Additional Information About Travel in Scandinavia
TippingAt the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (as well as Estonia on excursion), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Round-trip flights arrive in and depart from international airports in Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden. Included transportation is by a combination of private motor coach, overnight ferry and/or internal flight. In your free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation and on foot. Copenhagen’s flat landscape lends itself to walking, but the transportation system is also superb. A network of 10 S-trains serves all the main attractions, connecting in Central Station. There is also a bus network called HT. Oslo is easily accessible on foot. You may also take a combination of buses, subways, streetcars and ferries to break up periods of walking. Stockholm is a model of efficiency. An extensive network of subway, train and bus lines are all run by the SL. The Stockholm Card is valid for all transport and entrance to most of the city’s main attractions. A similar system exists in Helsinki, on the HKL Transportation network.
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in something more formal. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
There are no major health risks at your destinations. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Scandinavian cuisine is a wide variety of fish and meats, like pork and poultry, as well as beets, potatoes, cucumbers, broiled, baked, and smoked apples, and much more food. Scandinavian cuisine sticks to basics. Historically, the Vikings' meals always contained oysters or mussels, sometimes with some mutton, cheese, cabbage, apples, onions, berries and nuts. It is very common in Scandinavia to eat a little more salty than in other parts of the world. Keep this in mind when ordering food in Scandinavia. Salted or smoked meat and fish were the two ways to keep meat fresh during long, dark Scandinavian winters, and the tradition has survived to this day.
The Danish krone, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona and euro (in Finland), as well as the Russian ruble (on extension), are the currencies you will be using on your tours. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take a combination of bank/debit cards and credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges and freeze your account. Travelers checks are getting more dif
Scandinavian countries use the European standard 220 volts. It is advisable not to bring an electric hairdryer to European countries, as it is difficult to match up to electrical needs. Better to see if your accommodations offer one, or purchase a cheap one while on tour.
Denmark, Norway and Sweden are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it is noon in California, it’s 9 p.m. in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Finland is two hours ahead of GMT, so when it is noon in California, it is 10 pm in Helsinki.