Is Norway for you?

You saw the pictures and you’ve heard the stories. Norway is on your bucket list but now you are putting it off for two main reasons: It’s cold and it’s expensive. Here’s a quick read on how to go about it.

While they both hold truth, they are also very stereotypical views. Norway is a stretched out piece of land that flipped horizontally would end up in southern Italy. It’s rugged and diverse in ways that are hard to get your head around. It’s forbiddingly expensive in some areas and surprisingly cheap in others. In the far north there are beaches that have days of 30° C while the snow is still fresh on the mountaintops in the south.

About costs, yes we are high on the surveys. Especially alcohol and tobacco. It’s taxed high because it’s considered a harmful luxury. This is where most tourists loose control of their expenses and the scary stories originate. Usually they do it in combination with eating out, which can get forbiddingly expensive.

Imported goods like clothing, consumer electronics, stationary and tools are on average with european prices or slightly higher. My advice in general to nomads in Norway is to not follow the normal tourist routes and behaviours. Keep your expenses tight and your income options wide open since salaries are higher. Most nomads will be fine with some planning and luxury sacrifices .

Picture by CafeCredit under creative commons

Trim your expenses tips

  1. Plan your travels to stay longer in each place.
  2. Don’t eat out and cook as much as you can.
  3. Use supermarket brands for cheap ingredients.
  4. Bring your own alcohol and tobacco or do without.

Planning your stay is important because travelling in Norway is expensive and complicated. You can’t just wing it as if you were in Southeast-Asia. It’s better to get cheap accommodation with proper facilities and explore the surrounding area. You will be surprised how much you can see and do just outside the doorstep in many norwegian locations. Another important factor in longer stays is making friends with locals that will help you out. Norwegians are generally very helpful, especially in rural areas.

If you don’t know how to cook you should definitely pick up those skills. They are essential to keeping you well fed on a tight budget anywhere in the world.

It’s too cold

Yes, I totally agree IF you are dressed for a mild european climate. What you want to do is come prepared for cold and wet weather and be pleasantly surprised when it’s hotter than expected.

Norway is subject to several factors that decide the weather. The most important being the gulf stream which is a steady supplier of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico. This is enough to give Norway a climate that is generally temperate along its coastline, all the way to the north, with occasional warm spells mimicking tropical conditions. The latitude would otherwise suggest arctic or permafrost conditions in the far north.

Because of its proximity to the Atlantic and the North Sea we can occasionally get arctic weather blowing in from the north. This can make the temperatures plummet and even bring snow just after a warm spell. Seasonal changes are more severe in the eastern and northern parts. West is more temperate year round and features less snow and freezing temperatures in the winter.

How to enjoy the climate outdoors

  1. Be prepared with good footwear, mittens and cap.
  2. Think layers: wool inside, normal clothes , windstopper and finally rainstopper if you need it.
  3. Being in bad weather is an experience, especially in amazing scenery.
  4. Don’t underestimate the forces of nature and discuss your trip with locals.

It’s easy to underestimate the weather and find yourself with cold feet and frozen hands. This applies to all seasons when walking in the mountains! As a nomad you might not even have the right gear packed. Good news is you can get exactly what you need in the norwegian stores, sometimes with great discounts. If you choose well it will come in handy on the rest of your journey and be the life saver that you never thought you needed.

For more information on dressing check out the tips by the Norwegian Trekking Association on this page and see this video:

Still indecision?

So maybe you already knew all this but it all sounds more like survival camp? Personally I think that is exactly why Norway is for you. Living as a nomad was supposed to be about freedom and living life to the fullest right? Constantly chasing the most comfortable countries is just another way of numbing yourself to life. Why not go for the most exotic place in Europe and master the challenge?

There is a lot more to know about Norway, how to survive on a modest budget and how to live life to the fullest here. The Hyllestad Nomad Hub is created for nomads traveling to Norway and we will continue to post more info like this here. I hope you will follow this blog and learn more about the hub, the place and the people. Thank you for reading!