Finland family travel advice

Spotting the Northern Lights with kids

Spotting the Northern Lights with kids

Ali McLean, from our supplier, Activities Abroad, shares his Finnish Lapland travel tips
“A couple of years ago I was at Lake Inari, standing on the frozen lake waiting for the Northern Lights. It was -27°C and the kids were sitting inside a hut under blankets and next to a fire. About midnight the Lights came out and I ran in asking them to come and see the display. My daughter looked at me and said, ‘nah dad, we’ve already seen them.’ Kids have to be a certain age to appreciate them; I’d say anyone below their teenage years doesn’t have enough of a grasp of what they are and gets too tired and too cold for the hunt. It tends to be a trip for the older generation while the kids get stuck into all the great winter sports.”
Picking activities

Picking activities

Urpo Heikkinen, from our supplier Upitrek, offers advice on activities that suit kids
“Families need to pick activities carefully. Kids can do softer treks but if they get tired you may need to take a short cut so that no one gets left in the forest! They can see reindeer and sometimes elk on the walks, but bear watching is a problem as in the hides you sometimes have to be silent for hours. It depends on the nature of the children and how active they are. Sometimes it works, but it’s not for everyone.”
Itinerary tips

Itinerary tips

Riitta Kiukas, founder of specialist Finland vacation supplier, Skafur-Tour, on the best age for kids to travel here:
“Children of all ages can travel to Lapland. Finnish children are just babies when they start to spend their vacations in Lapland. There are covered toboggans for babies to sleep in during cross-country skiing for example. For very small children reindeer farm visits are fine, as well as short husky safaris. In Saariselkä and Vuokatti there are also indoor Angry Birds Activity Parks. Already very small children (from two years on) can learn to cross country ski and enjoy ice fishing, if it is not too cold. With children it is easy to stay in log cabins with your own kitchen.”

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Northern lights family vacation, tailor made

Northern lights family vacation, tailor made

A mix of Lapland family activities and a relaxing Spa hotel

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Tips on staying warm

Tips on staying warm

Riitta Kiukas, founder of specialist Finland vacation supplier, Skafur-Tour, on what to wear in Finnish Lapland in winter:
“You can best cope with the cold by dressing in layers – so that’s thermal underwear, fleece middle wear, sports socks with a high wool percentage – and by knitting woollen socks for yourself before the tour.”
Juha-Pekka Tuominen from Activities Abroad has this advice on staying toasty:
“Having worked in the region for many years, we have taken advice from our colleagues who live there and they suggest that layers of natural fibres such as wool and silk offer the best protection against the cold. Hand and feet warmers can also make the difference between really enjoying or enduring a winter activity. We suggest shorter duration activities for families, it is always best for families to finish an activity wanting more rather than with cold fingers, toes and tears wanting it to be over. The guides have experience of working with families who are not accustomed to the climate, so they will be regularly checking that everyone is warm enough and on most activities there will be a break to have some warm juice.”
Food and snacking tips

Food and snacking tips

Juha-Pekka Tuominen from Activities Abroad on healthy eating amongst kids in Finland:
“Finnish people are generally quite healthy so snacks children will be given would typically be sandwiches, yoghurt, fruit and porridge. However they seem pretty keen on microwave pizza and candy too!”

Tips from our family travelers in Finland

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Finland family travel advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.
The weather was excellent for us in early August
– Richard Mayneord
“The weather was excellent for us in early August, low 20’s every day, hardly any rain but pack for all weathers just in case. Take plenty of insect repellent, there are millions of mosquitos about in the summer months in the pine forests of northern Finland.” – Richard Mayneord

“Take a lot of socks.” – Louise Robertson in Lapland in winter

“Pack suitable clothing. Although the warm outer gear is perfect for tours, it is a little cumbersome for just popping to dinner. So good winter gear to go from the cabin to the main lodge. Also, we travelled with a 10 month old baby, so take a sling. The staff were fantastic and loaned us a cart with a reindeer skin, blankets and pillows to transport our baby from the cabin to the lodge. This was great! But if you wanted to go a bit further afield, the sling was important because it keeps the baby a lot warmer. Don't overpack. In the winter you don't really need to change your clothes that often and there isn't a great deal of storage in the cabins. We had too much stuff and didn't use most of it.” – Sarah Chandler in Lapland in winter

Don't overpack. In the winter you don't really need to change your clothes that often and there isn't a great deal of storage in the cabins. We had too much stuff and didn't use most of it.
– Sarah Chandler in Lapland in winter
“We would recommend bringing your own gloves and if you have trouble with circulation in hands and feet - there are little packs of chemicals that heat up and can been worn inside your glove and that keep you warm. You have no idea how cold -30 degrees is, especially when you are sitting still in the sledge or on the back of the skidoo!” – Leontine Mastenbroek in Lapland in winter

“A set of thermal underwear is essential. Don’t take wet wipes as they freeze solid.” – Susan Prcychodny
Written by Justin Francis
Photo credits: [Page banner: Visit Lakeland] [Spotting the Northern Lights with kids: Aurora Borealis ] [Picking activities - bear watching : Gary Bembridge ] [Itinerary tips - young child: Visit Lakeland] [Tips on staying warm - Child in the snow : Tomi Knuutila] [Kids sliding down hill : Visit Lakeland] [Berries: mako] [Pine forests: Ari Tikka ] [forest walk: Outdoors Finland] [Kids sledging : Greg Pye ]