Having mentioned to Teresa Smith that I had already contacted a travel company in Norway she suggested that I hold off going ahead and booking that tour without looking at other possiblities.

Teresa contacted a local agent for tours offering the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Within 24 hours I received an e-mail from Teresa with 4 possible options. I took a fairly quick look at the offerings and found that they were all very similar with the duration of between 4-6 days and all included spending most of the trip at an hotel in Tromsø. 

Immediately I wrote back to Teresa to say that we did not want to spend that much time in any one place as we like to travel and see as much as possible of the places we visit. For this holiday we want to see Norway and not just Tromsø! This is a bit of advice to anyone planning a holiday – decide what it is you want to see and do and how long you wish to be away from home BEFORE making any final decisions. It has always been our philosophy when travelling abroad, that having paid big prices for flights and insurance, it does not make sense to go to one place for so many days and then go home. Remember we are retired and are travelling for pleasure and leisure. We love to see and learn as much as possible. 

Teresa then sent the information on the tour we had originally selected and asked what her local agent could offer in a similar package. On receipt thereof we considered the 2 possiblities and we have decided to stay with our original decision as it seemed to offer better value and visits more places. Having made that decision I wrote to Bjarni, the contact in Norway, requesting the Terms & Conditions for this tour and, in particular, the Cancellation Policy. This is very important to study and be sure of BEFORE making any payments. We got badly bitten last year when we had to canceil a trip and discovered at this stage that there would be no refund as it was a package deal. Once bitten, twice shy. We have received the Ts&Cs and they will be checked regularly as we continue to prepare to travel.

The other thing we are watching closely is the value of the Rand against the Euro so as to know the best possible time to pay the 50% deposit. Currently the Rand is gradually strengthening and we hope that it will contiunue to do so. At the same time I am looking up the various places we are to visit on the tour to learn as much as possible in advance. Having some knowledge of where we are going makes it so much more exciting when actually seen.

That is instalment 2