This post originally appeared on the Shandon Travel blog.
This Friday is one of the biggest nights of the year- the Late Late Toy Show. The sound of the Billy Barry Kids and the sight of Ryan in his geansaí means it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit with our top tips for visiting Lapland!
The Ferris Wheel is being put together on the Grand Parade, while Glow Cork is currently under construction in Bishop Lucey Park next to our shop. Some of us will be putting up our Christmas trees this weekend while watching the Toy Show, others already have their trees up a few weeks now!
Either way, we’re feeling festive at Shandon Travel this week. And what’s more festive than a trip to Lapland to meet the man himself- Santa Claus! If you’re planning to book this experience for Christmas 2019, remember that Shandon Travel’s Easy Pay allows you to pay with a deposit of €150pp and the remainder in installments. (Ask us for more info!)
So what’s a trip to Lapland all about? We’ve put together a list of our Top Tips for getting the most from your Santa Claus experience:
Bring The Right Clothes
It goes without saying that it will be cold in Lapland. While it’s likely to be around -10°C, it’s not unusual for temperatures to drop to -30°C. Don’t know how cold that is? Imagine the hairs inside your nose freezing up… now you’re getting it.
Make sure to bring lots of layers you can add and remove as you go between the well-heated hotels and shops and the below- freezing outdoors. As well as gloves, hats, snoods, balaclavas, ear muffs, scarves, socks and coats, we definitely recommend getting a thermal vest or underarmour. Hand warmers can also be a godsend- the air activated ones are particularly good for children.
The Holiday Starts Straight Away
Having your scarves, coats and hats to hand on the plane is a great idea- you’ll be able to keep warm and get into the snow as soon as you land in Finland.
If you’re travelling with a tour operator, the plane ride itself is part of the experience. There’s singing, Santa games and the inevitable countdown to landing in Lapland. The atmosphere on the flight is sure to make even the most Grinch-like of people embrace the magic of Santa Claus.
Best Foot Forward
You’ll also need a good pair of boots that you can wear in the snow. Wearing boots that are a little too big means you can add a couple of pairs of wooly socks for extra toasty warmth. Bring a couple of extra pairs of socks in case you get wet. Most Lapland packages will include snow boots and ski jackets- make sure to ask us for information.
If you’re buying a new pair of boots for your Lapland adventure, try them on and break them in a little before your holiday. Your feet will thank you for it.
The cold weather will drain the batteries in your electronic devices very quickly. Don’t forget to bring extra camera batteries and/ or a power pack for your mobile phone. You definitely don’t want to miss those special once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities.
Wearing gloves with magnetic fingertips will save your hands from the cold- you won’t have to take them off every time you go to use your phone or take a photo. Remember to bring a tripod if you’re hoping to photograph the stunning Northern Lights.
A holiday to Lapland is an amazing chance to try an activity you’d otherwise never get to do. Glide across the snow on a husky, reindeer or sleigh ride.
For thrillseekers, a snowmobile ride is a fantastic experience. The built-in hand and toe warmers on a snowmobile means they can be a very cosy option for sightseeing. Ask us about booking all your snow activities before you head off.
Take advantage of the proper snow to build giant snowmen, take part in a giant snowball fight, make snow angels and other winter activities we hardly ever get to do in Ireland.
Look After Your Body
The cold weather can be harsh on your skin, so we recommend bringing moisturiser and lip balm. Drink lots of water too.
Bring lots of snacks to keep everyone’s energy up during the day’s snow activities and keep you going between meals. Trips to Lapland often involve early flights and long days so having a few snacks on hand can be useful for the journey too.
See The Northern Lights
These incredibly beautiful ribbons of light flowing across the night sky should be on the must-see list for any visitor to Lapland. Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the colourful Northern Lights are the result of particles from the sun interacting with our atmosphere. The visibility of the Northern Lights is dependent on a number of factors, including light pollution and cloud cover.
There are free apps which forecast how likely it is for the lights to be visible, and this allows you to plan for the best chance of viewing this amazing phenomenon. You can also enter your location and get push notifications for when auroral activity is expected to be high.
As we said before, a tripod is vital for getting a good photo of the Northern Lights but there are some great small portable options out there that won’t break the bank.
What it’s all about- a chance the meet the main man himself. The Santa Claus Village near the town of Rovaniemi offers lots of fun activities- from making cookies in Mrs. Gingerbread’s Kitchen to attending Elf School. Visit the Ice Princess’ Ice Gallery or take a ride on the Magic Train.
Enjoy a reindeer ride, try a traditional Finnish sauna, visit the petting zoo or send a letter from Santa’s post office- complete with an Arctic Circle postmark. Some tour operators will give you a scheduled time to meet Santa, others operate on a queueing basis- ask us for more information.
Meeting Santa Claus in Lapland is a magical event you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Several adult members of the Shandon Travel team have returned from Lapland positively star-struck after their experience, so we can only imagine how it feels for the little ones!