Lapland is a postcard perfect holiday destination, which I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their lifetime. Although photo’s are brilliant, it doesn’t compare to seeing Finland’s enchanting candy-floss coloured skies and heavily snow-capped trees with your own eyes. Booking a snowy holiday here, especially pre-Christmas can work out to be very costly. But did you know, you can save thousands of pounds by booking a DIY Lapland holiday yourself?
If you’ve never booked a holiday from scratch before, and you have no idea where to even begin. I’m here to help guide you through the process so that it doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming.
This may seem like a lot of information, but you can use the table of contents below to go to the sections that are relevant to you!
In this article...
Booking Lapland yourself or booking through a travel agent
If you want to take the stress away, along with the hours of research and admin you’ll need to do. Or if money is no object, then head to a travel agents and get them to book your holiday for you.
Booking a Lapland holiday through an agent saves you from doing all the legwork, but you’ll be paying a ridiculous premium for the privilege. I’ve seen people in a Lapland Facebook group paying an eye-watering £8,000+ for 3 nights with 2 adults and 2 kids, in a bog-standard hotel during the second week of December. That seems mental money and sadly, for a lot of people, prices like these make a Lapland holiday become too far out of reach.
So, if the travel agents quotes are making your eyes twitch from their sky-high prices, or you just want to be savvy with your money. You can literally save thousands of pounds by working it all out and booking the individual components of your trip yourself. It’s not that hard or stressful to do, you just need to undergo a little bit of research into what you want.
In doing so, you may just discover Lapland is actually more affordable than you first thought.
Research what area of Lapland you would like to visit
First up, you need to carry out some research and short list possible holiday locations.
Where in the country do you want to stay? North, South, East, West, and do you want to stay in a city, town or some place more rural.
Does that area have all the activities you plan to do? If not, how far would you have to travel for a Husky ride for example?
If you’re travelling with young children, you might also want to take into consideration how long the transfer from the airport will be. After a long day of travelling with little ones, do you then want a 3 hour drive on top of that to reach your hotel?
Weigh up whether you’d rather travel for each activity, or would you prefer to visit somewhere with all the activities in one place? This option will not only save you money on travel expenses, but it will save you time too. Something that’s quite valuable on a short duration holiday, which is why we decided on Santa Claus Village.
Finding your flights
Once you’ve decided on the area you’re going to visit in Lapland (but before you settle on a particular hotel) get on and book your flights to the nearest airport.
There is no point booking your hotel first, to then discover there are no flights on the days you’ve booked accommodation for!
We stayed at Nova Skyland, so we flew in to Rovaniemi airport. They do have a few others though, and If you’re staying further north you may be better off flying into Ivalo airport.
For searching flights you can either go directly to the airline you want to fly with. Or, to get the best price flights head over to Skyscanner.
Booking cheap flights with Skyscanner
Skyscanner is so handy when booking DIY holidays as it shows you all the best deals from multiple airlines. Simply enter the airport you want to fly from, the destination airport, the amount of passengers travelling and dates you wish to fly.
This will then display all your options, including prices and the flight travel time.
Top Tip: Some results will include journeys with multiple stops. To only see direct flights, go onto the ‘stops’ filter and tick the ’direct’ button (which is usually somewhere over on the left hand side). Also pay attention to which airport its selecting for your return trip. Sometimes it shows you departing from Heathrow airport, but returning to Gatwick airport. To stop this from happening, tick the ‘Fly out and back using the same airports’ button.
Skyscanners best feature comes into play when you can be flexible with your holiday dates. If that’s you, and you’re not tied into a certain week, click on ‘show month’. Here you’ll be able to see which dates are the cheapest to fly on, saving you even more money! It’s super handy and we use this feature whenever we can.
Once you’ve found the flight you want, click ‘select’. This will then give you a list of different companies to purchase your tickets from (they will vary slightly in price). For example, this could then direct you through to Easyjet’s website, or bookingcom.
Then you’ll just need to follow the steps on the screen. Usually this involves filling in your personal information, selecting your luggage allowance, choosing a seat and paying for your flights.
Once it’s all done, you’ll receive an email confirmation of your flight booking.
How to find and book a hotel in Lapland yourself
Skyscanner have a handy hotel section on their website, which also displays the prices of alternative hotel booking sights . This is really helpful as you know you’re getting a good deal, and it saves you time having to check multiple avenues. You can apply filters much the same as booking.com to narrow down your search criteria (which I’ll explain in a moment).
For our holiday we were looking for hotels in Rovaniemi near Santa Claus Village, as we wanted all the activities to be in one place with minimal transfer time. We booked our hotel stay at the fabulous Nova Skyland hotel, and stayed in one of their aurora suites.
To find your perfect hotel, enter a destination and then apply additional filters to further refine your search results . For example you can select things like: 4* only, within 1 mile from city centre, entire property, swimming pool, parking, breakfast included, etc.
When you book on booking.com you also earn discounts over time with their loyalty scheme. Another handy thing is a lot of hotels don’t charge you upfront. Some do, but most take the money from your account a couple days prior to your trip (this will be stated either way). Most of their hotels include free cancellation too, or there will be an option to add cancelation for a small fee.
Top Tip: Make sure if you do need to cancel, or you change your mind and switch to a different hotel. That you give the notice stated in the cancellation policy.
Once your accommodation’s booked, a confirmation will be sent to you via email. Any amendments will need to be done from your booking.com account.
How to book airport parking for your holiday
Now that your flights and accommodation are booked. You need to figure out how you’re actually getting to the airport on the day of your flight (and how you’ll be returning home afterwards).
Will you be getting dropped off by a friend? Perhaps you’ll take the bus?
Make sure you plan ahead and get this organised. If you need to be at the airport at 2am, will your friend want to help? Is their car big enough to accommodate you, your family, plus all the luggage? If you’re planning to catch a bus, does it run at that time of day?
We find the easiest option is to drive our car. If you plan on doing the same then you’ll need to book for airport parking. This is usually cheaper if you book it in advance, so I’d get on and do it asap.
Airports usually have lots of different parking options, from short stay, long stay, to meet and great parking. We usually go for short stay parking on long weekend trips, and use meet and great on longer holidays.
Meet and great parking is super convenient as you drop your car off near the terminal, leave them your car key and head off on your travels. When you land back in the country, you give them a call and they bring your car back to you. It saves having to park far away and catching a shuttle to the airport (at some airports).
To organise airport parking, go onto the website of the airport that you’re flying from. Usually they will have a section on there somewhere regarding parking.
Top Tip: If you go for a third party carpark outside of the airport that runs it’s own shuttles, make sure you look up some reviews on Trustpilot first! Some have complete horror stories about the cars mileage going up along with damages.
Keep the email confirmation safe, as it may have important information that you’ll need nearer the time.
Booking your Travel insurance
This one is super important, make sure you have booked some travel insurance so you’re protected in case anything goes wrong. This needs to be done before you travel, I usually sort this by going on something like comparethemarket.com to find a deal.
Travel insurance is usually pretty cheap (if you’re without any serious health conditions) but read through them and make sure the policy covers what you’ll be doing in Lapland. Some policies don’t cover skiing or winter activities as standard, so this would need to be added on. Otherwise, if you get into trouble and need hospital treatment, your policy won’t cover you .
Once you’re happy your travel insurance covers you and the rest of your party, book it and keep your email safe.
New UK passport rules, check its in date!
This one can be overlooked so easily! The rules regarding UK passports changed after Brexit, when the UK left the EU. Unlike before, any extra months that were added on to early passport renewals can no longer be counted. So make sure your passport issue date is under 10 years old. Otherwise your holiday plans with be scuppered when you’re denied entry because your passport issue date was more than 10 years ago.
For entry to Finland (at the time of writing this) you need to have a minimum of 3 months left on your passport, from the date you plan to leave the country. Check the current entry rules for Finland here, and remember to check if you need a visa too!
Book your Lapland airport transfers
You may want to prebook your airport transfer ahead of time. To do that, you could either go on to the Rovaniemi airport website (or the airport you’re flying to) and look for a page on there about transport or taxi’s. Or you could pre book a taxi here by selecting ‘Airport taxi’.
When we visited Lapland, we didn’t prebook a taxi. Instead, we just walked through arrivals at the airport, went outside and flagged down a taxi. Our ride from Rovaniemi airport to Santa Claus Village took roughly 10 minutes.
Arrange to hire winter clothes
We didn’t hire any clothes as we packed our own warm winter gear. For more information on what to take, see my helpful Lapland Packing List. But if the temperatures look savage and you do plan to hire clothes. I would advise to prebook this if you can. If you email your hotel, they should be able to suggest some local hire companies and point you in the right direction. Alternatively, you might find the answer with a quick google search.
Prebook your fun winter activities
Depending on where you’re going, you may want to prebook your fun winter activities. We didn’t need to prebook anything at Santa Claus Village as you could just turn up and get straight on. The only thing that we should have pre-booked was the Husky Ride. Sadly all the longer rides had sold out months in advance, meaning we could only go on a shorter one.
If there are some activities that you’d hate to miss out on, schedule them in and get them booked. Just go on their website and book this direct with the company you plan to use. They will provide you with all the information, and if you have any questions just send them an email.
Print out your bookings & staying organised
Personally I like to print out all my confirmations and booking details. Even though they are all saved in emails, I find having a paper copy really convenient and easier to get to. When travelling I like to put all my travel documents and passports together in this handy travel wallet, which keeps everything neatly organised and safe in one place. I also clip our car key inside it so I don’t have to worry about loosing those either!
Make an email folder
This is totally optional, it just helps me to stay organised! Booking a holiday yourself involves multiple emails from different companies, so to help me stay on top of it all I make a holiday folder inside my email inbox. Then I move all correspondence (to and from) into that folder.
There you have it. How to book your Lapland holiday yourself and save thousands of pounds! It’s so worth the bit of effort thats required, and once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll see its really not that hard to do.
I hope you find somewhere beautiful to go and that you get to have the best time playing in the powdery snow.