Seeing the Northern Lights is dream trip for most travellers

Northern Lights tourism is on the rise, spurred by reports that the astronomical phenomenon will be extraordinarily visible in 2024.

According to a survey commissioned by Expedia, almost three-quarters of Canadians (71 per cent) aspire to see the Northern Lights in their lifetime but haven’t yet crossed the item off their bucket-list. Travelling to see the Aurora Borealis is more in-demand than going on an African Safari (44 per cent), exploring Japan during cherry blossom season (43 per cent), or visiting Machu Picchu in Peru (38 per cent).

Expedia searches are skyrocketing for winter trips to Northern Lights “capitals” like Lapland in FinlandChurchill, Manitoba, and Alta in Norway.

To help travellers plan, Expedia has released a Northern Lights Insider Guide packed with insights on trending destinations, booking hacks, photography tips and ideal itineraries.

Best places to see the Northern Lights

Here are the most popular places to chase the aurora borealis this year, based on Expedia traveller data:

Finland

For Canadian aurora hunters, Finland is an extremely popular destination with hotel searches increasing 197% in 2023 versus 2022. The Finnish Lapland region is most popular (+328%), home to popular Northern Lights locales Rovaniemi (+313%) and Levi (+128%), among others.

Canada

Top Canadian destinations for Northern Lights tourism included Churchill, Manitoba boasting a 173% increase in hotel searches in 2023 compared to 2022. WhitehorseYukon (+20%) and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (+18%) also saw increases.

Norway

Norway’s Northern Lights season stretches from fall to spring, but statistically the best times to see the lights are in March/April and September/October. Top destinations included Kirkenes (+189%), Tromsø (+109%) and Alta,the second northern-most city in the world (+115%).

U.S.

America’s largest state, Alaska, saw an increase of 104% with Fairbanks being the most popular destination (128%). Visit in late August through mid-April for the best chance of spotting the Northern Lights.

When to travel in 2024

Based on average daily hotel rates (ADRs) in 2023, these are the anticipated most cost-effective destinations for Northern Lights trips in the coming year:

  • February: Faroe Island, with ADRs around $162, more than $100 cheaper per night compared to the most expensive month, September.
  • MarchAberdeen, Scotland (ADRs $114), nearly 15% cheaper than ADRs in September.
  • April: Tromsø, Norway, with ADRs around $201, a $107 difference compared to February.
  • SeptemberFinland (ADRs around $181), roughly $121 cheaper than December.
  • October: Lapland, Finland (ADRs around $141), less than half the cost of December, January, and February.
  • NovemberYellowknife, Canada (ADRs around $188), around 10% cheaper than January.
  • DecemberGreenland, ADRs at $148, less than half the cost during March.

More more information and insider tips on how to plan your Northern Lights escape, ncluding the best times to travel in 2024 and how to take epic photography, visit www.expedia.ca.

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