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Money saving tips for traveling

What are some tips you recommend for saving money in order to go to Scandinavia for at least 2 weeks?

Posted by
6144 posts

First, figure out how much you want/need to save for the trip, how much time you have to save in terms of months, and then work from there to make a monthly savings goal happen. The easiest trick may be to automatically divert a certain share of your paycheck directly to a separate savings account earmarked for travel - that way you never see the money in the first place and it's a forced savings. Look at all the discretionary spending in your budget (eating out, etc.) and focus on aggressively cutting down on your biggest sources of discretionary spending. Reframe your outlook and don't look at it as a financial diet as much as a pot of travel money you'll have in "x" months - if you set a concrete savings goal and track progress, that will hopefully keep you motivated to keep saving.

Posted by
2525 posts

Consider also doing as much research in advance as possible regarding your trip. Doing as much planning of transportation, accommodations, reviewing various passes, etc., can save much money. While Scandinavian countries are more costly than say Germany, they are, in my opinion, very worthwhile to visit. From reading posts over the years on the Travel Forum, it seems many folks cringe at the costs of travel in Scandinavia and reject going there, while grimacing at costs in Switzerland but yet travel there anyway. Go figure.

Posted by
588 posts

Airbnb is much less expensive than hotels, especially if you are willing to rent a single room in a home, rather than having an entire apartment to yourself. We have done this several times, with very satisfactory results.

Posted by
16757 posts

Scale back or eliminate your cable/satellite TV service. Those monthly bills really add up.

Don't eat out.

Every time you're thinking of buying something that's not absolutely essential, ask yourself, "Would I rather have this sweater, or would I rather have the $50 to spend in Europe?"

Posted by
20597 posts

Retire and have your SS check deposited directly into your travel account.

Posted by
2409 posts

I don't understand where Scandinavia gets its reputation for being expensive. I found it much less expensive than the UK, London and area, and France, Paris, and certainly than Boston. My average hotel nightly charge, a single, was $117.00 through out Sweden, and Stockholm was actually where my least expensive room was located...and I thought it was adorable and in a great neighborhood. Use booking.com as it is more popular in Europe, I'm told. Figure out how much you have to spend on your trip, pull out airfare and serious transportation, and then calculate your daily amount to spend including hotel room. Some days will cost more and some will cost less but it should average out to your approximate goal. That's how I plan, at least. I can't wait to return to Sweden!

Posted by
6144 posts

Here are some articles I saved from the NYT - hopefully they'll help stretch your budget. I think comparing Scandinavia to Boston or London is simply comparing several expensive places and not finding much variation - what about comparing it to Lisbon or Budapest or Krakow or even Berlin? If you look at RS tours to Scandinavia (relative to other places in Europe) or find out what alcohol costs there, that will give you a clue...

http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/scandinavia-on-125-a-day/
http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/a-scandinavian-summer-the-ultimate-frugal-challenge/

Posted by
2022 posts

Compare food costs, and you will immediately see how much more costly Scandinavia is. For example, in 2014, we could get anice ice cream cone in Berlin, good quality, for 1 euro per scoop. When we were later in Copenhagen, much worse ice cream ran roughly $3 for the first scoop ( I forget the dkk cost). Check drink prices also. Better yet compare McDonald's (or other ff) prices, since the portions should be essentially the same.

Posted by
11153 posts

Rick Steves Scandinavia has some good money saving tips, so be sure to get a copy. Some that I remember (my trip there was in 2003):

Stockholm restaurants have weekday lunch specials for much less than the cost of dinner.

The various cards (Copenhagen Card, Stockholm Card, etc), can be very good deals if you're seeing a lot. The Copenhagen card covers not only the city, but almost all major attractions within a one hour radius (as well as transportation to them), so it's particularly useful. And while my 3 day Oslo Card cost about $50, I got $75 worth of value from it.

However, you always have to do the math for your particular itinerary. And Rick takes pains to point out that the Bergen Card has become a worse value as it has excluded various things that were formerly covered.

There's a Destination Stockholm package, which includes a hotel and a card covering many sights as well as transportation, all for a reasonable price: http://www.destination-stockholm.com/.

While none of Scandinavia is "cheap," Norway is notably more expensive than the other countries. Coming from New York, I didn't have sticker shock in Copenhagen, Stockholm or Helsinki (I know - Nordic but not Scandinavian), but I sure did in Oslo. It's the only place where I deliberately made a 7-11 hot dog my dinner, because of the cost of the other options.

Posted by
12090 posts

Determine your level of luxury, ie what are you able to cope without? Determine your travel style, trains buses, ferries, night trains, small hotels, hostels? True on don't eat out here, and cut down on spending here asking yourself, "do I really need this?" If not, then use that amount towards saving for the trip.

Posted by
11153 posts

I just realized you've been getting answers to two different questions:

How do I save money before my trip, so I can afford it? This advice applies to travel in general.

How do I save money during the trip itself? This advice is more specific to Scandinavia, although some things (like getting food from supermarkets instead of eating all your meals in restaurants) applies to other places too.

Of course, both are useful. If you are going to spend less money once there, you don't need to save as much beforehand.

Posted by
12090 posts

Numbers 5,6,7,8 I don't have anyway. I don't frequent such places as Starbucks, Petes, etc very often.

Posted by
2409 posts

I'd add, reduce the number of car(s) that you have. There is an annual trip right there per car reduction.

Posted by
342 posts

Before trips:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/budget-tips/churn-churn-churn

Planning for trips: fewer and longer instead of more and shorter, trips and locations. Reduce the transportation cost, travel time, check in/out time, and unpack/pack time. Optimize quality time at the locations. IOW, efficient use of money and time.

http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/none/the-art-of-slow-travel

In the cities (such as Stockholm):

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/budget-tips/free-walking-tours-ad7025c5-4e6d-4139-8b52-66f249d4c50d