I fly internationally at least three or four times a year, this year was a quiet year I managed four return international flights, last year was a busy year, I made seven, including one long haul. With the rise of the budget airline we're all going more places than ever before for less money than we could've imagined just a few years ago. Still there are the hidden costs, those last minute things that you don't factor into your budget that always make a dent in your spending money.
I have noticed the cost of city to airport transfers steadily rise over the last few years to the point where the cost of getting to your airport is often as expensive if not more than the flight itself, especially since these budget flights that we all love so much will be leaving from from that lesser airport way out in the country side.
This is the case in Stockholm, everyone thinks they're getting a bargain by flying into the dreaded Skavsta airport, flights to Skavsta are consistently cheaper than flights into Arlanda. The problem with Skavsta is that its way out in the countryside and there's only one way to get there and back (since you're flying with budget airlines let's assume you don't have your own car and you can't afford a taxi) and that's the Skavsta Bus. Return tickets to Skavsta from Central Stockholm are currently retailing at 268crowns or £24/28€! Suddenly your super cheap ticket that you just bought to visit your mates in Berlin has doubled and your bargain hunter smile has dimmed a little.
If you have ever been on the Skavsta bus your disappointment will deepen further, not only is it ridiculously expensive, it is miserable, takes forever, and my friends have told me, often smelly and crowded- much like the airport it services. It won't take long before you were wishing you were at the lovely shiny airport called Arlanda, especially when I tell you that you can get to Arlanda and back for 100crowns (£9/11€) or even possibly for free!
How to get to Arlanda Airport for as little as possible.
1. When you arrive at Arlanda avoid all the shiny signs that say 'Arlanda Express' and walk the short distance to 'Sky City Terminal Five'. There are plenty of signs pointing the way. It looks like this, keep going past the sushi bar and it will be your left..
2. When you get there you'll notice lots of shops, you want the one that's called Presbyrån, its like a Swedish version of 7/11 and the sign is yellow and blue.
3. Go into Presbyrån and buy a metro card that covers your length of stay (FYI his particular Presbyrån, unlike the others in Arlanda, is the only one that can sell monthly passes). Stockholm has Europe's most expensive public transport system so if you're going to take the bus/metro at all while you're here then an unlimited metro pass is much much cheaper than pay-as-you-go and you can go everywhere with this card. If you don't want the pass for some reason then top up the card the minimum amount which is 100crowns.
4. Come out of Presbyrån and turn right, a few doors down is a sleek looking 'conference centre' with an escalator going down. Go down one flight, or take the elevator down one floor. It's not easy to find but its not that hard either, just look for the escalator. The elevators are just behind.
5. Go outside, you will see some bus stops. These are the 'local buses' that no one knows about.
6. You want to take the 583 bus to Märsta station.
7. At Märsta which is the last stop, go into the train station and take the train to Stockholm Central.
8. You have arrived. Total cost 50sek (two trips @25sek) or 'free' if you're using your shiny new metro pass. Total time: 60mins.