A few years ago I accepted a challenge from Wanderlust Magazine.
To see the Northern Lights for under £250.
The £250 had to cover everything – food, accommodation and transport.
I found a cheap fare to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland with Norwegian.com. I stayed in a hostel in Abisko. And I shopped for food in the local Co-op.
Staying in a hostel meant I could spend three nights in Abisko, a key consideration considering how shy and fickle the Lights can be.
Preparing my own food shielded me from the temptation of a prohibitively expensive beer with my meal. The only restaurant in town was the only bar as well.
I avoided buying pot noodles. They were the cheapest option but I wanted my trip to have a bit of local flavour as well, pardon the pun.
So I bought Swedish meatballs, a tube of smoked cod roe paste called Kaviar and a packet of a packet of vinyl-sized crispbread wafers called knackebrod.
The girl scanning my items was particularly impressed that I’d bought the crispbread. She told me that she used to make them with her grandmother. The hole in the middle was so they could be hung on a pole in the kitchen, she explained, and taken down as needed.
She wasn’t so impressed by the two bottles of Julmust.
It’s an almost undrinkable festive root beer that locals call Christmas Sap and it had been dramatically reduced in price because Christmas was well and truly over.