|What type of insurance will I need?||What is your cancellation policy?|
|What is your minimum Group Size?||What is your maximum Group Size?|
|Is it a good idea to take children on safari?||Can we make a private or group booking?|
|Who will guide us and in what language?||How flexible is the itinerary?|
|What services are not included?|
What type of insurance will I need?
Anyone from an EU country travelling within the EU should take out their own E111 policy before leaving home. This entitles you the same level of health care as native Finnish people enjoy. In most instances, you have to pay a minimal contribution towards your health costs, in Finland – for instance, dentist visits cost c. €30 as do your first visit to a doctor etc. However, a hospital stay will be of minimal expense. If you want to claim this expense back in its entirety, you obviously have to have insurance with a policy that will cover you for medical expenses, mountain search & rescue, personal accident, money & documents, any travel delay, personal liability, legal expenses & cancellation, as well as other circumstances for which you require cover. Check that they specifically cover dog sledding and any other activities that you may be taking part in, during your holiday.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
The customer has the right to transfer the package to an alternative customer, free of charge.
Cancellation over 30 days prior to departure: If the full sum has been paid, all but the 30% deposit will be refunded.
Cancellation 30 to 20 days prior to departure: 50% of the full cost of the tour shall be refunded.
Cancellation 20 to 0 days prior to the tour’s departure (or failure to meet up for departure): no refund.
FYI: We have sometimes had people email to cancel in December / February when we are working at least 20 hour days and the emails have simply been missed because of the volume of urgent communications coming through. In our peak seasons, we receive something in the range of 30 whatsapp, 30 imessages, 30 messages, 30 emails daily...most of which are quite urgent in that they asking about safaris in the days immediately ahead. When cancellation emails come at the same time, about safaris planned for weeks or months in the future, it is quite likely that they will just get missed and then soon disappear underneath the deluge of new communications and requests constantly coming in.
When this is the case...when a cancellation email just gets missed under the constant barrage of communication coming through to us...we may not notice that the spot should have been put back on sale until we start to chase for missing client information forms a week or two in advance of the tour. At that point it would then be extremely unlikely that we would be able to sell that place and we may have also turned down requests for that particular safari during the interim period. In that case, it obviously wouldn't be fair to expect a refund.
For that reason, we are basically saying that it is your responsibility to ensure that we for sure know about your cancellation request. Simply sending an email is not enough...you need to also get a response from us if you are hoping for a partial refund. We consider the date of your cancellation, the date on which we send you a cancellation email, and for sure that will be at the very moment we understand that you have made the request, since we will always want to put the safari back on sale as soon as possible so that we don't run our premier tours with empty slots.
What is your minimum group size?
For the 2 and 3 day safaris, 2 people are needed, at minimum, for a trip to go ahead and for anything longer than that, we generally run with a minimum of 4 people.
If you specifically want a private safari, then we normally charge for 4 at minimum (we would charge for a full safari during the busiest weeks which are easy to sell).
What is your maximum group size?
Most wilderness cabins can comfortably accommodate 6 indivuals (although our Palojoki trappers cabin can take 8). Hence, 6 is generally the maximum number of clients we normally take on the individually booked longer tours. If we end up in a situation where we have a request from two families that takes the overall group size to 7 or 8, we may consider that for a two-day tour, but we will try to check back with the clients that they are happy with this, first.
Larger family groups (up to 9 pax) who want to travel together and who are happy with a little less personal space can be accommodated upon request, although it might limit the route and cabin options.
We very occassionally might have two smaller groups converge in the wilderness for one or two days out of five, when there is more than one accommodation option available in a remote location, but this is very rare.
Can we make a private or group booking?
It is absolutely possible to book a private safari or even to request a higher guide: client ratio.
In such instances, we will then also have more flexibility to tailor-make the product to your ideal scenario (in terms of the type of cabins used, the size of the cabins used (if you want to bring a slightly bigger group), the type of terrain travelled over, the total number of days on the tundra vs in the taiga etc).
Having said that, we do have to protect the income we generate during the working season for the sake of the security and safety of the dogs through the whole year. Hence, we charge for a minimum of 4 pax in the non-peak season (which basically means the two very last weeks of the season, since this is the only time when we generally have spare capacity) and a minimum of 6 pax through the rest of the season, if families or groups request a private tour.
Is it a good idea to take children on safari?
Children who are used to being active, outdoors, and are pleasant in the company of adults (if it is not booked as a private family tour), are welcome to come on safari with us. We have had children as young as 7 sled to our overnight wilderness cabin and children as young as 12 take part in our 5-day wilderness tour. You need to know your child's interests and capabilities well and be sure that they will enjoy their non-ipad time! Similarly, you need to consider, carefully, the timing of your tour since we are much more likely to agree to take a child in April, than in February, when the temperatures and general conditions are a lot less extreme.
Can we make a private or group booking?
It is possible to make a private booking at any time by booking for the equivalent of 6-places on any multiday tour.
Who will guide us and in what language?
Either Anna or one of the Hetta Husky guides will greet and guide you during your safari experience. We will try to meet your language requirements and will choose members of staff to accompany you accordingly but the final decision will always come down to the ability and skill of the guide with the dogs and with the route.
Within our guiding team, we generally have fluent (native) Finnish, English, German and French speakers. We fairly often have Dutch / Flemmish-speaking, Spanish speaking and Russian-speaking guides. However, for the shorter tours in particular, we would need to know in advance if you have any language requirements that we might be able to accommodate, since it is a little bit 'pot-luck' who is at work and who is on a day off.
Most people in Finland speak excellent English and you will have no trouble communicating with local people. If you would like to learn common greetings, etc, in Finnish, then we will be happy to help.
How flexible is the Itinerary?
As part of our standard safety plan, a key target is to deliver to promises. However, when operating in the Arctic, a degree of flexibility has to be imposed since we can only operate within the limitations of the prevailing conditions. When these are unexpectedly bad or there are changes to other circumstances, like access restrictions, beyond our control, we occasionally change our plans. Hence, our day-to-day schedules for the various products should be taken only as a general guide.
What services are not included?
Travel insurance, miscellaneous expenses, alcoholic drinks, souvenirs, optional extra activities like reindeer safaris, snowmobile safaris etc on your free days (although we can help you to organise these at no extra cost).