Northern Lights Crowned Most Sought-After 2024 Travel Experience as Aurora Visibility Peaks

According to new data from Expedia, 42% of Americans choose Canada, Finland, and Norway as their most favored destinations among those seeking to catch the Aurora Borealis.

Experts predict the borealis, or northern lights, will be exceptionally visible this year. That spurs travelers to ditch warm-weather destinations in order to experience this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Nearly half of Americans say an attempt to chase the aurora borealis is an essential adventure for the year. The chance to see the northern lights dance above them ranks well above other coveted experiences, edging out other bucket list dreams such as visiting the pyramids of Egypt (36%) or exploring the Great Wall of China (33%).

The Best Places To See the Northern Lights

Searches on Expedia for winter getaways to renowned northern lights destinations like Lapland in Finland (up by 370%), Churchill in Canada (up by 110%), and Alta in Norway (up by 100%) have skyrocketed.


Finland emerges as a top destination, particularly its northern Lapland region, known for its magical winter landscapes and vibrant aurora displays. October is the most budget-friendly time to visit, and despite lower costs, travelers aren’t sacrificing their views, as the skies are dark and the lights active.


Canada offers prime northern lights viewing. Several locations — Churchill in Manitoba, Banff in Alberta, and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories — stand out for their natural beauty and auroral activity. These areas are accessible to travelers looking to experience the lights amid stunning landscapes.


Norway’s long northern lights season — from fall to spring — presents optimal viewing opportunities in locations like Alta, Narvik, and Tromsø. Visit these areas, known for their clear skies and high chances of aurora sightings, during the peak months of March, April, September, and October.

United States

U.S. travelers needn’t venture far to experience the northern lights. The Upper Peninsula in Michigan, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, and Fairbanks, Alaska, offer domestic aurora observation options.

Fairbanks offers the best chance stateside for those seeking a light show, as it rests under the Aurora Oval. Visitors who chase the lights for three nights have a 90% chance of seeing the spectacle.

For an even more epic experience, head up to Wiseman and stay at the Arctic Hive, a hiking and yoga retreat center within the Arctic Circle. This off-the-grid destination gives visitors an authentic wilderness experience. During the day, enjoy snowshoeing, dog mushing, or yoga in an igloo. At nightfall, watch the phenomena illuminate the sky.


Iceland, known for its dramatic landscapes and minimal light pollution, provides a stunning backdrop for the lights. Travelers are encouraged to schedule their visit between September and April, when nights are their longest and darkest.

As 2024 and 2025 promise increased opportunities to witness the northern lights. These destinations are fantastic starting points for an epic trip to observe one of nature’s most spectacular moments.

Tips for Photographing the Northern Lights

While the lights are remarkable when observed in any capacity, a quality camera can capture phenomena otherwise unobservable by the naked eye.

Seeing the aurora can be overwhelming and even emotional. Remember to soak in the moment and don’t rush. The light show can happen quickly; spectators should be agile and keep abreast of changing conditions.

As a professional photographer who just visited Fairbanks, Alaska, to shoot the northern lights in late February, I have a few tips for getting the best shots possible.

Get away From Light Pollution

Seek out dark, remote areas with minimal light pollution. These conditions enhance night sky visibility. Many of the destinations above have dark skies just minutes from the city.

Plan Ahead

Preparation is essential. Travelers need hand and foot warmers, warm gear, and food to fuel spectators during long nights.

If unsure where to go, rely on local guides or group tours to find optimal locations and times for light viewing. Such resources can be invaluable if clouds are in the sky; experts will know where to drive for the best sights.

Finally, watch Aurora tracking apps like SpaceWeatherLive and ensure equipment, like spare batteries, is charged and ready for the cold, which can shorten battery life.

Use a Wide-Angle, Fast Lens

Photographers want to capture as much of the night sky as possible when snapping light shots. I shot with a 16-35 mm lens, though anything wider than 24 mm would work.

Additionally, you will want a 2.8/f aperture or faster lens (1.8/f or 1.4/f is even better) to capture sharp sky images.

A lens that hits both points will give travelers the tools for epic shots.

Tripods Are Essential

A sturdy tripod allows photographers to take long exposures, enhancing the opportunity to harness the northern lights’ magic. Consider using a cable release trigger or the self-timer function to avoid camera shake and ensure sharp images.

Locking the tripod ball head with gloves poses a problem. Photographers should secure the camera before shooting, or risk a blurry shot.

Think about Your Foreground

Composition elevates photographs. Incorporate elements like mountains, trees, structures, or reflections on water to add depth and scale shots, making the aurora borealis even more striking.

But, as with all photography, be flexible and roll with the punches. If the lights are dancing, take the shot, even without an ideal foreground.

Dress Appropriately for the Cold.

Layering is fundamental for comfort and endurance during subzero viewing and photography sessions. I wore five layers of clothes while shooting the northern lights in the Arctic Circle.

If temperatures fall below zero, as in my experience, wear insulated winter boots. Fingers and toes are among the first parts of the body to succumb to frostbite.

Keeping extremities warm allows spectators and photographers to stay out longer and see more action.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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