It’s official: Northern Lights season is back

Sep 26, 2019

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If you’ve been dreaming about seeing the Northern Lights, we’ve got good news: Aurora-viewing season is back.

The days have been getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere since late June, and there are now more than enough hours of darkness to see the shimmering, colorful auroras. Best of all, September and October are still relatively mild, so for travelers pursuing the elusive Northern Lights early in the season, you don’t have to stand outside in freezing temperatures waiting for a solar flare to pierce the Earth’s magnetic field.

This year, Off the Map Travel — a luxury travel company that crafts tailor-made trip and specializes in Northern Lights itineraries — is kicking off the 2019 to 2020 winter season with a slew of new itineraries in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. With an emphasis on viewing the aurora borealis from the water, the trips range from relaxing at a floating Arctic spa to glamping in a yurt alongside the Bothnian Sea.

(Photo courtesy of Off the Map Travels)
(Photo courtesy of Off the Map Travels)

“We have found that water can enhance the experience of hunting for the Northern Lights, adding relaxation, excitement and even spirituality,” Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel, said in a statement.

Off the Map’s lineup of Northern Lights adventures also includes hunting for the elusive celestial event in kayaks; a houseboat-like ferry; and a luxury catamaran. Or, for something more rugged, consider floating in a frozen lake wearing only a dry suit. In Iceland, travelers can even join an expert photography guide on a journey to capture the so-called “double shot”: the auroras cast back in the reflection from a waterfall.

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Of course, you don’t have to book a high-end vacation package or even fly to Europe for your chance to see the Northern Lights. In fact, you can sometimes see them over parts of North America when the weather is favorable (think: dark, clear nights) and there’s a particularly powerful solar storm. TPG’s editor-at-large Zach Honig has even planned a trip to see the Northern Lights in Coldfoot, Alaska, next month with Northern Alaska Tour Company.

If you’re ready to plan a trip to see the Northern Lights this year, remember that vacation packages should be booked with a credit card that maximizes your spend, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, both of which earn 3x points on travel (on the first $150,000 in combine purchases each cardmember year on the Ink Business Preferred).

Featured photo by Sjo/Getty Images.

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