Can you help me see the Northern Lights this Christmas?
November 19, 2018 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find a good, all-inclusive hotel + flight package so I can enjoy the Northern Lights for the holidays this year?

After a rough breakup and a really disappointing response from my family, I am thinking that a solo trip might do me more good than going home for the holidays. I'm hoping to find an all-inclusive place where I can go hang out in a pretty lodge for a few days, eat nice food, and hopefully see the Northern Lights. I started doing some searching, but I got a bit overwhelmed by all the options. I did see a few previous asks, but they seemed more geared about individual things to do rather than a complete experience.

Do you have any suggestions either for packages you've liked in the past or a place that has good last minute packages for stuff like this? I was thinking Iceland or somewhere in Europe, but I'd consider other places, like Alaska, too. My budget is flexible, though I am not planning to go all out luxury. My dates are flexible too.

Thanks for any pointers!
posted by chatongriffes to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have nothing to offer in the way of travel advice, but I can definitely recommend eyeballing a couple of aurora-related resources for (hopefully) maximizing your chances of a good show:

Tamitha Skov, aka Space Weather Woman does a weekly solar conditions forecast which includes aurora outlooks.
University of Alaska Aurora Forecast
NOAA's Space Weather Enthusiast Dashboard, aurora stuff is towards the bottom but you're wanting lots of geomagnetic activity.

We're at solar minimum right now, which means the sun has been quiet in terms of all the stuff that makes for interesting auroras (or long-distance radio propagation, which is why hams are keenly tuned into this sort of thing). It may be hit-or-miss, but keeping an eye on the conditions and forecasts should help hedge your bets a little. We may be creeping out of the minimum (as the SWW's latest video mentions). Good luck! The northern lights are on my big list, too.
posted by jquinby at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I do not remember the name of the place anymore (and can't find it in my email), but one of my friends did just that a couple of years ago in Iceland, staying at a hotel up on the northern coast.

They were happy to (for a not unreasonable fee) come pick her up at the airport, and drive her back, and she spent the rest of the trip lounging around, eating food, and watching the aurorae. If I remember right, they didn't have big advertising about the pick up options, it was a "Let us know if transportation is a need, and we'll work something out" note on the website, but you might look at hotels/lodges in your range, and then see if they can do something like that.

(A trip like yours is on my to-do list, because basically everyone I know who's gone to Iceland wished they'd done it much sooner, so also hoping for specific recs.)
posted by jenettsilver at 10:03 AM on November 19, 2018

Fogo Island Inn. Warning: Those nightly (yes, they're nightly) rates are not for the faint of heart.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:11 PM on November 19, 2018

Oh, I misunderstood your request for all-inclusive. I thought you wanted a resort-like venue that would include your food/entertainment etc. The Fogo Island Inn does not include your price (it does include your food and entertainment and there's no tipping allowed).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:05 PM on November 19, 2018

Best answer: Perhaps Chena Hot Springs, outside of Fairbanks, Alaska?
posted by kerf at 10:17 PM on November 19, 2018

Northern Lights Resort & Spa in Whitehorse, Yukon has new Aurora glass chalets where you can watch the northern lights from your bed! Looks cosy.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 12:25 PM on November 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for your suggestions. Since I live in Portland, OR, I decided Alaska would let me pay less on airfare and more on the resort. For the holidays this year, I'll be watching the Northern Lights, dog sledding, hanging out in the geothermal hot springs here.

Thanks MeFites. You're the best.
posted by chatongriffes at 6:00 PM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

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