Sweden is not just a bit off the beaten path due to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. It’s also not always destination numero uno for backpackers on a budget because of its reputation as one of the more expensive countries in Europe, especially given the current weakness of the US dollar against the Swedish krona. It’s essential to plan ahead, in particular in Stockholm. Unlike in other, more temperate climates, sleeping under the stars when all the hostels are booked is not really an option in November.
Be prepared to pay a premium if you want to stay in the city center in Stockholm. Stockholm has a wide range of mid-priced to luxury hotels, but book ahead as it might be difficult to find something at the last minute. If you don’t mind a commute (which isn’t too painful given Stockholm’s excellent public transportation), check out StayAt Hotel Apartments, especially good for extended stays, in the Bromma, Kista and Solna suburbs. StayAt also has locations in Helsingborg and Malmö.
Scandic is also a pretty safe bet, with rooms ranging between USD 150 and 200, and locations in most cities around the country. There are also several “budget” hotels, but even these can be expensive, especially for solo travelers, as you can expect to pay USD 100 for a single room in Stockholm. It’s also worth noting that weekends are often cheaper than weekdays.
The Swedish Tourist Association (Svenska Turistföreningen – STF) runs a network of more than 300 hostels (“vandrarhem” in Swedish) throughout the country. Prices range between USD 15-45, but this can vary widely between big cities and smaller towns. In Stockholm, expect to pay more rather than less. If you are planning on traveling in Sweden for an extended period of time, it’s worth investing in the STF International Guest Card for approximately USD 30 (which gives a discount of about USD 8 per night). There are also several independent hostels in Stockholm (such as the Red Boat Hostel on Stockholm’s Lake Mälaraen) that are good budget alternatives. Particularly well-run and attractive are the hostels through Stockholm’s archipelago. A trick to save a bit of cash is to bring your own linens. Be sure to ask about facilities ahead of time as you may need pack a picnic in some of the more remote locations (especially in the off-season).
Several agencies will help you find a room in a private apartment for approximately USD 30-50 per night. Expect higher availability in the summer as many city dwellers rent out their apartments while they are camping out in their little red summer cottages. Check out The Bed and Breakfast Agency or Gästrummet B&B, which allows to you sort according to neighborhood. “Bed & Breakfast in the Stockholm Archipelago” is a great resource for anyone planning an adventure in the Stockholm archipelago.