There is nothing more magical than a trip to Lapland at Christmas but such holidays can come with huge price tag. But can you really book Lapland on a budget? Yes you can. We always try to holiday on a budget. This is ultimately why we opted for vanlife with kids – choosing family friendly campsites over luxury holidays! Here are a few tips to help you to plan a DIY holiday to Lapland
DIY Lapland holiday vs a Lapland package holiday
Why did we opt for a DIY Lapland trip? We had wanted to go on a magical snowy Christmas holiday for years and initially started to price up package holidays to Lapland. There are a number of Lapland packages that offer two-day, three-day, or even one-day trips to Lapland. For a family of five the cost was extortionate and even then we would only be staying in Lapland for a short time. We then looked at Lapland alternatives but as this was a once in a life time trip, a true bucket list destination we knew we had to make it to Lapland at least once whilst the kids were young. Is Lapland expensive? Yes it can be – Booking DIY was the only option financially plus it gave us the flexibility of staying longer however it is also important to factor in the hidden costs that I will come to later.
One thing to mention is that although a DIY lapland holiday may be cheaper than a Lapland package holiday you need to do your research on the cancellation policy for your choice of flights and accommodation. Additionally make sure you have insurance when you book your holiday.
We actually booked our initial flights and accommodation pre Covid, and the airline and accommodation moved our dates to the following year.
Choosing the best resort in Lapland at Christmas
There are so many places to stay in Lapland so how do you choose your resort in Lapland? We knew we wanted to stay in Lapland at Christmas time, and we also knew we wanted a Santa holiday. Believe it or not, a package ski trip to Finland can actually be cheaper than a an official ‘santa holiday’.
We spent weeks looking for the best place to stay in lapland at Christmas and the best Lapland resort to see Father Christmas but honestly there is SO MUCH information out there on where to stay and what to do in Lapland – it is mind blowing. The first thing is to choose the Lapland resort.
A selection of the popular Lapland resorts;
- Rovaniemi – The hometown of Santa Claus and the capital of Lapland and home to Santa Claus village.
- Levi – Levi is Finland’s most popular ski resort, with around 44 slopes
- Yllas – Finlands biggest Ski resort. The two villages of Ylläsjärvi and Äkäslompolo are authentic and traditional. The international airport in Kittilä is one hours drive.
- Luosto – A small traditional resort situated at the edge of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park, and about 90 minutes north from Rovaniemi airport.
- Saariselka The northernmost Ski Resort in Finland.
Deciding on the best resort for you is down to personal choice. We decided to visit Yllas and in all honesty this was mainly down to the fact that we fell in love with our traditional lapland cabin in Äkäslompolo.
Please be aware that the price of our trip may vary from year to year and also the time of year that you decide to visit.
Top Tips to plan Lapland on a budget
Can you really visit Lapland on a budget? Yes you can. Here are a few tips for booking your Lapland holiday and (hopefully) save you money too!
How to get to Lapland from the UK
So basically you can fly from the UK to one of the airports in Lapland. Lapland airports are Rovaniemi, Ivalo, Kuusamo, Kemi-Tornio, Kittilä and Enontekiö.
Set up flight alerts to be notified when your flights are released or drop in price. Easyjet flies to Rovaniemi from Gatwick and Manchester. Costs can soar last minute so don’t wait till the last minute!
You can choose direct or indirect flights but be warned, direct flights are obviously more convenient but you may find the indirect flights are your cheaper option. Additionally you can fly to Helsinki and get a connecting flight or the overnight train that runs from Helsinki in the south to Rovaniemi and Kemijärvi in the far north.
We opted for flights from London to Helsinki with connecting flights to Kittilä. This was the cheapest option for us and cost around £1500 for a family of five return, the week before Christmas.
Where to stay in Lapland with kids?
There is a huge choice of accommodation in Lapland and it is really down to personal choice, your resort and budget.
We opted for self catering particularly as we visited in Christmas 2021, when Covid was very much still affecting travel. Self catering really helped us to do Lapland on a budget as it can really add to your costs to eat out. We were about five minutes from the supermarket and opted to cook at the log cabin each day. This also meant that we were flexible and worked our meals around the excursions.
We chose to stay in Ylläshilla a family friendly traditional log cabin on the outskirts of the village of Äkäslompolo. The cabin comfortably sleeps 10, and we opted to stay with our friends making this a great way to share the cost and therefore making it cost effective.
There are three bedrooms on the ground floor and upstairs has a further four beds and a baby cot. There are two bathrooms and a sauna, and an outdoor Koto
More on this wonderful cabin later.
Make time for the free activities in Lapland and plan your excursions carefully!
Don’t be tempted to jam pack your Lapland trip with excursions. Make sure you leave plenty of time for the free activities! Searching for the Northern Lights, building a snowman, snow fights, snow angels. Ylläshilla log cabin also had snow bikes that you can make use of during your stay!
We opted to book a husky ride, reindeer safari and a visit from Santa Claus. We also booked an introduction to cross country skiing.
We booked our excursions direct through Lapland Safaris.
How cold does it get in Lapland?
Temperatures can range from 0°C to as low as -30°C !!! We had a couple of days where the temperature was -27°C. If you are thinking about what to wear in Lapland then layers are really important.
One thing to think about when booking your DIY lapland trip is the need to have appropriate clothing such as jackets, trousers, snow boots, and thermal base layers, gloves and thermal socks. These items of clothing are often included in a package holiday to Lapland. If you book excursions then the snowsuits are often provided by the tour company.
Keep an eye out over the year for various sales and deals on skiwear. Aldi and Lidl often have Ski events and in addition look out for the sales over the year for Mountain Warehouse Trespass and on Sports Pursuit for some great deals. Ebay, Vinted and Marketplace can be great places to look for second hand items.
cost of our DIY LAPLAND holiday for a family of five
- Accommodation 7 nights £1250 per family (price December 2021)
- Flights £1500
- Excursions for family of five £1000
- Car hire £500
There you have our top tops for saving money on your lapland holiday. Please do let me know if you have any questions on our Lapland trip, we are always happy to answer them! More on our Lapland trip coming soon.
*Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.