In the winter, you will pack for cold weather, especially if you plan on enjoying outdoor activities - layers will allow you to stay comfortable when you are indoors during the day. Zippers, buttons and snaps on your layers will allow you to remove and put them back on easier when transitioning from place to place. In the spring, summer and fall, it will be chilly in the evenings and often rain in Helsinki, therefore rain gear will help you be prepared for the elements and avoid unexpected shopping trips for suitable clothing.
When it comes to having fun, there are several free things in Helsinki, believe it or not.
Selecting a central location in Helsinki will also let you enjoy cheaper public transportation and limit the expense of getting around the city. Helsinki is built to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists well. The closer to the city center you are the better. This will allow you to rent bikes for free (they're called CityBikes and small deposits are required) or walk to most of your destinations.
The public transportation system in and around Helsinki is cheap but usually not needed unless you don't desire to walk or bike. If you plan on using public transportation extensively, a city pass will provide you transportation, activities and museum discounts.
You can also get a Helsinki City Card which provides free public transport and free or discounted admission to many of the city's sights.
When enjoying the city of Helsinki, cheap local activities and events will help a tourist stay occupied for many days. People who like an active lifestyle and participating in different types of recreational activities will love what the city has to offer the tourist who is spontaneous.
A vacation without an itinerary with tons of structure is always a breath of fresh air. A budget to experience Helsinki cheaply is easier to make at home prior to your flight. Your budget should consist of money for food, activities, souvenirs and transportation. It is best to plan your days with your budget in mind. Plan how many special events and nightlife outings you want per week and include more money in your budget for those days only. The rest of the week, stick to local activities. Helsinki has a local event magazine available which you can pick up in public areas when you arrive.
Tipping in Finland is optional and while rounding up your bill is done by the locals, leaving high tips is not. Prices are pretty high in restaurants, so not tipping is okay. If you do tip, because you want to reward good customer service, less is okay. In Helsinki, cheap is not a word that describes someone who doesn't tip properly.
When enjoying your time in Helsinki, cheap activities mixed with a few more lavish outings will provide you with the culture of a new city and the ability to have fun on a grand scale. Helsinki lends itself well to those who are active and able to accept changes in the weather well. Most people speak English very well so when in doubt, asking for a local's opinion on what to see or do for the day is always a great experience.
Swimming is a favorite among locals and is not hard to find. There are many recreational facilities for swimming, sports and recreation. These facilities are inexpensive and have an extensive amount of activities for the low price. The food served will cost less than most places, while some will even let you bring your own snacks and lunch. Sea skating is another popular past-time participated in during the winter months.
The locals of Helsinki often used to participate in public saunas and baths as part of their culture, but this has changed and is still a custom but has become much less public now, because many locals built saunas in their homes. Certain hotels will also have a sauna and an ice cold pool for you to jump into immediately after the hot steam. Helsinki locals will usually not wear clothing in the sauna or cold pools.