel on a low budget in Norway.
1. Book with AirBnB
I have used AirBnB several times before to find cheap accommodation and I have always been a satisfied customer. Firstly, this is way cheaper than booking a room in a hotel. Secondly, you can do your own cooking. This is a big advantage because eating in a bar or restaurant in Norway costs a lot of money, especially when you like to have a glass of wine with dinner. A kitchen to prepare your own meal is really a must in order to travel on a budget.
If you use AirBnB for your booking, you’ll automatically have your own host / hostess to give you some tips about what to do in Norway. We paid 45 euros per night, while a cheap hotel room would at least cost 85 euros per night. Wild camping is allowed in Norway, so that might be an interesting and cheaper option in summertime.
2. Buy second hand gear or borrow stuff
If you visit Norway during the winter, you will absolutely need appropriate, warm clothing and shoes. We needed snow boots, warm gloves and a warm coat. I bought my snow boots second hand for only 5 euros and we borrowed the rest of the stuff from family and friends. Jeroen even persuaded his mom to give him her warm coat. Luckily, you barely noticed that he wore a women’s jacket ☺ We never go skiing or snowboarding, so we don’t have thermal clothing. If we would have to buy new stuff, we would have paid a lot for it. If you go camping in summertime, it might be interesting to borrow some camping gear. So don’t hesitate to ask acquaintances to borrow stuff!
3. Travel light: only cabin baggage
In order to save money, I would advise you to take with you only cabin baggage. This might be challenging, especially in wintertime. This problem can be solved by wearing multiple layers of clothes. I walked like a boss through custom control; wearing 2 pants and 3 sweaters ☺ I swear I was never cold during the whole journey!!
4. Take your own food with you
Tasting local food is a must-do on your holiday! But if you like oatmeal or cornflakes for breakfast, I can guarantee that the Norwegian version will not taste that different and it will cost a lot more. So we took our own oatmeal, tea, nuts, coffee (very expensive in Norway),… This saved us a lot of money! For the record, you can take all these things with you in your cabin luggage, as long as you don’t take any fluids with you! I tried it for you ☺
5. Travel by train and buy tickets in advance
The moment you step out of the airport, a bunch of ‘flybussen’ are waiting for you to take you to the nearest city. It is tempting to just hop on them, but you must realize that around the corner, there is a train that will bring you to this city for less than half the price. At every airport in Norway, taking the train is a much cheaper option… if you are not in hurry! Don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance at the vending machine in order to avoid paying surtax. This is also important when you are travelling by bus: always buy your tickets in advance!
6. Buy your groceries at Rema, Bunnpris and Kiwi
These 3 supermarkets are among the cheapest in Norway. Products with the label ‘first price’ are the cheapest products in its kind… as you might have already guessed ☺ There were several stores like this in Trondheim, so we did not have to walk long distances for our groceries. Our apartment was situated right above a Bunnpris supermarktet, so this hungry lazy-ass only had to walk down the stairs to get food. That’s how I like it ☺
7. Buy local products
Local food is often the cheapest option. So don’t hesitate to enjoy the lovely Kaneelbullar (a kind of cinnamon rolls)! At least that was what I did. I ate one on daily basis! It’s also possible to buy cheap fresh fish. We bought the best salmon ever at the price of 6,5 euros for 4 slices. I definitely was the most tasty fish we’ve ever had and it was very cheap. Also, don’t hesitate to drink tap water. It’s perfectly safe to drink, so there’s no need to buy water in the local store.
8. Avoid alcohol, cheese or coffee
Keep your cravings for alcohol, cheese or coffee under control, because these products are extremely expensive. A small portion of cheese costs at least 13 euros! Also alcohol is seriously overpriced, even when you buy it in a supermarket. If you want to travel cheap in Norway, you cannot just drink some beer at a bar. We asked locals how they deal with this. They told us that they visit bars during the week because a beer costs only 3 euros instead of 12 euros in the weekend. Good to know!
Coffee lovers must cut down on their coffee consumption, unless you take your own coffee, like I did. Even though I could resist visiting a coffee bar in Trondheim every once in a while. You’ve got to live a little, right?
In sum, with a little creativity, you enjoy your stay in Norway without spending too much money. Travelling to Norway on a tight budget is not as impossible as you might think. It is an incredibly beautiful country, so I would advise everyone not to be discouraged by the high living costs!