Norway. There's an App for That.

My Norway App collection
In the distant past the 'must-have' list for a trip would be just credit cards and passport. On the basis that, in most places, the passport got you in and the credit card enabled you to acquire the other stuff you'd forgotten. In reality the list was always longer and did include at least include a camera or two.

Recently it's become more essential to add my phone to the 'must-have' list. This was particularly true on my recent trip to northern Norway - which was pretty much entirely managed via a collection of apps on my phone.

Pre-trip planning would certainly have been simplified using the Norway app from Visit Norway, if you want suggestions about where to go and when, and where to stay and what to do when you get there it's all in the app.

On this particular trip my flights with Norwegian between the UK and Norway were booked on their website, but after that all the check-in, boarding etc was done without a bit of paper being needed at any point. Actually that's not completely true. The automated bag drop does leave you with a small bit of sticky paper as a receipt. In the days of paper tickets and a person to sort out the baggage, this little of paper was stuck to the back of the boarding pass. I'm not sure where they think you might stick the bit of paper these days.

NSB to Bodo
Once I was in Norway my long distance travel was via NSB, the Norwegian rail operator. And again, although I'd booked the tickets via their website, I never actually needed a paper ticket.  The 'ticket' just got picked up in the NSB app, and the conductor was able to check that the ticket was valid by just ensuring that the right image appeared on the phone screen.

The Norwegian app and the NSB app got me from the UK to northern Norway (in my case to Bodo, where the main NSB service comes to an end) without needing any paper.

At this point, since I was doing the trip around the Lofoten Islands entirely on public transport I switched to the wonderful 177Nordland app. I've no idea why the number 177 is involved, but the app knows where you are and if you tell it where (in Nordland) you want to go, it'll figure out the walking, bus and ferry stages involved and help you to ensure that you get to the right place at the right time.  Once you're on the bus or ferry you do need to look up from the app to get your ticket.  You can pay by cash but in most circumstances it's easy (and expected) to pay by credit card.

Nordland to A
While I was in Norway, almost all of my hotel accommodation for this trip was booked through And their app provided all the information I needed to find, or communicate with, my hotel before I got there.

I did use two other apps regularly on the trip, one from Hurtigruten so I could figure out which of their many boats I could see passing as they shuttle up and down the Norwegian coast, and the app to keep track of the money I was spending (although with an exchange rate so close to 10 Krone to the pound, conversion is hardly a major mathematical challenge).

The final app in my 'Norway' set is the NorwayLights app, also from Visit Norway.  In the dark months this gives you an aurora forecast for where you are. In early May, northern norway is already getting at least 20 hours of daylight and no real darkness so the aurora isn't going to be visible. But I'm keeping the app ready for my next dark months trip to Norway.

My must-have list is now three items, phone, credit card and passport.  I suspect the credit card will eventually be absorbed into the phone, and maybe one day there will even be a Passport app too, and then I can do everything on the phone. 

I guess at that point the must-have list becomes just two items. The phone and the charger.

No comments: