Stockholm is expensive. But wait! That does not stop you from travelling across Europe while you study here! I know how exciting it is, especially if you are a non-EU student and want to make the most of your schengen visa! Here are some ways I have managed to get around and not burn a huge hole in my pocket each time I visit another city.
Once you are done exploring Stockholm (which would take atleast half of your first semester), look around all the beautiful towns. Uppsala for example. It is 1.5 hours away by train and is such a colorful place. These day trips are the perfect solution when you badly need a break but cannot afford to take one, time-wise and money-wise. The student union also has a summer house – Solvik, right outside Stockholm, that can be rented for a night. It is a pretty cottage by the lake with enough beds for a large crowd and is the best place for a class party.
Cruise the Baltic
Stockholm is extremely well-connected to Scandinavian countries through the water line. There are several cruises that operate daily between Stockholm- Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. These are all overnight journeys and the round trip tickets cost less than 30 euros (That would be two meals in a Stockholm restaurant). We went in large groups so we had a lot of fun in the cruise (with all the entertainment and tax-free things) and the long journey did not seem tiring at all!
Generally the destination cities can be explored in just one day so you can take the cruise back on the same night. Bam! Zero accommodation expenditure. BUT, you must travel light! Most of the times, it is not the same boat that goes back in the evening so you will have to carry your luggage around the whole day. Dragging around cabin trolleys is no way to explore a new city. How many clothes would you need for two nights anyway?
There are several low-cost airlines that connect different cities. Most of the airlines offer discounts on different occasions. Keep an eye on their promotions and discounts. The best way to stay updated on this is by liking their facebook pages. The only downside is they generally operate from airports located outside the city limits. Be sure to check there are airport shuttles available before you book the tickets. I booked cheap flight at an odd hour once and ended up having to take a cab to the airport. It costed twice the price of flight ticket itself
The luggage allowance is also meager in such airlines(most of the times only a cabin bag is allowed) so again- TRAVEL LIGHT. If the choice is between buying additional baggage allowance and leaving behind a used top to make space for a souvenir, you must always choose the latter. Well, if you had enough money to buy baggage allowance, you would not be travelling in the low-cost airline right?
Couch surfing/ Airbnb/ Student hostels
Before you book a fancy room, in a centrally located hotel in one of Europe’s top tourist destination, remember that you are a student. Do you really need that room while you would be spending most of your time outdoors? All you need is a place to crash and access to a toilet! So stick to your basic needs and surf for a couch. Or maybe a shared airbnb room or student hostels. During my trip, not only did I get a cozy place to stay in, I also got a local’s insight into the city. You will meet people from all over the world in your class so ask them if they know someone in the city that would rent a place. You would be surprised to know how well this works especially if you are traveling alone. I know that couch surfing could be a bit tiring at times, but I also know that I can have my amazing bed when I’m home 🙂
You need not plan most of the cruises or one day trips in advance so they work well if you have an ever-changing schedule (which you mostly will). If you are going away for many days, it is always good to plan ahead and be aware of all the student discounts and any other offers that are available. Also, if you have to miss a few classes, remember to consult with your course coordinator before booking something.
While I have had a lot of fun each time I visited a new city, I also learnt to live with the simplest of things. Moreover, a city I just came to study in now feels like home!