As you may know travelling is one of my passions. I even studied tourism at some point. Autoimmunity is causing me to stay away from high levels of stress which you all know the tourism industry is full off. So I am going a different way now. But this is another story.
Today I wanted to talk about one of my favourite trips that I went on with a friend. And as so many things were so great about that trip I am doing a little series on it. Presenting you how every single day of my trip looked like. Starting today with how we planned that trip to be the most amazing trip we have ever done.
But where did I go? Since my family has roots in Sweden I always felt a special bond with the Scandinavian countries. Back in 2009 after my graduation I finally went to Sweden. To be more accurate to the capital, Stockholm. I had been looking the past semester of school for an AuPair job in Sweden and back in January 2009 I got in touch with a nice norwegian family and signed my contract with them. But since I still wanted to go to Sweden my mom made me the best graduation present she could, a trip to Stockholm.
Now on to planning that trip.
We wanted to get the most out of this trip for an affordable price. Now Scandinavia is compared to other European countries quiet expansive (I know there are other expansive destinations) due to higher taxes on food and so on. So we had to make a plan on when to book where to book and where to compromise. I will now show you the steps we took and explain why we took these steps the way we did.
#1A. Book early. We booked in January where flightrates were still low. Of course you can get some good last minute airfares but usually prices are higher the closer you get to your departure date as they increase with the booking number. So make sure to book early if you are on a budget.
#1B. Of course you cannot book a flight without having a place to stay. Now we checked different hotels and hostels and found a hotel that offered an early booking discount (pay 3nights stay 4nights). This hotel was about 15 minutes by subway from the city center but this offer gave us the possibility to stay for eight nights in a doubleroom and just pay 200 euros each, breakfast included.
Of course you can stay cheaper at a hostel but a double room at a hostel is pretty expansive too, a four room bedroom we didn`t felt comfortable with as we didn`t want to carry our stuff with us all day so the hotel was the best option plus it had a great breakfast included.
So these were the first two steps. Book early, look for the hotel with the discount and make a comprise like we did with staying outside the city center.
#2 Onto planning the fun stuff. You will need good guid books that include a card. Now for us the actually best guidbook was the one you got with the Stockholm Card (I will talk about this one in the next step). The other german guidbooks we used were the:
Reise Know How City Trip Stockholm
Reise Know How City Trip Stockholm mit Mälarsee und Schärengarten
Merian Live Stockholm
These were the ones we used plus the one that came with our Stockholm Cards. First thing we did here was that everyone wrote down the museums or sights they wanted to visit. Then we checked which ones overlapped and wrote them down on a "Absolutely Need to visit" list. The other ones that didn`t match both of our desires went on a "Need to visit list".
So now we took the "Absolutely Need to visit list" and wrote behind every single one of them on which of Stockholms Islands they were and we looked up how far they were from each other. After we finished to locate these we sorted that list new. After that we made a time frame which meant looking up opening hours and when guided tours were or if a free audio guide would be available which a lot of museums offered (not all contact points were in german so I highly recommend taking the guide in english if you can, as all contact points gave you an english option if a german one wasn`t available). So after writing this down we made our schedule. Which day to visit which Island and when to visit which Museum counting in time to get to the next sight and counting in time to enjoy. After figuring out all that we had 5 days of full program that left us one day for the other list.
So now we decided to not make another plan for that "Need to visit" list but to keep it with us and everytime we were done early maybe visit one of the sights that were left on that paper.
#3 How to make sightseeing affordable?
Well Stockholm offers a Stockholm Card for different time periods. This card makes it possible for you to travel on public communication in stockholm and to visit the museums and sights that are in there guidbooks for one time of the period your card is valid.
Keep in mind though you need one card per person so since the longest period they had when we booked were 3 days everyone of us had to buy 2 Stockholm cards as for the last day we both just went with a day pass for public transport and went to sights that had free entrance (gardens, parks, etc.)
Also if you plan on visiting the Gröna Lund Tivoli this card allowed us free entrance but to use the actual rollercoasters in that park you need to buy an extra ticket but the price for the whole day was totally fine. You also need to check if there is a special event in the park because when there is you might not get in with the Stockholm Card (check for new regulations on the homepage as we went in 2009).
#4 Don`t forget to at least take two guidbooks with you. Decide on the one that has in your opinion the best walking trips. Some days we really had some time left and did some of the roundtrips that were mentioned in the book. My friend was reading the information at every stop of the roundtrip which kind of made it feel as if you were on a guided tour, just for free.
So these are my 4 main tips on how to plan your trip to be awesome, I feel that most of these points in general work for most destinations. I hope they help you a bit to plan your next trip and stay tuned for how this trip went for us. Will be making every other post about this trip. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to leave me a comment in the section below.