Santa's Lapland FAQs

Everything you need to know

Travel Information

How much luggage can be taken on the plane?

Passengers travelling with Titan have a baggage allowance of 1x 20kg Hold luggage 1x 10kg Hand baggage per person.

Passengers travelling with Jet2 have a baggage allowance of 1x 22kg Hold luggage 1x10 kg Hand baggage per person.

Will anything on my holiday change due to Brexit?

As of the 1st January 2021, the UK has left the EU. Here’s what you need to know before travelling with us:

Passports: You'll need to ensure that you have at least six months validity left on your passport when returning from EU countries. You can check whether your passport will need renewing for your trip here. You may also be required to provide your evidence of your return ticket and that you have enough currency for your holiday when arriving in your destination.

Travel Disruption: When entering and exiting countries, it is your responsibilty to give yourself extra time to get through the immigration queues in the airports as there will be delays. We may have to organise our transfers slightly to help with this and ensure that you have extra time.

Driving in the EU: From 28 September UK stickers will replace GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK before, on or after 28 September 2021.

If you are hiring a car, ensure you have a green card. In both cases you must make sure that you have the relevant international driving insurance with your chosen provider.

EHIC Cards and Travel Insurance: Under a new agreement with the EU, UK residents are now able to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has expired. This will give you access to emergency and medically necessary healthcare in the EU during your holiday. You can still use your EHIC card, excluding Switzerland and Norway, if it is still valid and in date and as part of our terms and conditions, you must also still hold valid travel insurance to cover your personal circumstances, (pre-existing conditions, etc). In Norway, you can show your UK Passport to receive limited urgent healthcare.

Data Roaming: Free data roaming will cease, therefore you need to be aware of any additional charges for using your phone and data abroad. Most of our properties have complimentary Wi-Fi for guests to use, but please remember that this is for social usage only.

ATOL & ABTA: As we are an ATOL and ABTA bonded UK travel company, guests booking with us enjoy comprehensive consumer protection. Your holiday will be protected under the Package Travel Regulations, which means you have the right to a full refund if, for any reason, we can no longer provide your holiday.

Visas: There are no current plans to implement necessary visas to travel in Europe in 2021, but if that changes we will ensure you are made aware before travelling with us.

The UK government and ABTA have also put together some useful information about holidaying in the EU after the 31st January 2020. These resources can be found below:

Which airport can I fly from?

You can fly from 14 regional airports from around the UK, including London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh & East Midlands.

What are the flights like?

Our flights fly direct to Saariselkä’s own local airport of Ivalo, with an easy 25-minute transfer from Saariselkä itself.

All flights, both outbound and return, include a full buy-on–board service with drinks and snacks etc, but we always recommend bringing extra snacks for the little ones.

What kind of insurance do I need?

It is a condition of booking with us that you and your party take out suitable Wintersports Insurance from a reputable provider.

We would strongly recommend that you take travel insurance out at the time of booking that offers additional Coronavirus cover.

Our insurance partner Campbell Irvine offer travel insurance with additional comprehensive Covid-19 cover and will be happy to give you a quote. To contact them, please visit their website

Do you have any airport parking offers?

Through our partnership with APH, we are able to offer up to 35% discount to all of our Santa’s Lapland customers at airports throughout the UK.

With our Lapland flights all departing early in the morning why not take advantage of some of the great ‘Airport Hotel and Parking’ packages and stay at an airport hotel the night before you fly. This takes the stress out of getting to the airport in the morning on time and finding the car park. Taking an extra night away this allows you to wake up fully refreshed & enjoy your entire break to Lapland

If an overnight stay is not for you then the ‘Meet & Greet’ Valet Parking is the perfect way of dropping your car off. ‘Meet & Greet’ Valet Parking saves you time, hassle free and so convenient. Simply drive to the airport terminal, where an APH chauffeur meets you and takes your car to their nearby secure car-park. On your return, your car is then delivered back to you directly at the terminal, for you to drive straight off home!

What if I want to go longer than 2 or 3 nights?

Our sister brand Inghams offers 3 & 4 night Santa Breaks to Levi and Ylläs in Finland as well as 7 night breaks to LeviYlläs and Saariselkä.

Activities

What happens with the children’s letters to Santa?

We will send out full details to you with our special writing paper for your little ones – all this is supplied with your pre-departure information.

Are activity vouchers issued?

A voucher will be in your welcome pack for any optional activities that are pre-booked. Details of extra activities are on your invoices.

What is included in my experience?

All of our experiences include return flights to Ivalo Airport, transfers, half-board accommodation, a fun-filled activity day with a private family visit to see Santa, and complimentary snowsuits to keep you warm.

How easy is it to drive a snowmobile?

Our guide will make sure everyone's safe and following the rules before you set off. If a grown-up wants to drive, you need to be over 18 and have a full driving licence. You'll get a helmet too.

The dedicated trails are like roads, with 'give way' signs to look out for. And just like roads, you can't have had any alcohol before heading out.

There's room for one passenger per snowmobile. You don't need to be a specific age to ride pillion but you need to be able to reach the footrests, and be strong enough to hold on properly around the driver's waist or hand grips.

To drive, you'll need to book a single driver supplement. And if a grown-up wants to go in the sleigh, you'll need to let us know in advance.

Is there time to go skiing?

Yes, there is time to go downhill skiing on the ‘Adventure Day’ on the Santa's Magic and Santa's Aurora Packages 4 day breaks.

Booking & Payments

How much deposit do I have to pay for a Santa's Lapland holiday?

The deposit amount you pay for your holiday is £150 per person. This is taken when confirming your booking. If we have secured additional scheduled or low-cost flights for your booking, we will take payment to cover any additional costs at the same time as taking your deposit. Please note that these are non-refundable in the event of cancellation.

Santa's Lapland Price Promise

If you are yet to book and you find a Santa’s Lapland holidays cheaper with a travel agent, we will match the price. You’ll then get all of the Lapland magic for the same amount you would pay if booking through your local travel agent. This applies to new bookings only. 

Are there any deals or special offers I can take advantage of when booking?

You can find our latest Santa's Lapland deals here. Our offers are subject to availability and we have often have limited places, so it's best to book early to avoid disappointment. 

When do the pre-booked Optional Adventures operate?

For our 4 day breaks, our Optional Adventures are usually on your Adventure Day and for our 3 day breaks, the Northern Lights Snowmobile trip will be on the first evening, with all other excursions on the departure morning. These times are typically given upon arrival, but can change due to unforeseen circumstances

Our snow guarantee - what happens if there is a lack of snow?

The weather is an important factor on our Santa’s Lapland holidays, we’re always keeping an eye on the forecast and speaking with our local suppliers. If we have any cause for concern about the weather conditions, we will endeavour to contact you 7 days before your departure to let you know.

If we and our suppliers believe that there’s not enough snow to run the activities included in your Santa’s Lapland package, we will contact you again 72 hours before travel with an update and advice on the options available to you, which may include cancellation.

In the event that we decide that there is insufficient snow you will have the following choices:

  • you can amend your travel dates to any of our other Santa’s Lapland dates that are available in the same season and at no cost, provided that the elements of the holiday (accommodation, room type, duration and party composition) remain the same. If you change any of the holiday elements, you’ll need to pay the difference in price if it is more expensive, or if the new arrangements are cheaper, you will receive a refund of the difference.
  • If you decide not to travel at all, you can cancel with a full refund of all monies paid to Santa’s Lapland for the trip.
Does Lapland suit infants and toddlers?

We do not recommend these trips for infants under 2 years of age. Toddlers of 3-4 years generally love the excitement and magic of it all, but clearly will not be able to benefit from all of the activities. You can find out more about who our Santa's Lapland holidays are best enjoyed by here.

Are the trips suitable for grandparents?

Yes, absolutely! Many grandparents head to Lapland every year and they have tremendous fun, not to mention the simple joy of being with the grandchildren in such a magically special place! You can find out more about who our Santa's Lapland holidays are for here.

On selected dates we also offer savings for grandparents travelling with family. Find out more about our grandparents savings here

The Resort

Is there time to buy souvenirs?

Yes, on the itineraries we share with you, you'll spot that there is plenty of free ‘fun-time’. Saariselkä has several small souvenir shops and a supermarket for purchasing traditional Lappish goodies, with Ivalo airport also having a small selection of souvenir shops.

What if an extra-large thermal suit or boots are needed?

Not a problem as we have a lot of sizes to cater for most, but please mention this when you book so we can ensure our team puts one aside for when you arrive in resort.

What is the normal temperature in Lapland?

During December it is normally about -12°C, but can reach as low as -30°. These temperatures are perfectly manageable however with the thermal suits and boots we provide free of charge. The team will amend itineraries if weather conditions will affect your magical trip. You can find out more about Lapland and Saariselka here.

How ‘commercialised’ is it?

As you can imagine, we want you to experience the true, traditional spirit of Christmas, set in the unspoilt wilderness of Lapland, where each family’s private meeting with Santa is much less commercialised for example than a department-store ‘grotto’ in the UK.

Saariselkä has kept its charming, unspoilt atmosphere and ‘winter wonderland’ feel, which creates a far more magical and Christmassy atmosphere than some larger resorts.

You can find out more about Lapland and Saariselka here.

Do the Finnish speak English?

Yes, most people in Saariselkä speak English extremely well as do our team.

How many hours of daylight can we expect?

There's about four and a half hours of daylight in December, with approximately two to three hours of ‘grey light’ either side, rather like twilight in the UK.

What currency is used in Lapland?

The Euro is the local currency in Lapland, with only one cash-point machine in Saariselkä so please ensure you bring enough Euros with you!

Major credit cards (except American Express) are accepted in hotels, most restaurants and for booking the optional adventures locally.

What is the food like?

Our Saariselkä accommodations serve an extensive buffet breakfast and a simple and sustaining lunch is provided on your ‘Search for Santa’ day rather than ‘Haute Cuisine’.

Lunch is not included on arrival or departure days, or on your ‘Adventures Day’ on our Santa’s 4-day breaks. Dinner in the hotels is generally buffet-style, and mostly offers a choice of international cuisine, some Lappish specialities and standard children’s options.

What are the Northern Lights and when can they be seen?

The ‘Aurora Borealis’, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon caused by solar particles colliding with the earth’s magnetic field.

As a natural event, no one can predict or guarantee their appearance during your stay. However, December is one of the best times to see them, and Saariselkä is an ideal location, being one of Lapland’s most northerly resorts.

Is there a swimming pool?

Yes, there is a superb swimming-pool in the Santa's Hotel Holiday Club in Saariselkä, complete with water-slide, waves, water-chutes, two whirlpool spa-baths, an upstream ‘river’, children’s pool and pool-bar!

It is free for Holiday Club guests, and offers a special reduced rate, payable locally, for my other guests staying elsewhere.

What is the time difference in Lapland?

Lapland is 2 hours ahead of UK time in December (i.e. GMT + 2).

Santa

Are the meetings with Santa private for each family?

Yes absolutely!

We know how important and special this time is for you and your family so it will be just you and Santa himself. You'll have a team of helpers helping you find Santa's hidden log-cabins in the woods, with those on our Santa's Magic package travelling by snowmobile and a driver and our Santa's Aurora package arriving by reindeer sleigh.

What to bring

What is the best thing to wear?

Santa's Lapland is above the Arctic Circle, so the right clothing makes all the difference in keeping you and your children warm, happy and having fun.

We've got a lot of information on what to wear and what to pack here, but rest assured we will arrange for each of you to have a complimentary thermal outer-suit for your stay, along with cosy woollen socks, snow-boots, outer gloves and hats, all free of charge.

We recommend you also bring additional mittens or gloves (ideally waterproof ones for children’s snow play) to be worn next to the skin, and balaclavas or scarves to cover your face if necessary.

Hats should have flaps or be able to be pulled down to cover your ears. Several layers are far more insulating than one or two thick items, so the best bet is thermal undies, shirt or roll-neck fleece and a jacket/anorak under your suit when outdoors.

Is it worth bringing a camera?

Yes absolutely as there will be so many magical moments to capture! However, extreme cold can adversely affect some cameras, so do check the manufacturers’ guidelines.

Camera and phone batteries also discharge very quickly in the cold, so bring plenty of spares! Also be aware of the ‘twilight’ times, when flash photography is necessary.

Sustainability

What is carbon offsetting?

A carbon offset is an act of balancing out carbon emissions by making reductions elsewhere or removing them altogether.

Almost everything you do generates carbon emissions. If you can measure how much you are producing, you can pay to have it offset by taking an equivalent amount out of the atmosphere. Some projects that you pay into replace fossil fuels with cleaner technologies so they don’t produce any carbon at all; other projects plant trees and regenerate natural spaces, which absorb carbon from the air. Projects should deliver positive outcomes for the local communities involved; better air quality, more secure jobs, access to education and medical facilities.

Carbon offsetting is a divisive issue, and we accept that. Carbon offsets is not the answer, but it is something that we are able to do now. It supports communities and livelihoods around the world, and it can make a difference while we also get started on the sections of our business that we can change.

Why should we do it?

It’s good for us, it’s good for our community, and it’s good for the future. It’s our duty to give back and help preserve the environment for future generations.

We’re not green yet, but we’re doing what we can to be more environmentally friendly.

How much carbon does my holiday produce?

We don’t know yet—exactly—but we’re working on it. We're determined to discover our holiday impact and make it more sustainable. We're already working with carbon consultants and biologists, and we know what an average winter holiday footprint is – and where the most impactful areas are within our holidays (flights, accommodation and food for example).

How much does it cost to offset?

Offsetting varies in price and each provider has their own price per tonne. You can either choose a pay as you go option, or buy in bulk.

From 1 March 2022 there will be up to £10 per person allocated from the price of our holidays, that will be paid to offset projects. We have teamed up with ClimateCare to do this and plan to complement our offsetting programme by investing in a rewilding partner to restore nature.

Is carbon offsetting enough?

As we have mentioned, carbon offsetting alone does not tackle the climate crisis. In fact there are so many challenges our world faces and focusing only on greenhouse gas emissions is too narrow. We prioritise both climate change and the biodiversity crisis, side by side, interlinked. We need to reduce our footprint, we need to restore and protect nature, and we need to do it alongside our local communities which are often disproportionately affected by these issues.

In short, carbon offsetting is a starting point – a launch pad, but we have plenty more up our sleeves.

What else are you doing as a business?

We’ve just launched our new sustainability framework, which pulls together everything we need to focus on as a business, from our impact on the environment to working closely with our communities and suppliers and ensuring we are a purpose driven and responsible company to work for. Our office is already zero waste to landfill, using green energy and has solar panels on the roof— we’re also reviewing all our policies and challenging each and every team in the business to continually improve.

We will be taking action against gender imbalance in the industry, equity and access, how we invest financially, and who we want to partner with.

We’re doing a lot! We have someone working on this issue full time, as well as teams within our organization working on sustainable change. We’re always talking with experts, because truly sustainable change needs everybody involved.

What can I do to help?

We can all play our part and make better decisions going forwards. Simple changes. Buy less plastic—a Water to Go bottle saves ever having to buy a single use bottle. Take shampoo/conditioner/soap bars rather than bottles. Eat in local restaurants and speak to the people in local shops—it’s important that we are welcomed by those hosting us, and not intruding.

A bigger switch might be travelling by train around Europe. You might be surprised how little extra time it takes to travel by train across Europe. Or you could fly one way and take the train the other—that would help reduce your carbon footprint.

Making more conscious choices while travelling isn't about "having less" or "going without"; it's just about thinking before you buy, wasting less, being more efficient, eating local food, buying local crafts, trying a few words in another language.

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