Sampling Scandinavia 2025 June

Old Jun 8th, 2024, 01:39 AM
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Sampling Scandinavia 2025 June

We are retirees, active and are looking at pre planning a trip to Scandinavia for 10-14 days. I have noticed many small tours are offered. Would this be the recommended way to get around Scandinavia?
kiwinz is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2024, 11:39 AM
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Only you can decide if you need to purchase a tour. All I can tell you is that many people on this board have done it without any assistance. Some guide books and websites show you sample itineraries to help you plan it yourself, and I've often used professional tour itineraries as "cheat sheets" for mapping out my own.

The only problem, as I see it, is that your travel options are plentiful. One interesting aspect of Denmark, Norway and Sweden is that they are all connected easily by rail. Short hop air routes between cities are plentiful (and not that expensive). There's a ferry that can take you from Copenhagen to Oslo overnight and a slo-mo Hurtigruten cruise often used by locals that crawls the Norwegian coastline all the way from Bergen northward to the Land of the Midnight Sun. Renting a car in Norway is certainly an option that some people enjoy.

Lots of decisions! Good problems to have.

My husband and I start our Scandinavian adventure in two days for 12-14 days, and I'll be happy to share that trip with you after we get back.

Happy Planning,
AZ
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Old Jun 8th, 2024, 04:17 PM
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Many thanks for your comments, I will look at some tour itineraries to get a feel of a mapping out a travel plan. We usually do plan ourselves but this does take considerable time.
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Old Jun 8th, 2024, 06:26 PM
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Please remember that independent travelers can rarely match the pace of a tour itinerary. Typically, some things on tour itineraries are just "drive bys." Mpreover, you will need to get to / from transportation, rather than simply jumping on a waiting bus. I normally assume I'll need at least twice the time as a tour to actually visit the same things. And of course, I don't always want to see exactly the same things! I find draft itineraries in guidebooks much more useful for planning my time.

Scandinavia can be easily seen on one's own. IMO, a trip of 2 weeks is likely to be more satisfying than a trip of 10 days.
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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 08:52 AM
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kiwinz--It HAS been a lot of work. Thank you for appreciating that. A good friend, who like me is 70ish doing basically the same trip with her one-decade older husband (my situation), always has done her own travel planning throughout the world. She gave up this time--she went to a travel agent.

I just can't give up control yet. If you can give up control, I sure can understand and I wish you the best.

Ironically, I initially was willing to do a cruise, a verboten term in my household. I've always said to my kids that the Greek Islands, Alaska and Scandinavia might make me bite a cruise bullet. I started researching cruise itineraries and ship lines to Scandinavia and Alaska last July or August, I think. I knew a good one would cut itinerary decision-making to one half and would minimize our luggage hauling--even our light packing style adds up over the course of the day. My husband was ALMOST on board. And then he just said, "If you really want this, I'll do it. But if I only have so many days left in my life..." You get the drift. And you know, I had to admit I felt the same way. My heart wasn't in it. I'd rather experience the travel grind and be open to whimsey. I just wish I had had 21 days instead of 14 max with which to design the trip.

Here's where I started, if this will help you:

1) For a week, I played "destination airlines chess" before bed. I knew we'd do open jaw; I just had to decide which cities I would be most likely to fly into and out of using all of our considerable points on AA and Delta to get us lie-flat seats at bargain cost for 12-14 days. I snagged my seats at the end of August. AA to CPH, Delta from ARN.

2) I had to decide if we'd do three cities or four. That decision alone took months. I watched endless videos, read every trip report here and on various websites, etc. Lots of opinions on which city to cross off the list. Luckily, Stockholm was a "win" with everyone, so I added a day or two more days there and just had to decide if we were doing one more or two more in addition to our landing spot in Copenhagen.

3) As I already told you, the transportation options are almost endless, and all have pros and cons. What I thought we'd do and what we've ended up doing were based on my husband's druthers, which are not quite mine. That darn 14 days max was his new maxim. He may be old, but he is still working and he is the financial fuel for our travel. My tendency towards 21 days has been hard on him. His physical limitations also mean he can't sit for long periods of time, even though he can walk 15 miles a day easily. He hates boats. He also hates to drive. Thus we never rent cars in Europe.

But I have to tell you, if there is any place I would have loved to have rented a car, it would have been Norway. All my Norway research brought back memories of our endless trips out in the American West, where we and our kids hiked, and biked and canoed and rafted. I LOVED driving for a zillion miles through the Rockies and other ranges.

Reality check. Those days are gone for us. Sniff. We must deal, and we have. Planes, trains, and perhaps and overnight ferry would have to be us. In my next life, I'll come back to Norway in a car with my hiking and cycling gear in the boot.

4) After I decided on my cities, I made a stab at accommodation reservations, sometimes booking an AirBnb and a hotel in the same city. After prime location, the ability to get our clothes clean determined everything. We are brilliant at nightly handwashing, although we've been willing to hand over wash load to a hotel, and an Airbnb washer is always welcomed. But some hotels don't wash clothes over the weekend and the size/design of hotel bathrooms doesn't always suit the every-important drying space for our fold-up hangers and stretchy clotheslines. I trimmed those multiple reservations precisely before the end of December and I feel good right now about my choices. I'll report back later if those worked.

5) I've made a "dream list" of what I wanted to see in each city. My husband will get some choices on the ground, but I then become Daily Dictator. I got his butt there within all his parameters; he will deal with my ground parameters, and he always does so nicely. Important note: I worked darn hard on avoiding the cruise ship influx in each city. We've gotten to see how cruise ships more or less "vomit" passengers in cities like Istanbul, Venice and Barcelona, clogging up sites, and I've looked up port schedules for each city and adjusted expectations and plans accordingly.

I hope this has been of some help to get started OR to jump ship over to a tour or an agent. I have no clue if our trip will work out, but I have to tell you, I'm excited for the adventure of it to SEE if it works out. And that's something.

Enjoy planning, no matter what your decision. Anticipation is always 1/3 of the experience.

AZ


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Old Jun 9th, 2024, 06:50 PM
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Chilly right now in Scandinavia

Hi, AZ. I read you're leaving soon. We just got hit by a cool spell in this region so it's in the 50s and 60s here now. Evenings are chilly so bring a warm wrap, jacket or sweater. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 26th, 2024, 09:58 AM
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Ez73--How sweet of you. I must have been finishing packing just as you wrote, trying to decide between my puffy vest OR my puffy-but-thin coat liner to wear under my GoreTex rain jacket. Copenhagen was COLD. But we loved it.
AZ
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