Planning the Norway Trip
*this was specific to me planning the trip from Oslo, Tromsø and Lofoten Islands (Svolvær) but I feel is applicable to everyone planning a trip anywhere*
What got me on this trip were the air ticket prices and news articles that were saying that the Northern Lights was going to go out in 2017. Well this fact was later verified by locals that the auroras do not shut off like switching off you room lights. There will still be auroras in the sky because solar activity do not just shut down. So here are a few things to consider before committing to that trip of your life.
Here are some tips and checklist before embarking for that trip! To give a general sense of which parts I went to here is a summary of where I went. In the upcoming posts I will also be sharing with you places to visit in Oslo, Tromsø and Northern Lights hunting.
17 Nov to 21 Nov (Singapore to Oslo)
21 Nov to 26 Nov (Oslo to Tromsø)
26 Nov to 30 Nov (Tromsø to Svolvær)
30 Nov to 4 Dec (Oslo to Singapore)
Norway is an expensive country to travel in. For my trip of about 19 Days I spent in total SGD4500, although initially it was planned to be about SGD3500. But for every trip, things happen and sometimes you might need to fork out additional money so I would advice you to have about SGD4000 in hand for a Norwegian trip. Of course that varies depending on your plans. Let me show you the breakdown for my whole trip!
Air Tickets (Finnair from Singapore to Oslo) SGD 942.30
Air Tickets (SAS from Oslo to Tromsø then from Lofoten Islands – Svolvær then from Lofoten Islands -Svolvær to Oslo) SGD 393.73
Accommodation (for 1 person)
Accommodation in Oslo Airbnb (Part 1) SGD 154.54
Accommodation in Tromsø Airbnb SGD 241.92
Accommodation in Lofoten Islands SGD 124.84
Accommodation in Oslo Airbnb (Part 2) SGD 94.23
Rental for 9 days SGD 362.00
Total Planned Expenses
Additional Air Tickets (Widerœ from Tromsø to Lofoten Islands – Svolvær) SGD 513.40
I always start my trip from the air tickets! I mean that’s the most expensive item on the list and with so many tempting promotions on the web nowadays, it is easy to compare and find the best deal using apps such as Skyscanner. Usually Finnair has promotions to Nordic countries but there are also Thai Airways which turned out to have cheaper flight than the one I booked. I prefer to have a long flight then a short transit to the final destination or a short transit followed by a long flight.
Planning the flight to the country is easy but planning the internal flights is tricky. Here are a few considerations to take note off when you plan.
1. Distance to the airport / Transport to the airport
You need to know how to get to the airport from your accommodation and make sure you do your homework early because you don’t want to panic and miss your flight. Find out how to get to the airport 1 day in advanced and not a few hours before struggling in the cold and lugging a few luggages. In Tromsø, I had a mini panic attack when the public bus that was suppose to go the airport was late by 15 minutes. It gave me a cold feet but the bus came at last. Always be ready to book a cab when necessary.
2. Transit timing
Don’t book a flight that has an insane transit time unless you want to go out into the city to walk around. Best is to have a transit time of about 2 hours because a short transit time of 45 minutes could risk missing your next flight if your first flight delays. This is especially important during winter where weather could turn bad drastically.
3. Flight time
Choose a flight time where you are comfortable. Not too stressful struggling to look for transport early in the morning to the airport lugging luggages around. There were a few moments of panic during my Norway trip where we thought the bus to the airport didn’t arrive.
For this Norway trip, I was comparing between hostels, Airbnb and hotels. It will help a lot if you travel with a friend because you can share the cost for the Airbnb. I was fortunate enough to have 2 companions with me which makes Airbnb the cheapest option.
The total expense for accommodation was SGD 615.53 for each person. I stayed all over Norway for 16 nights which makes each night only SGD 38.50 per person!
I made my booking through RentalCars.com. If you want to return your car at different locations like me, look for those that do not have the extra charge. You must always get car insurance. I’ve got many stories on my car rentals. Shall save the story for another article on driving.
I was fortunate to have awesome companions. Choose you companions wisely or risk losing your friendship. I’ve heard of far too many stories of people losing friendship after travelling. Because you get to know a person better after travelling and living with the person. You may or may not like his habits and decisions. For example, if you know for this trip you will be doing more outdoor activities, get friends on board this trip who are into outdoor activities as well.
Norway is a country that prefers credit card but foreign credit card is sometimes not compatible with the local transport systems. So better have enough cash on hand like about 500SGD.