1) Bigger and well broken in boots
Don’t even think about taking brand new boots on your trip – you ar just asking for trouble. A pair of well broken in and a size bigger make the best companion as it gives extra room for thicker socks (or 2) and an air pocket where warm air can circulate around your toes – enough wriggle room to keep the blood flowing. Mittens work in the same way and can keep your hands warmer than gloves.
2) Enough Light
If venturing to the igloos for a night under the Northern Lights, it may be worth taking an eye mask so that when you do want to sleep you can shut out all of the light – particularly when it can be light nights until late.
3) Always carry handwarmers
An inexpensive and necessary survival tool to combat the bite of the frost and overwhelming chill that can occur for first time visitors. Handwarmers are a key accessory when the wind picks up and the temperature can drop well below freezing.
4) Cameras at the ready
Make sure you are an expert with your photography equipment – there is nothing worse than missing an extraordinary moment because you don’t know how to operate your camera. Similarly make sure you have the right camera for moving shots (those Northern Lights won’t stay still) and a tripod to assist in capturing the picture you want. It’s always worth considering bringing spare batteries as the extreme cold will drain them quicker than at home, unless, of course, you live at the North Pole and you will already be aware of this fact.
5) Ice Hotels
Pretty much everywhere is cold, there’s just no getting around that, however some hotels will have a warm room should it all get a bit much. Be prepared to be cold and you will be fine, reindeer skins, a good sleeping bag, the correct clothing and a human radiator will also help beat the chill.
6) Embrace the transport
There is no way you can drive a car or take a bus in remote areas in the winter so either hire a jetski or a sled and a few dogs to help you get around. Alternatively take a reindeer drawn sleigh ride, covered in hide blankets for warmth – the experience is incredible and an absolute must and only adds to the adventure and romance of this beautiful place.
7) Get lost in time
During winter there can be as little as two hours daylight a day and this level of darkness allows for deep thoughtfulness and introspection that otherwise can escape us in our busy lives. Enjoy the space and the sound of silence as a thick blanket of snow helps to bring a feeling of seclusion that is quite magical and seductive and makes time irrelevant.
8) Respect for traditions
Whilst many of the Sami people will have day jobs and mobile phones their culture and heritage is engrained into them and they are deeply proud of their traditions. They will hunt, fish and gather berries and mushrooms from the forest much the same way their ancestors did. Observe and appreciate these whilst you are there – it’s an experience like no other to eat such fresh food.