What converter do I need? What do I do about a phone card? How cold is it in Finland? What do Finns wear? All these questions- and more, answered in the ultimate Finland packing list!
Fall Travel To Finland
I was lucky enough to spend time in Finland in the fall, which meant gorgeous views, and relatively warm weather- for Finland.
During my trip, I flew Finnair to spend 3 days in the capital of Helsinki, and another 3 days in the northern part of the country, in a town called Rovaniemi. (I also added on a two-day extension in Tallinn, Estonia that was epic!)
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I was super nervous about packing for this trip. We did all kinds of activities- we took a ferry to an island that housed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dined at 5-star restaurants, mushed husky dogs, visited Santa Claus at his house, and even saw the northern lights.
Because we did such a variety of activities, I wanted to make sure I had all the right gear. Because we were moving around so much, I wanted to pack light.
Add in a night in Chicago at the beginning of my trip- it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit!- and I had a lot of different weather and activities to pack for. (I ended up just rolling my clothes to pack more in!)
Want to read about the real Finland? I loved The Finnish Way.
What Are The Seasons In Finland?
First off, let me give you an overview of the weather in Finland during the Fall months. There are five seasons in Finland! Winter, Spring, Summer, Eternal Summer, and Fall.
Everything is pretty much the same cycle as in the United States, except that whole eternal sun thing in July. Since Finland is so much farther north than anywhere in the United States, the weather is a bit different.
Also, if you are like me, it can be hard to tell how the weather will feel by only looking at the temperature on your phone or the weather channel. The temperatures ranged from just about 60 degrees F to about 30 degrees F during my trip in late September, which seems to be a pretty general range for the fall season.
What Is The Weather Like In Finland?
So- let me tell you a bit about what the weather felt like in both Rovaniemi and Helsinki.
Helsinki Weather- the days were fairly warm in the southern parts of the country- low 60s to upper 50s. The mornings were much cooler, and the nights as well.
Helsinki’s city center and main tourist attractions are set near the Gulf of Finland so there is a pretty strong (and cold!) breeze in those areas coming off the Baltic Sea.
Helsinki was also much sunnier than I expected, but not super warm or hot.
I would say the weather was briskly cold but not horrible. When we were walking around the weather felt good, but just sitting or standing made me feel cold. Any ferry rides were also a bit chilly and windy.
Rovaniemi- the official home of Santa Claus– is quite a bit farther north in Finland, in the area called Lapland. Rovaniemi is actually part of the Arctic Circle. It’s cold up there! I would say the weather in the daytime was upper 40s and low 50s, but it felt colder because of the wind.
When we spent any time longer outside than about 30 minutes, I was chilled to the bone given the wind, so I was glad I brought warm clothes.
Hungry? Try our Finnish Spoon Cookies Recipe!
What To Take To Finland
My best packing tip is this: the name of the game in Finland is layers. Depending on your activities and how long you are outside or away from your hotel, you will need to dress in the morning with several layers.
I kept a backpack with me the whole time I was touring– I had my camera gear, my water bottle, and room to put on and take off my coat as needed and stuff it in my backpack. There were several days when we were out sightseeing for 8-10 hours so it was lovely not to always have to lug my coat around and be able to put it inside my backpack (which was also my personal item on the plane).
Finns always have a jacket or coat with them. I loved how almost every museum or restaurant had a safe place to hang your coat- free of charge. In addition, many museums and supermarkets had free lockers where you could place your belongings and lock them up while you enjoyed the area before heading back out.
Water in Finland– Finnish tap water is some of the best in the entire world. It is cold and delicious. Finns are also extremely committed to sustainability, and you don’t see people using disposable plastic water bottles very often. Instead, you’ll see water stations at almost every restaurant, café, museum shop, etc.
I highly recommend bringing along a reusable cup, water bottle, or other drink container and filling up on water. You’ll save tons of money and it’s better for the Earth. I toted my Corckcicle around– it’s my favorite drinkware and I probably sold 50 of them on the trip as Finns thought they were so cool.
A note on Finnish style– Lots of black and neutral shades. Warm coats that weren’t too bulky (only Americans were wearing the puffer jacket lol). Women had straight sleek hair, neutral makeup and nude lips, perfectly groomed eyebrows. Shoes were flat and sensible. Lots of leather handbags.
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What Do I Do About…?
What Do I Need To Charge My Devices?
Finland has a similar electrical system to many Nordic countries- the electrical outlets in the walls are round. I took this Bonazza adaptor from Amazon– I loved it because it worked in Finland and Estonia, but also had a way to work in the rest of Europe too.
It also had 4 USB outlets so I could charge my phone and drone while also using the main prongs for my computer and camera. Also it has 4 Amps of power so things charged fast. Other people on my trip had really slow converters and charging took a long time.
What Do I Do About My Phone?
If you unlock your phone from the States (which is super easy to do), you can buy a SIM card in Finland and have access to their super-fast 4G network, talk, and text. The price? 0.89 Euros per DAY. Unlimited. Best way to save money and stay connected.
People on my trip bought phone cards in the States, and they paid 4x that price. I loved the cheap and easy access to data and the internet, and the cards were easy to recharge. Just look for the R Kioski stores throughout the country.
Can I Do Laundry In Finland?
Finns tend to handwash when traveling, so there weren’t a lot of places to do laundry. You could handwash and bring detergent, or just bring a ton of underwear and socks.
You could also throw in some dryer sheets and just put your clothes near them to make them smell good if they aren’t stained.
Should I Pack Snacks?
A note on snacks- I enjoyed Finnish food- but I did not get enough protein for my high protein diet. There are tons of delicious snacks in supermarkets, but I was really glad I took along some high protein bars for snacks.
I also saved money on food as I could use my bars as a meal replacement. Finland is expensive, so this savings was great. I love ONE bars on Amazon, at Walmart, Target and GNC. They travel well because they are hard to smash, and they taste yummy!
What About Toiletries?
I wasn’t super impressed with the Finnish toiletries available in the hotels- and we stayed in nice places. So I would recommend taking your own toiletries in a travel size, or purchasing there.
What About Shoes?
I wore the Keen Explore Vent practically the entire time I was on the trip. I was gifted the shoes for the trip, and I chose them because of comfort, versatility, and the awesome color. (I chose teal, but there are several other colors that I also love.)
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When in Finland ?? see the polar bears and make sure you have the right footwear! I had the best time at the zoo in Lapland- the polar bears were so cute! A Finnish Zoo is no joke though- we hiked for hours through the forest to see the animals. I was so happy that @keen gifted me these Explore Vent shoes (item 10222021) for my trip. The perfect marriage between a tennis shoe and a hiking shoe, and of course the turquoise color is adorable! Are you a Keen fan?
Besides the fact that these Keens were super adorable (obsessed with the color!) they were so lightweight and comfortable that I am still wearing them every day at home. They also have a waterproof version in a fun red color that I can’t wait to try for winter.
I actually took three pairs of shoes on this trip, but the Keens were the only ones I needed. No one in Finnish restaurants was very fussy about footwear, and out and about Finns are very sensible about shoes. If you are traveling to Finland in the winter though, you definitely need boots!
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What About Luggage?
A quick note on bags- I carried a lot of bags for this trip.
LeSport Sac hooked me up with the perfect bags for my trip- and I loved the flexibility of having three different bags to choose from on the trip. How did I take so many bags and still pack light?
The LeSportSac bags FOLD UP people. So I took three and rocked the ones I needed as I needed them, and the others didn’t take up any space. I loved a small bag for dinner, and a larger bag for my camera, etc.
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And their cosmetic cases are divine- they also allowed me to organize my toiletry bags so I could ake some things out in the day some things stayed in the room. Plus they were super fashionable.
Le Sport Sac also has some packing cubes (like compression bags kind of) to save space- and I can’t wait to try them out on my next trip to New York City. They help save space in your suitcase- more room for souvenirs!
What Didn’t You Use That You Packed?
- 2 scarves- one will do!
- Thermal shirt and 2 long sleeves- just the thermal shirt or the 2 long sleeves
- Bathing suit- nude is the way to go in the sauna, and I never used my suit. If you are visiting a pool, however, you would want a bathing suit. But just for sauna, you don’t need one.
- Baseball cap- no one- I mean no one, in Finland wears a baseball cap and I didn’t need one as I wore my winter hat the whole time.
Ok- without further ado…
Travel To Finland- Packing List For Fall
- Comfortable Backpack
- Suitcase (most likely checked)
- Purse- I took the Small Cleo Crossbody and the Amelia Handbag
- LeSport Sac Toiletry/Cosmetic Cases
- LeSport SacPacking Cubes
- 1 warm winter jacket
- 1 warm winter hat
- Gloves (preferably with a smartphone finger- it’s not too fun to keep taking them off)
- Scarf (Finns wear big Pashmina type scarves, and given the wind, it’s super important to have one handy)
- Unlocked phone
- All your chargers
- Camera, etc
- 4 pair wool socks (I swear by my SmartWool socks)
- 1 pair thermal pants
- 1 thermal shirt
- 1 tank top
- 8 underwear (one for each day)
- 4 pair comfortable socks (Finns don’t’ tend to wear white athletic socks)
- 2 bras
- 2 short sleeve shirts
- 2 long sleeve shirts, or 1 long and 1 thermal
- 2 sweaters
- Small first aid kit- I swear by Adventure Medical Kits!
- Facial sunscreen (it was way sunnier than I expected!)
- Packable umbrella (again, cold is one thing, wet and cold is another)
- Disposable poncho (when it rains its COLD, so to keep dry you can throw one over our winter coat)
- shower cap (keep your hair nice in the sauna)
- plastic bags,
- drink container,
- hand warmers
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