Preparing For Snow, Trains & Northern Lights

Today I’ve started prepping up my next Tour, The Northern Lights and Lapland, this time for Great Rail Journeys and I’m leaving next Friday. We head up the Atlantic Coast of Norway starting at Trondheim, rail to Bodø, road and ferry to the Lofoten Islands and Narvik and then a side-trip to Swedish Lapland at Kiruna. We’ll also be chasing the Northern Lights as well as visiting an Ice-Hotel and travelling on Dog-Sleds.

It’s probably going to be a little chilly!

I thought you might be interested in how I go about preparing for a Tour, so let’s use this one. Today I’ve been getting my client details into a spreadsheet. I have 9 clients travelling with our sister company in the USA, Vacations By Rail and they’ll be joining us at Oslo airport for the connecting flight up to Trondheim. There are also 2 UK clients flying in from Manchester and also joining us in Oslo, meaning that I have 29 clients meeting me at London Heathrow on Friday morning. with 20 economy seats and 9 Premium economy upgrades for a total of 40 in the group. We have one Lactose Free, one Gluten Free and one No Red Meat for the dietary requirements and a room requirement of 7 Single Rooms, 1 Triple Room, 2 Doubles & 13 Twin Rooms reserved. I have 40 single rail tickets for Narvik > Kiruna and 1 Group ticket for Trondheim > Bodø (How do you pronounce Bodø? I feel I should know).

The Nordland Railway to Bødø

I’ve emailed all my clients to say Hello and pass on some hints about what to expect. Some have responded but at this stage most haven’t. I might try calling them directly tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes. Most of the information is about how to dress (Trainers, Jeans and a T-shirt won’t really cut it) but there’s other stuff there including how Scandinavia doesn’t really use cash, it’s all cards and how expensive alcohol will be – and so on. I’ve also written the introductory letter that I will hand to clients when I meet them, in a named envelope (That’s also a quick way to see who is missing or hasn’t arrived yet). I work the letter off of a template which makes preparation easier but I have to proof-read it carefully, helped by Mrs TimOnTheTrain who has a sharp eye for errors. I’ve put a copy of this letter below for your amusement, but I haven’t printed it off yet as there may be changes.

What haven’t I got? There’s a fair bit of information still to come. I need names and contact details for my Guides and Coach Drivers and of course… Vouchers. We use vouchers a lot on Tour as a form of payment for all kinds of things, including Guides and Ferries and entrance to venues.These items are sent by our local agent in Norway and should (pretty please, ice cream with a cherry on top) be arriving soon.

The Ofoten Railway to Kiruna

I’ll update on the next post about what comes next.

4 Replies to “Preparing For Snow, Trains & Northern Lights”

  1. As you are probably aware, there’s an excellent aircraft museum in Bodo, with imaginative displays, not just a hangar full of planes.


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