We spent 21 days on our trip (Dennmark-Sweden-Norway-Finland) which means that we slept in more than 15 different places. The original plan was to camp until we reached the Arctic Circle. Because of the weather we had to change our plan…
Staying in a tent (or campervan, if you have one) is not for everyone, but if you choose to wild camp then it is free – if you are lucky enough to find a good spot – but that leaves you with the problem of finding a shower, kitchen and bathroom. If you need these luxuries then you can go to the closest camping ground where these are provided – at a cost.
With this being said there are still a lot of myths about doing Scandinavia on a budget
Cheapest Paid Option – Camping (£15 – £40+):
There are a lot of camping sites, as well. 3 star camping means it has a decent kitchen and decent toilets – possibly even WiFi! Prices for 2 people, one tent, and a car are between £18-25. Without a car then it is slightly less, but not by much – around £15. If you have a campervan and need electricity then this is also charged between £3-5 as far as we could see. Showers are sometimes paid extra per 3-5 minutes – so don’t forget to take some 5-10 krona coins with you just in case.
Remember, however, you are planning to go to Scandinavia and even camping can be expensive. You can find 4 stars camping sites and pay around 35 pounds for a tent, two people and a car. We don’t know the difference because we weren’t that posh.
– You don’t have to book it. Signs for camping like this are everywhere – access to kitchen, toilet, WiFi and electricity
– You are still in a tent. Good luck when it’s cold and raining…and need the toilet.
-If you are jealous about people in campers, like I was, then have a look at what they have to do after it rains. Having to get pulled out by the nearest farmer with a tractor can’t be a good start to the day. It was a good start to mine, though.
Your own cabin in the woods (£50-80+)
Renting a cabin at a camping site This starts from double the price of having your own tent. You still share the bathroom, but at least you have heating.
It was our last choice but we still spent 3 nights there. Prices for one without a bathroom starts from £50. If you’re lucky then you will get something to cook on in the hut, but you will still have to go the kitchen for water and to do the washing. Posh ones with a fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom start from £65.
– warm(er) – private
– Extra costs: shower, bedding linen( up to even 10 pounds for one set – bedding and towels). Not that the bedding provided looked in the best shape…
– Some of cabins are big wooden houses with paper-thin walls. Good luck if your neighbors have a dog, especially when the place offers breakfast and they leave it. Normally, I like animals – that day I was ready to kill. Also, this pleasure cost us £80.
– If you get the cheapest one then you still share a kitchen and toilet. Sometimes there is only one toilet, which has the only shower in it (unisex).
– You will have to do the cleaning yourself, or face an extra charge
This trip was our first meeting with AirBnB and sometimes renting a whole flat was cheaper than a cabin.
The best ones are those which are in someones basement and you have hosts upstairs. They contain almost no private stuff, are pretty cheap, and have a bathroom and kitchen. One lovely couple even left us some stuff for breakfast.
We also rented some normal apartments and it wasn’t as good –our first encounter with cleaning lists.
Even if you are renting apartments on booking, lists of stuff to clean are quite common. Our favourite one (above right) had a 120 euro charge if you didn’t throw the rubbish. Also, if you are renting one to use a washing machine remember to check if it’s connected correctly. You don’t want to flood the bathroom, trust us.
Remember also about the ‘no shoes indoors’ rule. Some people will say you don’t have to, but trust us, you do. It makes your host very happy if you ask where to put your shoes and this is something you want. Sometime you can get dinner for ‘small donation’ cause of it! 🙂
– It’s a bit of Russian roulette even if people have 100% positive comments.
– Comes with fire alarms, so you can’t burn your dinner!
Hostels and motels (£60+)
We were looking for these only if we couldn’t find an AirBnB and cabins with a bathroom were to expensive or sold out. Some of them come with a kitchen, look and you will find!
– Around North Cape this was the cheapest option
Fees for bedding – Not a very good standard, of course.
Last minute deals still aren’t cheap, but a little luxury is welcome
Your dream when you are sleeping in a tent – a nightmare for your wallet, though.
In big cities you can find great last minute deals. By last minute i mean we booked it 4 hours before arrival. A room with a bathroom in the Best Western in Stockholm cost us £65 with breakfast, close to the city center.
So why is it a nightmare for your wallet? Because if you cant cook, then it’s double the price of the room.
It is worth mentioning, however, that if you are determined to stay in hotels in Scandinavia then make sure that you sign up for hotel loyalty programs before you go as you can find exclusive deals (that are actually pretty good) as well as gaining access to generally cheaper prices as well as bonuses and loyalty programs. We didn’t do it and kind of regret it now that we have finished our trip. The most common hotel that we saw the whole way through Scandinavia was Scandic, but you may well want to stay loyal to hotels that you already use.
– Probably what you got used to during trips to cheaper places
– You have to eat and there’s no kitchen you can use
We reckon staying in places with a kitchen is the cheapest option, but be sure to take your kitchen with you. Possibly also the closest Tesco since food is expensive. We took everything with us (we went by car): blender, pot, pan, milk, rice, different sauces. During our stay we were only buying fruit and vegetables, sometimes fish and some local stuff.
Have you travelled around Scandinavia? How did you find places to sleep for cheap? Let us know in the comments below!