Want to have all the knowledge of a local? Here is a guide to all the quirks about Norway to get you prepared for your trip.
The official coin in Norway is the kroner (NOK).
TIP: When you are at supermarkets, an easy to way to convert crowns to dollars is to put in a coma decimal, or take away a zero. For example: 25 kroner is about $2.5 dollars. It’s not exact, but it’s an easy way to approximate. For more accuracy, type in google “25 NOK to USD” and you will get a currency converter.
Getting a SIM card might be tricky. Since my husband is Norwegian, we got two SIM cards for our unlocked iPhones on CHESS (They are on the Telia Network). You order it online and pick it up at the post-office. Since you show your ID, it is proof that you received it and that you are liable for billing charges.
My husband was asked for his National ID number, so we are not sure if you can get them as foreigners. If you are an EU citizen, you might not have any trouble with this.
Chess is $25/month, for unlimited phone calls and text, and unlimited internet (up to 2GB, then it slows down). You can cancel anytime without penalties.
If you are roaming in Europe, you have to pay per MB ($0.03 per MB).
The main networks in Norway are called Telia and Telenor. Chess is a low cost carrier that uses one of those networks.
Gas is $4.5 per gallon as of this post (double the price in Florida!). In Norway, they use the standard measurement of liters instead of gallons.FYI: 3.8 Liters is one gallon.
Navigating Oslo Airport with kids
Oslo Airport has an amazing service for parents.
After you go through airport security lines (5-10min thanks to Norwegian efficiency), you can grab a stroller for free to use inside the airport and leave it at your gate before boarding planes.
Super tip: The baby changing tables are in the disabled bathroom, along with a special diaper trash bin. I found it super unusual because usually they are located in the women’s bathroom but not here.
Next, The Norwegian culture.
The following are my observations being around Norwegians in the 5 trips I made here.
- Norwegians love efficiency and fast service. The population is small, even in large cities like Oslo. There are seldom any waiting lines in supermarkets or pharmacies. This in turn means that there is very seldom chit chat while you are in line with the cashier.
Going to the supermarket
- Most Norwegians use debit and credit cards that have a chip and enter a 4-digit PIN number.
- You will find that if you have an American credit card and have to slide it, the cashier will look at you like you grew a second head.
- You will also need to let them know that your card doesn’t have a PIN number so they need to let you sign for the purchase. You will get the crazy look again😅.
- You will need to pay for your plastic bags at the supermarket every time. The cost is about $0.15 per bag. You might end up spending a dollar on plastic bags if you have large purchases. However, this are NOT you crappy Walmart bags, they are really solid and can take a lot of weight.
- In some supermarkets, you might need to put in a coin (10 kr) to get a shopping cart.
- Chain supermarkets
- REMA 1000 – Cheapest supermarket
- KIWI -Another cheap supermarket
- Co Op Xtra– new chain, has beat others in competition.
- SPAR– runs great sales, they had a sale for 10 Kr ($1 items), but they use this to attract customers. They usually have higher prices.
- MENY– More selection, great fresh meat and salad, a bit pricey.
- JOKER– really small store, pricey, only essentials, that is the only one that opens on Sundays!
- Obs– not a store widely available, more selection of goods.
Alcohol and Tobacco
- Make sure to buy alcohol and tobbaco at the Duty Free shop at the airport to avoid the heavy taxes. There is a limit of about 2 bottles or 1 bottle of hard liquor per person through the Toll at the airport (Customs). There is also a limit of 200 cigarettes per person to bring into the country at the airport.
- You will need to show ID when you buy alcohol or tobacco at the supermarket, you must be over 18 years old.
- Sundays, everything is closed by law. All supermarkets and pharmacies are closed. Make sure to get all your shopping done on Saturday. There might one small kiosks open on Sunday.
- The best part about Norway is the nature. If the weather permits, you will love it outside. There are many forests and beautiful lakes.
- There are also many playgrounds for children, usually with swings, slides and some have sandboxes.
- You will also find picnic tables and bbq grills where you can use coal.
- I will post a picture about a super easy bbq kit that you can buy:
Baby and toddler items
- Diapers are cheaper than in the U.S.
- You will find Pampers diapers, but not Huggies.
- Don’t be afraid to try generic diapers. They are very solid and thicker than most U.S. Brands, comparable to Pull-Ups thickness.
- Huggies is not available in Norway, but it is available in Sweden.
- Baby wipes (most of them) are VERY thin, like you can see-through-them thin, including the Pampers brands (very disappointed).
- The closest baby wipes I found to Huggies are called Libero.
- A great diaper cream I found is called: “Zinc Salve”. My toddler has really sensitive skin and this has worked amazing! It’s also NOT as sticky as Desitin is.
- There is also baby shampoo, toddler toothbrush, toddler toothpaste. Don’t expect a ton of American brands in Norway. I have not seen any toddler electric toothbrushes, humidifiers, etc.
Keep checking back for new updates on how the doctors/hospital systems work.
Let me know if you have any question on the comment section. Happy travels!