People often ask me how I’m able to travel so much… I’ve concluded over the last few years that it’s a combination of both patience and strategy.
The best tool I have stored away in my secret travel arsenal would undeniably be the Explore section of Kayak. If you have some flexibility in your schedule – then kayak.com/explore could save you a few hundred dollars or more. I booked my most recent trip to Stockholm with the explore tool back in January (3 months beforehand) for only $268. Yes, you read that correctly. Also, I should note that it was a direct flight roundtrip from LAX. This felt impossibly cheap considering most of my flights back home to Boston usually cost at least $300. Another really great feature that Kayak offers, is the ability to create price alerts to track potential flights of interest.
When it came to planning accommodations for my trip to Sweden, I chose to stay at both hotels and an Airbnb. I’ve always had really good luck with using bookit.com and Hotel Tonight when searching for hotels. The one I stayed at upon arriving is the newest boutique hotel right in the central part of the city, called Hobo. For as low at $105 a night, you stay in one of the hippest new hotels in Stockholm! I particularly loved this hotel because they’ve designed a space specifically with entrepreneurs, creators, and locals in mind. Lush greenery and local art were scattered all throughout the common area.
The second and third night, I stayed at the new boutique hotel AtSix. It’s a higher-end hotel with an entirely different demographic – but from $200 a night, you can earn a stay in one of the swankiest new hotels in the city. I found this incredibly reasonable considering that it’s 5-star. The design is fabulously stylish. Not only do you get a fantastic view of the city – but you feel like you’re staying at a modern Art gallery.
The 4th and 5th night, I traveled to a Swedish island in the middle of the Baltic Sea called Gotland. It was here that I truly fell in love with Sweden. Dare I say, one of the most charming places I’ve ever visited! Since it was low season, the island was filled with mostly locals and very little tourists – this made Airbnb totally reasonable! I was able to snatch an apartment right in the center for $45 a night.
The last night of the trip, I stayed at the iconic Nobis hotel. Their lounge area is arguably one of the most recognizable spaces in all of Stockholm! From $211 a night, you’ll find yourself in one of the most booming parts of the city.
While airfare and hotels are both important budgeting factors to consider while planning a trip – equally as important is the budget that you’ll allot towards food! I personally am a huge foodie and this usually accounts for 1/3 of my travel budget. I’d definitely prioritize dining out at a wonderful local restaurant over most tourist attractions.
I lucked out on this trip and found myself eating at some of the most amazing restaurants! Público, a take on Swedish inspired tapas, will run you around $10-15 a plate. Speceriet offered exciting and delicious Swedish dishes with a twist – most plates costing only around $13-$15. Raamen is an absolute must-try! A Swedish version of Japanese noodle soup that will not disappoint – the average bowl costing around $10. Rosendals Trädgård is a truly special place. This is somewhere I could easily spend hours at (which I did). A little outside of the central part of the city, you’ll find this gem tucked away in the middle of a park. The garden at Rosendals is the heart of the business… Sustainability and functionality are at the forefront of their approach. The plants are grown with the compost from the previous year and then used to make the delicious meals at their Garden Café for around $15 a plate. One of my favorite parts of Rosendal’s though was the wood oven bakery. With the largest wood oven in all of Stockholm, they create some of the yummiest bread using herbs and fruits from the garden.
Lastly, I usually allow for one ‘splurge out’ dining experience when traveling – and on this particular trip, it ended up being Kommendören. I had the most amazing grilled Swedish lobster for $25 – a totally fair price for a fantastic meal. I particularly enjoyed the aesthetic of this restaurant. It felt like a Brooklyn inspired bistro with Scandinavian elements dispersed throughout!
By the time I had to fly home, I ended up calculating that I had kept the trip under $1,000 for all my expenses. I will highlight that It’s certainly possible to travel the world so long as you prioritize, budget, and exhibit patience while carefully planning.