Usually, the first thing which springs to mind when someone mentions travelling and Scandinavia is “it’s expensive there!”, and rightly so. These are “typically” not cheap countries to travel when you compare normal travel expenses, such as travel, accomodation and food (both out and from a supermarket) however there are unique properties which you can take advantage of to make 10€ a day traveling Norway possible! In this article we will explain them and how we lived off 10€ each a day, seeing every landmark we planned to and experiencing much, much more!
Firstly we would like to give a money breakdown of our trip.
We spent 26 days in Norway in the mid summer season, a critical time one can make a trip of this manner more comfortably as the weather is slightly more predicable and warmer.
Over 26 days we spend a total of 490€ between two of us, 245€ each which is 9.5€ a day. (Some days we spent 0€ while others more than 10€)
How we managed this:
We travelled over 3000km from the very south to the Lofoten Islands and our personal experience with hitchhiking in Norway was it is not so difficult. People can be slightly more judgmental or come off as cold to begin with but Norwegians are very kind, helpful people so long as you follow general practices in making hitchhiking easier (we will write advise on this topic in the future! In the mean time jump over to hitchwiki.org for information on this).
We also at no point felt unsafe and crime is extremely low in this country. We found a sign indicating where you are going can make it easier as Norwegians like to help when they know exactly how to. With 95% of our hitchhiking in Norway we signed and our longest wait was 2hours, averaging about 25 minutes wait time. We travelled up the west coast and found locations to hitchhike are very easy to find as most of the main roads do not exceed a 70km speed limit and are very winding, (slower cars can see you easier and are more willing to pick you up) with plenty of bus stops and pull in bays. As you venture further north hitchhiking seems to get easier however it is important to be prepared for all weather conditions as Norway’s weather is very unpredictable. Our best brought item was an Umbrella! Another positive to hitchhiking in Norway in summer is the continuous sunlight.
We would like to point out again that we made it to every landmark/destination we wanted, so while it sometimes took longer than a more conventional (yet more expensive) method, we like to believe it was just as effective. Anyway, sometimes its more about the journey then the destination right?! 😉
A major expense contributor is ferry crossings and although these are not so expensive, 2€-7€ per ride, on our entire trip we crossed more than 10. All ferry crossing are charged per person not vehicle however there are some “illegal” ways to make these cheaper although generally, be prepared to pay. While on some of our crossings, kind drivers offered to pay but it is best not to expect so there is a slight chance of sneaking on.
This is best performed in the final minutes before departure but when ticket officers are still charging cars. The aim is to enter the boat without them seeing, because later they charge foot traffic once you sit down. On either side of the ferry is rooms with pedestrian seats and if you can manage to walk into the rooms unseen, then find yourself a sneaky corner, (like a toilet we had been told, but you can get caught and not get away with this option so we never tried).It simply comes down to luck and while we tried it every time, only some occasions were we not asked. Another method is finding a cool driver with a truck or van and if they do not mind, hiding in the back. Cars were not checked and so long as we were covered from when the car approached the ferry area, we always got away with this method.
There is an awesome law in Norway (and other Scandinavian countries) called right of access. It governs people have the right to actively be involve in nature and outdoor activities free from charge so long as it does not impact the environment, personal or agricultural practices. Meaning; Camping is allowed almost anywhere except within 150m from a residential property or if it disturbs agricultural or private property. How awesome is that! We wild camped (no cost) 21 of the 26 nights and generally it is not difficult to find a good spot to camp however in some mountainous areas flat ground can be scarce. Again Norway is a very safe country and at no point did we feel a place was dangerous (we mainly slept in the country sides but even in cities there are safer options.
Once we slept in a city at a camper van overnight stop on asphalt). Another good point is all fresh water which is running, and there is an unbelievably large amount of it, can be drank. Only camping once on a mountain did we find ourselves in a area where we could not refill our bottles so while it still pays to be prepared, Norway can be a lot safer in that sense. We HIGHLY recommend a good waterproof tent as even in summer, and especially in mountains and up north, weather can change in minutes and rain is very common. On another 3 nights we camped in campgrounds (because we wanted a proper shower and wifi!) and the remaining 2 were with couchsurfers. (www.couchsurfing.com, a website we highly recommend!). As a result we spent a total of 40€ on accomodation for our 26 days. Bellow are some of our favourite free camping spots.
Undoubtably, food is much more expensive in Scandinavian countries (especially Norway) then anywhere else in Europe. That being said, there are particular foods, and supermarkets which can help in keeping the price of travelling down. Eating out for us was not an option so having a cooking devise and all utensils is critical! We used a “beer can stove” something we discovered on youtube. It has to be said however that an ultralight budget when travelling generally results in a less “comforting” diet. Our main travel foods in Norway, similar in all other countries has been:
Breakfast: musli with fresh fruits
Lunch: salami/tuna and tomato/cucumber sandwiches, fruit
Dinners: pastas, 2 minute noodles, vegetables curries/chilli/soups.
We found the cheapest supermarkets in Norway are Rema 1000 and Bunnpris. A particular item which blew our mind was in the larger Rema1000’s you can buy x5 2minute noodles for 50 euro cents! We stocked up on these 😉 Most vegetables and fruits are no more overpriced than other western European countries (sometimes cheaper) and they always have a large bread section (cheapest 80 euro cent). We also ate a lot of legumes from a can (chickpeas and kidney beans) as they are healthy, filling and cheap (less than 1€ a can). Another point we exercised to save money is in the bread section loafs are self serve sliced at a machine and often the ends of each loaf are left behind on the machine. We often took a plastic bag and filled it with these, to no concern, and they made snacks with added jam (1kg tub of jam 2€).
Like anywhere basic money saving techniques apply well in Norway;
- Look for what is on sale
- Meatless is always cheaper
- If you can afford the weight and space, buy in bulk
- Another point to remember is all plastic bags in Norway cost money! So reusing them is recommended!
Bellow are some of our dinners! The last picture is of a salmon we were given when asked to go fishing with some locals. They gave us a whole 3kg salmon and it fed 5 of us twice a day with some rice! Our blog (click here) has more on this and you can see it all in our Norway video!
Other expenses and useful information
Is extremely expensive! As a result we bought one pub beer (7€) each in our 26 days. Handy information is the legal age to buy wine or beer is 18 years while for spirits, it is 20 years. You can only buy beer before 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on Saturdays. Quite often wine and spirits are sold in a different store to beer!
All supermarkets have free wifi, along with the common fast-food chains and most larger cities. Some petrol stations have free wifi but you can generally ask if desperate. At no point did we struggle to not be “connected” as even when the above were not an option, asking cafes, restaurants and small shops only received polite replies.
We attempted fishing with a borrowed rod off some friends we hitchhiked with. There is no need for a license in the ocean but be warned we heard stories of large fines when people fished without licences in lakes. Although we only caught one small fish, we were told with the right equipment (and more skill then us) fishing is quite easy!
IF YOU HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR WE THANK YOU FOR READING!
As our journey progresses we hope to write more advise pages based on what we have learnt across the world! Our aim is to help others or inspire people to take similar adventures because we strongly believe, a more travelled, worldly person can be more understanding and is better to the world. If you know anyone who would benefit from this article please let them know or share. Your love is much appreciated!
the limitless ones