Hello everyone.

In case you're interested in traveling in Finland, here's an asking and sharing opportunity for you.

I have traveled in Finland quite much myself, so if you've questions about the place just ask. I have especially traveled a lot (and lived) in West- and South Finland. I will still live in West Finland for about 1½ years.

So... now it's your turn.

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Hei Willem!
I am happy to hear that! I will be traveling to Finland in March. Now I am planning ahead a little and I stumbled onto a problem which is to find affordable accommodation in Helsinki for a week.
I have checked a few hotels - nice, but rather pricey. I have also checked some apartments in the centre of Helsinki for a short-term rent. Better deals than the hotels. So my question would be: do you know someone who owns an apartment in Helsinki and offers it for visitors? I am very interested.
Thanks a lot!

This is way late for March, but perhaps this answer can help someone visiting in the future.

Hotels/motels/hostels:
Generally, Finnish hotels are quite expensive and the quality is mostly mediocre. You can often talk the price down a bit if you are calling the hotel to book instead of using the internet booking services. Motels often offer similar or better surroundings with slightly better price. Many hostels are clean and cheap, but a hostel is a hostel.

Renting:
It might be difficult to rent an apartment or a house for less than a month. To rent, you'd have to use the private market where prices are often higher than in the city provided apartments. Queues for rental apartments (with an affordable price) in Helsinki are long. Promising direct cash payment in beforehand and proving to be a trustworthy and decent client will help. Doing this (contract, payment, getting the keys) face to face advised, since there are some rental apartment scams around. Students, who study in Finland are a special case and they have their own services, too. If one would be staying longer around a big city, consider renting an apartment from a smaller city close by. In Helsinki, some people might also be willing to rent a 'garden cottage' which can be very close to downtown. These garden cottages are summer use only and you might have to use public toilet in the gardens area and shower/sauna at a swimming hall/public sauna. A choice for a short stay.

Free stay:
I'd advice to ask around for a place to stay at the couchsurfing. Sure, you'd be staying with someone in that someone's home, but it's free.

If more info is needed, please ask.

bellerika asks an excellent question. I am in the midst of planning my trip to Finland, but so far in terms of living accomodations, I haven't found anything...

If anybody is familar with accomodation in Helsinki (possibly close to the train station or the metro), comments would be very appreciated!Thanks!

Hi, when my sister and I stayed in Helsinki, we stayed in a lovely hostel very close to the station. It was several years ago and I can't remember the exact name. It was also used as a dormitory for a school or university. It was modern, clean, bright and inexpensive. On top of it, there was a breakfast included every morning and it was filling and delicious. I will try to remember the name!
Okay, I found the name: hostel academica. Don't be turned off by the fact that it's called a hostel. In true Finnish style it is clean, bright and modern with a warm atmosphere!

Hostel Academica belongs to University of Helsinki Student Union "HYY Group".

Willem,

Firstly, I thank you for offering your knowledge and experience to the rest of us. I am seriously considering starting a life in Finland after I finish my degree. Naturally I will have to visit Finland in the next year or so to get a feel for the country.

What was the most challenging aspect about living in Finland? What was the best part about living in Finland?

Approximately how affordable and practical is a decent sized house in Finland?

Thank you very much,

Aaron Lake

Hello Aaron and sorry for the delay in answering...

First: If you don't have a job waiting for you in Finland, don't come here. People are being fired in hordes, commercial sector is preparing for recession, government is raising taxes and other costs of living and especially the not so wealthy people's life is being made extra difficult, which in turn causes issues. The Euro adventures and loan loving government are painting a really grim future for the next generation(s). There's a lot more to say about this issue, but lets leave it at this for now.

If you do have a job waiting here, then come and see what's it all about. That'll surely be an experience.

House:
What's decent size for you and where are you planning to stay? If you are planning to stay in some smaller city, then the houses are quite affordable. Public transportation is practically nonexistent outside the bigger cities, so you'll need your own wheels. Price to buy a house (omakotitalo) is pretty much somewhere between a couple of hundred thousand in the backwoods to a few million in Helsinki (euros). Other living options could be row house, duplex, apartment etc. You can browse for options at etuovi.com

Best part of living in Finland:
Clean, mostly safe (bad neighborhoods exist, ghettos are building up in certain cities), peaceful, mostly 'free' education, freedom of speech... I guess that's pretty much it. The antenatal care and babies' health care are still good. Other health care is another story.

Most challenging aspect in Finland:
High costs of living, little disposable income, inward looking attitudes, difficulty of getting friends unless you fit in 'the mold' (Finns can seem and be friendly, but that alone doesn't mean they have become your friends) and especially if your Finnish isn't 'good enough', crumbling welfare system causing issues, disappearing jobs, splurging of tax money by the government to all the wrong places, house/apartment bubble in Helsinki, strong 'old boy' system, nepotism, ... just to mention a few. To some of these you can affect with your own actions, choice of residence and so forth, but to some you can't.

In case you have more questions to ask, you can find me at couchsurfing (Willem_de_S) or comment on one of my blogs willemontraveling.blogspot.fi for faster answer or then ask here at the forum.

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