How to Survive the Arctic Cold

How To Survive The Arctic Cold

Planning on holidaying to the Arctic during winter?

I recently travelled to Scandinavia in winter where I spent a whole week and a half inside the Arctic Circle in Sweden and Finland. If anyone tells you not to travel for fear of being too cold, don’t listen to them! Trust me when I say you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. The Aurora Borealis is more than worth the sub-zero temperatures you will need to endure, not to mention the awesome snow sports and adventures you’ll have while you’re there! :)

So, here are my tips on how to survive the freezing temperatures in the Arctic!

  1. Dress to Impress

Being Australian, no matter how many times I visit Europe during winter, I struggle to get used to the cold. I’ve spend two whole months travelling Europe, enduring temperatures colder than Sydney will ever experience which officially makes me a pro at knowing what to pack – ok so not officially, but hey, I’ve survived! These are the essentials you’ll need:

  • Thermal pants, long sleeved top, gloves, socks, scarf, beanie and underpants
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Leather and waterproof boots (many resorts in the Arctic will allow you to hire actual snow boots for free so don’t worry if you don’t want to fork out too much money on a pair of your own)
  • A thermal and waterproof snow suit. This thing is a life saver! You won’t have to purchase one of your own because you’ll always get offered the suit for free throughout your stay at any hotel in the Arctic (especially if you’ve booked to go on any outdoor activities)
  • Woollen jumpers, socks, and anything else you can fit underneath your thermal suit. Avoid cotton because the material doesn’t breath and if you happen to sweat, you’ll freeze a lot quicker!
Arctic fashion: This is pretty much how I looked the entire time I was inside the Arctic Circle ;)

Arctic fashion: This is pretty much how I looked the entire time I was inside the Arctic Circle ;)

  1. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Outside

Yes the Aurora is lighting up the sky and you didn’t travel this far to sit inside all day, but it’s also -37 degrees Celsius outside and that can be dangerous. Remember to keep moving around while you are outside. Jumping on the spot is a great way to keep your blood flowing. If you happen to get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible and don’t spend too long outside at a time. If you start to feel too cold the best thing to do is to get yourself inside and wait until you’ve warmed up again so know your limit and stick to it!

  1. Time Your Showers and Saunas Well!

There’s nothing more dangerous than having a shower before you step outside into the cold (except of course stepping outside naked ;) ). Showering will heat your body and leave moisture on your skin. Once you step outside, your body will start to cool and the water on your skin will cool faster. You’re going to get very, very cold very, very quickly. Only shower when you’re planning on staying inside for a while.

  1. Prepare to Catch a Cold

I survived a month in the cold without getting sick but not everyone is as lucky so come prepared. If you feel a tickle in the back of your throat, take something for it. You’ll hopefully kill off that bug before it does any more damage. There are plenty of supermarkets and chemists where you can stock up on cold and flu medicines but it usually works out cheaper if you pack your own.

Stay rugged up and minimise exposed skin!

Stay rugged up and minimise exposed skin!

  1. Ask For Help

If you start to lose the feeling in your feet, hands, or anywhere else, tell someone. There are locals here who know more about dealing with the cold than anyone else so they’ll get you warm in no time. If you’re staying at a hotel or a resort there are always people there to look after you, so just let them know if you start to feel like you’re not warm enough. Never just risk it!

How do you survive the cold?
Have you ever travelled into the Arctic? Let me know! :)

Ash
xx

FEATURE - Stockholm

Your Guide to Exploring Stockholm

So you’ve booked a trip to Stockholm. With plenty of attractions, a unique culture to experience and a whole different part of the world to navigate around, how do you best explore the city? Only having a total of two days to spend in Stockholm, my boyfriend and I had to prioritise the things I wanted to experience. So grab your map and travel to Stockholm with me.

Getting around

Lucky for you, Stockholm locals are taught English throughout school so as long as you can understand English yourself you’ll find it pretty easy to navigate your way around the city. If you’re planning on making the most of your time there, get yourself an access card. The card will enable you to catch all public transport for 24 hours – unlimited. It makes a huge difference if you’re planning on seeing as much as possible in just one day! The tram and train networks are extremely easy to use.

24 hour access cards can be used on all forms of public transport in Stockholm. (70KR)

24 hour access cards can be used on all forms of public transport in Stockholm. (70KR)

Attractions

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to exploring a city. Do you opt for the “touristy” attractions? Or do you try and make your experience as authentic as possible? Por que no los dos! Mix it up and make the most of everything the city has to offer! Here’s what my day looked like:

First thing we did was head to the closest train station (that was T-Centralen for us) and purchase our access card. Then we caught the train to Globen where we visited the Ericsson Globe and rode a mini globe to the top.

Ericsson Globe. Take the SKyview experience and ride a mini globe to the top! (150KR)

Ericsson Globe. Take the SKyview experience and ride a mini globe to the top! (150KR)

Then it was back to the city centre where we used our access card to catch a train to The Vasa Museum. There are free tours run by the museum in a number of languages so be sure to join one! You’ll be able to make your way through the museum a lot faster that way.

The Vasa Ship looks like something straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean!

The Vasa Ship looks like something straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean!

Just up the road from the museum is an open museum, shopping district and farm in one – Skansan! At 100SEK per adult, you’ll want to make the most of your time in the town. Here is where we ate traditional meatballs and lingonberries for lunch. With reindeer, seals, bison and wolves to watch and views over the whole of Stockholm, you’ll find it hard to leave.

Reindeer at Skansen! Don't miss out on the free animal talks throughout the day.

Reindeer at Skansen! Don’t miss out on the free animal talks throughout the day.

Just across the road from the main entrance to Skansen is ABBA The Museum. Whether you’re a fan of the dancing queens or not, the museum is one of the best attractions in town. The hands on museum makes it fun for everyone, from children to grandparents. The museum is one of the best I have ever been to.

After mixing our own ABBA song, we caught the city loop tram back into town for some shopping (don’t forget Sweden is the home of Zara!) and dinner.

Squeeze in a little more sightseeing before your meal and walk to Gamel Stran – Old town. You’ll get to see The Royal Palace, historic architecture and traditional Stockholm streetscapes, all on your way to dinner!

And there you have it! You have now explored Stockholm and it only took you one day.

That view tho! On top of the world at Skansen. :)

That view tho! On top of the world at Skansen. :)

What’s your favourite Stockholm attraction? Let me know! :)

Please note that I travelled to Stockholm in winter when there is less tourist traffic in the city. You may have to line up for attractions during busier seasons.

Ash
xx

Husky Sledding

Husky Sledding in Finland

I’ve never been one to enjoy extreme sports. I once went parasailing over Sydney Harbour and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I promised myself I would never do anything so extreme again. But there are extreme sports and then there are the extreme winter sports you have the opportunity to do once in your lifetime.

Over four days in January this year I was lucky enough to stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in northern Finland. There were plenty of activities to do every day including reindeer sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing and horse riding. But my favourite activity of all was husky sledding.

The resort’s private-owned farm of huskies is made up of over 250 pure bred Siberian which are much smaller than the Alaskan Husky.

At 9am on the morning of our adventure we met at the resort reception area (which was extremely disorganised for such a popular resort) where we met our transfer. Upon arrival at the husky farm just five minutes drive down the road, we were dressed in thermal snow suits, boots and gloves and shown the ropes on guiding our sleds. Each sled came with six dogs, tied to ropes which were attached to the sled. One person steered the sled and spoke the commands to the dogs, the other was able to sit inside the sled and relax (temperatures that reached minus 20 degrees Celsius– you can imagine how “relaxing” that must have been).

Husky sledding in Finland 🐶 #socute #sleddingpro #takemeback #minus20degrees

A video posted by Ashley Diterlizzi (@ashditerlizzi) on

Driving or steering the sled wasn’t difficult until the cold reached into the depths of your fingers and caused your hands to completely freeze! It was 25 degrees Celsius below zero the day we went out and after four hours of sledding in those sorts of conditions, well, you can imagine how cold we got.

At the end of the trek we were able to play with the dogs which were more than grateful for a pat. But we weren’t given long. Any longer and we probably would have suffered from hyperthermia. We were treated to a fire, hot soup and lingonberry juice, cake and bread by the locals who run the husky safari. It’s amazing how much of a difference hot soup can make!

I never understood the Finn’s obsession with saunas but that all changed after husky sledding. Sitting in the sled on our way back to the farm, there was nothing more I wanted than to set the sauna to 60 degrees Celsius and defrost. And that’s exactly what I did when I got back to our cabin.

If you ever get the chance to go husky sledding, please do. Money should be no objection when it comes to fun and the experience of a lifetime!

Have you ever been husky sledding?
What is your favourite extreme sport? Let me know! :)

Ash
xx