The Scandinavian countries are some of the safest, cleanest and most versatile in the world, but they’re also the most expensive. Enjoy your holiday by planning ahead with my top 10 tips for travelling the Nordic countries.
1. Save up
The Scandinavian countries are some of the most expensive in the world. I was paying an average of $100AUD for dinner alone! You could always eat at cheaper restaurants, buy less souvenirs and experience a lot less, but who wants to miss out on the fun!? Save up so you can worry less about the entry price to that museum and more about what form you’d like your reindeer in.
2. Do your research
Saving money isn’t easy when you’re visiting Scandinavia but it is possible to spend less! Do your research and consider visiting in off-peak periods. Both summer and winter have their natural phenomenon and they don’t cost anything to see. If you’re travelling to see the Aurora Borealis, find affordable accommodation in the Arctic Circle but look around before you book. There are also plenty of free activities and museums to visit when you’re in Scandinavia. Look out for free attractions or consider city access cards and tours that include entry fees.
3. Dress appropriately
Even in summer the temperatures can drop so you’ll want to be prepared for the cold. Especially if, like me, you’re travelling from Australia where our average winter temperatures are their average summer temperatures. If you’re visiting Copenhagen remember that it rains pretty much every day. So pack waterproof jackets or umbrellas.
4. Make a list of things to pack
Making a list of things to take with you will ensure that you haven’t forgotten a thing. And if you’re the type of person who is paranoid that your luggage will somehow get lost on route, (that’s me) then having a written list will help with any insurance claims. It will also help you minimise what you take so you can take full advantage of the amazing chocolate.
5. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Food is the essence of life in my opinion, so do try all of the local dishes you can. Reindeer is actually really good for you! Push yourself to be adventurous and try to do things you weren’t planning on, just don’t hurt yourself. I had never dreamed of riding and then eating reindeer, snowmobiling or husky sledding but I did them all in freezing conditions and they were some of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
6. Be flexible
Plans aren’t rules- they can be bent, broken and dismissed completely. You may have plans to see the northern lights but never actually get to. Don’t be afraid to do things that aren’t so touristy either – the locals are very friendly people. Experience Scandinavia the way you want to, even if it means not planning a single thing!
7. Prepare to be laughed at
No matter how hard I tried, I always mispronounced menu items, the names of places and anything else in any language other than English and the locals laughed, all in good spirit of course. Their English is impeccable and in some cases, better than mine (which is embarrassing when it’s the only language I can speak). But they appreciate you giving it a go.
- Plan ahead
Plan what you want to see and where you want to go ahead of time. Many hotels are booked out ahead of time so you can’t expect there to always be a room available. Not to mention that a lot of the hotels in the Lapland regions are more expensive and in demand due to the northern lights. So don’t just wing it.
- Be on time
Everything in these countries works like clockwork. If you are late for the train onto the next country, you’re going to miss it. You’ll need to be on time. If your flights are delayed they do the best they can to accommodate you.
10. Have fun and take loads of photos
Don’t stress over the smaller details, enjoy yourself! What’s the point of travelling to the other side of the world if you’re just going to stress about everything that could go wrong? Just enjoy seeing parts of the world that some people may not be able to. Travelling to Scandinavia will give you the only legitimate reason for taking photos of your food and uploading them to Instagram, so there’s no need to feel guilty about that one!