Getting the visas you need

It is important tocheck the visa rules and regulations in good time before leaving your home country. Some countries will not let you in unless you possess a valid visa and others do not require one at all. Everywhere on the web you will find pages listing visa rules and requirements, but be careful: not all of these pages have the most updated or accurate info.
Visa regulations for Norwegian Citizens
For Norwegians I would advise following the steps listed underneath to make sure to get the visas that you need:

 
1. Check Wikipedia for a list of visa free countries for Norwegians (link)

 

Wikipedia is known for being a page that can not be trusted to be hundred percent accurate, but their list of countries can be visited without obtaining a visa on beforehand will be able to give you an impression of which countries probably will be the hardest to deal with. It is important to check the visa rules of every single country you are visiting, so once you have checked your countries on this list it will be time to move to the next step in the process of mapping out the visas that you need.
 
2. Check the Norwegian Foreign Affairs to find the most accurate and updated rules and regulations (www.landsider.no/land)

This is a page I use almost daily, and it is the first page that will be updated if there are any changes to visa rules for Norwegians. By clicking on each country and choosing “innreise og helse” you will have the most updated information about the visa requirements for Norwegian passport holders. The page is also useful for obtaining information regarding safety and the current political situations of the countries. 
 
 
 
saudi
On a visit to the Norwegian Embassy in Saudi Arabia

3. Contact the embassies we have in Norway to get the visas or to get your visa related questions answered (Contact details for all embassies in Oslo or Wiki)

Embassies can often be slow to respond to emails, so I will recommend calling if you have questions you need answered. The consular sections of these embassies can also help you with obtaining a visa to the countries they are representing. For the countries not listed in the above link you should consider moving on to the next step.
4. Use a visa service agency (Visumservice.no)


Some countries can be quite bureaucratic and hard to deal with, and by sending you passport to the embassies they often end up in un-prioritized pile on their desks. Are you short on time or need someone to help you deal with all applications and documentation necessary to get a visa then it is better to be on the safe side and contact a visa service agency. Visumservice.no is my preferred visa agency in Norway and with a Kilroy Studentcard (ISIC card) you will also get 10 percent on their administration fees!

5. Ask your travel agent to check TIMATIC  (timaticweb.com) 

User/Subuser: 4023761
Password: visainfo

 
Travel Agents have access to the TIMATIC database which is the system being used by the airlines to determine if you will be eligible for a visa on arrival or not. This can be time consuming work and all relevant information like passport type, date of entry, previous visited countries etc needs to be in place to get an answer. I would advise using the above links first to get an answer, and keep this as the last option.
 
Should you have other useful pages for visa related information, feel free to share on the comment field below. 

vietnamVietnam requires visa for most nationals, but Norwegians are entitled to 15 day visa free travel for letting in so many refugees in the 70’s. But make sure to have your return/onward ticket booked upon entry, as this is one of the requirements for visa free entry.

 

An Unfortunate Car Rental Case

It all started out like another adventure with us picking up a car in Hertz Office in Frankfurt for a short trip to Linz in Austria. Everything went fine until three days later when we turned in the car in Munich, where the trouble started.

We were asked to bend down to have a look at a damage they claimed that we had done. A small scratch that was located underneath the bumper, barely visible if not looking closely enough. This was nothing we had managed to see in the dark parking garage when we picked it up, and of course we had to sign a form saying that it was there when we handed it in. We complained at the hand in desk at first, but decided that we would just take some photos and send in a explanation of the situation afterwards. A few days after handing in the car I got billed 800 euroes, where 600 of them were due to the damages they claimed we had done.
We sent in a formal complaint together with the pictures we took, and after over a month we received a rather disappointing response. None of our questions were answered, and all we received was a another damage bill in German together with the pictures below. Our second complaint was responded to with a standard “copy- paste” response where it said that we had accepted their terms and conditions and that the case was closed.
My advise to you if you do rent a car is to check the car properly for damages when you pick it up because when you hand it in they will do their best to find something to charge you with.
Skjermbilde 2013-10-03 kl. 22.02.15 Skjermbilde 2013-10-03 kl. 22.02.39
Hertz own photos of the damage (lower front) which was not seen at the time of pickup.

Southern Circle AFRICA | Travel Evening

 Tuesday, October 15th Kilroy Travels Trondheim organizes a travel evening from 6PM to 8PM in Nattergalen Café where me and a colleague will tell you all you need to know about traveling in Africa. The teaser below is from a trip called Southern Circle which will be the main theme for the presentation, but we will also give general advise on when to go, how to get around and what to see. You can read more about the event on this link. I hope to see you there!

Hiking in Norway

t trolltungagåing

Norway is best explored on foot, because what makes Norway so great is its endless wild mountains and the beautiful fjords. I have gotten to do a couple of the most famous hikes and would like to share my experiences:

Trolltunga (literally translated “the Tongue of the Troll”):
Getting There: Take a bus from Bergen to Odda, and hitchhike through the tunnel, turn right and walk up towards Tyssedal until you reach the parking lot where the trail starts
Length and duration: 11kms taking 3 hours uphill and 2,5hrs downhill
Comment: The hike up to Trolltunga starts with some tough 4 kilometers, but after that it is all a nice hike in beautiful surroundings. It is smart to start early (8am) in order to get the magnificent viewpoint at top to yourself. If you get there too late, you would have to wait in line to get your picture taken on the rock. Anyway, the view on top is well worth all the sweat and the blisters you might get from the hike!

 

trolltunga2 trolltunga

 

Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock):

Getting there: Boat from Stavanger to Tau, and then a bus from there

Length and duration: 4kms, taking 40 minutes for the quick one

Comment: Preikestolen is a hike with a couple of steep hills, but except for that it is a hike that even your granny could do. Just make sure to go there on a sunny day, as the view on top is the whole reason that you go there. Just expect to see a lot of tourists, and soon there might even be a cable car going up.

1110378

DCIM100GOPROG0049037.
DCIM100GOPROG0049037.

 

 

Besseggen:

Getting there: Bus from Oslo (Valdresekspressen) to Gjendesheim, and boat to Gjendebu

Length and duration: 16 kms, taking approximately 8 hours (it’s a one way trip!)

Comment: Make sure to get up early and grab a queue ticket for the 10.15 boat since it is a long hike and you want to get back before the evening. The first hill is by far the toughest and once you have climbed over the first top, its a nice hike with a good view of the fjord along the way. Your feet are going to feel like jelly after the hike is over so make sure you have a friend with a cold beer and maybe a tub waiting for you when you get back to your cabin.

 

besseggen

 

Geirangerfjorden (the Geiranger Fjord):

Getting there: It is a 2,5 hour drive from Ålesund, and once in the city of Geiranger you will find plenty of buses that will take you to the best views

Length and duration: It depends which trails you take! There are plenty to chose from and good signs on most of them.

Comment: This is the most beautiful place in Norway and probably the whole World! Make sure to get up early to get the most of the day or spend a night at Hotel Union which has a great spa and a great view of the fjord. Ola Bua /Café Ola also has some great tapas such as smoked goat, blood sausage and deer.

 

Geiranger

 August 2015 I also went to Kjeragbolten, which is a boulder situated between two mountains. Read about it here

Other good tips for hiking trips in the Norwegian nature can be found on the webpage http://ut.no/ .

 

Making your Money Last Longer

If you are traveling on a one week chartered trip, you might want to spend as much as possible on your holiday and can just stop reading right away. Are you, on the other hand, a backpacker who is traveling months at a time you might try to save every penny you can to make your trip last longer. I have listed ten tips that might help you run out of money slower:It doesn’t help to save a lot of money if you cannot keep them, so lets start with the “Safety first”

A PASMO card gives you cashless travel when in Tokyo

1. Never show off big amounts of cash
A golden rule that everyone should follow. Flashing money among people is both rude and stupid, as it will look tempting for poorer people. I call it common sense.

2. Split your cash, to lessen the loss
In some situations people might make you open your wallet, and when you do they might demand what is in it. It can be a taxi driver insisting that the taxi should cost 10 times more than it should, or a policeman just using his bargaining power or a seller who wont give you what you want before he knows he has gotten maximum out of you.

3. Bring two credit cards
You might loose one, it might break, be stolen etc. A spare one will make sure that you can just block the other and live on with your spare one. Make sure they are good ones without big fees abroad.

Getting fooled is the most common robbery abroad, and the reason is simply because you don’t know better

4. Learn the exchange rate of the country currency
Do not use the overpriced exchange rate you will see at the airport or at your hotel. Check webpages like xe.com or your converter app with updated exchange rates.

5. Learn the local tipping culture
Tipping is important and you neither want to be a cheap ass giving too little or a dumb ass giving too much. A conversation with your the person sitting next to you on the plane usually helps. Otherwise use the next tip would also help for tipping

One dollar room in Udaipur, India. Found by asking around

6. Ask around for prices
Ask the hotel receptionist for the taxi prices, the taxi driver for the haircut prices, the hairdresser for the whateveryouneed prices. Use the people around you to be better prepared for upcoming negotiation situations.

7. Claim VAT refunds
Many airports have counters where you can hand in receipts and get the cash refunded.

8. Haggle just the right amount
Haggling is important in order to make your money last longer. It requires training and bartering skills to get the best deals as you are not supposed to be rude, as you do in fact have a lot more money than most people you are haggling with. And always remember to get the right price before you get a service done, eg. before you get into the taxi.

9. The best deals are not the ones with the flashiest signs or are highlighted in guidebooks
Most restaurants, hotels or tour companies that get listed in Lonely Planet use this to the fullest. This results in the places being crowded and overpriced. Ask around and you will usually find guesthouses and restaurants run by local families that will give you a more friendly and cheaper experience.

10. Don’t listen silly advise online on how to book cheap plane tickets
As a travel agent I have booked thousands of plane tickets, and I only have one tip that will give you cheap airline tickets: book them early, especially for the most popular flights. The only exceptions are campaign tickets and private fares that travel agents can offer.

 

singapore

Also be aware of local fines. Eating in public places in Singapore will make you 500 dollars poorer.