Stockholm has long been a bucket-list destination for many people. With endless rows of beautiful architecture, brilliant night-life districts, countless museums and top-tier restaurants, one might be forgiven for wondering if they can actually afford to have a good time. And let’s face it, sometimes even the best financial planning does little to stave off the monetary pitfalls thousands of people find themselves in every year during their travels.
That’s why I’ve collected a list of 12 tips, tricks, and hacks you can use in Stockholm to keep your trip under budget, inexpensive, and crisis free.
1. Free food outside of Central Station
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Every day at 6 a.m., outside of Central Station, food is offered to anyone who wants or needs it. With a healthy selection of sandwiches, fruit, pastries, eggs, and granola bars, there’s no reason for anyone to start their day off on an empty stomach!
2. The Wall of Kindness
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Caught unprepared for the weather? No worries, look or asks around for a Wall of Kindness; a neat little set-up that allows you to take the jacket you need, and leave the jacket you don’t.
Visit their website widerlov.se to find the nearest booth and learn a little more about what they do, or how you can help!
3. Friends of St. Clara Church (S:ta Clara Kyrkas Vänner)
Here, you can attend the mass and grab a free meal. Hot-drinks, bread, ready-meals, sandwiches, vegetables, and even clothes are offered in the name of neighbourly love.
Unfortunately, I only had time to visit one such establishment, but it’s definitely not the only one. Ask around for your nearest church and I’m sure they can point you in the right direction.
4. Yard Sale Market
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so head over to the yard sale market, which sits right outside of the Filmstaden Sergel cinema, where you can earn a little extra cash by selling off unwanted things.
Of course, on the other hand, if you’re on the market for a random assortment of affordable items and souvenirs, this could also be the place for you.
5. Recycle bottles for money
Similar to Germany’s Pfand System, Sweden has a system called pant, which allows you to turn in empty bottles at local supermarkets, such as Coop, Lidl, for around 1-2 SEK per bottle.
When you find a return machine, remember that the green button is to receive a receipt (which you turn in at a cashier for money) and yellow is to donate the money to charity. Also, keep in mind that only bottles with this symbol on them can be returned:
6. Free toiletries
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You might be a budget traveller but, lucky for you, that doesn’t mean you have to smell like one. Visit your nearest Body Shop to grab a few free samples of lotion, soap, and other hygiene-related products!
TipTap is an amazing app that lets people pay others to pick up and deliver items that they’re not willing or able to deliver themselves. If you’re in need of some spare change, this might be a great place to start. Some of the jobs might be much simpler to complete than you’d think!
On top of that, people often put items up for free. Grabbing a new backpack, pair of shoes, set of headphones, or even a table (should you need one) could be as simple as saying “yes, please!”
Olio is an app that allows people to rescue surplus foods from bakeries, supermarkets, and even other people. Quite like Germany’s SirPlus supermarket, Olio provides users with a way to ensure perfectly edible food doesn’t go to waste. The difference between the two companies is that SirPlus is a supermarket chain with set locations, whereas with Olio the food can come from a variety of stores, and all of it is free—though you will still have to pick up the items you find on Olio yourself.
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Simply put, Fika is a Swedish coffee break. But to leave it there would be blasphemous, to say the least.
It’s said that Fika is more like a religion, or a way of life, than anything else. In fact, it’s so ingrained in Swedish culture that they feel no one should go without it. And by “it” they mean a cup of coffee. (Yes, for free!)
So if you’re strapped for cash and in dire need of a pick-me-up, take a trip to your nearest coffee shop and invoke the sacred law of Fika. Sometimes they’ll even throw in a little something extra.
10. Free gyms
Staying fit in a foreign country can be hard, especially if you’re not there for long. When there’s so much to do and see, who has time to look for a decent gym, or worse, pay for one? Fortunately, this won’t really be an issue for you in Stockholm.
The city is littered with quality outdoor gyms that anyone can use for free. And if outdoor gyms don’t sound appealing to you, don’t panic, many gyms in Stockholm let people sign up for a free trial week, giving you full access to equipment, saunas, and showers in the meantime.
11. Vois rides
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There are many areas of Stockholm that are for pedestrians only. As a result, you might find yourself doing a little more walking than expected. If that’s the case, try out Vois’ shared scooter rides for free.
All you have to do is download the Vois app, take the quick driving test online (which automatically grants you 5 credits), locate one of the communal scooters, and be on your way!
You can also look online for referral codes that grant free credits if you feel like extending your ride!
12. The people!
At the end of the day, your greatest asset is going to be the people. Aside from the fact that a great many of them speak English, I was amazed by how kind and helpful everyone was. While they might not typically go out of their way to speak to strangers, they’re always open to making new friends and lending a helping hand.
So if you find yourself in a pinch, never hesitate to reach out to those around you. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.