Holidays with autism: Lapland on a budget

There’s no getting around the fact that holidays to Lapland are not cheap. You are looking at more than £2,0000 for a three-night stay including flights, accommodation and activities for a family of four. This can rise to £7,000-plus for a nice hotel in a remote location.

It’s easy to get carried away when booking a trip to Lapland and spend an obscene amount of money on a couple of days in the snow.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that we didn’t really shop around for the best deal and, as amazing as it was, we didn’t do our Lapland trip on a budget.

I would recommend where we stayed to anyone for whom money isn’t an issue. However, if we were to go again, I would be more financially savvy about it and do it a slightly different way.

There are ways you can cut the cost of a holiday and it’s worth checking out all these options before you part with your hard-earned cash.

 

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Where to go

 

Google Lapland holidays and you’ll be presented with an overwhelming number of options and it’s likely you won’t know where to start.

First of all, think about what you want from the trip. Do you want a full-on busy Christmas experience with singing and dancing elves? Do you want to be in a quiet, remote location where you can take part in snow activities away from the busy crowds or do you want something in between?

The most popular destination is Rovaniemi – the capital of Finnish Lapland and the official hometown of Santa Claus. The famous village houses a post office that sorts through all the letters that children have sent to the North Pole and Santa’s grotto. There is also a Santa Park with activities for the whole family. If you are looking for full-on Christmas, this is the place to be.

 

We went to Nellim, a quiet and remote little village about four hours in northern Lapland near the Russian border. Located next to Lake Inari, it made a beautiful setting for husky safaris, snowmobile exploring and trips to see the Northern Lights.

If you are looking for something less commercial than Rovaniemi but with more going on than somewhere like Nellim, have a look at Levi or Saariselka.

 

Levi is the largest ski resort in Lapland and appeals to families who plan to combine a Santa visit with a ski trip. It’s also a great location for husky and reindeer safaris or snowshoe walks taking in the Northern Lights.

The town is small but it has plenty of restaurants, shops and bars. If you decide you’d like to visit the Santa Claus village, it takes about 40 minutes to drive there.

 

Saariselka, located south of Ivalo airport, is situated in the stunning Urho Kekkonen National Park. You can combine a visit to Santa with snowmobile safaris and husky rides.

 

Other destinations which offer unique and less commercial Lapland experiences than Rovaniemi, include Yllas, Luosto, Karesuando and Pallas.

 

Also think about how long you want to go for. Day trips are the cheapest option when booking a package holiday but it’s a long day if you’ve got young kids. However, if you’ve used up all your annual leave or you don’t want to take the kids out of school during term-time then this could be a good option for you.

 

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How to book

 

Lapland holidays are big business and there are lots of companies who now offer package holidays to the region. Some have direct flights, others require a change at Helsinki airport.

Major operators include Inghams, Santa’s Lapland, Thomas Cook, Tui, Transun, Magic of Lapland and Canterbury Travel.

As well as comparing the prices of holidays with the companies above, it’s also worth checking the prices offered by independent agents – such as Hays Travel, Dream of Lapland and Santa Claus Trips – and asking them to beat the online price listed on the travel companies website.

If you’re booking online, also check any discount codes you can use to bring the cost of your holiday down and use cashpack sites such as Quidco or Topcashback.

If the cost of some of a Lapland package holiday puts you off, it’s also worth looking at booking everything yourself. Cath from Passports and Adventures bagged a 10-day trip combining Helsinki and Rovaniemi for less than a 1-night package trip to Lapland in December and has some great advice.

 

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What clothes to take

 

The advantage to booking a package holiday is that the hotel will often provide your warm clothes. We were given snow suits, boots, socks and gloves on our trip, which dramatically cut down what we needed to take with us.

However, if you need to stock up on layers (keeping warm is all about the layering system) then Aldi do great winter clothing offers before Christmas. I bought most of our base layers and fleeces from there for next to nothing.

Also check out the sales and Black Friday deals. Go Outdoors did a great Black Friday sale last year where I picked up a lot of the bits I couldn’t get from Aldi.

Read The best clothes to take for a family trip to Lapland without breaking the bank for a more detailed guide of what you should take and where to get it from.

 

  • Have you been to Lapland? What’s your top moneysaving tip?

 

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