As the song goes; 'It's the most wonderful time of the year' and that magic is now played out by parents up and down the UK, wanting to deliver that extra-special Christmas memory to their children! As we are now on the run-up to Christmas, families, particularly children, will be feeling that rise of excitement and the popularity of special event holidays have become a feature on Christmas wish-lists! Special secret surprise trips to see Father Christmas in his hideaway in Lapland, are one such seasonal 'event' holidays!
Sadly, each year we receive complaints from parents who have been severely disappointed by the failure of the promise provided by the 'real' Father Christmas brochure. We have heard of holidaymakers experiencing a rushed 'day' trip, with little of what was promised or indeed having to deal with children's disappointment at not seeing Father Christmas, to serious injuries as a result of tobogganing or other activities!
To help you choose and get the best from that last minute getaway to the 'North Pole', here are my 5 top tips to get you going!
1. Check the detail: One of the most important disappointments comes from parent's discovering that there is not enough time to experience it all! Many holidaymakers choose a day trip because it suits their pocket, but if you intend to book you need to check your travel times and measure that against what they say you will experience. You need to factor in flight delays and ask yourself; 'will we have enough time to do all of this'? You should also check the small print to see if there are any limitations to the attractions along with extra charges - that could affect your enjoyment and pocket! One great way to understand what you may get for your money is to check out travel review sites - what do they say? Compare and contrast the different experiences; only when you are satisfied that the experience they claim you will have is possible, should you book, but,
2. Prepare for crowds: Another disappointment expressed by holidaymakers is that they found their experience to be chaotic because of the large numbers of people at some of the locations! It is vital that you check on this before you book and determine how big the complex is and the numbers of people who would normally visit on any given day - if the tour operator is not forthcoming, then call the location (English is widely spoken) or check out those travel reviews before you book! If it's something smaller or more intimate you are looking for, do that research before you book!
3. Clothing: It's going to be cold! Some travel companies offer additional clothing when you get there, but some holidaymakers have told us that these were not available. If you are going to travel to this climate-zone, think about what you are going to wear before you go. Just before Christmas, some low-cost supermarkets in the UK offer great ski/winter wear gear at a really low price! I have personally found this clothing to be of very good quality and well worth the money and great for our own winter - you should think about this investment no matter what the brochure may say!
4. Food: Whilst Nordic countries offer cuisine suitable for Western European palette's, you should prepare for something different! It is not uncommon to be offered Reindeer or other similar Nordic fare and you will see the pelts of these animals offered for sale. Whilst some holidaymakers have expressed shock to us, consumers should be aware that you are travelling to a different culture and way of life and you should prepare for what you will see, smell and taste - make sure you prepare your children for this experience!
5. Travel Safe: It is absolutely vital, even if you are only travelling for one day, to carry with you fully comprehensive Travel Insurance to protect you against accidents! As Lapland is a region within Finland, you should also bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. If you intend to take part in any activity such as tobogganing, then advise your Travel Insurer to make sure that you have adequate cover!
By following these simple tips, not only will you get best value for money but you should be left with memories of a lifetime!