How To Travel Norway On A Budget: Save Money On Hotels & More!

How to Travel to Norway on a Budget

Discover some of our best tips for finding cheap accommodation and how to save money on food and transportation in Norway!

With its expansive fjords, famous archipelagos, and undeniable beauty, Norway sits at the top of many traveler’s bucket lists. Like many people who dream of visiting this country, we put it off for years because of the expense compared to other travel destinations. During our recent visit, we realized traveling here can be done affordably with a little planning.

How to Save Money Traveling in Norway

 

How to Travel to Norway on a Budget

 

Set a Daily Spending Limit

Set a daily spending limit and stick to it! This might mean staying in a hostel, camping, couchsurfing, or cooking your own meals. Before my visit to Norway, people warned me that it wasn’t possible to find a hotel for less than $400 US per night, but I found plenty for under $100 US in the places we visited.

Eating at restaurants, on the other hand, is very expensive. We were able to stick to our daily budget by buying alcohol and food for lunch at the local grocery stores.

Read more: Lofoten Islands Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know

 

Book in Advance

Hotels:  As soon as you book your flights to Norway, you should start researching your accommodation. Many areas of Norway have limited accommodation available and the inexpensive hotel options tend to get booked up first.

Before booking your hotel check to see if your rate includes breakfast. Many hotels offer this included in your stay. We filled up enough at breakfast so we didn’t need much more than a snack for lunch, which made spending money on dinner a lot less painful. We recommend Booking.com to find affordable accommodation in Norway.

Read more: Where To Stay In Norway (The Best Hotels & Locations)

Transportation: If you decide to skip renting a car, then booking your transportation in advance is recommended. If you do rent a car, look into credit cards that offer car rental coverage. The car rental insurance costs in Norway can easily blow your budget, but it’s not something you want to go without.

Read more: The Best Time to Visit Norway (Depending On What You Want To See)

How to Travel to Norway on a Budget

 

Stay With Locals

This will save you money on accommodation and food. If you book an AirBnb with a kitchen, you won’t have to eat at a restaurant for every meal. Keep in mind that most hotels include breakfast, so make sure to take that into consideration when comparing prices on hotels versus AirBnb stays.

Couchsurfing is another option that I have not personally tried, but many travelers love it. I like to have my own place when traveling (I always book my own apartments when using AirBnb) and I’ve found it can be time consuming to try to find a Couchsurfing host, but it’s a great way to save money if you are on an extremely tight budget.

AirBnb Tip: If you sign up through our AirBnb link, you’ll get a free credit towards your first stay.

How to Travel to Norway on a Budget

 

Travel in the Off Season

High season in Norway is May through August, when the weather is not too chilly. However, if you are traveling to areas where you can see the Northern Lights, then December through about March will be high season. The months of April and October are your best bets for lower prices on flights and accommodation.

Read more: Norway Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know

How to Save Money Traveling in Norway

 

Saving Money on Food & Alcohol

I was told that the locals rarely even eat at restaurants because it’s so expensive in Norway. We loaded up on healthy snacks at the supermarket to take with us on hikes and exploring by car. We also bought most of our beer at the Kiwi. Look for Rema 1000 and Kiwi — these two stores are the discount supermarkets.

Similar to Sweden, drinks with an alcohol content of more than 4.7% can not be sold in Norwegian supermarkets. Wine, spirits, and strong beer are only sold at the Vinmonopolet and their prices are not exactly cheap. If you drink hard alcohol, you might want to bring a bottle in your luggage.

Head for Asian or family-owned restaurants when you do eat out. These tend to be cheaper. Tips are not required in restaurants and remember to pay close attention to your bill because it’s common for gratuity to be included. If you do decide to tip, 5 to 10 percent is sufficient.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Norway’s Fjord Region

 

Drink the Tap Water!

The tap water in Norway tastes better than any tap or bottled water I’ve ever tried. Even if you are not on a budget, you should drink the tap water anyway.

How to Save Money Traveling in Norway

 

Explore the Outdoors

Hiking in Norway: The best part about Norway, in my opinion, is the stunning natural beauty and luckily hiking is free! We spent almost every single day hiking and it was one of my all-time favorite trips abroad.

We spent a week in the Western Fjords and hiked in Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord. During our time in Alesund, we woke up at sunrise to walk the 418 steps up from town park to Aksla Viewpoint for a stunning view of the archipelago.

Camping in Norway: You can also pitch a tent in the wild for free as long as you are at least 150m from houses, you don’t stay more than 2 nights, you don’t require a campfire, and you carry all of your trash out.

It’s very expensive to buy camping gear in Norway, so I recommend bringing your own. We’ve come up with the ideal camping kit for travel which includes a tiny camping stove, miniature cookware set, extremely warm sleeping bag, lightweight 2-person tent, Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads, and internal frame backpack.

Read more: The Ultimate Norway Packing Guide

Budget Tips for Traveling in Norway

Plan Your Trip to Norway

After years of travel and running this travel blog, we have come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.

Flights:

  • Going is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines.

Accommodation: 

  • Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. For apartment rentals while traveling, we use AirBnb. To get a credit towards your first booking, sign up through this link.

 

Do you love to photograph your travels?

Norway is an extremely photogenic country and one of the best travel destinations to take stunning photos of your vacation. For travel photography tips, read our posts about how to choose the best travel camera, how to take great travel photos, and our ultimate packing guide for travel photographers.

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23 Comments

  1. Ordinary Traveler says:

    So happy to hear the post was helpful! We LOVED our time in Norway!

  2. Round The World Magazine says:

    Thanks for the tips, heard Norway is expensive and we’ll be starting a Svalbard adventure in December! Did you make it up there?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      No, unfortunately, we didn’t make it to that area. You will love Norway — it’s an amazing country!

      1. Round The World Magazine says:

        I’ll bet, thanks for a good read and safe travels to you!

  3. NOMADasaurus says:

    Wow Norway looks so beautiful. You’re photos are stunning. Great tips on how to stick to your budget. We have heard about how expensive it can be. We would love to get there one day. We are outdoors people so I think we will love it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have a few friends in Norway that I met during a group tour to Peru a few years ago. Have been wanting to visit them for awhile now, but like most people, the cost of visiting Norway has put it on the backburner for now. These tips are a good start to turning my dream into reality!

    BTW, do you have any advice/tips for booking hostels in Norway? I am not opposed to staying at hostels, especially when it is a quite a popular option throughout Europe.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Hi Ray. I’m glad you found the post helpful! I don’t have any specific hostel recommendations, but I think doing a search on booking.com will give some cheaper options. I don’t know how many hostels there are in the fjord region because accommodation options are limited in general, but you shouldn’t have a problem finding cheaper options in the cities.

  5. Travel Hund says:

    Loved using the camping law while we were traveling in the Lofoten Islands. Best accommodation price? Free!
    Airbnb was amazing for us – we ended up unexpectedly staying a long time with a family near Trondheim when I got sick and had the most amazing time with them! Airbnb is seriously the best!

  6. Sarah MacB. says:

    This is great. We plan on visiting Norway in June and are looking for new ways to save money while there. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful!

  7. Hey! I really like your blog! Me and a friend want to spend some 9 days in the south west of Norway, between Oslo & Bergen. I’ve seen you spent a week in the Western Fjords? Do you have recommendations for a our backpacking trip? We have our tent and we want to do it low budget πŸ˜‰ our plane arrives and leaves in Oslo.
    Greeting!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Hi Julie. Thank you!! I’m actually putting together a guide for the fjords and it should be out within the next couple of weeks. If you want to sign up for email reminders, check the side bar of our blog. In the meantime, I would suggest looking at trains that go between Bergen/Oslo and the Fjords. It may be cheaper than renting a car. I know a few people who have done it and they said it’s a good option. I mentioned free camping in this post, but since I haven’t done it myself, I can’t give you first-hand experience on it. Buying your food in the stores we mentioned in this post will save you tons of money too!

      1. Hi – this is great! we’re planning a trip for 2017 right now. Did you ever post the Fjords guide? I couldn’t find it but maybe am just bad at internetting.

        Thanks!

        1. Ordinary Traveler says:

          Ahhh I actually haven’t had time to finish it!! It’s on the agenda though, so hopefully it will be done before 2017. lol. Fingers crossed! πŸ˜‰

          1. That’s perfect since I’m going in 2017 πŸ˜› hahaha thank you – your blog is amazing and full of great tips!

          2. ahmed awami says:

            Thanks Christy for the useful list.
            I’m reading these comments and I wonder if the guide is ready where can I find it? πŸ™‚ cheers

          3. Ordinary Traveler says:

            Hi Ahmed. You are welcome! I feel horrible, but I have not finished the guide. So many trips and topics to write about; I get sidetracked easily. πŸ˜‰

    2. I’m planning on going to Norway probably on a 2 week stay
      . On the months of March-April…but was told, that ain’t such good dates because of the cold climate. Is that true? Enlight me there, please.

  8. GoatsOnTheRoad says:

    Firstly, all of these images are breathtakingly gorgeous. I feel like I’m right there with you just from looking at them on my screen! Secondly, this article is full of super helpful tips for experiencing Norway–a truly enjoyable read.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thank you!

  9. Love it πŸ™‚ This is what I would say if someone asked me πŸ™‚ IΒ΄m a Norwegian. I would also recommend to almost pack for all the 4 seasons, because sometimes in the summer I use wool clothing when hiking. Love that you spent the time in Γ…lesund. Most beautiful city in Norway πŸ˜‰

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I’m so glad to hear it! I should have added something in about packing layers, but I will definitely add that to my next Norway post. Alesund is gorgeous. I loved it there!