Frequently Asked Questions
Using our firsthand experience of our destinations and our many years in the travel industry we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help our guests with some of things we know are important to you. In the sections below we cover somegeneral travel questions as well as specifics relating to some of unique destinations.
We invest a great deal in sending our staff to our destinations and so if your question is not answered below then please do not hesitate to contact one of our travel experts. We all love discussing our holidays and experiences with our guests and so if we don't cover your question below please call us and we'll get the answer for you as quickly as possible.
Will we see the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights are an exciting natural phenomenon and a magical experience to witness for young and old. Bands of colour stretch and dance across the sky, creating a wonderful natural display. Whether you can see them or not is determined by many conditions, which is why seeing them can never be guaranteed. However, the sun is currently at the peak of its Solar Cycle, which occurs every 11 years and solar activity levels are set to be exceptional over the next few winters. This means that it is likely to be the best chance for your family to see the Lights for a generation!
To see the Lights you also need dark skies, which is why they can only really be seen between September and early April. Plus, you also need to be staying within the Aurora Zone, which is the band that circles the Arctic where the Lights are most visible.
The other thing that can potentially stand in your way is the cloud cover. When watching for the Lights, you have to hope for clear skies, as cloud cover will block any chance of seeing the Lights.
Many of the holidays on our website include evening adventures that are dedicated to searching for the Northern Lights and the friendly guides that accompany you will use all of their local knowledge to try and find the best spot for a potential viewing, so hopefully your family will be able to witness this wonderful phenomenon during your time away.
How cold will it be?
On most of our winter holidays you will be provided with Arctic winter clothing for the duration of your stay (it will be mentioned in the ‘What’s Included’ section) and it is always included for activities such as dog sledding and snowmobiling. This winter clothing is designed for the low Arctic winter temperatures and consists of either a one or two piece set of thermal overalls (imagine a duvet made into a suit), which will help to keep your family toasty during the holiday, as well as a pair of winter boots and normally some woolly socks to keep your toes nice and warm.
Our guides will also provide you with large mittens (which are much warmer than gloves with fingers) and in many cases hats are also available to borrow.
Along with the list of items that we mention on our packing list attached to each trip, you should be comfortably warm wearing your own layers under your suit (thermals, fleeces etc) and your thermal winter clothing on top. You may also want to bring along some hand and feet warmers for an extra bit of warmth.
Clothing obviously plays a major part in keeping warm, however it’s also important to keep the family well fed and watered for a day in the Great Outdoors, so make sure that you all take advantage of the Scandinavian breakfasts and fuel up for the day ahead!
If you’re taking part in an activity that lasts for more than a couple of hours, you’ll usually have a break for hot drinks and a snack around an open fire, giving you the chance to have a rest and warm up.
It’s also important to note that some activities, such as dog sledding (when driving the sled) and cross-country skiing are physical activities which, although designed for beginners, will naturally keep you warm, so you may even end up taking off a layer or two!
Although you may experience temperatures as low as -30°C, this is a dry cold rather than the bitter, wind-driven wet cold you may experience in other countries. You may be surprised to see the local children walking to school completely at ease with the climate, so this should reassure you that all will be fine.
How many hours of daylight will there be?
In parts of Lapland, the sun disappears over the horizon in late December and doesn’t reappear until early January. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you will be in complete darkness throughout your holiday!
Thanks to the thick covering of snow, every little bit of available light is reflected off the surface, creating what many in Lapland call “blue light” or “polar light”. This light extends both the dawn and twilight hours, so there should always be enough light to ensure that you can fully enjoy the activities (except during the night time safaris of course), although being out in the dark can add to the magic of the experience as well!
December and January are naturally the months with the least amount of daylight, however this also means that there is more potential to see the Northern Lights, as the skies are darker and you don’t necessarily have to stay up as late searching for the Lights. As the winter months progress, the daylight hours get longer, gaining around 4 hours of daylight each month.
Can we meet Father Christmas?
Yes, you can! Our trips to see Father Christmas are always a minimum of 2 nights and they include either a private meeting with him or the chance to have an intimate and personalised chat with him as part of a larger group.
Whether you take part in a family-based private visit or a slightly larger group-based meeting, your family will get the chance to meet Father Christmas, listen to his stories sat around a warming fire and enjoy the magical Christmas festivities.
We know how important meeting Father Christmas is for your family, which is why we only choose experiences that are not commercialised and over-crowded and that aim to give your family a truly wonderful experience.
How do we stay warm?
As mentioned in the ‘How cold will it be?’ FAQ, on most of your holidays you will be provided with Arctic winter clothing for the duration of your stay, which, along with your own inner layers, will keep you nice and warm when outside. During the activities that you’ll take part in you’ll also generate your own natural body warmth, which will help to keep you warm in your thermal gear.
Inside the hotels and lodges that we use, the rooms and communal areas are all fully-heated. You certainly won’t need your thermal gear inside, so feel free to walk around as you would at home.
What if I want to book another activity when I get there?
We always recommend booking activities prior to travel, to ensure availability. If on arrival, you decide you would like to do extra activities in your free time then these will need to be booked and paid for locally. Reception is normally the best place to ask for more information or you can speak to a guide. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any responsibility for activities which fall outside of our holiday package. Please see the Booking Conditions for further details.
What if I want to hire equipment when I get there?
Please check with reception or with one of the guides about the equipment available to hire during your free time. You will need to book this locally and there may be a charge depending on the location.
What do I need to pack and what type of clothing and equipment will be provided?
How do I photograph the Northern Lights?
Ask our customer service team for some further information on Northern Lights photography and they'll share some hints and tips! You can also download apps onto phones and tablets if you want to avoid the need for any specialist equipment. Of course, the quality of the images is not comparable, but you can still capture a souvenir image in most cases.
Will someone be able to help me with my camera settings?
A lot of the local guides and reps will be able to assist you with camera settings.
How will I know if there is an Aurora display during my holiday?
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to predict the Northern Lights more than a few hours in advance. This is because clear skies and optimum solar activity levels are required and forecasting these is a difficult process. Effectively though, you stand the best chance if you are outdoors, away from light pollution and keeping watch on the sky.
What happens if I miss my flight?
If you miss your flight at your initial departure point, you must find the information desk for the airline you are travelling with and inform them of this. They will endeavor to put you on the next available flight to your destination; they may charge for this.
Sadly, we have no control over the airlines and the only people who are able to provide the most suitable arrangements for you are the airline staff. Once you have your onward travel confirmed then please contact your local representatives or our UK office on the out of office number as soon as possible to inform us of the changes – these numbers are all listed on your final travel letter. Then we will assist and arrange your new transfers if necessary. Please note that there may be an additional cost for these.
As many of our trips are located in remote regions of the world sometimes the next available flight may not be until the next day, so please allow plenty of time to get to the airport to avoid missing your flight - we would hate for this to ruin the enjoyment of your holiday. You need to confirm with your insurance provider what you would be able to reclaim from them in such circumstances.
If your flight is cancelled, the airline will inform you of the arrangements that have been made for you, so please contact the airline staff at the airport as soon as possible. Once again, once you have your onward travel confirmed please contact your local representatives, our UK office or out of office number as soon as possible to inform us of the changes. Sadly flight cancellations are beyond our control but we will be happy to assist you with your claim to your insurance company. We will of course endeavor to reschedule your itinerary to try and minimise any changes.
Can I check-in online?
In most cases, you will be able to check in online prior to travel (for some flights with Norwegian Airlines this is not possible, so you check in as normal at the airport). The details of how to do this will be provided approximately one week before departure when your final travel documents and tickets are loaded into your online account. The information required can be found in your final travel letter.
How do I select seats on my flight?
What is my luggage allowance?
Your luggage allowance will vary depending on the airline you are travelling with and the final details will be provided around one week before departure when your final travel letter is loaded into your online account. An indication of the typical luggage allowances included are below for reference only.
Norwegian Air 20kg
Which terminal will I be travelling from?
Depending on the airline you are travelling with, the terminal will vary. You can find this information on any of your receipts in your online account.
Where do I find my transfer information?
Transfer information can be found on your travel voucher. You travel voucher will be available in your online account approximately 7 days prior to travel. You will also be provided with full joining instructions in your final travel letter.
Who will meet me at the airport?
The details of the joining instructions for your chosen holiday will be provided in your final travel letter. This will be uploaded to your online account approximately one week before departure.
Do I need a visa?
If you hold an EU passport and are travelling within the EU, you will not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the embassy of the country they are due to visit. Obtaining any visas that are required is your own responsibility.
How much spending money will I need to take?
You will need to take enough money to cover the cost of meals that are not included in the trip cost, drinks, additional activities, any tips you may wish to give to guides (completely at your discretion) and souvenirs you wish to purchase during your trip. Most major credit and debit cards are widely accepted in our destinations and the option to set up a tab is typically offered to guests.
What should I wear in the evenings for dinner?
Most of the restaurants you will visit are very casual, allowing guests to relax and be comfortable during the evenings. If you are walking from your room to the restaurant remember you will want to be warm (especially if you are going outdoors), but there will always be somewhere for you to leave your outerwear and to change shoes if you require.
Are towels and toiletries provided?
Towels are provided as standard in all accommodation (with the exclusion of the overnight safaris).
We recommend taking your own toiletries; some hotels do provide them, but it is not standard in all our hotels and it is much more environmentally friendly to take your own.
Are there laundry facilities available at the hotel?
A lot of our accommodation facilities include laundry services on request and by special arrangement; please get in touch with our team to find out if laundry services are available in your accommodation.
Will there be Wi-Fi at the hotel?
The details for each accommodation can be found in the accommodation section of the relevant holiday webpage. Wi-Fi is widely available in most of our destinations but whether it is available in all areas of the accommodation and whether it is free of charge, can vary.
What size are the beds?
Typically, in almost all hotels in Scandinavia, a double bed is formed using two single beds, normally fixed together, as it gives the rooms ultimate flexibility for all guests. If they are made up as a ‘double’ they will have a mattress topper and, as is common in Scandinavia, two single duvets rather than one large shared duvet - providing that extra bit of comfort and no duvet hogs!
Are tea and coffee facilities available in the rooms?
Tea and coffee making facilities are not typically provided as standard as they are in the UK. If it is import to you, we do advise taking your own travel kettle and supplies. Please see the accommodation section of the relevant holiday webpage for specific details regarding your accommodation.
Will a hairdryer be provided?
In most of the hotels we feature, travel hairdryers are available. If there is not one in your room then you can ask at reception as sometimes they have ones you may borrow. In our experience, this can be inconvenient and, they are not normally the most powerful hairdryers, so when we travel we normally choose to take our own.
Can I drink the water?
Tap water in Lapland is perfectly fine to drink; in fact, it is much better to drink than bottled water.
How cold will it be?
The temperatures in Finland vary from south to north, but as the majority of our holidays to Finland are above the Arctic Circle, the information below is based on the average conditions in the Lappish town of Kittilä.
November through to February are the real winter months in Finnish Lapland. During this period, daytime temperatures average between -5°C and -15°C. In rare and extreme circumstances, temperatures can range from 3°C to -40°C in the winter storms. However, you don’t need to be scared by these dramatic temperatures, as the cold is often drier in Finland and wind chill factors are much less of an issue than you find in other countries that experience a bitter, wet cold. These extremes are rare and beyond our control.
Before and during your activities, the guides will always change itineraries for safety reasons, especially if they are in anyway concerned that the conditions are not suitable and therefore not particularly enjoyable either!
Spring starts to come to Finland in the months of March and April and if you travel during this time, the temperatures will be slightly warmer and the days will be longer with more sunshine all around. The snow remains on the ground until May and average temperatures will range between -4°C and 10°C during the day.
During the night, temperatures drop to an average of -21°C in January. However, wrapped up in your cosy winter clothing, your family will be well equipped for the conditions day or night, so that you can enjoy your winter holiday in comfort!
How dark will it be?
Daylight hours vary hugely in Finland.
From mid to late December through to early January, the sun will disappear below the horizon for a few weeks and the whole landscape will be illuminated in a mystical blue glow, which the locals refer to as ‘blue light’ or ‘Kaamos’. The light is reflected by the thick layers of snow, creating a magical light across the landscape.
Generally, your activities will take place within this blue light, but in the months of December and January, the hours are more restricted, so you should be prepared for activities to take place in darker conditions, although this can add to the magic of the experience!
The darker months can also have an advantage over the lighter spring months, as you need dark skies for the Northern Lights to be visible, so you don’t necessarily have to stay up as late to have a chance to see them!
The days get longer as the season progresses and from early January onwards, there are around four hours of daylight, which increases by roughly four hours a month as the season continues.
How expensive is Finland?
As with most Scandinavian countries, Finland is not the cheapest destination when it comes to buying items such as food and drink. This is why we try to keep it simple for you by including breakfast and evening meals, where possible. In the more remote destinations, we will also include lunches.
Our holidays aren’t all-inclusive, so you’ll need to pay for drinks and any extras at your destination. Rest assured that most places accept major credit cards if you want to buy any items while you are out there.
We also recommend taking some Euros with you, so that you can buy souvenirs of your holiday, as cashpoints are not readily available, especially in the more remote destinations.
What is the currency in Finland?
As part of the Euro Zone, Finland’s currency is the Euro. Major credit cards are widely accepted in the destinations that we sell and they are often the simplest way to pay. If you want to buy souvenirs and local handicrafts, you may want to bring some cash with you, as cashpoints are not widely available.
What is the food like?
We often find that Finnish food exceeds our customers’ expectations. Lapland is filled with lakes that provide fresh fish throughout the year and reindeer are also a huge part of the Lappish lifestyle, which is why fish and reindeer will appear on most menus.
Berries collected during the summer months are stored for winter and often served as sides to a variety of dishes, which are well worth a taste and add great flavour.
Fish are caught throughout the year and ice fishing in the winter is one of the most popular Finnish activities, so perhaps you’ll have a chance to taste some locally-caught delights and maybe even one of your own catches!
Although we understand that most people may not want to eat reindeer, the animals are lovingly cared for by their herders, who use the same methods that they have done for generations, producing a tasty meat that is well worth a try.
Some of our destinations have restaurants that are more renowned for their cuisine and others rely on fabulously simple home cooking using local ingredients. In remote areas, fresh fruit and vegetables are limited and so they may not form a major part of the menu. Either way, we find that the food is exactly what your family needs after a day of fun in the snow!
Please let us know if any of your family have any dietary requirements at the time of booking, so that our suppliers can accommodate them to the best of their ability.
If you decide to stop off in Helsinki, we would be more than happy to recommend some restaurants, as there are some great places to eat with the family.
What kind of plug do I need in Finland?
Finland uses the Northern European two-pronged plug (type C), so you will need an adapter if travelling from the UK.
Do we need visas to visit Finland?
If you are travelling from within the EU, no visa is required. For UK nationals, you are able to stay for up to three months without a visa but your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. For anyone travelling on a non-British passport, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary visas, passport validity and documents in place before you travel. Please contact your foreign office or the Finnish Embassy for details.
How do we get to Finland?
Most of our trips to Finland travel from London, via Helsinki, to airports within the northern part of the country that are closer to the destinations we use. Your waiting time in Helsinki will obviously vary depending on the available flight times. If you would like to stop over in Helsinki, we can arrange this for you, so please discuss this with us at the time of booking.
In some cases, you may fly to Finland via another Scandinavian country, depending on your flight route.
What is the time difference between the UK and Finland?
During the winter, Finland is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During Daylight Saving Time (DST), Finland is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
Do we need to tip?
Tipping isn’t expected in Finland, as all prices and services are included in the price that you pay and it isn’t necessary to add a further tip to this. If you want to tip for good service, then you are certainly welcome to do so, however, often a good way to show your appreciation for good service is to round up the total of your bill.
What should I pack?
What should you to Finland in?
You should travel in comfortable clothes and sensible shoes with a good grip. It is advisable for you to have access to a hat and gloves in your hand luggage.
We recommend dressing for a cold winter’s day in the UK and having a warm jacket available to you on arrival. Generally you only need to cross from the airport terminal to the transfer vehicle but you should be prepared.
What you need to take
The equipment provided (as outlined in the what's included on your holiday overview) should keep you comfortably warm however you should enhance your clothing with base layers. We have put together this useful packing list
~ Vaccinations and Testing ~
In this section you'll find our frequently asked questions on vaccinations and testing in regards to travelling to Finland.
Do I need to get tested to go to Finland? What's the best way to get tested for travel?
At the time of writing you do not need any kind of test to enter Finland if you are double vaccinated. If this does change between booking the holiday and your departure date we will be in touch with you immediately.
Can I still travel to Finland if I have not been vaccinated?
If you wanted to travel to Finland but you haven't been fully vaccinated, then you would need to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival and then quarantine for 3-5 days before taking another test.
Which vaccines are accepted? How do I prove that I'm fully-vaccinated?
How do I find out entry requirements for Finland and also re-entry to the UK?
You will need to complete an online registration form for Finland the UK. We will send links to these along with your ticketing information which is normally happens around a week before you travel.
Where will I get a test two days before my return home?
Given the remote location of your holiday it is much easier to take a test with you from the UK to complete and submit online as it may not be possible to source a test locally. We will send you more further information around this when you pay your balance nine weeks before departure.
Will I need to quarantine when I return to the UK? Are there any requirements for returning to the UK?
At the time of writing fully vaccinated travellers would not need to quarantine upon returning to the UK but you do need to take a PCR test (which must be booked prior to travel) on day 2 after your journey home. You can read more about the UK testing and entry requirements by clicking here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england). There is no testing on entry to Finland for those born after 2005 but they may need to do a test to return to the UK depending on what the UK restrictions are at the time. Again, we will let you know the most up to date info at the balance payment stage or later if anything changes after you have paid.
Do children need any tests to travel to Finland?
Children born after 2005 are not required to be vaccinated or show any tests to travel to Finland. At the time of writing children under the age of 12 are not required to test prior to returning to the UK but any children over the age of 5 do need to have a PCR test booked for day 2 after they arrive home. You can read the most up to date informaiton on this here (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england)
~ COVID-19 Health Measures ~
The FAQs in this section will be based on Covid-19 Health Measures.
What happens if I get COVID-19 while I am away?
If you feel unwell during your holiday then please stay in your room and contact the local rep or hotel reception by phone. They will make arrangements for you to take a test locally and ensure food and other supplies are brought to your room until the results come back. If it is positive you will need to isolate until you are able to return to the UK. This will either be at the hotel you are staying at or a local medical facility.
What if my Day 2 test is positive?
You will need to notify the local team (our representative or hotel reception) by phone while you remain in your room. They will arrange for you to take a PCR test locally. You would also need to inform your travel insurance policy to get their advice on what to do next.
What happens if I have to self isolate on the run up to departure?
You would need to let our customer service team know as soon as possible and notify your travel insurance company. It is very important you ensure that your policy includes cover for this scenario or you will unfortunately forfeit any non recoverable costs from your holiday.
Am I near a hospital if I contract COVID-19 in Finland?
The hotels we use are normally in remote, wilderness destinations. Each small town has a medical facility for minor illnesses and accidents. If you require more serious medical treatment you will be transferred to Finnish Lapland's main hospital in Rovaniemi.
Do I need to wear a mask? Do children need to wear a mask? What if I'm exempt from wearing a mask?
Masks are recommended to be worn for those who are able and aged 16 and above in all public areas (such as restaurants and shops). It is not a legal requirement to wear them but is considered to be a common courtesy to others.
Is the cold weather clothing you provide fully sanitised?
Yes, any equipment hired from the local team will be quarantined between users. It will also be washed if necessary. Equipment like helmets and balaclavas are all thoroughly washed and disinfected between each use.
What happens if the rules change while I am on holiday?
We will contact you if any rules change or with any information you need to be aware of. In the very unlikely event that the advice is for you to leave Finland immediately then we will make the necessary arrangements for you.
~ Activities ~
The FAQs in this section will cover the impacts COVID-19 may have on activities.
Can my children still meet Father Christmas?
Yes, visiting Father Christmas will be possible and it will be done in a safe and appropriate way. Whatever rules and guidelines are applicable at the time will be followed in a way which impacts as little as possible on the magic of the whole experience.
What is being done to make the activities COVID-19 safe?
The vast majority of our activities are outdoors and take place in small groups which already make them very low risk for spreading any infection. During activities like cross country skiing and snowshoeing it is very easy to maintain social distancing and activities such as reindeer or husky sleigh rides or snowmobiles are normally enjoyed with members of your own party anyway.
Will the activities still be in a group?
You will be part of a small group for the majority of your activities.
Are any of the activities restricted due to COVID-19?
Based on the current restrictions the only adaptations which may need to be made are group sizes on certain activities. If there are any major changes to the activities you have booked we will contact you and discuss the options available to you.
Will my transfers be shared and will we need to wear a mask on the transfer? What can I expect on the transfer
Transfers will be done by either taxi, minibus or bus depending on your destination and departure dates. It will be recommended to wear a mask on the transfers to keep everybody safe. In almost all destinations it is possible to upgrade to a private transfer if you would feel more comfortable - please ask our customer service team for more information.
~ Air Travel ~
In this section you'll find the FAQs relation to Air Travel.
What happens at Helsinki airport?
If you are connecting through Helsinki airport then your luggage will automatically transfer between your flights. You just need to locate your gate number for your next flight and proceed there in plenty of time. If you need to pass through border control at Helsinki then there are lots of automated passport gates to use. It can get busy in peak times so please ensure you leave plenty of time to get to your gate.
Will airport facilities be open?
Everything at Helsinki airport is open. Some restaurants have reduced capacity to allow social distancing but there are a few to choose from and also lots of take away food options too.
Do I have to wear a mask at the airport? Do I have to wear a mask on the flight?
You will need to wear a mask while at any airport (unless you are eating or drinking) and also on the plane.
Surely planes just spread infection?
Understandably, given the enclosed nature of an aircraft, they are often believed to be a breeding ground for germs and viruses. This is not the case. All of Finnair’s aircraft are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Arrestors (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters are proven to remove microscopic viral clusters with a greater than 99.99% efficiency. Essentially, the air filtering through a Finnair plane is as clean as that in a hospital operating theatre.
See this link for further information: https://www.finnair.com/gb-en/bluewings/travel-experience/aircraft-ventilation-and-keeping-cabin-air-clean-2129762
Seating Position - The very nature of airline seating discourages the spread of viruses or bacteria. Essentially, your seat and the one in front creates a protective barrier between you and the people sitting in front and behind. Incidences of viral infection spreading on planes - even in the Covid era – are incredibly rare. Finally, the airflow means that air returning to the cabin travels through HEPA filters removing 99.99+% of particulates. Furthermore, the air does not travel from front to back, but from ceiling to floor. Hence, the flow of air is largely restricted to your own seating area and limits the spread of bacteria or viruses.
What if I, or someone else, feels ill on the flight?
If you feel ill during the flight you MUST alert one of the cabin crew. Finnair’s crew are trained to use the infection kits and testing equipment carried on all planes. If a passenger exhibits symptoms the crew will consult with a medical expert. The passenger will be seated as far from other passengers as is possible, asked to wear protective equipment and, be allocated exclusive use of a toilet. A single member of the flight crew - wearing protective equipment - will be allocated to the unwell passenger. The crew will take advice from a medical expert during the flight and liaise with the local health authorities in destination.
What if I, or someone else, is ill before boarding the plane?
Most importantly, if you do not feel unwell then please, please do not travel. The disappointment of not going on holiday will be huge but it will be even worse if you fall ill abroad. It is far better to recuperate in the comfort of your own home than in a hotel bedroom.
What measures does the airline take to ensure my safety from infection?
Firstly, turn around cleaning: All of Finnair’s aircraft are cleansed at every turn. The airline has worked with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare to ensure that their cleaning and disinfecting procedures are as thorough and comprehensive as possible. Planes arriving from areas that are viewed to carry a specific risk of infection or disease receive an even more specific cleansing treatment.
Secondly, Crew Training and Inflight Service: Flight crew have been trained to take measures that limit contact to the greatest possible extent. These include; the use of protective gloves during meal and drink services and the clearing up processes. Lids and foils will be left on meals (when they are included in the service), customers’ water bottles will not be refilled and there will be no post-meal hot towel service. Service may be reduced to just one on flights lasting less than three hours and is likely to be restricted to individually pre-packed products.
~ Insurance ~
This section will cover insurance FAQs.
Where can I get travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover?
There are lots of new travel insurance policies which include a variety of COVID-19 cover. A quick Google search will bring up plenty of options and comparison websites which outline which policies offer which level of cover.
Please ensure you are fully satisfied with the level of cover you choose as in some circumstances we would only be able to refund recoverable costs should you need to make any late changes or cancellations of your holiday.
What happens if I get tested before arrival and test positive for COVID-19 - can I cancel the trip?
You would need to speak to your travel insurance as depending on the policy you have chosen (and we highly recommend you ensure this is covered) they would be the place to seek your refund. If you do not have travel insurance or the policy does not cover you then we would refund you the recoverable costs of your holiday or assist you in re-booking the elements which are flexible.
What if I feel ill before travelling?
If you suspect you may have COVID-19 before you are due to depart you need to get a test as soon as possible. You will also need to contact your insurance company to seek advice on how to proceed. Please also get in touch with our customer service team and we will do everything we can to help you rearrange your trip (if necessary).
What if the UK goes into lockdown before I go/whilst i'm in Finland?
If the UK goes into lockdown before your holiday then we would assist you in rescheduling your trip or refunding you. If there is another lockdown and anyone overseas is advised to return home then we would contact you and make the necessary arrangements for your return journey.
I've changed my mind about going because of COVID-19 - can I cancel and get a refund?
This would depend on how far away your holiday departure date is. We would work with our local partners to minimise any non recoverable costs to you but it is unlikely you would receive a full refund.
What if Finland goes into lockdown?
If Finland goes into lockdown then we would be guided by their advice, if this was that any visitors needed to depart immediately we would contact you and arrange this. When this occurred in March 2020 Finland stopped allowing new guests to arrive in Finland but they did not advise those currently on holiday that they needed to cut their trip short.
~ Finland - COVID-19 ~
The FAQs in this section will cover the impacts the pandemic has on Finland.
How safe is Finland?
Finland has maintained some of the lowest infection rates across the whole of Europe throughout the pandemic. This is particularly true in the Northern regions. This is in part due to the low population density and also the residents' cooperation with following guidelines and adhering to restrictions. This has allowed Finland to keep infection rates extremely low.
What is the vaccination rate in Finland?
The uptake of the vaccination programme in Finland has been very successful. You can see more statistics about the vaccination programme in Finland here at the time of writing over 80% of the population had received at least 1 dose of the approved vaccinations.
What is the R rate in Finland?
Can I pay in cash?
You can pay in cash in most places however card payments are generally preferred and all major debit and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere (we do not recommend that you rely solely on Amex as acceptance is less widespread.)
Are there mask wearing rules in Finland
Mask wearing is recommended as a courtesy in Finland but it is not a legal requirement at present.
Are there COVID-19 specific rules in Finland
Visit Finland has the most up to date information for travellers to Finland or alternatively you can check their own government advice about travelling in Finland. If any rules are introduced which will impact on your holiday then we will endeavour to keep you informed of all significant developments.
~ Accommodation ~
This section will cover all FAQs regarding Accommodation.
Can I use the spa facilities?
Yes, all hotel facilities will be open. They may have slightly limited capacity but the local team will discuss this with you upon arrival. If this does change and any hotel facilities will no longer be open during your stay we will contact you prior to departure.
How will meal times be COVID-19 safe?
Meal times may be staggered and restaurant capacity will be lower than pre-COVID-19 to ensure everyone has plenty of space. Some restaurants which had buffets may now have a member of staff serving the meals or possibly, table service. All of the local restaurants will adhere to the latest safety advice during your holiday.
Do I need to take my own hand sanitiser or will there be some provided at the destination?
There will be hand sanitizer in most public areas and spaces such as reception, shops etc. We usually take some with us too when we travel just to ensure we have some to hand whenever we need it.
Will there be any cleaning products in the room to allow us to keep it clean ourselves?
Reception will be able to assist you with any cleaning that you need, either by arranging a cleaner to come to the room while you are elsewhere or by providing any equipment you need.
Do the rooms get cleaned during our stay by staff?
This will depend on the most up to date restrictions at the time. It is likely that for shorter stays, rooms will not be cleaned. It is possible for longer stays that towels and bed linen (if necessary) may be supplied along with rubbish collection to keep your room comfortable whilst keeping unnecessary contact to a minimum.
How can we contact TAZ UK office when in Finland?
You will be given a 24/7 emergency contact for our operations team while you are away and also an emergency contact in destination who you can get in touch with if you have any problems at all.
How cold will it be?
Temperatures in Sweden vary widely across the country, but as most of our trips here are to destinations that are either in, or close to, the Arctic Circle the information has been based on this area.
The Arctic region is usually covered by snow from around mid-November onwards and this remains on the ground until late April. Temperatures typically range from -5°C to -20°C during the winter period. In rare and extreme circumstances, they can range anywhere between 3°C to -40°C. Although these temperatures may sound incredibly cold, the air here is often drier and wind chills are less of a factor, so it is not as bitter as the wet cold that many of us are used to.
Your guide will be sure to check the weather conditions for all of your activities and will adapt the itineraries if they feel it is unsafe or not suitable at the time. Also, where possible, your family will be provided with Arctic clothing for the duration of your stay, which will keep you nice and toasty when you are outside (along with your own inner layers of course).
How dark will it be?
Daylight hours vary hugely depending on the time of year in Swedish Lapland.
During December and January, the sun doesn’t rise above the line of the horizon for up to 51 days and although this may sound as if you’ll be in the pitch black, each day there are a few hours of polar light between 10am and 2pm. The polar light creates a bluish glow which reflects off the deep snow, making a truly magical sight to see!
As the season continues, the days get longer as the sun starts to come above the horizon and bathe the area in light. However, with the shorter days comes a slight advantage as the skies are also darker for longer, which means that you stand a greater chance of seeing the Northern Lights and possibly not having to stay up for as long as in the months of February to April.
How expensive is Sweden?
As we all know, Scandinavian countries have a bit of a reputation for not being incredibly cheap and Sweden is no exception. This is why, for most of our trips, we will include breakfast for the length of your stay, while others are half board. In the more remote areas, we will include full board.
As our trips aren’t all-inclusive, drinks are not included so you will need to pay for these as well as any extras in the resort.
What is the currency in Sweden?
The currency in Sweden is the Swedish Krona (abbreviated as SEK). Bank notes are available in values of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 and coins come in 1, 5 and 10 krona.
In most places you will be able to use major credit cards for any purchases you want to make and this is often the easiest method. We would also recommend taking some cash with you, as cash machines are not commonly found in the destinations that we offer.
What is the food like?
Swedish food is made up of a variety of dishes that focus on using local ingredients and taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside.
Pork, herring, crayfish, milk, cabbage and potato are typical ingredients in various Swedish dishes and commonly enjoyed meals include pea soup with pancakes, meat stew with onions and potato dumplings with a filling of onions and pork. Fish is used throughout the year, with ice fishing being an incredibly popular pastime and a great way to try your own fresh catch!
Bread is also an important part of their diet and the Swedes create a variety of different tasty types, including flatbread, rye bread and crisp bread, not to mention their love of all things sweet!
Summer fruits and berries are collected and stored for winter and you will no doubt want to try some of the sweet treats, including pastries and waffles, which they pride themselves on.
Please let us know if any member of your family has any dietary requirements at the time of booking, so that our suppliers can accommodate them to the best of their ability.
What kind of plug do I need in Sweden?
Sweden uses the Northern European two-pronged plug (type C), so you will need an adaptor if travelling from the UK.
Do we need visas to visit Sweden?
If you are visiting from within the EU, you don’t need a visa to visit Sweden. UK nationals are able to stay for up to three months. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. For anyone travelling on a non-British passport, it is your responsibility to ensure you have all the necessary visas, passport validity and documents in place before you travel. Please contact your foreign office or Swedish Embassy for all the necessary details.
How do we get to Sweden?
All of our flights to Sweden will travel from London, via Stockholm, and then further north on to one of the airports that are closer to the destinations that we sell. Your waiting time in Stockholm will vary depending on your flight times and if you would like to stop over in Stockholm, we can arrange this for your family.
What is the time difference between the UK and Sweden?
During the winter, Sweden is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During Daylight Saving Time (DST), Swedem is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
Do we need to tip?
At restaurants, a service charge will likely be included in the bill, but a small gratuity is expected for evening meals. If you receive service that you feel deserves an extra tip, then you certainly won’t be offending anyone, but generally taxis, porters and doormen, for example, would only require a modest tip.
How cold will it be?
Depending on where you are in the county, the temperature can vary hugely across Norway. As most of our trips are based in Northern Norway in the counties of Nordland and Finnmark, the weather and temperatures that we mention below will be focused on these regions.
Although Norway wraps around the top of Finland and Sweden, the coastal areas of the country are often not as cold as other countries of a similar latitude, as the Gulf Stream adds extra warmth to keep temperatures milder during the winter. Winter temperatures along the coast therefore tend to be nowhere near as cold as locations in Northern Finland and Sweden. Between November and March, the average temperature near Sortland is around 0°C.
As you head towards the north east of the country, the climate is more similar to Finnish Lapland, with average winter temperatures dropping to around -15°C in Kirkenes. But fear not, as you will be wrapped up nice and warm for any outside activities that your family takes part in!
How dark will it be?
As with other Scandinavian countries that share a similar latitude, the north of Norway has large variations in daylight throughout the year.
During the deep winter months of December to late January, the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon and the landscape is bathed in a beautiful blue tinged polar light, which is reflected off the white snow, so it is never actually pitch black. However, thanks to the long hours of darkness, you are provided with a greater opportunity to catch sight of the Northern Lights and perhaps you won’t even have to stay up as late!
From February onwards, the daylight hours start to increase quickly by around four hours a month and spring conditions start to come through from March to April.
Each month is quite different from one another, but this adds to the joy and charm of a family winter holiday in Norway!
How expensive is Norway?
Due to its high taxation, Norway is probably the most expensive of all the Scandinavian countries with high prices for food, drink and accommodation. This is why we aim to include breakfast wherever possible, as well as half board and full board in the more remote locations.
When visiting Norway, you should be prepared to pay more for your purchases, especially food and drink. Unfortunately we don’t offer any all-inclusive options, so drinks must be paid for directly with the hotel.
What is the currency in Norway?
The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (abbreviated as NOK). Bank notes are available in values of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kroner and coins are in 1, 5, 10 and 20 kroner.
Major credit cards are accepted in most places and these are usually the easiest way to pay for your items, however we also recommend taking cash with you for smaller purchases, such as souvenirs, because cash machines are not common in the more remote locations.
What is the food like?
In the destinations that we use, traditional Norwegian cuisine is often served. This is similar to other Scandinavian countries, using the natural surroundings of its sea, mountains and wilderness to provide something for all of the family to enjoy.
Norway has a huge coastline that covers more than 25,000km and so fish is a major part of their cuisine. Smoked salmon, cod, sardines, herring and mackerel are widely featured and full of flavour to keep your taste buds entertained! In the more northern coastal regions, particularly Kirkenes, you can even try one of the local specialities: King Crab! They are certainly a sight to behold!
Sheep, elk, reindeer and woodland fowl are also commonly used in recipes throughout the country and in the summer, berries and fruit come into season and are picked and stored for the winter to add exciting flavours to complement your meals.
Please let us know if any member of your family has any dietary requirements at the time of booking, so that our suppliers can accommodate them to the best of their ability.
What kind of plug do I need in Norway?
Norway uses the Northern European two-pronged plug (type C), so you will need an adaptor if travelling from the UK.
Do we need visas to visit Norway?
If you are travelling from within the EU no visa is required. For UK nationals, you are able to stay for up to three months without a visa but your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. For anyone travelling on a non-British passport it is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary visas, passport validity and documents in place before you travel. Please contact your foreign office or the Norwegian Embassy for details.
How do we get to Norway?
Most of our trips to Norway travel from London, via either Oslo or Tromsø and then on to one of the northern airports to get you closer to your destination. Your waiting time in the connecting airport will obviously vary depending on the available flight times.
What is the time difference between the UK and Norway?
During the winter, Norway is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During Daylight Saving Time (DST), Norway is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
Do we need to tip?
Tipping in Norway is slightly different to other Scandinavian countries as it is more commonplace, but certainly not expected. On average, 6-10% of your total bill is a respectable amount to add for good service, but it is entirely up to you.
When tipping in a Norwegian restaurant, or when using a taxi, it’s often easier and generally more accepted to tip by rounding up your bill.