In my last post, I shared with you my motivation to make a budget Lapland holiday a reality and how we managed to get the best deals on flights, accommodation and the sleeper train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. If you’re interested in reading that first, you can click HERE and then don’t forget to come back to read the rest of my top budget Lapland tips.
One way costs can spiral is when extras crop up that you had expected and so hadn’t budgeted for. For a trip like this, there are three significant expenses you will need to factor in but with some planning, you can still get this whole trip in for under £2K. These expenses are: Food, Clothing and Experiences and I will share my budget insights for each.
No one enjoys washing up and the monotony of meal planning and food prep is often a chore we like to escape on holiday. However, if you’re serious about keeping to the budget, you’re going to need to accept this is not that kind of holiday.
We were away for 8 days. That’s 8 breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus snacks. Count it up, that’s 24 meals and I warn you now, Finland is not cheap. You’d be looking at easily £800 plus if you ate out most of the time. This doesn’t mean you can’t have nice food, it just means you are going to have to buy it from a supermarket and cook it.
As soon as we arrived in Rovaniemi we took our hire car to the K Supermarket and stocked up. You can find them on Google Maps and there was one about 7 minutes from the train station. We opted for comfort family favorites such as Mac and Cheese, Hot dogs, Pizzas and a Chicken meal pack. It certainly wasn’t the healthiest of weeks but when are holidays ever healthy? We also burnt about a million calories playing in the snow.
We bought lots of breakfast staples, lunch and picnic bits and of course snacks. Apart from our first and last day in Helsinki when we didn’t have a kitchen and needed a substantial meal, we didn’t eat out. Planning to self-cater and avoiding restaurants is probably the easiest way you can save hundreds of pounds on your budget Lapland holiday.
- K Supermarket Shop: £75
- Top-up Shop for essentials: £25
- Meals out in Helsinki x2: £50
- Other Food expenses/snacks: £25
TOTAL: Approximately £175
We knew right away we were going to need proper winter clothing for this trip and so as soon as we’d booked we kept an eye out for bargains. What we didn’t do, was go to the nearest outdoor clothing shop and clear them out.
Winter/ski wear is expensive so shop wisely. In February and again in November, Aldi had an entire winter clothing range in their Special Buys. Almost all of our most pricey items came from Aldi. The rest were second hand from Facebook selling sites and eBay. I even borrowed a few bits.
Unless you’ve been on a winter/ski trip before, you will need to buy quite a lot of items but be careful not to buy too many duplicates. Here’s what we took and roughly the costs.
- Winter/Ski Jacket – 1 each £50 (x2 Aldi / x2 second hand)
- Salopettes – 1 each £40 (x2 Aldi/ x2 second hand)
- Winter/Ski Boots – 1 pair each £50 (Aldi)
- Winter/Ski socks – 2 pairs each £14 (eBay, Primark)
- Full-Length Thermal Underwear: 2 sets each £18 (Primark/owned)
- Fleece Joggers and Fleece jumper: 1 set each £40 (x2 Aldi/ Primark/ owned)
- Winter/Ski Gloves: 1 pair each £20 (x3 Aldi / x1 second hand)
- Fleece Lined Hats: 1 each £0 (owned/borrowed some)
We then packed a few other weather-appropriate items such as fleece-lined tight/leggings which we already had. I picked up a mid-layer for both Stu and I but the girl’s fleece layer was plenty for them. We also took jeans and regular jumpers but actually only wore these in Helsinki when we knew we wouldn’t be in salopettes and in the snow.
Our accommodation had a washing machine and so we were able to wash and wear the same items. It’s a bit boring but no one ever actually saw my clothes under the ski wear.
Finally, I did pack us our Christmas jumpers and if you go to The Santa Park, I’d recommend wearing these here as the whole place is indoors and warm enough to ditch the coats. That brings me on to the final big expense…
This is the one area, I will be able to give the least advice on if you are hoping to fit in lots of classic Lapland experiences. After some back and forth we chose not to do the traditional Husky and Reindeer rides. We didn’t take a Northern lights trip or go skiing or tobogganing.
What we did do was create our own magical family trip that suited us down to the ground. We spent hours playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate around a fire. We visited The Santa Park which was our biggest experience expense and cost about £110 for a two-day pass. I think this was money well spent as it was geared towards younger visitors and allowed us to tick off lots of Christmas activities without rushing.
We took a picnic on both days we visited and ate on the picnic benches upstairs overlooking the stage. There were no signs to say you couldn’t do this and no one said anything.
You can see lots of the activities we got up to in my Lapland Vlog here:
If you do want to do some of the experiences that I mentioned above, The Santa Village, right next door to The Santa Park has lots of small taster experiences and is also is home to many of the bigger companies that offer 10 minutes to full-day excursions.
The Santa Village is well worth a visit especially as it gets dark, which was about 2pm when we were there, as it is really beautiful all lit up. However, it is mainly shops and unless you want to do experiences and pay a small fortune for the pleasure, there isn’t an awful lot to do.
They do have lots and lots of free sledges around and you will find countless slopes to slide down. We picked up our obligatory magnet as a souvenir but otherwise we didn’t spend a penny here.
The Real Figures for Budget Lapland
I’ve tried to be transparent as I can be with how we spent our money. Hopefully, this will help you better prepare for your budget Lapland trip. Here’s the grand total and how it breaks down.
- Flights: £450 (including adding on seat allocation and two hold bags)
- Main Accommodation: £632 – We stayed HERE
- Sleeper Train: £390 (you can get this cheaper with a saver ticket)
- Helsinki Hotel: £77
- Heathrow Hotel and Parking: £120
- Clothing: £232
- Experiences: £210
Ok so don’t be mad but I wasn’t quite under £2K like I suggested. I honestly miscalculated and only realised it wasn’t as I finished up the article. However, that being said. I really believe you could do if for under £2000 if (a) you booked the sleeper train earlier to get the saver ticket and (b) you sold some of your winter clothing to recoup some costs. These two steps would bring the total under £2K and make me feel a bit less like a fraud for using the title I have.
I really hope you’ve found these two posts useful. Here’s the first one again in case you’ve not read it. If you have, please share or pin for a later date.