Is it possible to travel in Norway on a tight budget? Yes. We found a way. Last summer my partner and I hiked hut to hut above deep fjords, drove scenic remote roads, soaked in panoramic views of sheer mountain faces and camped, under the never setting midnight sun. And we did it on a teacher’s budget.
The midnight sun is an incredible phenomenon that takes place in Arctic regions from April to August and makes summer travel in Norway a magical experience you will never forget.While exploring Norway on a tight budget, we picked up some useful tips and tricks that made our experience just as special as the midnight sun.
First Step: Rent a Car and save money on your rental. I have to admit, the biggest expense we had, and it was a non-negotiable necessity, was renting a car. Here are our tips to save money on your rental
- Learn how to drive a stick shift and save yourself the 100% make-up on an automatic transmission. End of story.
- Book insurance directly through the car rental site or use your credit card’s insurance. Do not book through a third party site, like Expedia or Kayak
- Learn from my mistakes. After getting scratches on our car rental in both Italy and Norway this summer, we learned that credit cards and direct insurance bought through the rental company work best. Many rental companies in foreign countries do not honor 3rd party insurance and you will have to pay twice.
- Save money on gas. Most cars in Norway are electric, so ensure your rental car is electric or a hybrid. This will save you a lot of money on gas. Plug in stations to charge your electric vehicle were recently installed every fifty kilometers on main roads. Charging stations are more common than fast food in Norway, and can be found in local malls, parking garages, grocery stores and even gas stations.
Big cities are expensive. If your passion, like ours, is to lace up your hiking boots, toss on your backpack and head into the outdoors,, I highly recommend flying into Bergen. Depending upon your time and budget, you might consider skipping Oslo. Small fishing villages, harborside towns, dramatic fjords, Viking history, and hiking magnificent landscapes were my priorities and those experiences are not found in large cities.
- Before heading out into the mountains, some general tips to save you some time and money are;
- Use your credit cards. You can use your credit cards everywhere you go, so no need to take out much cash.Never buy bottled water! Tap water in Norway is considered one of the safest and cleanest in the world. You can drink virtually any water in Norway, as long as its 500 meters away from a glacier. Everything else is fair game!
- Buy any alcohol you may want in duty free before you exit the airport. Because of the extensive social services that Norway provides it’s citizens, goods and food are extremely expensive. Buying alcohol in duty free will save you some money and be much appreciated after a long hikeFor now, I’ll leave you to dream about the magical mountains and grandeur of Norway. I hope to see you there someday; it’s a place I know I’ll go back to.
- Consider hut to hut hiking. You can get access to more than 500 huts across Norway, is you become a member of The Norwegian Trekking Association.
- Read my blog post about Hut to Hut Hiking and Freedom Hiking.
- Until then, your gutsy traveling friend, Annalyse