Most Asian students studying in Sweden really want to travel all over Europe. This page summarize some of the means by which you can travel in Europe and in Sweden.
For affordable travel in Sweden, the main methods of transportation are bus and train. For travel to Gotland, you might also want to ride the ferry.
Train is a fairly affordable method of transportation in Sweden, however, be aware that trains are often delayed, especially during winter. For this reason, be aware that whenever you are traveling to catch a flight, bus is usually safer.
To buy train tickets, the homepage www.sj.se is the most convenient one. Note that when you buy tickets with SJ, you are considered to be “youth” as long as you are 25 years old or younger. When you buy train tickets, always buy youth tickets. Foreign students can not use the the student train tickets (student and youth tickets cost the same, but if the conductor notices that you have student tickets you could be charged with a fine.)
Also note that there is a ticket type called “Last minute”, these are only available 24 hours before departure and are usually cheaper than regular tickets. For example, a train ticket from Linköping Central to Stockholm Central costs around 240 Swedish crowns regularly if you buy it one week before departure but only around 150 Swedish crowns if you buy it as a “Last minute” ticket.
It is also important to know that you can get a refund if the trains are delayed. Depending on which company you ride with, the conditions may vary a bit, but for SJ you get up to a 50% refund if the trian is 30 minutes delayed or more, and up to 100% if it’s more than 1 hour late. See their homepage for more information.
For buying bus tickets, there are currently three notable companies:
- Nettbus/Bus4you – www.nettbuss.se/ (no English page, use Google translate!)
- Swebus – www.swebus.se
- Flygbussarna/Airport coaches – http://www.flygbussarna.se/en
Note that depending on company, the definition of youth varies, and when you travel with bus you can ride with student tickets as long as you have an updated LiU-card.
Flygbussarna/Airport coaches is dedicated to transport from and to airports. Nettbus/Bus4you and Swebus have inter-city traffic, and generally speaking the Bus4you buses are the most comfortable (Nettbus is the same company but simpler buses, Swebus only has simple buses, note that many Swedish buses has free wi-fi).
Also note that you can go to Norrköping with the campus bus for free, but this requires an updated LiU-card! See Linköping University’s webpage for details and an up to date time table: http://www.liu.se/insidan/service/post-transport/campusbussen?sc=true&l=en
One of the most beautiful cities to visit in the summer is Gotland. It’s an Island in southern Sweden that is only accesible by ferry. See http://www.destinationgotland.se/en/ for detailed information about the ferry. There is also an dedicated bus that goes from Stockholm to where the ferry departs.
Outside of Sweden
To and from airports
In Sweden, the most affordable tickets to and from airports are usually sold by Flygbussarna/Airport coaches, see http://www.flygbussarna.se/en for details. For example, a youth traveling from Linköping Central station to Skavsta airport costs 218 Swedish crowns round trip.
Outside of Sweden, there are lots of different airport buses. One that some students have used is Student Agency Bus, http://www.studentagencybus.com/. For finding a good bus company, please research it yourself.
As of recently, low cost airlines are getting more and more popular. You can find cheap airplane tickets almost anywhere, and especially within Europe. For example, a one way ticket to Poland in the winter can be as cheap as 90 Swedish crowns. The major low cost airlines operating in Scandinavia are:
Please note that Skavsta is only 1,5 hours away from Linköping by bus, whereas Arlanda is roughly 3 hours away. It is also notably more expensive to travel to Arlanda, so Ryan Air is the most popular choice among the international students at Linköping University. When you book tickets at Ryan Airs homepage, you will be able to select a lot of services that charge extra money (insurance, extra luggage etc). If you simply do not select any of these services, the ticket price tend to be extremely low, and you can travel as usual.
Whenever you travel with Ryan Air it is very important that you make sure to
- Check in online and print the ticket before you go to the airport
- Measure and make sure your cabin baggage is not bigger than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
- Weigh you cabbage luggage and make sure that it is not heavier than 10 kg
If you do not follow these rules you will have to pay a €40 fee (Euro, not Swedish crowns!) to board the flight. Since most Ryan Air tickets costs around €20, this is extremely expensive.
Click here for a list of current low-price flights from Swedish airports with Ryan Air, scroll down to “Billigt flyg från Stockholm Skavsta”
A round trip bus ticket to Skavsta costs 218 SEK, adding round trip ticket price to various destinations using Ryan Air you get the following prices (at the time of writing). Note that you also need to get a bus ticket from the airport you arrive to the city center, which usually adds a few hundred crowns to the price.
Linköping to Berlin, round trip: 550 SEK
Linköping to London, round trip: 550 SEK (Chinese citizen should note that they need a visa!)
Linköping to Tallin, round trip: 550 SEK
Linköping to Paris, round trip: 550 SEK
Linköping to Warsaw, round trip: 550 SEK
Linköping to Venice, round trip: 800 SEK
Linköping to Pisa, round trip 900 SEK
… and so on. As you see it’s notably cheap, just be careful with Ryan Air’s travel rules as stated above.
Depending on your destination and nationality, you might need to get a visa to travel to some destinations. Your Swedish residence permit allows you to travel anywhere within the Schengen Area. The most notable place where you need to have a separate visa to travel is the United Kingdom. For holders of South Korean, Japanese, Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan passports, this does not pose a problem. However, if you are from mainland China, you need to get a separate visa before you can go to the United Kingdom. You can see if you need a visa or not at the UK Border Agency’s homepage:
Also note that travel to Russia usually requires a separate visa as well, and that this kind of visa requires a letter of invitation. Handling time for a Russian visa is usually around 1 week, but getting an invitation can take up to a month, since it has to be issued by the Russian government for all non-European citizen.
For inspiration, we’ll post videos that we feel can help people find interesting places to travel. If you have a video you think we should upload here, feel free to contact us and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where: Gotland, Sweden
When: Summer 2013
Some international students studying at campus Norrköping made this cool video of their bike trip to the island of Gotland. A very beautiful place to visit, especially in the summer!