Taking your children to the Arctic Circle during the winter may seem like a bit of a daunting task and may prompt many questions. Will they be too cold? Is there enough for them to do? Where should I go and what activities are suitable? Here at Off the Map Travel; we have extensive knowledge and experience in helping you plan your holidays and that includes your children too! Here's some of our top tips...
In terms of taking children to the Arctic Circle – if they are above 2 years of age, or able to communicate with you effectively, then it is a lot easier. It’s not impossible to take an infant or young toddler to the Arctic but if they are this young it will need more planning. Most activities have a minimum age and these are non-negotiable in most instances where the children’s comfort and welfare are concerned however there are still options for you even with the little ones.
Probably the most common question; Will they be too cold?
The answer is: with the right clothing – No! It is very important to consider the right clothing for your children when travelling to the Arctic Circle and within this there are some additional things to think about particularly based on your child’s age. Babies are born in the Arctic all the time so it is perfectly feasible to take a young child with you on holiday here; however you need to be aware of their temperatures at all times. If a child is able to communicate with you properly and is able to tell you if they feel cold, or too hot (as sometimes we can over-layer as well!) then you have a better chance of keeping your kids comfortable and happy throughout your holiday.
If you child is below the age of 2 years old and cannot communicate with you effectively then we suggest that very careful consideration on where you go and the activities you do is taken so that you can still enjoy your holiday to the fullest. Here are some of the things you should think about;
- Consider a lodge or luxury apartment out of a city centre and away from light pollution and with lots of large windows so that you can all relax together in common areas to look for the Aurora together without having to go outside on a long and potentially very cold Northern lights chase.
- If budget allows; get a hosted accommodation whereby your host and guide can keep an eye out for the Aurora so that they can alert you when it is visible to avoid you having to stand outside for long periods of time.
- Choose private tours with suppliers that understand your children’s ages – a group tour may be a lot cheaper but if your little one gets cold, bored, hungry (you know the drill, right?) then on a group tour you will have little to no flexibility to make it more comfortable for you or your kids.
- In terms of clothing; Winter suits are better than trousers and jackets and mittens are better than gloves – this is all to do with getting the best amount of air circulating around the body which will act as insulation for your child. Jackets and trousers that don’t meet in the middle have the potential for the air to escape and mittens trap hot air around the fingers.
- Heat escapes from your head; but children don’t always like wearing a hat. Consider a balaclava instead to keep them toasty warm.
- Choose footwear that is velcro or elastic for children. Cold fingers will struggle with laces even if they can usually do them themselves! They also take time – if the Aurora comes out you want to be suited and booted as quickly as possible so as not to miss it!
- Your biggest enemy will be water! Not to drink – but getting wet. Make sure that all your outer layers and footwear are waterproof. If you get wet – you will get cold very quickly! Wool avoids getting soaked so if you have any keen knitters in the family; get them on board making socks, hats and scarves!
- Choose accommodation that has an array of ‘included’ equipment to use whilst you are staying there. Many lodges and accommodations in the Arctic include the use of snowshoes, skis, toboggans and kick sleds to keep the kids happy and entertained without going on long tours during the day. This will also keep them active and warm as well as engaged.
And the most important advice of all? Choose your tour operator wisely!! If you – for whatever unimaginable reason (we are only half joking!) choose not to use Off the Map Travel; you need to make sure that your tour operator understands your child’s needs and can effectively put together an itinerary that gives them AND you a holiday to remember for all the right reasons; free from tantrums, colds and boredom!