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I will be traveling to Svalbard from the USA in September of 2020 for a residency. I am seeking information on best way to fly there from Oslo, Norway, where to stay, food, appropriate dress and what to see. I am planning on hiring a guide to travel outside of Longyearbyen. Any tips or recommendations would be welcome.

I was in Svalbard this past summer so I’ll add just a few things to consider:

  1. If you go to Longyearben without at least a few days on a boat, you are selling yourself so short. I did a 10-day expedition cruise through Quark. But there are great shorter trips available. I also did a one-day boat trip to Pyramidan and that day was a highlight of my trip. My advice would be to go out on the water for as many days as you can afford. It costs so much just to get to Svalbard, it’s a shame not to miss they best part. Also, you have better chance at seeing a bear the further from Longyearben you go. There is not much in Longyearben itself and you can’t leave town without a gun. Longyearben is more the gateway to the high Arctic than a destination.
  2. Stay at an Air BnB to save considerable money ($50 vs $250) but book early!
  3. Don’t bring too many clothes. It is easy to think that at almost 80 degrees north it will be frigid. I was I had brought fewer warm clothes.
    It was so expensive and so worth it. And if you plan far enough in advance, you can at least save some money. (You can save a load in Norway just by not going to restaurants.)