Post # 1
I’m getting married in late October 2010, so our honeymoon will be the last week in October (hopefully 7 days). We are looking at either the Juneau, Alaska area, or a trip to Iceland and Sweden/Finland area.
Wherever we go, I want to make sure that:
A) a week-long honeymoon to any of these destinations would be affordable on a $3,000-$3,500 budget – including airfare, accommodations, dining, activities, etc.
B) There will be plenty of adventure stuff to do (like northern lights, ziplining, ice climbing, husky safaris, whale watching, the blue lagoon, glaciers, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ice hotel, awesome food, historical stuff, etc.) Essentially I want to be assured that none of these destinations are boring and that all of this stuff actually is available in late October.
C) How will the weather be? Obviosuly cool, and we’re fine with cool. We know we’re not getting warm and tropical. On the other hand we don’t necessarily want it to be so frigid that travel is miserable. Will there be snow so we can participate in the activities that would require snow? Is late October the rainy season?
Anyone been to Juneau, Iceland, Finland or Sweden?
Any suggestions appreciated 🙂 Thanks!
Post # 3
I’ve never been to Juneau (though I hear it’s beautiful) but I have been to Finland and to Sweden several times as that’s where my Fiance is from.
To answer your questions:
A) Sweden and Finland are beautiful places to visit but they can be a little pricey. Scandinavia in general is known for being very expensive so you might not get as much bang for your buck as you would get in Alaska. That being said, the internet is a great place for deals, so if you plan far enough in advance you might find some amazing offers that help you come in on budget. Also, if you look at flights to London and then look at budget airlines to Sweden and Finland, you’ll likely have more luck in getting good airfare prices as London is more of a hub than Stockholm or Helsinki.
B) All the adventure stuff you’re looking at happens in northern Sweden (I mean far north) and northern Finland so you’ll have to factor in travel costs to get from the major cities (where the airports are) to further north. Also, although it’s definitely colder by the end of October, some of the activities that you’re looking to do may not be available. For example, I’ve just checked out the Ice Hotel website and they don’t open until December. Obviously the further north you go the more likely you are to have snow, bu Stockholm and Finland seem to be fairly similar to a lot of cities in North America in that they don’t start to see real snowfall till November. Check out: http://www.icehotel.com/ (there’s info on a lot of the activities you mentioned).
C) As mentioned above, you may not get snow by the end of October but it is likely to be a little chilly. The average temp in Stockholm in October is 10 degrees and in Helsinki it’s probably likely to be slightly colder. Definitely not terrible weather overall though.
I love Sweden and Finland (and have heard GREAT things about Iceland). You’ll definitely have the chance to experience history in these countries, though the major cities are really modern with amazing bars, restaurants and nightclubs so it’s not like you’ll be stepping back in time or anything. Hope this has helped and good luck making your choice! I’m sure that wherever you choose you’ll have a great time!
Post # 4
Thanks for your help!
I’ve been to Iceland once before and it was a very enjoyable experience. I read recently that this year is a good time to go because of the change in exchange rate between the US dollar and ISK Krona makes it pretty reasonable.
I would love to do Sweden and Finland still, but a lot of the activites I would like to do (as you mentioned), we would have to travel pretty far north for, and at the end of October, it may not be cold enough to do them.
It’s a difficult decision to make because these are activities we would reallly enjoy doing, but if the weather just isn’t cold enough, then maybe it would make more sense to save this kind of vacation for another time and try for something that would work better for end of October.
I don’t know…
Post # 5
In regards to Juneau, Alaska – I’m pretty sure the weather in late October is not so great. I understand that you are okay with it not being warm, but I think at this point in the season it will be rather freezing there. I was in Juneau in early September and we actually lucked out with the weather – it was in the 60s. I can tell you that the Alaska cruise season runs from May – to mid September because those are really the only times the weather is bearable. Late October might really be pushing it.
ETA: I also think that most of the excursions that you can do in Juneau are only available during the cruise season. You could check on this, but I think since the tourism is pretty much non existent past September, they don’t really have a lot of sight-seeing or active tours available.
Post # 6
I highly recommend Finland/Sweden… but I’m also biased because I’m Finnish/American. I’ve only been during the summer so I can’t vouch for Oct weather. I must say though that June weather in Finland is gorgeous. My first time there was a bit of a culture shock to me. I’m from NYC and I couldn’t believe how clean everything was. The one thing that always stuck out to me was how “green” everything is there. Everyone brings their own bags for shopping, whether its a grocery store or department store. I stayed with my grandparents and they had almost no garbage. Anything that could be burned was burned in their wood-burning water heater, leftover food scraps were put outside for compost/food for the neighbors cat and everything else was taken to a recycling center. I also remember getting real utensils at a fast food restaurant at the Helsinki airport. It was also by far the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever head!
Post # 7
Your honeymoon plans sound like so much fun! I don’t know much about Iceland, but I hear it’s gorgeous there and my Fi has always wanted to visit. I can attest to the natural beauty of Scandinavia, but it is very expensive, especially since the dollar has decreased in value.
If your budget includes both of you, then I would rethink a few places because the Fi and I wouldn’t be able to do all of that under $3500 and we live in Sweden. The north of Sweden is in the arctic circle, so you don’t have to worry about it not being cool enough. But to give you an idea about the distance from Stockholm to Kiruna (The Ice Hotel) it’s 15 hrs by train 1-way and that’s the direct route, it goes up to 20hrs with 2 stops. Flying is of course, much faster.
Here’s the link to train company in Sweden that services all around: http://www.sj.se/ The best deals are usually posted 3-months before the date, which can be very annoying for real planning purposes. But with a relatively small population, tickets don’t normally sell out unless you wait last minute.
I’ve never been to Finland, but I have visited Denmark and Norway this past summer. I went with college friends that visited me and they couldn’t believe the prices … the dollar menu at Mc Donalds was about $10 once converted! Sweden is a little cheaper compared to the two, but still pricey.
As for the weather in late Oct, it’ll be chilly! But the trees will be sporting their autumn leaves. If you go to Kiruna by then, you need to pack for an actic expedition! Hehehe!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer as best I can.