I was determined to make sure my short Helsinki stay was to be much cheaper than my stay in Stockholm. The reason I was so confident as I had finally scored my first couchsurfing hosts and while I only had one night with them it sure saved me a packet overall.
It’s weird but I was also glad to be back on the Euro in Helsinki. I’m not sure if it was because I could understand how much things cost with it compared to the currencies in Denmark and Sweden or if it was just an easier currency to comprehend. I mean when you are counting your daily spent in 100’s it sure seemed strange to me.
|Day||Transport||Hostel||Attractions||Breakfast||Lunch||Dinner||Misc||Total EU||Total $AU|
Transport was almost non-existant for me. I did skip paying for the tram to my hostel after arriving at 7am but hey I was almost a zombie and very very much hung over. Overall there was no need for transport costs in Helsinki as you can just walked everywhere. The only times i couldn’t walk were for the ferry out to Suomenlinna (£3.60) and to get to Tallin by ferry (£26).
My original goal was to couchsurf for two nights in Helsinki and maybe book a hostel for another 1-2 nights if I liked it there. As it turns out I double booked the only hostel night I could get with my couchsurfing hosts. When looking for hostels I found it really hard to find many in town but again I booked a couple of days before leaving Stockholm so that might have been the problem.
As I arrived in Helsinki very tired and very hungover it was a bit of a blessing to be able to crawl into a bed at the hostel on arrival and catch 40 winks. Had I couchsurfed that first night I’m sure it would have been a long long first day.
The first city ever where I haven’t spent a cent on seeing the sights. The church’s I visited were free, as was strolling around Suomenlinna. Even the couple of museums I visited were free but that was helped by the fact it was national free museum day or something like that (a tip from my CS hosts).
I covered the cost of my lunch and a couple of snacks but otherwise I was looked after by my amazing couchsurfing hosts for both nights even thought I only stayed with them for the one. Having little to no food costs really is a godsend as that’s where I’ve been spending a lot of my money.
Introduced to the alcoholic joys of cider and a souvenir for my collection where my main misc costs for Helsinki. Alcohol is overly expensive here like in Sweden but with such warm weather I had to try out my cider drinking skills, especially as the first night I relaxed in a park with new friends.
Total Cost for Helsinki
Two days in Helsinki came in at a total of 92.45 Euro’s or 135.95 AUD (at an exchange rate of 0.68 Euro = 1 AUD). An average of 46 euros a day which after you exclude the ferry ticket to Tallinn becomes a very cheap stop off.
To compare the costs to today’s exchange rate, leaving Australia now (November 2014) it would cost you $132.14 AUD. It’s really not much considering I spent 2 nights and the best part of 3 days looking around Helsinki.
A combination of couchsurfing and luck really made my short stay here extremely cheap which just proves why as a backpacker you should include couchsurfing in your travel plans. Not only do you meet amazing people and learn new things about a city that you otherwise may not have but you also save your money.
It does require some additional pre-planning as you need to request a couchsurfing host and hope they get back to you and say yes before you arrive. All of which isn’t well suited for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travel but if you want to make your money last as long as possible you’d be a fool to ignore it as an option.
Next stop on my tour around Europe was Estonia and from everything I’d heard so far I was going have plenty of money left over for beers.