Seeing the Northern Lights is high up on many people’s bucket lists. It’s an amazing natural phenomenon that deserves to be admired by everyone.
Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland are just a few of the countries where it is possible to see these beautiful colourful lights dancing in the sky.
The best time to see the Northern Lights is from around mid/late August till March. The further up north you go, the higher the chance you will have to see them.
But did you know that there are some common mistakes people do on a Northern Lights trip?
While it might seem like all you need to do is step outside at night and wait for the Northern Lights to appear, there is actually some stuff you will need to do to guarantee you have an awesome experience.
After going on a couple of Northern Lights trips, I have had to learn from my mistakes. Now, I am finally able to enjoy watching the Northern Lights.
I do not want your trip to go wrong, so, I am sharing these mistakes with you to make your first time seeing the amazing Aurelia Borealis memorable.
Not wearing the right clothes
This really made one of my trips miserable. But once you get it right it will make a huge difference.
Without a doubt, these Northern countries are beautiful and magical. However, these countries are freezing cold in the winter. I’m talking around -30 degrees on average (sometimes even colder).
So, if you are not used to that kind of weather then you will really struggle if you’re not wearing the right stuff. You will likely be spending hours at night out in the cold waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. I once waited for 4 hours before they finally decided to show up.
You will need to layer up and finish off with a waterproof coat & footwear. Thermal socks are a game changer as they will keep your feet warm and protect them from getting wet.
Not being in the right place
Just because you can see the Northern Lights, that doesn’t mean you can see them from every part of the country.
Firstly, the further up north you go, the more of a chance you will get to see them. It is never guaranteed you will see the beautiful lights, but you will want to make sure you research which are the best places in your chosen country for a high chance of watching the Aurelia Borealis.
Kiruna and Jukkasjarvi in Sweden, Tromso and Kirkenes in Norway, and Rovaniemi in Finland are some of the best places to search for the Northern Lights, so keep these in mind when booking your trip.
Not doing enough research
Similar to what I mentioned above, it is so important to do your research to ensure you are in the right place. Not only before you travel, but also while you are there.
Sometimes you may need to check which location has the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights. For example, if your staying in Tromso, Norway, you will want to se if there is a chance of the Aurora Borealis showing from the city centre, or if you need to go further out to a different place in order to see them.
There are apps you can use to check and they are pretty accurate. One I like to use is My Aurora Forecast and Alerts. It lets you know the nearest place to you where you can see the Northern Lights in real-time.
Not booking a Northern Lights tour
It is a good idea to book a Northern Lights guided tour on at least one of the nights. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and are constantly keeping up to date on where to go in search of the Northern Lights.
They may take you 20 minutes away or they may take you over an hour away from your accommodation just to insure you get a viewing so it’s totally worth it.
Depending on what country or town you are in, there is usually many tours to choose from, such as, Husky sled rides, coach trips, boat trips etc… Most will also provide transfers to/from nearby your accommodation.
Not booking daytime activities
Even though your main goal is searching for the Northern Lights at night, you will want to keep occupied during the day too.
Due to weather conditions or if your staying somewhere rural you may find that you have nothing to do and nowhere to go during the day.
The best thing to do so you don’t get fed up or bored is to pre-book activities. There are many to choose from in the mornings and afternoons so you will be back in time for the evening.
Many places offer snowmobile riding, Husky sled rides, reindeer sled rides and many more. Have a look to see what activities you can do and make sure it fill up your days,
Not going for long enough
To be honest, this isn’t a mistake I have made. But, back when I was working as a travel agent I would get people wanting to book a Northern Lights trip for just one night. This is something I definitely advise against.
As you already know, Seeing the Northern Lights is never guaranteed so if you only book to go for one night you may be disappointed. I would recommend staying for at least 3 nights. This way you have more of a chance on actually seeing them. The longer you can go the better.