So how does a girl who decides to use her savings to travel the world even end up in an expensive country like Sweden? Great question! It was friendship that had me add a country considered a big no no for travelers on a budget or wanting to stretch their dollar. April of last year I ventured on yet another trip to Europe which had me visiting Prague. During this trip I met some genuinely great people who I still am friends with including Tina and Vendela from Sweden. Tina and I became instant sisters with many thinking we were twins. We don’t see it but agree we act quite similar and feed off each other’s energy. Who else would pump me enough to have us jump on stage in a club in Prague to dance with the locals and Dj? The answer is Tina. Vendela the friend any girl like Tina and I need. She let’s us have fun but ensures that if we need to be wrangled back that we are. Every girl needs a Vendela in their life.
Sweden brought my most favorite experience on this trip as of yet. I was in Sweden for summer solstice to truly see what it means when the sun doesn’t go down (and for a night crawler like myself seeing the sun out even after midnight and then waking up thinking I slept too long to discover its only 3am is a mind fuck like no other). Since I was here during summer solstice I had the opportunity to celebrate Midsommar like a local by venturing out to Vendela’s family summer house in the countryside near a lake about an hour and 1/2 away from Stockholm. There a group of us not only celebrated with the others in the small summer house community by singing and dancing around the summer pole with musical entertainment which included Benny one of the members of Legendary band, ABBA as he also has a summer home here. This alone was something special especially when you grow up signing and dancing all of their songs since your parents love the band. If that wasn’t enough, throwing myself into a cold lake in Sweden and experiencing what is truly means to have “my breath taken away” as I swam to the dock and then finally was able to finally say how freezing cold the water was is something I actually think people should feel. It will change how you think of the phrase all together.
I’m sure you are thinking, Chris you had friends who hosted you so of course this helped you with costs and your expletives during this part of the trip. I can’t deny this did help during my 8 days/ 9 nights I was in Sweden (I would have stayed longer and the first time during this trip that I wish my flight would have been delayed or canceled all together). Being hosted by Tina at her place and being at Vendela’s family summer home for Midsommar where we had no choice but to buy groceries and cook our meals for 3 of those days helped cut costs. But even if you don’t have awesome friends like Tina and Vendela you can still make Sweden work as I did play tourist on my first 2 days in Sweden as both Tina and Vendela were out of town.
First it’s good for me to point out that Sweden isn’t considered expensive if you compare it to how much things costs in the good ole US of A. Prices are very similar so if you put yourself in the mindset that you would be paying the same back home this helps put you at ease. Additionally, I don’t know about you but I would rather spend the same amount in Europe then staying in America but to each his own.
Secondly, all government museums are free (roughly over a dozen just in Stockholm) so why not check out some modern art or learn about the Vikings history which is what I did while I was playing tourist before meeting Tina. See the full list here.
Pick a hostel with a kitchen, buy groceries and cook meals. Stockholm is where I saw many people in the hostel cooking meals. Since we all cooked dinner around the same time it was also a great way to meet people and plan to hang out.
IKEA is a real thing here so why not see the famous Sweden furniture store and grab a traditional IKEA meatball lunch at a super cheap price. The biggest IKEA in Sweden and what use to be the biggest in the world before South Korea stepped up their game is a short 20 minute bus ride. What’s even better, from central station in Stockholm their is a free shuttle that leaves about every hour to the IKEA and will bring you back too. Find more details here.
Walk around the different neighborhoods and islands including the old town, Djurgården and Södermalm.
Looking for more? Check out what other travelers suggest here.
Sweden was proof that one can make true friendships while traveling the world that go beyond when your travels end. I was blessed to have been welcomed to Sweden by Tina, Vendela, Tina’s family and their friends and experience such a unique celebration in Sweden like Midsommar as a local. I will forever be grateful for this and can’t wait to return the experience when they visit me.