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Top 10 Budget Travel Tips: How to Save Money in Scandinavia


Saving money on your next vacation in Scandinavia (or anywhere else, for that matter) is crucial to all budget travelers. It helps you keep control of your money and might even let you enjoy a longer trip. Find out here what the best ways are to save money on your trip.

1. Compare Before You Book

Frontier Airlines
Naturally, comparing flight and hotel prices before you book is the most important thing for budget travelers. Sites such as Expedia list available rates and let you compare prices, while offering online booking and secure, guaranteed payment.

2. Pick A Few Free Activities

Aurora Borealis
Aside from the ever-popular 10 free things in Scandinavia, you can also enjoy natural phenomena at no cost, especially in the region of the Arctic circle in Iceland and northern Norway and Sweden. This free show of three Scandinavian Natural Phenomena includes the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), the Midnight Sun and the Polar Nights. These are experiences that will last a lifetime.

3. Consider City Cards

Rosendal Palace & Garden in Stockholm, Sweden
© TAM Licensed to About.com
City Cards in Scandinavia offer free admission to museums and other local attractions, along with free local transportation and many other travel-related discounts and coupons! They're available online and can be purchased for a day or more. Learn more about prices and local information about the city cards in Sweden, and the city cards in Norway here!

4. Keep Your Travel Date Flexible

Stay flexible with the exact travel dates, and you'll probably cash in on it on your flight tickets. Airline ticket prices to Scandinavia can vary widely from one date to the next. When searching for a flight (or hotel), try out at least 2 or 3 different departure dates to make sure you get the lowest fare possible. Plus, an overbooked flight on a Sunday might be a flight with several free seats on Monday. Speaking of which - try to fly Monday through Thursday to avoid weekend surcharges!

5. Consider Low-Cost Dining & Great Budget Hotels

Restaurant Potetkjelleren in Bergen
© Restaurant Potetkjelleren
If you want to save money during your stay, head for family-owned restaurants. Your hotel in Scandinavia will be able to give you a few tips and directions. Another favorite for budget travelers can be the Scandinavian cafes and bars, which usually offer filling meals at reasonable prices. To save even more, some budget travelers book an accommodation with cooking facilities and cook their own meals. And one more tip: eat BEFORE you go to the theme park...

6. Don't Pay Unnecessary Fees

Airport Security Checkpoint
Two things travelers often don't anticipate are customs fees and ATM fees. You don't have to pay either. Educate yourself and take a look at the current customs regulations in Scandinavia to find out what you can take duty-free and how much. And instead of using ATMs, pay for things using your regular debit or credit card, or Traveler's Checks. If you have to use ATMs, check with your bank before you leave to find out if there are partner banks in Scandinavia (e.g. Citibank), which may charge lower fees. Current exchange rates can be calculated with an Online Currency Converter.

7. Get 1 Useful Travel Book

© Frommer's/PG
Instead of buying 2 or 3 travel guide books that focus on a certain city or country, get just one travel guide that covers everything. Take a look at the Best Scandinavia Travel Guides (which even includes price comparison links!) They cover all of Scandinavia and will come in handy for vacations to other Scandinavian destinations as well. And, useful free city travel guides of Scandinavia's capitals are found at: Capitals of Scandinavia!

8. Pack a Variety of Clothing

Fields In Norway's Nature
(c) 2005 DJ_maxim
Yes, pack for different types of weather. Don't just take a few skimpy pieces of clothing just because your're traveling in the heat of summer. Weather in Scandinavia changes all the time and it can suddenly be rainy or windy, and you end up buying a new jacket even though you could have brought your windbreaker from home. Sturdy shoes are always a good idea as well.

9. Set a Spending Limit

Swedish Krona (Crown) - Scandinavian currency
(c) TAM
This is an important point, especially during your vacation. Set a spending limit on souvenirs, gifts, and similar expenses. Don't send a postcard to that aunt in Alaska you haven't heard from in 5 years. If you set a overall spending limit for the entire trip, and it is a little low, you might have to shorten the vacation by a day or so. Adjust your plans accordingly.

10. Use Your Credit Card Miles/Rewards

Redeem your miles to get cheaper fares. You haven't racked up enough points to get a free trip? That's ok, too. When paying for your flight, just use a credit card that earns points or miles, and apply them toward your next trip.
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