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Expedia data reveals Northern Lights are most sought-after global experience of 2024 as Aurora Borealis visibility peaks
[February 01, 2024]

Expedia data reveals Northern Lights are most sought-after global experience of 2024 as Aurora Borealis visibility peaks


71% of Canadians say they haven't seen the Northern Lights, but would like to in their lifetime

Canada, Norway and Finland boast the most popular destinations for aurora hunters, with Expedia searches up triple-digits

With experts predicting extraordinary aurora visibility in 2024, Expedia's Northern Lights Insider Guide helps travellers plan their trip 

TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2024 /CNW/ -- This year's hotspots are looking a whole lot cooler with the rise of Northern Lights tourism, 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%) aspire to see the Northern Lights in their lifetime but haven't yet crossed the item off their bucket-list1. Travelling to see the Aurora Borealis is more in-demand than going on an African Safari (44%), exploring Japan during cherry blossom season (43%), or visiting Machu Picchu in Peru (38%). Expedia searches are skyrocketing for winter trips to Northern Lights "capitals" like Lapland in Finland, Churchill, 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.

"Planning your Northern Lights adventure might feel like navigating uncharted territory, but we've made it easy for travellers to make this trip a reality," said Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group Brands public relations. "From Canada to Norway, the free guide shows where to stay for under $200 a night or how to bundle a whole trip together for under $2000. There's even a photography guide to make sure you know how to capture the memory."   

Expedia's Northern Lights Insider Guide

Everything you need to know to plan and book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to chase the Northern Lights in 2024:

Destination Insights2
Due to an auspicious solar cycle, 2024 is expected to bring increased opportunities for travellers to glimpse 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. Whitehorse, Yukon (+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.A.: 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.

Top Ten Trending Northern Lights Locations Worldwide3: Based on year-over-year search growth, these are the destinations expected to be popular among tourists in 2024.

  1. Lapland, Finland (+370%)
  2. Churchill, Canada (+110%)
  3. Alta, Norway (+100%)
  4. Narvik, Norway (+90%)
  5. Banff, Canada (+80%)
  6. Kalfafell, Iceland (+80%)
  7. Jasper, Canada (+75%)
  8. Isle of Skye, UK (+70%)
  9. Abisko, Sweden (+65%)
  10. Kiruna, Sweden (+55%)

Best Times to Go in 2024
Based on average daily hotel rates (ADRs) in 20234, 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.
  • March: Aberdeen, Scotland (ADRs $114), nearly 15% cheaper than ADRs in September.
  • April: Tromsø, Norway, with ADRs around $201, a $107 difference compared to February.
  • September: Finland (ADRs around $181), roughly $121 cheaper than December.
  • October: Lapland, Finland (ADRs around $141), less than half the cost of December, January, and February.
  • November: Yellowknife, Canada (ADRs around $188), around 10% cheaper than January.
  • December: Greenland, ADRs at $148, less than half the cost during March.

Money-Saving Hacks
According to Expedia's recen survey, 58% of travellers have not taken a trip to see the Northern Lights due to financial reasons. These tips help travellers save without compromising on experience:



  • Book airfare on a Sunday to save up to 24%5: According to Expedia's Air Travel Hacks report, travellers who book on Sundays instead of Fridays tend to save, on average, around 17% on domestic flights and 24% on international flights.
  • Expedia's Price Tracking feature on the app eliminates the uncertainty involved in choosing the right time to book a Northern Lights trip by notifying travellers when flight prices change and using exclusive data to pinpoint the best time to book6.
  • Bundle and save: Travelling to a remote destination doesn't have to be complicated. Travellers can save hundreds of dollars on average when they book their flights, hotel and activities all in one place on the Expedia app7.

Suggested Itineraries

  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: One of the country's best places to catch the Northern Lights, locals recommend a minimum three-to-four-night stay to increase the odds of glimpsing the Aurora. Stay at the Explorer Hotel and schedule intimate Aurora viewing experience with transportation and a midnight snack through Bucketlist Tours.
  • Tromsø, Norway: Indulge in a week-long retreat at the Radisson Blu Hotel Tromsø, and combine your flight and hotel into an Expedia package. Make the most of your days by adding a reindeer sledding adventure.
  • Fairbanks, Alaska: Book a package to this popular Northern Lights destination, including a stay at Chena Hot Springs Resort and a visit to the Aurora Ice Museum.

Capturing the Northern Lights:
Even when shooting with a smartphone camera, it's possible to bring home the magic of the Northern Lights with these photography tips from award-winning wildlife and nature photographer, Dave Sandford:


1. Get remote: Heading to where it is dark with little to no light pollution will provide you with the best opportunities when shooting the night sky, so head as far away from any urban centers as possible.

2. Planning and preparation is key: Lean on local guides or a group excursion to get you to the right place at the right time for Northern Lights hunting. Download one of the many aurora tracking apps and make sure you bring spare batteries, memory cards or charge your smartphone to ahead of time. Cold temperatures can sap your charge faster than normal.

3. Use a tripod: Shooting the night sky requires a slower camera shutter speed, and using a tripod will help prevent camera shake and give you crisp, sharp images regardless of what type of camera you're using. Bonus points if you use a cable release trigger or put your camera or smartphone on self-timer mode to help prevent blurry images from camera shake.

4. Composition: Depending on your location, some ideas to keep in mind for a more breathtaking image are mountains, a tree line, lighted tent, building structures or reflections of the Northern Lights on a lake or pond. As astounding as the Northern Lights are on their own, using a foreground subject will take your images to the next level and give your viewer a sense of scale.

5. Dress for success! This phrase isn't exclusively for the corporate business world. Don't miss out on getting the most out of your Northern Lights experience because you're too cold to enjoy it! Layers are key for proper sub-zero aurora viewing and photography. You can often rent cold-weather gear if you don't own some. The warmer you are, the more comfortable you'll be to fully embrace the cold temperatures and to truly enjoy the magic that is the Northern Lights.

"Patience is key and experimenting with your camera settings is the secret sauce to capturing the Northern Lights," said Sandford. "That said, don't forget to savor the moment. It doesn't matter how many times I've been fortunate to see them in person, I always make a point to put the camera down and lose myself in the extraordinary experience of the Northern Lights."

About Expedia
Expedia® is one of the world's leading full-service travel brands, with a mission of helping travelers get the most out of every trip they take by providing everything they need all in one place, ensuring they are getting the most out of every trip they take, and above all else, feel supported every step of the way. 

Our commitment to insights matched with our unprecedented scale allows us to understand our travelers better than anyone else, delivering exactly what they need, when they need it. Our personalized experiences, backed by incredible technology, enable us to deliver the widest selection of product offerings across accommodations, transportation, activities and experiences that help you get the most out of your journey.  

Use our mobile app or visit www.expedia.ca to plan your journey with us.  

© 2024 Expedia, Inc., an Expedia Group company. All rights reserved. Expedia and the Airplane logo are trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. CST# 2029030-50.

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Data Sources:  

¹ The survey about once-in-a-life-time experiences was conducted online among 2,000 Canadian. adults who intend to travel for leisure in 2024, by OnePoll on behalf of Expedia

2 Data results based off global hotel searches by Canadians on Expedia made throughout 2023 in comparison to 2022.

3Data results based off global hotel searches on Expedia made throughout 2023 in comparison to 2022.

4ADR data based off YOY global Expedia hotel rates in 2023 in comparison to 2022.

5 Sourced from ARC's global airline sales database. Percentages noted are averages.

6 Price predictions are not a guarantee. Available to members on select routes.

7 Savings based on package bookings as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and travel suppliers. Savings not available on all packages. Flight inclusive packages are ATOL protected.

 

SOURCE Expedia, Inc.


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