Viewing the Northern Lights: 5 Traveler Tips for a Memorable Trip

Aurora Borealis, better known (although less romantically) as The Northern Lights, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but is it worth the trek? Although it’s possible to see it from multiple places in the world, many TripAdvisor travelers suggest it’s best seen from Alaska if you’re in North America. And from the freezing temperatures to the lengthy journey to Alaska, it takes a dedicated traveler to get there.


So we turned to the TripAdvisor forums and found a trip report from traveler CTBCalifornia. She started planning her bucket list trip 50 years ago when she was just seven years old. Here’s what she had to say about making her trip of a lifetime to Fairbanks, Alaska worth it:


•Go now! The lights are best seen during the winter months, especially when the moon is new and the night sky is darkest. And the solar flare activity will be heading into a “quiet cycle” after 2013/2014.

•Choose places to stay that offer easy access to activities like skiing, sledding, hot springs, and museums. CTBCalifornia says she timed her trip to coincide with a local dog sled race and ice sculpture contest.

•Split your trip between in-town and outside-of-town stays so that you get the best of both worlds, city and country.

•Buy arctic-grade clothing: sub-zero temperatures are not uncommon in Fairbanks.

•Book as far in advance as possible to get your choice of accommodations.


In the end, she says she would go again “in a Yosemite Minute (New York Minute doesn’t work for me, I live near Yosemite, so…)” and recommends some great places to stay, play, and eat in her complete trip report. Read it here.


Have you ever traveled north to see the Aurora Borealis, or spotted its colorful display while traveling? Add your comments and travel tips below.