Budget travel to Norway is possible: here’s your guide to making it happen

Budget travel to Norway is possible: here’s your guide to making it happen

Norway is high on the bucket list for many would-be world travelers. What’s stopping you from visiting? Probably the price tag – Norway is infamous for being one of the most expensive countries in the world.

Despite this, we recommend that you take a trip to Northern Norway later this summer. We were just there in August and it was nothing short of amazing. Northern Norway has it all:

  • The land of the midnight sun.
  • The place of epic fjords…
  • …and tropical-looking beaches.
  • Delightfully uncrowded with near-perfect weather during the summer

The best part – we can make this trip happen on a budget. Probably not a backpacker’s budget, but something quite reasonable for a summer vacation. Read on to see how!

Norway - Lofoten Beach

A “tropical” beach in the Lofoten Islands, Norway

First off, flights to Norway from major U.S. airports can be had for ~$600 roundtrip on Norwegian. This is a phenomenal deal, and one that should be taken advantage of. From Oslo, grab another flight north to Tromso. Book early enough, and you can find these for around $200 roundtrip per person.

Total cost so far: $800 per person (awesome for a roundtrip to Europe) for a total of $1,600.

Next up: transportation. Buses and hitchhiking is actually a solid option, but we’d recommend getting a car. This is another significant expense. You’ll likely have to spend almost $1000 on the car, and lets add in another $200 for gas. What a car gets you is the freedom to go where you want, when you want, and to really make the most of your time in Northern Norway. Definitely worth it.

Norway - Senja, rainbow

Can’t get here by bus – the Island of Senja

Total cost so far: $2,800

Next up: lodging. This is where the savings come in and we make our budget work. Norway has a “rights of access” law that means you can effectively camp anywhere that is not cultivated. Take advantage of this to the maximum. Bring a tent, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads and you can stay for free for the entire trip. There are also public and free campsites that provide basic amenities. You can take advantage of those to remain hygienic and relatively sane.

Let’s assume that you stay a couple nights in a place with bed and a shower to remain sane. Total cost: $200.

One of our FAVORITE travel hacks:

Get access to the entire Lonely Planet catalogue via Amazon Kindle Unlimited. We read over 30 guidebooks on our trip around the world for about $30.

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Free campsite above the town of Reine – better than money can buy…

Total cost so far: $3,000.

The final bucket of cost: food. Norway has some of the most expensive food in the world if you eat already prepared food. So, don’t. Get your food at grocery stores and local eateries. You can eat for $20 a day per person, although it won’t be a highbrow experience. Let’s add a little bit of cushion to that, and say that food and drink will cost you $800 for the entire time on the trip.

Total cost so far: $3800

Finally, what to do when you’re there. The beautiful thing about Norway is that most of the activities you’d want to do our outside and our free.

  • Visit the Island of Senja. Amazing
  • Thoroughly explore the Lofoten Islands. Pictured above multiple times – these islands are some of the most stunning in the world. Fjords, tropical blue beaches, freedom camping, whale watching, picturesque red fishing villages and so much more.
  • Check out the Lingen Alps and visit what feels like the end of the Earth. Great hiking and otherworldly sites can be found in these alps (see below).
  • Hit the tropical-looking beaches and do a polar plunge. No explanation required.
  • Spend some time in and around Tromsø. A funky town with a cool Nordic feel to it. The Arctic Cathedral in the midnight sun is particularly cool.


Crazy cloud scenes in the Lyngen Alps

This trip leaves you with epic memories and experiences and very surprisingly won’t break the bank. Take advantage of these great flight deals and the fact that you can camp for free in most of Norway to make this a shockingly affordable trip to a very expensive country.

You can further keep costs down if you’re a) flying from the East Coast or b) decide to rent a car for only part of the trip. This gives you a little bit more flex on the food and lodging budgets, if you’re not fully content to rough it.

Total expected cost for a two week vacation to northern Norway: $3,800. Not bad at all.

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