Four Days Backpacking in: Stockholm

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Arriving at Arlanda airport and transitioning through customs was a pretty pleasant experience. It wasn’t difficult to find a ticket machine and pay for a bus ticket to Stockholm city using Flygbussarna. The bus is clean as well as comfortable. They also have a stable wireless connections.

The walk from the bus terminal in Stockholm to the City Hostel was short. I only booked one night with City Hostel and they were fully booked for the next few days when I got there.

City Hostel is clean, has very nice bathrooms and kitchen. This was my first hostel and I quickly learned that I’m not a fan of 10 bed dorms. These dorms just felt a bit like a prison dorm. Very simple rooms. The winding hallways were a bit confusing. The kitchen is nice and is the “common room” in the hostel.

Generator Hostel Bed

Generator Hostel Bed

Due to no rooms being available at City Hostel after the first night I quickly booked a 4 bed mixed dorm ensuite at Generator Hostel.

I was extremely happy after upgrading when I saw the facility. It’s a lot like a nice hotel. I paid about $33.59 each night ($66 on Saturday the 10th). I have only nice things to say: it is very clean, comfortable, a great environment with lots of varied seating in the lounge area and staff are available 24 hours. They are very helpful with any questions. Wi-Fi coverage is great inside the hostel. You can order breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, porridge, etc) at about 7AM and other meals later in the day (lunch starts around 11). There’s a variety of different croissants and beverages available: orange juice, apple juice, soda, beer, etc.

The rooms in Generator Hostel have private bathrooms and large lockers that roll under the beds. The lounge is a great place to sit and hangout, even if you don’t want to be bothered. The shared small rooms only have a bench to sit on, but if you rent a double room you get some extras like a desk.

Generator Hostel Stockholm

Generator Hostel Stockholm

Stockholm isn’t budget friendly, but the flight from New York is one of the cheapest from the east coast in the United States (about $160). It is picturesque no matter where you go. The streets are clean and the architecture is interesting.

A simple breakfast in Stockholm will cost more than $9 or 76 krona . You can easily pay $17 (144 krona) for a meal from any restaurant. A small soda is about $2.35. A taxi ride will cost about $30. I walked everywhere.

Stockholm

Stockholm

Everywhere you go Stockholm is gorgeous. Especially on the water and in the parks. At night you will see half a dozen rabbits eating in the park (and the occasional group of rats running by). On the streets you will see countless people dressed in suits. There is a large shopping area just a short distance from Generator with hundreds of places to shop like H&M.

Restaurant Hemma

Restaurant Hemma Lasagna

I wasn’t able to locate any amazing places to eat, but I had a great meal at Restaurant Hemma. I asked some locals and was told you can’t eat for much less than 70 Krona.  I had the lasagna with fish, shrimp and broccoli at Restaurant Hemma for about 140 krona ($17). Meatballs for the People does have good meatballs. I’m not sure it was worth the long walk there from my hostel though.

You will find 711 convenience stores everywhere, but here in Stockholm the prices aren’t cheap even at 711. A soda goes for about $2.30-2.50. They have a great selection of pastry and muffins though and I recommend the weinerbrod. It’s kind of like a donut combined with a croissant.

Here are two apps that are useful in Stockholm:

  • Citybikes.se: You can buy a 3-day pass for a city bike for 165 SEK ($20.59) online or through a reseller (possibly your hostel). Using the mobile app you will be able to find any of 140 pickup and drop off locations with the GPS on your phone. I wasn’t a fan of the quality of the bikes but they can easily get you from point A to B. They only have 3 gears.
  • Stockholm Commute App: Searches through different forms of public transportation to get you from one location to another.

PRICES:

  • Budget breakfast (croissant and a drink): this could easily be about $8.
  • Soda (from a 711): about $2.35.
  • Average dinner at an average to pretty good restaurant: averaging around $17-30.
  • Beer: $5-8.
  • Taxi: could average anywhere from $8 to $30 or more depending on distance and other factors.
  • Boat tours: $33 – $85

Budget backpacker rating: Walk everywhere or rent a City Bike, see this gorgeous city in the first 24 hours and then get out quickly.

Stockholm is a great place to visit, but if you’re on a backpackers budget you will want to avoid it or limit the duration of your stay to a very short time. The prices are just as expensive in Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Photo Favorites: Stockholm

Today is the last day in Stockholm. I’ve walked endlessly in random directions to see what I can find and I have a blister on my foot. It’s my day off from taking photos and walking, so here are my favorites from Stockholm. Tomorrow I’m off to Brussels, Belgium. View all of the photo favorites here in the gallery.

Backpacking: Europe and Asia Checklist and Gear Guide

So you’re considering backpacking through Europe, Asia or other parts of the world? You can spend a lot of time preparing by researching, finding the right gear and asking hundreds of questions. Read on for a quick start.

Think small and light. You’re only bringing the essentials. If you can’t fit it on your back comfortably or on-board as carry-on then you aren’t going to take it with you. Set a goal for a maximum of 15 to 16 pounds: just under the carry-on weight rules for most airlines.

Size does matter.

You’re allowed one bag and a personal item on the aircraft. This can be your backpack and a day bag (such as the Patagonia Atom Sling). The backpack and day bag should count as separate weighted items, so move heavier items into the day bag when checking in. Split up the weight between your bags to avoid exceeding weight guidelines.

You should opt to pack minimal clothing to save space and weight for carry-on. Additional clothing can be purchased later if required. Use travel size items such as deodorant, toothpaste, first aid kits and the smallest versions you can find of items such as: travel towels, water bottle (try the Platypus), electronics organizer, packing cubes, etc.

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First time abroad: Kharkiv, Ukraine

In the past year I spent a total of six months in Kharkiv, Ukraine. This was my first time traveling internationally.

Kharkiv is a great place to visit. American’s have seen the negative media (especially the political problems and riots in Kiev in 2013) and heard about the warring in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. As most travelers will tell you the reality is always much different from the stories. Kharkiv is far from any of these problems.

The city center is beautiful. There are multiple parks to visit and Gorky Park is massive with attractions, rides, restaurants, a skate park, rentals, tennis courts, a Ferris wheel and more. Ukrainians are friendly and many can speak English or want to learn. English schools exist all over the place and this is a good opportunity if you want to volunteer or make a little bit of money.

Ukraine is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe for an American. During my time in Ukraine the US dollars to Ukrainian grivnas conversion averaged around 1:25. One dollar is almost enough for a sub sandwich at Freshline or half a dozen bus fares. At one point prior to my arrival the ratio was 1:30. Locals regularly convert their money to USD.

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