Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Food, lodging and transportation costs can really add up. Despite these high costs, we were able to do this trip on a budget without sacrificing experiences. We even got by without handling any Norwegian cash until we found some while cleaning out the rental car. Here are our actual expenses from our trip to Norway.
For airfare, the prices were pretty outrageous from our home town of Portland at around $1,100 to $1,500 per person. However, checking nearby Seattle got the price down considerably to $858 per person with Norwegian Airlines directly. While we flew during peak season, this wasn’t bad considering it included meals and our bags. Today we looked at Norwegian Air for similar flights at the end of September, and they were even cheaper.
Setting up price alerts on google flights might be helpful to get it even lower. There were a few key airports with much better deals that might even make them worth getting a one-way flight to, such as New York. Iceland Air also is worth looking at, especially if you want to have a several week layover there with no additional charge. You can go to both of these beautiful countries on an extended trip. Look for deals at nearby cities as well.
Also, do not rely solely on google flights as they don’t show all results for every airline. Norwegian airlines is not even listed many times for flights to Norway so be sure to check multiple sources for flight information. Kayak.com is also great for this.
Flight Cost $1,716 per Couple
We did mostly car camping in Norway and a single night of couchsurfing in Oslo. This kept our costs very reasonable and much cheaper than hotels. This works great if you already have light weight gear and can share a tent with someone. Many places you can put a tent down for free or pay around $40 a night for a more cushy site. These campsites have kitchens with stoves, showers, bathrooms, and even seating areas. Most are near beautiful waterfalls, fjords, or other natural landscapes. We would take that over a sanitized 300 sq. foot hotel room any day.
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Lodging Cost $232 per Couple
We brought a lot of freeze dried meals from the U.S. before we left, and many of them were a meal for 2. There were a couple of restaurants we went to as well which were very expensive. If you can minimize restaurants and just buy food at convenience stores or bring it with you, you can save a bundle. For example, our meal in Oslo with fish ‘n’ chips and a couple glasses of wine cost us about $45. In freeze dried meals that same amount would easily get a couple through a day.
For alcohol, we were given a tip from our couchsurfing host to buy it at the airport duty-free since the taxes are so high. So we bought a bottle of wine and a flavored vodka before leaving the airport. If you don’t purchase it at the airport we recommend that you stay away from alcohol unless you want to spend a lot of money.
Food Cost $305 per Couple
We rented a car for most of the trip which was perfect since we wanted to see a lot of the country in a short period of time. The rental car was reasonable in price but fuel was wildly expensive, at least for an American. At about $8.00/ gallon, these costs definitely added up. However, with all the savings in other areas and sharing the expenses with multiple people it wasn’t bad. If you can fill your car with 4 people, the cost per person would go down further.
In Oslo we took a train from the airport to city center to our couchsurfing accommodation. Had we picked up the rental from the airport, we would have had the extra day of cost on the rental as well as parking charges. Oslo is not a car friendly city, so this was the best way to see the city at a low cost.
Ferry rides were another expense but they were taking us to some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Plus it is like a boat tour of the fjords at the same time. While these costs did add up, we wouldn’t have had half of the experiences of this magnificent country without them.
- Rental Car $395
- Petrol/Gas $195
- Train $29
- Ferry $135
Total Transportation $753
Overall there were some areas we splurged in which drove our costs up a bit. We could have spent less on meals by not purchasing alcohol or avoiding meals out. For flights, we could have adjusted our dates better to find an even better deal. We do not regret any part of our trip and feel that $3,006 is pretty cheap for an international trip to Europe. We spent nearly $9,000 for a similar length trip to Japan.
Total Trip Cost $3,006
What cost savings tips do you have while traveling?
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5 thoughts on “Norway on a Budget!”
What a great tip to buy alcohol at the airport. That goes against the normal perception that airport prices are more expensive.
Usually that is the case that everything is more expensive at the airport. However the taxes are so high in Norway it is much cheaper to get it duty free. Thankfully our host gave us this tip before we arrived.
These are SUPER awesome tips! Thanks for sharing- I definitely will have to reference this if we have the chance to visit Norway
Thank you! I hope you can change the “if” to a “when”. It is an incredible country.
I really really hope so too!!!