My Trip to Stockholm
Picking the date and time
Originally, this trip to Stockholm was supposed to be for approximately 48 hours. The reason was because it was planned very early in advance— About two months in advance. This early decision making led to high flight costs and poor date picking.
Two friends and I booked a round-trip flight from Kalmar to Stockholm leaving on November 4th, and coming back on the 6th. So we would arrive to Stockholm on Friday evening and leave Sunday morning.
I’m not a math major, but if I do the math… That adds up to less than two days worth of sightseeing.
This doesn’t even count the fact that everything in Sweden closes real early. As an employee, I would love that. But as a tourist, that sucks dick. I was frustrated that I didn’t figure this out until too late, which made this a costly learning experience.
I ended up extending the trip for about two more days, which I think was needed to fully experience the capital city of Sweden.
But with extensions comes changes and additions to plans, which I had to make. At the end of the day though, this is a good learning experience for #LipingSpringEuroTrip2017. An expensive ass learning experience.
Transportation to and from Stockholm
The cost of the round trip ticket was $178. However, because I wanted to extend my stay longer than two days, I opted to take the train home for $32, which was at a student-rate with my Studentkortet (just a fancy European student ID).
I basically spent $178 on a one-way ticket. Looking back, taking the train would have been a lot cheaper, and less stressful.
I arrived to the departing flight from Kalmar about two hours early. That’s the anxious mentality we all have when we have to take flights. The train is just much more peaceful as well; I was stuck on a seat in front of a really annoying child. Yes, I thought about getting a vasectomy throughout the flight.
The first two nights in Stockholm were spent in a hotel. Since there were three people, we each paid about $82. It included a breakfast buffet, which we took heavy advantage of.
I ate so much breakfast that I got to skip getting an expensive lunch.
The stay at the hotel was comfortable and the sleep was great. The location was a bit farther than I would’ve liked, but transportation in Stockholm pretty much remedies that. Would I stay at this hotel or any hotel again? Probably not, considering the costs.
The Hostel Experience
And then came the hostel! Since I extended this trip, I decided to change my accommodation to a hostel.
There were a lot of first times in this trip: first time at a hostel, buying a drink from Systembolaget, seeing snow, turning 20, and seeing the destruction of America.
Fortunately, I was able to check-in to the hostel early in the morning. Usually they don’t let you check-in until the afternoon, which sucks balls because you gotta either carry your heavy backpack the entire day or drop a euro or two to borrow the luggage lockers in the premises.
I was pretty happy with the hostel. It was really clean and nobody was trying to kill me, like in that scary movie. I didn’t actually watch it, I just read the Wikipedia summaries. And guess what? The beds had built-in outlets to charge your phone!
That was a game-changer for me. I just couldn’t believe humanity was able to reach this level.
Hostelworld.com is the website I used and is unfortunately not sponsoring this blog. I suggest looking for the hostels with the best locations to the main Stockholm sites.
And for three nights, a total of $65 is not bad at all. Hostels also have private room options, so if you have a group of people it might be smart to pick those instead of a more expensive hotel.
Who I Met
I met Jessica there, a 25 year old Canadian who's really into British royal history. She convinced me to watch an episode of the Crown on Netflix, which I will do when I finish this blog post.
She majored in Agriculture and is from a really small-ass Canadian town that had pit parties or something. Oh, and she has been travelling for months! She previously backpacked through Europe for four months as well.
Jessica gave me travel tips like how laundry works while travelling and how walking tours are the best way to get a feel of a city.
I let her know how to watch The Crown and any other TV shows online for free with TVMuse. I was mortified to hear that she had to wait for her favorite shows to come out on DVD to catch up.
The next day, I also met Sean (?) who’s also from San Francisco! He lives in the Richmond but is originally from Hawaii.
I think his name was Sean but I don’t really remember. Our talk was very short since he was hungry and had to get some dinner. I should’ve joined him but I opted to go to some other event that I ended up ditching.
Getting Around in Stockholm
Google Maps was kind of like my best frenemy. I hated that it drained my battery and that I had to rely on it, but it got me to where I needed to be.
I definitely recommend getting a travelcard, which comes in 24 and 72 hour increments.
24 hours: SEK 115 (full price); SEK 70 (reduced price) — $12.50 / $7.75
72 hours: SEK 230 (full price); SEK 140 (reduced price) — $25.25 / $15.50
Make sure you really calculate the time you will actually have and need to use public transportation. My mistake was buying two 72 hour cards when I would technically only need 96 hours.
That was definitely poor planning on my part.
I just left my extra travelcard on the train station marked with the expiration time in case anybody needed it.
The travelcard was really handy though. Personally, walking everywhere during the snow would’ve been horrific so public transport was awesome. Of course, there are areas that are best for long-walks so you just gotta be smart about it.
There’s a lot of shit to do in Stockholm. For me, four days did not seem like enough to visit all the good stuff. This is why I bought the Stockholm Pass, which gave me “free” entry to many of the city’s attractions. I also bought the travelcards with the pass.
For $173, I bought the tourist pass and the travelcards.
But one HUGE caveat I did not realize was that many of the museums and attractions offered STUDENT DISCOUNTS!
The Stockholm Pass’s “savings” assumed I was an old tourist in his midlife crisis trying to find himself, thus not eligible for the the student discount.
The tourist pass had a large upfront price in addition to the fact that it limited my flexibility. I was basically cramming five days worth of activities into four days.
There’s a limit to how many museums a man can visit before he goes insane. It was overwhelming, and I felt like I had to since I already paid for it.
Flexibility and student discounts were factors I did not consider. Museums aren’t the only thing to do in a city!
There’s so much stuff to do, and the flexibility to change to what you feel like doing is really important. So don’t get a tourist pass, it’s just not worth it. It’s better to enjoy one museum than forcing yourself to go through three of them in one day.
Planning and Exploring Alone
Seeing as this is my first trip outside of Kalmar, it would be practice for my #LSET2017, where I would be mainly alone backpacking through Europe. I made an effort to separate myself from the two people I came here with throughout the trip.
It was freeing being able to do what I want to do and when I wanted to do it. There’s nobody else I had to satisfy but myself.
I did however have to put a lot in my Google Calendar itinerary to remind me what I had to do each day.
With only four days, I felt like I had to maximize my time here. So an itinerary tried to do that, but of course there are times where I don’t feel like listening to myself. And it rocks.
There are safety issues with being by myself in a new strange city, but Stockholm was pretty safe. Mostly everyone spoke English and I’m a big ass Asian guy, so people don’t really gravitate towards harassing me.
Eating alone also seems scary at first, especially at sit-down restaurants. More informal eateries have a lot more people eating by themselves too, so I was definitely not alone. At the end of the day, I would never see these people again (theoretically), so I tried not to stress too much about it.
Since Sweden unfortunately likes to treat their workers well, most establishments usually close early. By early, I mean like five or six in the late afternoon. That means if I want to get some good food, I would have to go at noon.
Of course there are always exceptions, like the falafel place and McDonald’s I went to on the nightmarish day & night during the U.S Election.
I’m not going to lie and you obviously know this… I’m a huge fatass and I love food. If you have me on Facebook, I have an entire photo album just dedicated to food. Food that I made, ate or will eat. I just don’t think Stockholm is a big foodie destination. I was really hesitant to visit restaurants here because the food here is expensive.
There are highlights though:
Kajsas Fisk had a $10 fish soup that saved my soul from the wrath of the Swedish snowstorms. And it included refills, bread and salad. Then there’s
Nystekt Stromming with the $7.50 fried herring with pickles, onions, mashed potatoes and a Swedish cracker.
A fancy Swedish meatballs place was also visited by me. I sat alone on the bar as I ate a $20 plate of deluxe reindeer balls with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. For me, it was a high price to pay for a not-so-satisfying meal. It was good, but not $20 good.
I can’t really enjoy the taste of the food when I’m worrying over the bill. I’m not saying I’m broke… If I was I wouldn’t be travelling here at all. But I’m just a cheap bitch!
- Stay at a hostel. They’re usually at the same level of comfort as hotels and it’s less expensive. That’s more money to spend on the expensive restaurants in the Swedish capital.
- Take the train here, if possible. The wait for the plane will probably be half of the train journey already.
- Don’t get the tourist passes. They’re not worth the money, especially if you’re a student. Plus, flexibility is important when you’re exploring a new city.
- The more you pay for food doesn’t mean the more you’ll enjoy it.
- Celebrating my birthday alone in Stockholm will be a good memory.