Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women/femme-identifying travelers (and, occasionally, their partners) all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure~. The internet is full of travel advice, but none from young millennials just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here's Andrew and Chelsea's Wander Or Bust guide to Oslo, Oppdal, and Trondheim, Norway.
Our Names: Andrew and Chelsea
What We Do: Andrew works for a paper company. (It’s essentially The Office IRL). Chelsea is a volunteer coordinator for an obstacle course racing company. (Think taking your casual 10k Turkey Trot and doing it in the mud with 28 obstacles.)
Where We Live: Joshua Tree, CA
Where We Went: Norway (Oslo, Oppdal, and Trondheim)
How Long We Stayed: Eight days and seven nights
Our Spending Style: Somewhat reserved — however, if we are on vacation, we tend to splurge. Life is about experiences.
The Game Plan
Where We Got Our Recommendations: Family friends who we were staying with. It was a huge plus to be staying with locals that could show us around.
Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = $8.25 NOK
What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = $412.50 NOK
Preferred Payment Method: Credit card
Phone Bill: $10 USD additional to existing Verizon bill for international
What We Packed
Luggage Type: Carry-on and checked luggage
The 10 Most Important Items We Packed...
For the content:
For exploring and excursions:
3. Rain gear
4. Light and heavy jacket(s)
5. Hiking boot(s)
6. Bathing suit(s)
7. Beanie(s) for keeping warm
8. Reusable water bottle
For our tech:
9. Power adapter
10. EcoFlow River Rapid to charge our phone and drone while on the go
What Shoes We Brought: Boots and sneakers
How We Got There
Mode of Transport: Planes, trains, and automobiles. We flew from Germany and took the train initially. Norway’s rail system was a very efficient and cost effective way to travel. We later linked up with our hosts who had a car to drive us around.
Price: $278 USD each for plane ticket (Munich, Germany to Oslo; Oslo to JFK) and $68 USD each for train ticket
Extra Costs: None
Transport Total: $346 USD each ($692 USD total)
Where We Stayed
Accommodation: Family friends hosted us
Location: Oppdal, Norway
Price: We stayed with family friends, but Airbnbs run from $65-$135 average per night for an entire place to yourself. Hotels are similar, ranging from $75-$140 USD per night.
Extra Costs: None
Would We Recommend It To Someone Else: Absolutely! The country is stunning. The cities are clean, the towns are surrounded by lush landscapes, and the people are incredibly happy. The country as a whole puts a lot of emphasis on family time and outdoor activities.
Interesting Fact: As part of schooling, children are taught wilderness survival courses every year that are then applied on week long trips with their classes.
Accommodation Total: $0
The Food Situation
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $36-$55 USD each per day
Dinner Cost: $55-$85 USD each per day
Average Total Cost: $115 USD each per day
Tip Situation: Like many European and Scandinavian countries, tipping is not expected. You would typically round up to the nearest whole $10 NOK to make things easier.
Food Situation: Food was very typical of that available in U.S. The price for food was shockingly expensive — however, we did not eat every meal out. Staying with family friends helped lower our costs so when we would eat out we tended to order whatever we were in the mood for.
Portions were smaller but still filling. Unlike in the U.S., it is very uncustomary to ask for a to-go box. They are known for their waffles and brown cheese for a lovely snack. Tea time is an actual thing still, and their sandwiches are served open-face using only one slice of bread.
Favorite Restaurant: Smia Fiskerestaurant, which is an old house from 1787 that was later converted into a seafood restaurant. We came across it while visiting the Fjords. The Bacalao de Kristiansund was incredible.
Location: Kristiansund Nord (north of where we stayed)
Price: $65-$85 USD
Honorable Mentions: Stomp & Vatn — located on the ski mountain, there are two means of getting there a) gondola ride b) hike. Stomp & Vatn offers panoramic views of the city.
Food Total: $336 USD each ($672 USD total)
The Nightlife Scene
Nightlife Situation: Bars and restaurants
What People Wear Out: Norway is straight out of an outdoors catalog. Being active, we saw more people wearing ski-town clothing than anything else.
Average Cost Of A Pint: $8-$12 USD
Extra Cost To Know About: Late night eats. We loved Torgkjøkkenet Anne Lise Dørum. It's a simple burger joint with a walk-up window. Half a cheeseburger with fries will run you $22 USD.
Last Call: Norway has strict liquor laws.
Beer and wine may be served in hotels and restaurants/bars seven days a week until close, but hard liquor can be sold only between 3:00 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. — and never on Sunday. You are able to buy beer at groceries before 8:00 p.m. during the week and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The drinking age is 18 for beer and 20 for liquor.
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: $50-$65 USD each (includes drinks and some bar bites)
Cheapest Bar We'd Actually Go Back To: Honestly did not find one. We are suckers for local dive bars. We either were not looking hard enough or they don’t exist. Seems to be less focus on bar culture in Norway
Going Out Total: $85 USD each ($170 USD total). We only went out two nights to bars.
How We Spent Our Days
What We Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It: Visiting the Fjords. It was a full day of driving.
What We Spent A Lot of On That Was Totally Not Worth It: We really have no regrets on this trip. Again, staying with family friends kept us on track to do and see the good things.
What We Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome: We got to see the Northern Lights.
Favorite Thing We Did, Regardless Of Cost: Zip lining. Not that it's something we’ve never done; the location of going over an ice-cold river made it that much cooler.
Hidden Gem We Found: A reindeer skin rug. Its was $103 USD but in comparison to having four to five beers, the reindeer skin is a really cool keepsake. In the U.S., game skins become more decorative, but in Norway, they were part of everyday life. We took them on hikes so we didn't have to sit on the cold ground.
The Photo We Took That Got The Most Attention: The Atlantic Road is a five-mile stretch of road with water on both sides that snakes its way over the water.
Best Excursion: Our trip to Fjords was the most memorable. We got to experience and see the countryside driving between larger cities and smaller fishing towns along the way. The trip took us along The Atlantic Road which was breathtaking to see.
Excursions/Extras Total: $115 USD each ($230 USD total)
Best Norway Hack: Take the train. The journey between Oslo and Trondheim is stunning. The high-speed rail banks and turns through the mountainside for an extremely memorable trip.
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone: It is pricey but absolutely worth it.
Total Trip Cost: $1,825 USD each ($3,650 USD total)
Worth It? The trip was 100% worth it. The country is beautiful and the culture is great especially if you enjoy the great outdoors.