For members


Readers’ best tips for travelling to and from Sweden during the holidays

The Local's readers share their advice for travelling to and from Sweden over the holidays as pandemic restrictions and staff shortages cause delays and cancellations. 

Readers' best tips for travelling to and from Sweden during the holidays
People wait in line for Covid-19 tests at Newark Liberty International Airport in the US the day before Christmas Eve. Photo: AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

In spite of restrictions, delays and cancellations, many foreigners were able to travel to visit family for the holidays for the first time this month. We asked The Local’s readers for their advice on how to get where you want to go despite the chaos and new restrictions. 

The WHO has also published advice on how to protect yourself while travelling.

Be early

Gone are the days of arriving at the airport half an hour before your flight. The most common advice we got from readers was about getting to the airport as early as you possibly can. Some responses even suggested that you get there four hours before an inter-continental flight. 

Most airlines now require manual check-in so they can check all your documents in-person and this results in lengthy queues at the check-in desk. Going through security is generally less tedious – we’re all used to putting our liquids in tiny bottles now – but it’s still good to arrive with plenty of time to spare before your flight. My personal experience involved waiting over an hour in line to check-in (I arrived two and a half hours before departure).  

Be kind

Travelling is stressful at the best of times, and even more so during a global pandemic. Staff shortages due to sick leave mean that already overworked airport staff are going to be more stressed than usual at such a busy time. 

Philip O’Connor suggests: “Be as early as you can, bring snacks and paper copies of all your docs (which you’ve checked the night before), and remember that it’s not the fault of counter staff – being nice to them will get you to where you want to go far quicker than pulling a Karen.” 

Be prepared

Print out your documents and keep them somewhere safe, preferably in one of those plastic wallets. Make sure to also have digital copies of everything just in case a piece of paper escapes. 

It differs by airline and destination, but you’ll likely need proof of vaccination, proof of a negative Covid test, and other supporting documents for your journey. It’s up to passengers to check the requirements for each country they are travelling to and through. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has up-to-date information on the different regulations that apply to international travellers. 

If you are connecting flights, try to make sure there’s enough time between connections. You’ll be better off booking with a single airline instead of linking them with budget portals.

But even the best prepared traveller can be hit with unforeseen circumstances in times like these, so be prepared to be unprepared. 

Colin Stewart says: “Know the rules in detail from primary sources, keep a copy of every boarding pass, form, certificate, etc. Be prepared to rebook tests and pickups. Anticipate flight re-bookings, missed connections and extra days travel.”

Wear a mask 

Sweden’s major airports comply with European aviation regulatory guidelines which ask that all adults wear a mask in terminals (but based on reports to The Local the recommendation is not followed by all passengers, so that is something you may want to be aware of).

Wearing a mask on a plane is now mandatory everywhere. HEPA filters on board planes can help to clear viruses from circulating in cabin air, but masks provide another barrier against Covid-19 spreading. 

If you’re going on a long-distance flight, make sure to bring enough masks for the journey: a mask is only effective for four hours. Some airlines only accept single-use medical face masks to FFP2, KN95, N95 standards, while others accept other types of cloth coverings. It’s best to check with the airline you’re travelling with before leaving home.  

Save up money

Travelling during the pandemic has become more costly due to increases in the price of flights to cover for cancellation insurance and paying for the necessary tests and quarantine arrangements. This has been enough to put some people off travelling altogether. 

After spending £400 on Covid tests to visit family, The Local’s CEO and publisher, James Savage, said: “My top tip for travel to the UK: have a big budget and don’t expect to leave the house while you’re there.” 

Another reader suggested upgrading your ticket so you can get fast track check-in and enjoy the comforts of a less-crowded lounge.

Have you managed to travel home for the holidays despite the pandemic chaos? Let us know your tips for travelling below. 

Member comments

  1. This is not terribly helpful, is it? If anyone is flying between Stockholm/Iceland/Boston in the first week of Jan. 2022 and has an actual report of conditions on the ground – and if the system is functioning – I would like to hear about it. I am scheduled to fly from Boston to Stockholm on 11 January. Cheers from Vermont, USA.

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For members


QUICK GUIDE: How to get to Arlanda Airport while the train isn’t running

Trains to Arlanda Airport were halted after an Arlanda Express train derailed. Here's how to reach the airport from Stockholm this week.

QUICK GUIDE: How to get to Arlanda Airport while the train isn't running

An Arlanda Express train between central Stockholm and the airport derailed on May 27th. Around 70 passengers had to evacuate the train and two received minor injuries. The company operating the train said it believed traffic would be halted for five to seven days.

In the meantime, Stockholm’s SL commuter trains between Stockholm and Uppsala will travel via Märsta instead of via Arlanda C, and there will be fewer trains operating between the stations of Märsta and Ulriksdal.

Here are some of your options.

Train + bus

If you already have an SL period ticket, such as a monthly card for travelling within the Stockholm region, this is the cheapest way of travelling as it is included in your fare. If you don’t have an SL card, a single ticket costs 39 kronor (29 kronor for students, pensioners over the age of 65 and young people under the age of 20).

Take the train from Stockholm City to Märsta, then bus 583 to Arlanda. The bus will call at Terminals 2, 3 and 5, and the whole journey takes about an hour. Bear in mind that some trains on this route are cancelled due to the derailment, so plan ahead.

You can plan your journey via SL’s app.


The Flygbussarna airport express bus travels from Stockholm C to Arlanda and there are more buses than normal running due to the cancelled trains. You should still make sure you allow plenty of time for travel as it is likely more people will be taking the bus.

The bus takes about 45 minutes and costs 149 kronor or 129 kronor online.


To avoid being ripped off, you should only use taxis that carry a yellow sign which looks like this and contains information on pricing.

Before you get in the car, ask the driver how much it is going to cost: taxis that have an official agreement with airport operator Swedavia should charge no more than 750 kronor (in a car with 1-4 people) or 1,200 kronor (in a car with 5-8 people) from central Stockholm.

Bolt and Uber also operate in Stockholm.

Own car

Take the E4 motorway north from Stockholm. Head towards Sundsvall and get off the motorway at Arlanda Airport (it’s signposted). It takes about 40 minutes depending on traffic; if you reach Knivsta, you’ve gone too far.

The cost of parking varies depending on how long you’re staying. Check your options here.