Tuesday, June 2, 2020

How to Plan for a Scandinavian Adventure

I honestly thought we'd get to visit more places this 2020, but all travel plans are now on hold due to the pandemic.

Currently, there are over 18,000 cases of Covid-19 here in our country and it doesn't feel like it's going to slow down anytime soon. The government has already placed most areas under General Community Quarantine, which means most of us are able to go out again, despite the fact that no mass testing has been done.

But, there’s only so much cooking, working out, and watching Netflix you can do in quarantine before you start getting itchy feet. The world has almost completely shut down over the past few months, putting everyone’s travel plans on hold.for the moment. However, if you’re an obsessed explorer, there are other ways you can occupy the time until you’re able to see the world again - and one of these ways is by planning your next adventure! You may have a list of locations you’re dying to see, or you might approach all your travels at random, but either way now is the perfect time to get prepared, so that you can jet off at the slightest notice. There are plenty of guides to hot beaches and island getaways out there, so let’s focus on something a little different - Northern Europe.
Tim and I actually went to Europe for our honeymoon last November, but we've been to none of these places. We were only able to go to Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, and a few places around Italy. The Nordic countries are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, alongside their associated territories of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Svalbard, and the Aland Islands. Each country has its distinctive character and sights to see. However, they all share certain characteristics; beautiful mountains, gorgeous lakes, stunning landscapes and cities, and very cold winters. This can result in magical experiences, such as Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel, but it does mean you need to plan your trip in a very different way than for a beach holiday in Italy!

Weather and Clothing
One of the wonderful things about the Scandinavian countries is their changes of season. In Norway, summer temperatures can climb to around 84 degrees Fahrenheit but then plunge in the winter to well below freezing. Of course, these swings can have a huge effect on what you’ll be doing, so make sure to decide what time of year you want to visit, and what holiday clothes you pack! In summer, you’ll be treated to amazing greenery and stunning views over the landscape in full bloom. However, the winter offers your best chance to see the aurora borealis shimmering across the sky. It all depends on what your priorities are for your trip. Either way, you’ll need to make sure you pack accordingly, with super warm jumpers for the colder months and a more mixed wardrobe if you visit in July.

Be Prepared for Costs
You may already be aware, but high wages and high taxes in the Scandinavian countries mean their quality of life ranks amongst the best in the world. However, for travelers, this also means that many items can seem extraordinarily expensive. Make sure you are prepared for this and take enough currency so you don’t get caught out - expect to pay the equivalent of $10 for a sandwich, and even more for any alcoholic beverages. Inflated costs make it even more important to plan well. Even in the winter, remember to take items like sunglasses to protect against the glare of the sun against snow, and avoid shelling out hundreds of unnecessary dollars to buy extra clothes and accessories whilst in the country. Finally, be aware that many Nordic countries do not use the Euro, and so you will need to exchange currencies across borders if you are traveling to more than one location.

Choose Your Destination
This is the exciting part! The five countries of Scandinavia cover a huge amount of landscape, and there’s no way you’ll be able to see everything unless you go to live there for a couple of years (at least). This means you’ll have to make some choices about where to visit based on what you want your experience to be about. For a stunning city break, Oslo in Norway is a brilliant choice, offering beautiful architecture and heaps of culture to take in and enjoy. If you want to see the Northern Lights, your best bet is to visit Iceland in the winter months, any time between September to mid-April. Iceland also has some stunningly bleak mountain scenery to take in if you want to get out of the city. On the other hand, if you’re an animal lover who can’t think of anything better than a holiday seeing reindeer and dog sledding across the wilderness, you should head straight for Lapland in the northern reaches of Finland. Here, husky-sledding holidays are big business - just make sure you wrap up warm against the wind!
Source: Pexels

If you’re ready to step away from the beaches and villas of holiday brochures, Scandinavia is the perfect place to start. The five countries of Northern Europe are stunningly beautiful, with enough culture and experiences to keep you busy for weeks. As long as you pack wisely and plan accordingly, this could be the trip of a lifetime - and definitely something to look forward to.
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and like my Facebook page for more stories like this!