Lapland holidays are a great winter treat, taking you to a magical, mysterious land where the midnight sun shines through the summer and the winter days are long and dark. It's a brilliant destination for...
How do you eat an elephant? In small chunks. The same goes for planning a holiday for the family, breaking the job down into small tasks so they're easier to handle. And your first step is to look at the practicalities.
How old do your children need to be? If you want to treat the kids to an authentic Santa trip, bear in mind that small children often find it far too cold for comfort, with temperatures as low as minus forty. Most holiday firms recommend an age limit of 5-10 for Santa visits.
When to go - The most popular time to visit Santa in Lapland is pre-Christmas. As a general rule the closer you get to Christmas itself, the more it costs. On the other hand if you go too early there might not be any snow, especially farther south in places like Rovaniemi. It's also worth knowing that most tourist activities kick off from the 1st December.
Where to go - There are plenty of different Santa experiences on offer, but the best ones of all are the personal ones, where you get a unique family audience with Santa, and he knows your names. A private family visit to Santa's remote cottage is truly amazing, even for grown-ups! Location matters in other ways, too. We operate exclusively in 'True Lapland', an entirely different experience compared to the region's tourist-filled, mass-market resorts.
How long to go for - Lapland is an awesome place to go, and you'll need to book a 3 night trip to see and experience everything.
How to pick a provider - Some holiday companies include exciting Lapland activities in their packages but only on a 'taster' basis. It's important to check first to avoid disappointment, making sure you get the full experience whether it's husky sledding or a reindeer safari. And, of course, always choose a travel partner bonded with ABTA and licensed with ATOL for your own peace of mind.
It's great to be properly prepared rather than running around at the last minute trying to find the essentials.
Passports - Dig out your passports early on and make sure they're all current.
Surnames - If you're travelling with a child who has a different last name from yours, you might need to prove their identity - check with your airline good and early so you have time to prepare, and take a consent letter with you proving you are authorised to take the child abroad, signed by someone relevant who isn't travelling and ideally notarised by a solicitor.
Plan your activities in advance - Most popular Lapland activities come with a minimum age. As a general rule a child of 4-5 years old can usually enjoy an activity that lasts up to an hour before getting tired and bored. For little kids combined activities are particularly good, with a break part way through for them to eat, rest and warm up.
When to book your Lapland Santa break?
When to book - If you book early enough you can often tap into special booking offers for early birds. The same goes for booking at the last minute, with great prices and offers available. Just bear in mind that leaving it too late could see you unable to fly from your airport of choice, faced with a longer journey at either end. The same goes for the Lapland end of things - placed do book up quickly, and you don't want to leave it so late that there's nothing left. If you want to go at a specific time of year book early and enjoy an early booking discount. Bear in mind that the peak period for travel to Lapland is late November to the second week of December, a relatively small window of opportunity.
Can you make your journey as pleasant and smooth-running as possible? Of course. Here's how.
Book your transfers in good time - If you're not driving to the airport, book your travel there and back nice ans early so it's all done and dusted and you can relax.
Travel insurance - Buy travel insurance in good time and make sure it's a good quality policy that covers all the essentials.
Keep snacks handy - you never know when little children will get hungry en route.
Take entertainment for the journey - Keep the kids entertained and the journey will be a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
All the best travel companies loan holidaymakers warm winter clothing, including a thermal suit and snow boots, but you also need to bring lots of warm clothes of your own. Remember not to bring cotton clothes since cotton absorbs moisture and feels cold next to your skin. Wool, on the other hand, is great.
Long-sleeved shirts, fleeces and jumpers.
Extra waterproof gloves and hats in case yours get wet.
Special ski socks.
Neck warmers are excellent, especially when it's windy.
Hand and foot warmers and incredibly useful, adding extra cosiness to your gloves and socks.
Our biggest tip for Lapland wear? Layer up for supreme warmth!
When children are involved, it's lovely to build the excitement beforehand. The feel-good hormones and preparing your kids for the experience. In fact, weirdly, the positive effect of anticipation is often stronger than the actual experience itself, according to a study from the Netherlands.
Here are some cool things to do to prepare your little ones for their Christmas visit to Santa:
Count the days - you can even make a special holiday calendar for them to tick-off.
Reminisce about past holidays together.
Talk about the activities you'll do together in Lapland.
Read them stories about Santa and watch Christmas movies.
Paint and draw pictures of your destination.
Learn about Lapland, the Sami people, the reindeer, the food, the igloos, snow... there's so much to find out.
Show them videos and images of the Northern Lights.
Buy them a sketchbook to draw and write about their trip in, something they can also take with them and work on in Lapland.
Let them help with their own packing.
If you want your Lapland Santa break to be a complete surprise you'll need to keep everything really quiet, doing the organisation and admin when they're in bed or at school, and remembering not to get too excited yourself or mention it in front of them. With luck you'll be able to keep the destination a surprise from very small children until you get there and they actually see the snow!