When out and about in Umeå you will see many pedestrian crosses to get people safely over the road. When out driving be vigilant as people have the right to cross at their will at the crossings and will often just step out. In the summer months you can clearly see the road markings but in the winter when there is snow you will just see the sign posts so keep your eyes peeled. When walking across them, just keep in mind the car travelling toward you might be a boy racer or worse, a foreign driver, so be sensible!
Buses are exceptional in my experience, not often late and there are so many you can travel pretty much whenever you want. The way buses work is you pay a fixed price for a ticket that lasts one hour, you can travel on as many buses to as many places as you like within that hour, so if you are popping to the shops or have to drop a library book off, if you are quick you can do it on one ticket. The prices have recently gone up slightly for an adult (vuxen) it costs 22 sek. If you are under 26 you get a slightly reduced ticket (ungdom), this costs 17 sek. You can no longer pay with cash on buses so you have three options 1) Pay with a debit or credit card 2) Buy a bus pass (you can buy bulk trips so you get a slightly discounted rate, you can also buy month long passes where you can ride as much as you like for no extra cost) 3) You can pay by text, details of which are in the bus shelters at each stop. Text payment might depend on your phone provider, Telia is certainly accepted. Well behaved dogs are welcome to ride the buses too, if your dog is small enough to fit neatly on your lap it rides free, all other dogs pay for a child ticket. As a note, dogs should ride as far back in the buses as possible as people who are allergic or nervous of dogs then have the front of the bus to avoid your furry friend without having to walk past it. Here is a link to the bus timetable and up to date price lists.
Bikes & Walking
There are thousands of bicycle routes that criss cross the city so you should never really have to ride your bike on the road. When you ride your bike on these paths you follow the rules of the road, so you ride your bike on the right hand side. To avoid any head on meetings with bikes it is therefore suggested that you walk on the left hand side! Be vigilant as occasionally the local kids get a bit excited and drive their mopeds on the walk/bike paths, just something to watch out for, especially in summer. If you do have a bicycle be sure to lock it up securely or else it might just find a new home! Also you should make sure you have lights on your bike and use them when it is dark.
Cars & Tyres
If you have a European driving licence that will allow you to drive legally in Sweden. For all you Brit's be sure to drive on the RIGHT not the left! You will see a lot of volvos on your travels, which can often be picked up quite cheaply second hand on a great website called Blocket which works a little like a fixed price ebay. They sell everything from cars to computer games, furniture to dogs so check it out! You need two sets of tyres for your car - one for the summer and one for the winter. The winter tyres must LEGALLY be used between December 1st and MArch 31st . This is to make it safer as winter tyres have a thicker tread and have nails in them to grip the roads. If you do buy a car, try to make sure you get a good set of each tyres as they can be expensive. If you bring your own car to Sweden you will not be forced to buy an additional set of tyres although it is recommended. Also, make sure you have your lights on when you drive anywhere, all the time, even when it is daylight...no idea why, it's just the way it is!
8 Sidor - This is a newspaper written in simple Swedish so you can practice your reading skills and find out what's happening in Sweden and the rest of the world.
The Local - Sweden's news in English. I found this an invaluable resource when I was moving over to Sweden and still read their weekly news updates. There is a forum where you can register and ask questions about anything relating to coming to, or living in Sweden. The responses are usually fast and friendly, seriously great resource.
Blocket - A site where people can advertise their unwanted stuff for sale. Seriously there is everything from horses to kitchen tables so well worth a look! Umeå is in Västerbotten so click on that and it will show you everything local to you here in Umeå.
Shoes! - I wasn't sure where to add this so this will do! If you are invited into a Swede's house, take your shoes off as soon as you go in. It is considered rude not to!
Weather - A favourite topic of conversation among Swedish people is the weather. I have put a few gadgets on this site to tell you the weather in both Celsius and Fahrenheit in Umeå just now. Follow the link above to get a pretty decent five day forecast and you will always have a conversation starter!