WHILE you may have noticed how common it is for your Finnish friends and relatives to traverse long distances around the country, it seems that the world has also cottoned on. While many Finns wouldn’t bat an eyelid at driving say, from Helsinki to Rovaniemi for an overnighter, did you know that Finns are actually leading the global pack when it comes to travel?

A recent article by the Telegraph in Britain reported that Finland is currently the most well-travelled country in the world. The average Finn makes an impressive 7.5 trips a year, including stays at home and abroad.

In fact northern Europeans are the world’s biggest travellers full stop, with four Nordic countries lodging themselves in the top five. The quintet is rounded out by the United States, in second position. However, as fewer than half of the US population has a passport, Americans favour domestic travel.

Several factors were found to explain why people from Nordic countries travel so much. These included relatively high incomes and low unemployment, as well as the high cost of living in these countries – which makes travelling to a cheaper foreign destination such an attractive proposition.

The imposing gloom of winter is thought to have considerable influence. Escaping the colder months was also cited as a reason many Scandinavians and Finns head abroad in record numbers each year.

James O’Sullivan