scandinaviaIt may be one of the most beautiful places in the world but the notoriously expensive Scandinavia isn’t the easiest to travel around if you’re on a budget. Amanda Woods gives us her tips on making the most of a holiday here.

While those who are happy to camp, stay in hostels and do most of their own cooking can keep costs to a minimum, travellers who prefer to spend their nights in hotels and eat out can find their expenses climbing when exploring Scandinavia.

In Denmark, Australians are the second biggest international spenders with a daily average of 2,013 DKK (A$427) behind Brazil on 2,351 (A$498). In Norway the average spend for countries outside Europe is 2,795 NOK (A$457) while the average Chinese tourist spends a whopping 8,130 NOK (A$1,330) per day. Meanwhile in Sweden the average tourist spends 800 SEK (A$135) a day on top of their accommodation costs.

Travellers who are concerned about the cost of their trip can find some peace of mind by choosing a tour or guided holiday.

While the level of inclusions such as meals can vary between tours and companies, travellers can take comfort in knowing most of their holiday needs have already been pre-paid, allowing them to budget for any extras accordingly.

Then there are the potential savings.

As Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director of Trafalgar and CostSaver explains, travellers can benefit from the buying power that comes from being part of a large organisation at The Travel Corporation.

“Guided holidays can help travellers save money in Scandinavia as the majority of the trip variables are already locked in. Our team works extensively to curate itineraries that include centrally-located hotels, many meals comprising of full breakfast daily and exclusive Be My Guest dining experiences, local sightseeing with Local Specialists and Cultural Insights to give you a deeper understanding of a destination.

“We are able to work with our suppliers and lock in accommodation venues up to 12 months in advance, negotiating lower rates than what our guests would pay if they were travelling on their own, enabling us to extend those savings to our guests when they book their holidays with Trafalgar or CostSaver.”

The results include a 12-day Highlights of Scandinavia tour from $232pp per day with CostSaver and a 14-day Scenic Scandinavia Tour with Trafalgar from $313pp per day.

Damian Perry, CEO of Bentours says all inclusive travel options can provide better value-for-money compared to ‘pay-asyou- go’ travel.

“Costs are kept down by great partnerships with local teams with local expertise often negotiating inclusions and benefits in addition to removing layers of costs. These inclusions give peace of mind over the cost of their holiday and make sure the travellers receive great value locally.”

Between the range of companies offering Scandinavian tours there are packages that focus solely on one country, while others explore Norway, Sweden, Denmark and beyond. There are fully guided holidays, selfdrive package holidays, foodie tours, Northern Lights tours and more.

Perry says Australians have been reasonably unfamiliar with Scandinavia untilrecently, but now interest in the region is booming as people look for new experiences and destinations.

“Bentour’s most popular tour is Norway in a Nutshell, with prices starting at $948 for 4 days.” Perry explains. “Norway’s appeal lies in its clean air, livability and sheer beauty. Its crowning glory is its fjord heartland, sparkling waterways and huge mountains that plunge into the sea.”

When booking a guided holiday or tour travellers should consider how many meals are included in the price and how much money they will need for extra food, incidentals, shopping and souvenirs.

And considering a McMeal at McDonald’s costs around $16 in Norway, this is one kitty that will need a little padding.

Perry suggests budgeting around $30-50 per person for additional meals in Scandinavia.

“On many tours we include three meals a day, while others will include a breakfast. We encourage travellers to experience local eateries, local experiences and choose meals and activities that match their desired spend.”

Meanwhile Cameron-Smith says it all comes down to the experience you want to have.

“I always suggest budgeting a little more than necessary, that way you can treat yourself to an impromptu dining experience in one of the cities’ best restaurants if you like. However sometimes you may find the best dining experiences come from eating at a small, local café or pub. It’s at these places you’ll be able to mingle with the locals and gain an insight into the Scandinavian culture.

“I always recommend asking your Travel Director where they suggest you eat in each destination. They’ll be able to make the best referrals from local favourites, quick and easy eateries to more luxury dining experiences.”

For those who prefer to go it alone tourism websites such as have suggestions on free things to do and money saving tips.

Each Scandinavian city also has their own version of a City Pass card that can save money through access to city tours, museums and galleries with some also including public transport and offering discounts at restaurants.

With a little forward planning and budgeting, travellers who thought they couldn’t afford Scandinavia may find it’s within reach after all.

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