What to Pack
»Credit card and ATM card
»Map to ﬁrst night’s accommodation
»Hat, scarf, sunglasses
»Travel plug adaptor
»Student ID if you have one (for discounts)
»Plastic utensils for impromptu picnics
»Check that your passport is valid
»Check airline baggage restrictions
»Decide if you need travel or car-hire insurance
»Make any necessary bookings
»Inform your credit/debit card companies
Sweden is a polite society but not a casually chatty one – strangers typically won’t make idle conversation while waiting in queues or riding buses, and attempts to do so may be greeted with confusion. Once the ice is broken, Swedes are helpful and happy to show off their English. You’ll be asked your thoughts on their country and about current events in your own; don’t be surprised if they’re betlaer-informed than you.
»Thanks The most commonly uttered word in Swedish is tack – it means thanks, but also please, and it’s applied liberally in all situations. When in doubt, throw it out there.
»Excuse Me To get someone’s attention, say ursﬁkta mig (excuse me). If you step on their foot, say ﬁirldt (forgive me) instead.
»Greetings The catch-all greeting is hej. For someone you know well, say tjena (sheh-na).
»When to Tip Tipping is rare and usually reserved for great service.
»Restaurants Bars Tipping is not expected except with an evening meal – service is ﬁgured into the bill, but a small gratuity (10 to 15%) for good service at dinner is customary.
»Taxis Tipping is optional, but most people round up the bill to the nearest Skr10.
»Hotels Service is ﬁgured into the bill, but a small tip (around Skr10 a day) for housekeeping is appreciated.
In large cities, credit and debit cards can be used almost everywhere, and ATMs can be found every few blocks. Visa and MasterCard work everywhere, while American Express and Discover are less widely accepted. The default system uses cards with microchips; if your card has no chip or pin, ask the clerk to swipe it. In small towns and rural areas, shops, restaurants, hostels and campgrounds are more likely to be cash-only. Changing cash is convenient but relatively expensive, depending on the amount you change. Keep a Skr5 coin with you, as many public restrooms charge a Skr5 fee (even in petrol stations and department stores).
What to Pack