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How to backpack around Sweden on a budget

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How to backpack around Sweden on a budget
Sweden isn't the world's cheapest country for backpackers, but here are some tips to help you out. Photo: Lindsten & Nilsson/imagebank.sweden.se
12:40 CEST+02:00
People can often be scared off from travelling around Sweden due to how expensive everything is known to be. But who's to say you can't go backpacking there on a budget? Here's some tips on how to keep the costs down while travelling around the country.

Food

Eating at restaurants in Sweden is expensive, so a great way to save yourself money is to buy your own food from local supermarkets, or get something from street vendors. You'll often find that hot dogs are even cheaper than sandwiches, with a starting price of sometimes only 10 kronor. More often than not you will get breakfast included in your stay at a hostel, but if not then again you can grab yourself something from a local Ica or Hemköp supermarket.

The most expensive meal time is dinner, when the average price for a budget meal is 80-150 kronor per person, according to priceoftravel.com (although fancier restaurants will set you back more than this), so why not switch and have a larger lunch when it's cheaper and then something lighter to eat later on? Take advantage of the daily lunch special (which often costs less than 100 kronor, including bread, salad and coffee) and ask for a "dagens" meal.

Sweden's tap water is safe to drink, so instead of buying a bottle of water whenever you run out, just fill it up from the tap and save yourself the extra kronor.

Accommodation

Often one of the most expensive factors while travelling is accommodation. But an advantage you have while backpacking around Sweden is the opportunity to camp for free wherever you please, with a few exceptions. Sweden's old customary law 'Allemansrätten', Sweden's right to roam, means there are almost no restrictions to where you wish to travel and camp, as long as you respect the surrounding nature.

Camping isn't the only possibility when it comes to cheap accommodation. A bed in a hostel dorm in Sweden can come at a price as low as 210 kronor per night, and Swedish hostels are some of the best in the business. What's more, they are dotted around everywhere, from major cities to up in the mountains. Membership of Sweden's tourist association STF costs just under 300 kronor (150 kronor for under-26s, but slightly more if you're based abroad) which gives you a discount on STF hostels.

So if you want to backpack on a budget, then mixing up where you lay your head each night between camping and cheap hostels will really bring the costs down.

Sightseeing

There are many places that you can go and visit for free in Sweden, the best views are that of the beautiful nature and wilderness where it doesn't cost a penny. If you're visiting one of the cities then you will find there are often free city tours that you can go on and many of the country's museums have free entry. Or if you're feeling up to it then you can explore the cities yourself. Most places in cities are within walking distance of each other and that means you get to take in the views as you guide yourself around.

If you can, do take advantage of Sweden's often very generous discounts for students and young people. Many places consider you young enough to qualify for a discount even if you're well into your 20s.

READ ALSO: Six ways to enjoy Stockholm on a shoestring

Transport

The three major cities in Sweden, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, are all places that you can get around by walking, but there are also public transport services available that won't break the bank. If you're planning on taking several trains while on your travels around the cities, then look into getting an all-day travel card. In Stockholm an SL 24-hour access card only sets you back 125 kronor (less if you're under 20 years of age) and allows you to travel anywhere in the county on the commuter train, bus or the metro.

The SJ trainline service provides transport links between cities and towns up and down the country. Tickets are released in March, June, September/October and December, and that's when it's generally the easiest to get your hands on cheap fares, as long as you book far enough in advance (or try a last-minute ticket).

When The Local looked (on July 9th) we were able to find prices from as low as 195 kronor between Sweden's three major cities, and 565 kronor for a train journey from Stockholm to Kiruna Station in the far north. If you want to see the northern lights or midnight sun you can also get a three-day hop-on-hop-off ticket for the Arctic Circle for 364 kronor. Students and under-26s get a 15 percent discount on all SJ tickets.

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