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Frequently Asked Questions About Travel to Scandinavia

 

Turaida Castle in Gauja National Park, Latvia | Scandinavian American World Tours

Financial Needs | Weather + Packing Prep | Accommodations | Practical | Where do you get your photos?

Click on the links above to jump to a specific section in our FAQs list. From packing tips to information about hotels and currency, we answer your most frequently asked questions below. There’s a lot to learn about traveling to Scandinavia, but we cover as much as we can here—including where some of the most interesting photos on the website can be found for future vacations!—and we’re always willing to talk with you further over the phone or by email.

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Red Square and the Kremlin, Moscow | H. Harutyunyan

Financial Needs

What are the hours of operation for banks and currency exchanges?

Normal Hours: Monday – Friday 9:30 AM until 4 PM.

Outside of these hours, you can find banks at the airports or central rail stations.

ATM machines are usually located outside of the banks, and are open 24/7.

Currency and traveler’s checks can, if needed, be exchanged at most hotels and larger stores. Be aware: the most advantageous rates of exchange are obtained at banks.

Will my credit cards work in Scandinavia?

Scandinavia: Accepts all credit cards at most major stores, hotels, and restaurants. Make sure to have your credit card’s PIN code and a picture ID when using your credit card for purchases in stores, etc.

Russia: Some shops & restaurants accept Visa/MC. Bring your credit card’s PIN code in case you need to use the ATM machine.

The Baltics: Credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels, stores, and restaurants in the capital cities.

What currency do I need?

Currencies for all of the countries we operate within are listed below. The currencies are NOT interchangeable. We recommend bringing a small amount of currency before entering each country to avoid searching for cash.

Denmark (Danish Krone / DKK), Sweden (Swedish Krona / SEK), Norway (Norwegian Krone / NOK), Finland (Euro), Iceland (Icelandic Krona / ISK), Russia (Ruble), Lithuania (Litas), Latvia (Lati), Estonia (Euro), and Greenland (Danish Krone / DKK).

Exchange rates fluctuate. Contact your bank or check the business sections in the newspaper.

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Weather + Packing Prep

What is the climate like in Scandinavia?

Frequent weather changes (similar to New England). Generally, you can expect mixed weather during your trip to Scandinavia. Please note, however, that this is a general guide to weather for the region. It may be much colder while touring the mountains.

Temperatures

May + September – 50’s to low 70’s

June, July and August – 60’s to high 70’s

What clothing should I bring on my trip?

Scandinavia: We suggest layering medium weight clothing. Bring an extra sweater and raincoat for warmth, just in case. Bring casual clothing for sightseeing and touring. Countryside dining is also casual, but at fancy hotels or restaurants we recommend a jacket for men and a dress or nice pants for women.

Bring comfortable and/or hiking shoes for sightseeing and touring, especially in the mountainous areas of Norway.

Greenland and Iceland packing suggestions: wind and water resistant trousers, shoes with a good grip sole, warm cap or headband, scarf, gloves/mittens, thermal underwear, warm sweaters/jackets, warm socks, swimsuit, and sunscreen/sunglasses.

Antarctica packing suggestions: water-repellent trousers, a fleece jacket or wool sweater, comfortable clothing, long thermal underwear, binoculars, seasickness pills, small backpack for landings, hat/scarf/mittens/gloves, wool socks, sunblock and sunglasses.

Stock Exchange and Christiansborg Castle_Large_2

Accommodations

Hotels

Scandinavian American World Tours provides you with the best value in hotels. Please note, apart from the newer 1st class and deluxe hotels, very few hotels have air conditioning due to the generally moderate climate. Also, you may not find washcloths in the bathroom at some hotels.

Check in is generally at 2 PM. Most transatlantic flights arrive early in the morning, but hotel management will try to make your wait as comfortable as possible.

Check out is generally between 11 AM – 12 PM.

On tour, please follow instructions from your tour escort.

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Practical

What electric outlets are used in Scandinavia?

All countries use 220/230 volts AC current, with the wall outlets using various volt types. The U.S. uses 120 volts; you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.

Check your camera and/or laptop computer chargers – your may be able to use it with an adapter for the electrical outlet.

Is English widely spoken throughout Scandinavia?

English is Scandinavia’s second language and is spoken fluently throughout the majority of the region. In Russia and the Baltic States, English is generally spoken at major hotels and tourist locations. Our tours are conducted in English, however they may also be multilingual.

Are there any language, luggage handling, or document restrictions?

On our escorted tours, the porterage is included for one normal size suitcase/person due to the limited capacity of the motor coaches. If you choose to take more then one suitcase/person, our escort will collect a baggage fee of approximately $5 per additional suitcase/day on tour.

Carry-on bags must remain in the passenger’s possession and be supervised at all time. Whenever porters are available, we include and pay for this service.

Many hotels, train stations, airports, and other transportation methods/accommodations do not offer this service. Therefore, limit your luggage to a convenient size and weight that you may be able to handle yourself.

Motor Coaches

Touring is by comfortable modern motor coaches either air-cooled or air-conditioned. Most Coaches are equipped with emergency toilet facilities.

Passport

All U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport. Passports must be valid at least 6 months past your return date. No visa is required for stays in Scandinavia for up to 90 days.

Russia & The Baltics

Please check with the consulate/embassy of the country you intend to visit for possible visa requirements. Russia requires a visa.

Phone Calls

To: Denmark 011-45, Sweden 011-46, Norway 011-47, Finland 011-358, Iceland 011-354, Russia 011-7, Estonia 011-372, Latvia 011-371 and Lithuania 011-370.

To USA: dial 011-.

It is expensive to call the USA, and even more so from hotels who add surcharges. Try to use your credit card, call collect, direct call via your long distance carrier, or find calling cards on-line or at the airport. Newer cell phones might have the right MHz (frequency) needed to call in Europe. Contact your cell phone provider.

Time Differences (from USA)

  • Scandinavia 6 (ET), 8 (MT) and 9 hours (PT)
  • Finland & The Baltic 7 (ET), 9 (MT) and 10 hours (PT)
  • Russia 8 (ET), 10 (MT) and 11 hours (PT)
  • Example – New York 1pm is Oslo 7pm

Store Hours – Scandinavia

Scandinavia, Finland, Estonia & Latvia: Shops are usually open Mon-Fri 9 AM-6 PM, Sat 9 AM-4 PM.

Shops and banks will be closed on the public holidays, when most public transport and museums operate to a Sunday schedule.

Store Hours – Russia

Russia & Lithuania: Most shops open Mon-Sat 10 AM-7 PM or later; few close for lunch.

Department stores, bars and restaurants stay open on Sundays.

Tax Free Shopping

You must be a non-resident of the country in which the purchase is made, spend a minimum amount to qualify, export the goods within 2 to 3 months of the date of purchase, depending on the country of purchase and lastly obtain a valid Customs stamp on final departure from the visited jurisdiction Some shops give you a Tax Free export declaration form which indicates: description of goods, price paid including tax, refund amount. The form can either be mailed back to Tax Free for a refund through credit card (Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Diners, JCB), check (in 13 currencies) or bank transfer, or alternatively a cash refund can be obtained from selected airports on the day of departure.

Tipping

Throughout Scandinavia, the tip is included in the cost of your meal or hotel stay. However, it is customary to tip as a token of appreciation when you experience good service. Bellboys or taxi drivers will appreciate it. On escorted tours your gratuities to the conductor and driver are left to the discretion of the tour members and are therefore not included in the tour costs. If you have been satisfied we suggest the following. Local guides $10; escorted tour guides $5-$10/person per day and your driver $3-$5/person per day.

Travel & Accident Insurance

ScanAm World Tours is not responsible or liable for loss, damage, or theft of luggage and/or personal belongings.

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance as additional security in the case of cancellation or interruption of travel plans, lost or damaged luggage, travel delays, illness, or accident. Keep all boarding passes, ticket copies and receipts for expenses paid during your trip if it later becomes necessary to file a claim.

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Where do you get your photos?

We obtain our photos from around the world—many from our chosen tour operators and past travelers. All photo credits are as marked around the site: hover over each individual photo to see who snapped the shot, a short description of the destination, and additional information that may have been made available to us. If you don’t see something marked, please ask—we’ll do our best to update it and give you information about the destination!

(We’d also love to see your photos from your trip with us—be sure to share them on our Facebook page!)


Disclaimer: Scandinavian American World Tours, Inc. offers this as a general informational guide only. We cannot be held responsible for any changes to or errors in the voluntarily supplied information above.