It’s been almost 5 months since I took my trip to Norway, Sweden & Switzerland. A lot of people asked me about my experience (and a lot more asked about my budget considering Norway & Switzerland are expensive as hell).
This article talks about my entire budget. It includes my return air tickets, visa fees, insurance, accommodations, internal transportations (flights, trains, buses, and taxis), city passes & attraction fees. I am not including my food expense here since everyone’s diet is different. Not many take food abroad like I do.
Return Airfare – Mumbai – Oslo | Zurich – Mumbai
I booked my return flights 7 months in advance. I advise you to book your tickets even more in advance though. Not only you will get cheaper rates, but also you will be paying off a major chunk of your budget.
Total Cost – Qatar Airways
Mumbai – Doha – Oslo
Zurich – Doha – Mumbai
Visa Fees + Visa Service Charge + Insurance
If you are an Indian & want to get visa to most common countries (UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Schengen Zone etc), you have to visit VFS Global no matter what. I applied for Schengen visa. It costs EUR 60 per application. VFS Global adds service charge on the amount. In my case, I had to pay EUR 60 online & the service charge by cash at the center.
Travel insurance depends on your age, your destination & the duration of your trip. I was going for 15 days but took out an insurance of 21 days (3 weeks). Since I come under the ‘youth’ category, my insurance cost was Rs. 1556. My parents’ (Both 50 years old) insurance cost was Rs. 1754/per person. So there is a difference of Rs. 200.
4500 (EUR 60) + 1450 + 1556
Accommodation – 14 Nights
14 nights is not correct technically. I couchsurfed for 2 nights with my family. If there is one advice I can give, I’ll say COUCHSURF AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. It helps you meet & know more about the local culture & helps you travel on budget. While hostels are a cheaper (and better) alternative to hotels, nothing can beat couchsurfing. I had applied to certain places but I got an answer from Tromso. This town had the most expensive hostels & fortunately, I got to couchsurf here. I saved Rs. 7,000 per person & another Rs. 10,000 per person to see the Northern Lights.
Total Cost (12 Nights)
Rs. 32,000 (Approx Rs. 2,660 per night)
Okay, so this might be a little complicated. If you are not one of the planned people, you might not like so much planning. But I had to do it.
In 15 days, I took 3 flights, 2 trains & 1 bus to go from one city to another. Check ALL rates before booking anything because sometimes, flights are cheaper than buses & trains. Sometimes flights are expensive but saves you a day. So choose wisely according to your budget.
I took a flight from Bergen, Norway to Tromso, Norway. – Widerøe Airlines
I took a flight from Kiruna, Sweden to Stockholm, Sweden – SAS Airlines
I took a flight from Stockholm, Sweden to Zurich, Switzerland – SWISS
I took a bus from Tromso, Norway to Narvik, Norway – Norwegian
Widerøe Airlines (EUR 100.34 or Rs. 7,324) + SAS Airlines (SEK 800 or Rs. 6,240) + SWISS (SEK 690 or Rs. 5,374) + NSB (NOK 349 or Rs. 2,722) + SJ (SEK 128 or Rs. 1,000) + Bus (NOK 375 or Rs. 2,730)
City Passes, Transportation Tickets & Swiss Travel Pass
If you are heading to any European country, there is a 99% chance of having a city pass. Some passes cover attractions’ fees, transportation around the city & discounts on restaurant bills etc. Some of them may offer only transportation & discounts on Museum entrance fees etc. Research more on city passes / transportation passes as its going to help you (and save you) a lot (of money).
I took city passes in Oslo & Bergen. It included entry to 90% attractions, museums etc for free, transportation around the city by bus, train, tram, metro etc. I took transportation ticket in Stockholm which helped me roam around the city at cheaper cost. I bought a Swiss Travel Pass in Switzerland which saved me A LOT OF FRICKING MONEY!
Tromso (24 Hours) – NOK 100 or Rs. 780
Stockholm (Zone 1 Ticket) – SEK 36 or Rs. 280 (I am not cheap but whatever sights I wanted to visit were getting covered in Zone 1 itself :P)
Swiss Travel Pass – Rs. 15,000 (4 days continuous + 1 day bonus)
Attractions / Sights
To be honest, I did not spend a penny (or paisa) to see any attractions of Norway. Everything was included in city passes. I spent SEK 100 to see Skansen in Stockholm (and it was totally worth it). I spent a fortune in Switzerland though. Swiss Travel Pass lets you travel for FREE at any given hour in Buses, Trains, Trams etc in Switzerland but it doesn’t include admission fees to the most of its sights like Jungfraujoch, Zermatt Matterhorn & Mount Titlis. It offers various discounts at places (ranging from 25% – 75%).
Skansen – SEK 100 or Rs. 780
Jungfraujoch – CHF 150 or Rs. 9,750 (After 25% discount with Swiss Travel Pass)
Zermatt Matterhorn – CHF 40.5 or Rs. 2,623 (After 50% discount with Swiss Travel Pass)
Mount Titlis – CHF 44.5 or Rs. 2,900 (After 50% discount with Swiss Travel Pass)
So finally, where do we stand? I have included return air tickets, visa fees, insurance, accommodations, internal transportation, city passes, travel passes & fees to attractions & sights. The total comes down to… *drum rolls*
So approximate budget comes down to Rs. 1,40,000 for 14 nights & 15 days trip to Norway, Sweden & Switzerland (Norway & Switzerland being world’s most expensive countries). You can add your food expense according to your food habits. Word of advise – Buy stuff from supermarkets, cook in your hostel’s kitchen & eat with people around the world. That beats any 5 course meal at 5 star restaurants.
I have taken the following rates of currency conversion as a reference:
1 NOK – Rs. 7.8
1 SEK – Rs. 7.8
1 CHF – Rs. 65
1 EUR – Rs. 73
Let me know if you are going to these places & need some help with planning. I’ll be happy to help you.
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org & we shall talk further.