Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Cashing up

3 long and punishing days into my week in the office, and I'm just about prepared to discuss the figures from my recent trip. Make no mistake about it, Norway's not a cheap country. They say that being born Norwegian is like having won a lottery - your money is worth so much in the rest of the world.

There is a "BUT" though. As with most places, there are expensive ways of doing it and there are cost-effective ways of doing it. During my 10-day trip I wanted to enjoy myself and make the most of being there, without bankrupting myself! I figure it's probably the same for the majority of tourists.

To help give potential visitors inspiration, and show you how much some things actually cost, I've worked out my spendings in Pounds Sterling based on today's exchange rate (the Norwegian Krone is currently weakening - a result for foreign tourists). The figures don't account for banking charges - these vary (for tips on travel money take a look at Money Saving Expert).

Overnight train Lillehammer-Bodø with NSB, including a 1/2day stop in Trondheim. 450 miles.
£27.53 (same price from Oslo if you book far enough in advance)
Includes free sleeping blanket, eye mask, pillow etc

Torghatten Nord Express Boat from Bodø - Svolvaer 

Wild camping - the good (Kabelvåg) and the bad (Riksgränsen...) 
Includes weather

Self-Catered Guesthouse in Svolvær
£44.22/night for 2 people sharing

A quirky Reggae night that's as good as any entertainment you'll find anywhere
£16 entry
Includes "Skanking"

500ml Beer in the Lofoten Isles
£7.50 on average - it's an expensive place to drink. If you just want a booze-up, go to Spain!

Enough food for a full day's ski touring and recovery afterwards (from a supermarket)
Less than £6.50

Bus from Svolvær to Narvik - 4hrs journey through the eastern Lofoten

Good pizza in Narvik at Pizzabakeren
Includes friendly service :) 

Train from Narvik to Riksgränsen with SJ

Lift-served skiing at Riksgränsen
Includes "Hucking". Hopefully not "Bailing".

500ml Beer in resort at Riksgränsen

Bar meal in resort

Night train from Riksgränsen - Stockholm - approx. 900 miles
£70 booked last minute, even cheaper if booked earlier

Dinner and a drink on the night train
Includes rummaging for change when they won't accept your card

Big lunch in Stockholms old town (Gamle Stad) 
Includes tea, coffee, salad, bread and a good old catch-up.

Lunch in Lidingö, Stockholm suburbs
Includes everything above, but the food and the area are fancier.

Luggage locker Stockholm

Luggage locker Oslo 
Includes headline "Norway cheaper than Sweden in luggage locker SHOCK"

Night bus Stockholm - Oslo with Swebus, just over 300miles
£32.60 re-bookable ticket
Includes no sleep.

Coffee and a pastry at Oslo S Station  

Nice lunch on Karl Johans gate, centre of Oslo 

Wifi connection
FREE everywhere if you look hard enough, except the night train

A lift home from Oslo to Lillehammer
After 10 days on public transport? Priceless.

You don't need to be too observant to realise that the two things I didn't do on this tour were either Fly or Drive. Ah, the irony. Don't worry, I'll be doing plenty of both over the coming months. Using public transport in Scandinavia is easy though - if you're planning a FlyDrive holiday don't forget about trains and buses, as they can give you a useful break from driving and save you some cash! 

I hope this blog can help give potential visitors some inspiration, as well as share our adventures and help promote what we're doing - making Norway a more affordable place to visit. If I compare how much I've spent against the things I've seen, my trip was excellent value.

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