A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
If you follow my travel journals you may probably have read that I’d made this spontaneous trip to Norway before school started. It was my first solo trip ever and it turned out very smooth. Now I would like to share with you my experience and some of my “survival” tips because I know that many of us are sort of hesitant when it comes to traveling to Northern Europe because apparently that is the most expensive place, especially for student travelers.
Don’t chose the date, let the date choose you
One of the great thing about being Europe, as you all know, is the opportunity to travel anytime you want and without the hassle of applying for visa and such. So my advice is just to keep in mind roughly when you want to travel and let the price decide because our first priority is still money (at least for me). One of the great tools to find cheap tickets is Google Flight (mentioned in my post here) which I usually browse randomly in my free time and voila I found this perfect date for a trip to Norway with the cheapest price (87 EUR with Norwegian Air) within at least the 5 months that I looked at.
Sleep anywhere but a hotel/hostel
Ok this is an exaggeration 😛 But if you think about it, accommodation in Norway in SUPER expensive, like 40-50 EUR for a night in a dormitory bed). Which is insane, so I decided to plan my itinerary in a way that I would spend the night in somewhere that is free, ie. at the airport and on the train. It is totally doable, although not at all comfortable and … healthy. But if it’s just a short trip and you’re not too high-maintenance then why not save some money. Oslo airport is surprisingly a good place to sleep in (compared to so many other airports) as it is not too crowded and there are always a lot of comfy leather chairs for sleepovers. A lot of people spend the night here, so no worries. When you get out, either turn left to see a row of reclining chairs or turn right and walk towards the end to see a much better option. The restaurant called Peppes Pizza closed at night and you can sleep in one of their long leather benches. I was there on a Thursday and plenty of spaces were still available when I arrived at 11:30.
Night train is also a great way to save money if you also travel to other parts of Norway (Bergen in my case). The seat on the train is relatively quite comfy and they even provide you with blanket, pillow and eyecover. I slept 2 nights on the train.
One tip is to visit the toilets at the airport and on the train whenever you can because toilets in Norway cost around 1 EUR 😦
Buy the Oslo pass
Take advantage of your student ID and buy the Oslo pass at the discount price (around 30 EUR). The pass gives you unlimited use of public transportation and entries to all museums. I got it because I would spend a whole day in Oslo and to be honest there is not that much to do here so I figured I would just visit as many museums as possible. Definitely take the ferry to Bygdøy island where the main museums are located. I personally think only the Fram museum and the Kon Tiki museum is worth the visit, but then with the Oslo pass you don’t have to walk all day long so I do recommend buying it. Of course for some Oslo is quite walkable but I had quite a heavy backpack so I found it much easier to hop on a tram to get to places.
Usually when we travel our cheapest options to eat are usually kebab or McDonalds. But let me tell you, they are super expensive here in Norway!!! (Big Mac is more than 10 EUR). So, a cheaper alternative is hotdog! Apparently it’s Norwegian’s favorite snack too. Everyone is eating it everywhere. You can buy it in convenience store like 7eleven, or try the “gourmet” ones which are a bit more expensive. I think I ate like 6 hotdogs during my 4 days in Norway 😛
Overall, with all my travel “hacks” it is still indeed much more expensive to travel to Norway then to other parts of Europe, but hey, it’s Norway, and you’d always want to go there once 🙂