When someone mentions Lapland, all sorts of mental imagery starts to flood our minds. Snow, reindeer, huskies and even a visit to Santa’s Grotto for all the good children in the family – small and big. It’s truly a magical place for a family holiday and one which is on the bucket list of many families, couples and single travelers.
Lapland has undoubtedly become the go-to destination for families seeking out the ultimate in adventure to have together, whilst also embracing the traditions of the Finnish community in a fun-filled and exciting trip.
From all the various packages that are available to even the choices you have when you are out there, taking a trip to Lapland needs some careful consideration and preparation. From the very few hours of sunlight during the day (around 4-5) to the extremely cold temperatures, going with a bit of prior knowledge can make all the difference.
So, what are the things you need to consider before taking a family trip to Lapland? Here are some suggestions.
Pick a destination
You will see from the myriad of blogs on the internet to even the holiday provider websites that there are a lot of destinations to choose from to get the ultimate Lapland experience when picking your trip. Prices for Lapland are fairly reasonable considering the flight times, but it’s always recommended to spend some extra time comparing prices to find the best deal. Having said that, it’s not always about price – especially for a niche holiday such as a trip to Lapland. Consider customer reviews and feedback for any company that you’re looking to book with. Also ensure that they are ATOL protected, meaning your holiday is in safe hands should the company go bust, as the famous Thomas Cook did recently, leaving tens of thousands of customers without a holiday (but they got their money back!).
For many travelers, the go-to place in Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus and also the capital of Finnish Lapland! Here you will find the world-famous Santa Claus post office where children will have sent their letters to Santa and even discover Santa’s Grotto.
One other destination to consider – slightly smaller and a little less tourist-based is, Levi. Only a short drive from Kittila airport it homes Finland’s largest ski resort which is perfect for those who want to throw in a skiing holiday as well as going on mountain trails and husky rides in the forests.
Pack the right kind of clothing
With temperatures reaching -40C in peak winter season packing the right kind of clothing is essential. Winter gear for indoors, such as thick wooly jumpers, cardigans, and even thermal-based socks are recommended. It’s also advised to pack a few pairs of gloves, both cotton and leather if possible (these are better for snowball fights, as they keep the cold wet snow off your hands, and you won’t have to leave your gloves to dry off.
Outdoor gear needs to be thought about as well. High street winter sports stores are great to pick up the right kind of jackets and thermal underwear that would make all the difference on a trip. Be sure to pack a coat designed to keep you extra warm, even if you’re wearing jumpers and thermals underneath.
How old are your children
As robust as young children can be, from the extreme weather temperatures to peak tourism season in November and December, taking extremely young children should be avoided.
From tourist forum sites to even some official advice, many will say that children younger than 2 (as recommended here) should probably avoid the journey unless the travel operator can specifically cater to them. Whilst the window to capture the Lapland magic is small-ish, it makes a great adventure for all members of the family, whatever the age!
For children over 5, they may want to do other things after visiting Santa. Be sure to do your homework into the location and the local activities and places of interest, to ensure there’s something for all members of the family.
Throw in a ski holiday at the same time
As per our second point, a trip to Lapland is ideally placed to stick on a great ski holiday at the same time. Yes, visiting Santa is the star attraction but that can only last so long – extending your trip for a week to 10 days can make for a family trip to Lapland truly unforgettable.
Whether you have skied before or are a complete novice, this is one of the best places to learn how to ski or to test yourself with a few new pursuits. Whether it is cross country skiing or going for a husky forest adventure, Lapland is ideally placed to give you something completely different on a family holiday break.
Have an itinerary for your holiday
Lapland isn’t just a place for the family to visit Santa – it’s also filled with many different places to go, activities and things to do. The last thing you want to do is turn up and have to spend time planning your days – this is wasted time. Spend a few hours looking online for all of the various activities and places of interest, and make a plan to visit the ones you want to. Try to be efficient with your plan – if you’ve selected a few activities in the East to do over the course of your holiday, try to do them all in the same day, to avoid time spent traveling.
Don’t forget to leave some time to relax and unwind as you don’t want the trip to be stressful and too fast-paced. Also, consider the sunrise and sunset timings – which are a fair bit different in Lapland compared with the UK and the rest of the world.
A final tip on itineraries is to have a few additional activities in your back pocket, just in case for some reason one of your chosen activities isn’t available, or not what you were expecting.