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If a family trip to Scandinavia has been on your bucket list for a while, you’re not alone. Who doesn’t love the colorful houses of old Stockholm, the vast Arctic landscapes of Tromsø, the mountains and fjords surrounding Bergen, the old pine forests of Lapland, or the quaint harbors of Copenhagen?

Winter is one of the most magical times to visit that part of the world. Whether it’s stockfish stew or dazzling northern lights that draw you in, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) can get the whole family there for cheap this winter.

The airline's latest deal aims to encourage your youngest adventurers to explore far and wide. Travel between the U.S. and Scandinavia this winter and your kids can fly for almost free. Under the Travelers Start Young program through SAS, kids ages 2 to 11 will fly for only the cost of taxes and fees when they’re accompanied by an adult — that’s a $0 base fare for children. Note that additional baggage and class-upgrade fees still apply, but you won’t pay a base fare for children.

Travel dates and details

The promotion ends on Sept. 27, 2019, so you must book by then to take advantage of the deal. For most U.S. hubs — including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco — the travel period must fall between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019, or between Jan. 8 and Mar. 25, 2020.

For Boston departures, the promotion is only valid for travel between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for a family vacation that aligns with the standard school break schedule. For nontraditional calendars, families with young children, or vacations you plan to take anyway, this could turn out to be the deal that makes the trip possible.

Just make sure to book by Sept. 27 and travel within the valid window(s) in order to take advantage of the discount.

Searching for flights

Don’t be fooled by the way the SAS Travelers Start Young webpage is set up. When scrolling through the list of departures and destinations, it seems like valid destinations also include all destinations, but this current promotion is only valid for travel to Scandinavia.

You can still scan the fare charts for other cities if you’re curious, but the kids-fly-free promotion will only be valid for Scandinavian itineraries.

Scanning the fare chart on the SAS Travelers Start Young page, it looks like adults can fly round-trip between New York and Copenhagen for as low as $610. The  total cost for an adult and child to fly on this route together? $660. As it stands now, that pricing for this particular itinerary is valid through May 2020.

Alternatively, you could fly up to Bodø in January for the beginning of the cod season in Vestfjorden, with round-trip fares starting at just $759 for an adult and child traveling during this promotion. Or, if you like hanging out in the absolute darkness surrounded by polar bears and snow-capped mountains, round-trip fares to Longyearbyen in Svalbard start at just $829 for an adult and child. That’s a steal for (basically) the North Pole.

If none of that sounds like fun to you, head to the comfort of the Stockholm Archipelago instead. At just $722 round trip, you’ll have plenty of extra cash to spend at the Abba Museum, the Vasa Museum and Skansen during your trip. Don’t forget to check out the Nobel Museum for its educational and historical value and if you want; you can even sleep on a ship that is docked in the harbor.

The bottom line

Even during the winter, there's something for just about everyone in Scandinavia. In fact, many travelers prefer the winter up there. Whether you decide to brave the Arctic tundra and hunt for Northern Lights or snuggle up in a cafe somewhere with a reindeer steak, Scandinavia is a wonderful place for a family vacation.

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