If you’ve read all about our DIY adventure to Lapland, you might be interested in how we did it.
While an all-inclusive package is attractive to some, we were more interested in a cheaper, more tailored option. I’m also not at my best a 5am in the morning and most charters leave early!
Here’s how we did it:
We flew from Dublin to Helsinki direct with Finnair. Our outbound flight was at 6pm on a Friday night and we came back at 6pm on a Tuesday. For two adults and one child, we paid €540.15 return and then an additional €60 (€15 per person each way) to reserve seats but obviously that’s optional. We also paid €15 each way for one checked in piece of luggage because we wanted to bring a rucksack so that all our luggage could be carried on our backs. I had this rucksack which came in the cabin with us. All of our winter gear fitted in it. So all in all, our airline travel cost €630.15
We booked the VR overnight train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi which cost us €118 each way for two adults in a two berth cabin. As I mentioned in my previous post, children under 12 are free if they share a berth with an adult, so there was no cost for the small boy. You’ll need to take Corrina’s advice though and call VR directly (they speak perfect English) to book in any children for free. If you do it online, you have to pay extra.
Train travel in total cost €236
I prebooked a taxi from Helsinki airport to our hotel which was €65. Taxis in Helsinki are not cheap but I wasn’t prepared to engage on a public transport mission at 11:30pm on a Friday night! We booked with Cabforce but there’s a few others. I like to pay in advance so I’m not messing around with cash and tips which this company let me do.
We also paid for taxis to and from the hotel in Rovaniemi due to bad planning and/or laziness on my part and they were €12-€13. I now know there’s also a city bus that goes from the station to the city once an hour but if there’s a few of you with luggage, a taxi is more or less the same.
We got stung for a taxi leaving Santa Park because, while the city bus goes to the park, it very rarely collects! That set us back €20.
Our one night stay in the Radisson Blu Royal in Helsinki city centre cost us €132.05 for board only and we paid an additional €15 per adult for breakfast. Children under 12 sleep and get breakfast for free in Radisson hotels.
We originally booked a self-catering studio apartment in Rovaniemi for €129 through booking.com. But as I mentioned, I panicked the week before we left and booked a hotel instead. The Arctic Light Hotel was €270 for B&B in the Polar Room which is a large suite, we discovered. Two adults and one child had loads of room in one giant king sized bed. There’s also the option to have an additional bed in rooms for €31 for under 12s. There are heaps of hotels and self-catering options in Rovaniemi and the Arctic Light Hotel was definitely at the higher end of the scale. There’s really something for everyone. Our accommodation should have cost us €291.05 until I went nuts and it ended up costing €432.05 but I have NO regrets and wouldn’t change a thing.
Finland is expensive. Expect to pay Dublin city centre prices in Helsinki for meals and alcohol is a little bit more expensive again. Rovaniemi is slightly cheaper. Santa Claus Village has quite the spectrum of eateries from your old style Bewley’s-queue-with-your-tray restaurant to some higher end options. None of it is cheap though!
There is plenty to do for free in both Helsinki and Rovaniemi so you really don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want to. Things we paid for were the ice skating, Skywheel, reindeer ride, Santa photos and Santa Park. I’ve detailed the cost of all of those in my holiday post here.
What’s the damage?
For two adults and one 5 year old, the whole trip cost us €1408.20, which, again, would have been €1,267.20 if we’d stuck with our self-catering accommodation. This includes flights, hotels with breakfast, train and taxi transfers over 4 days and 4 nights. Spending money on top of that was probably in the region of about €500 and we got to do everything we wanted to do, eat everything we wanted to eat and drink everything we want to drink. So there is plenty of scope to reduce that cost right down if you wanted to.
With the exception of the entrance fee into Santa Park, it was money very well spent for the holiday of a lifetime!
With a DIY holiday to Lapland, you’re responsible for your own winter gear. All inclusive packages provide all the outdoor wear you need. We took advantage of the Lidl skiwear promotion and spent about €300 in total because we had nothing in the way of appropriate clothing so had to buy boots etc too. The clothing was great, particularly for the small boy who was as snug as a bug for the whole holiday. Aldi also run a similar skiwear promotion and I believe Sports Direct have some great prices too. It’s worth factoring this cost into your budget so that you’re properly comparing like with like when looking at packages which fly directly to Rovaniemi.
Here are our top tips for your DIY trip to Lapland with contributions from all three of us!
- For the love of all that is holy, don’t forget some class of a lipcare product if you’re prone to sensitivity. My lips nearly fell off me and were quite painful. The gentlemen seemed to be unaffected.
- Carry water with you. Although its freezing, the air is quite humid and you can get quite thirsty. Bring at least one big 2 litre on the train with you too, for both drinking and mouth rinsing.
- Two pairs of socks on the footsies when in the Artic Circle.
- Cover your ears and your neck. It’s flipping freezing.
- Mind your technology. My two year old iPhone freaked out in the cold temperatures so I had to resurrect it on day two in Rovaniemi and store it close to my body to keep it going.
- Food can be heavily seasoned so ask the staff not to put salt on the kids food.
- Take the opportunity to have a hot shower when the opportunity arises if you’re also taking the overnight train. The cabins can get hot on occasion and showering on the train is nasty!
- If you have long hair, plait it to prevent it from getting knotty like a mofo. Mr Mind the Baby is still traumatised from having to brush mine after we got home. It wasn’t pretty.
- Don’t worry about packing any fancy or dressy clothes. There’s no need and no one else is doing it.
- The Finns seem to like leaving nice things in your hotel room that you want but have to pay for – bottles of wine with two glasses just calling to you with and without price tags, cuddly toy arctic animals that cost €20 etc. You have been warned!
- Less a tip and more an FYI, there’s free wifi nearly everywhere.
If you’ve any other questions at all, just post below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!
For your information: We booked and paid everything listed above ourselves. We did not receive any free products or services. All opinions are my own.