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The Northern Lights: Important tips for tourists
With peak booking season for trips to see the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle this winter approaching, an online travel agent expert suggests 5 things travelers should consider to help ensure a more authentic, responsible and enjoyable winter break.

The most commonly seen colour in the Northern Lights is green. The best way to see the Aurora Borealis this winter is by taking the time to choose a responsible holiday, one which protects the Arctic environment and helps preserve local heritage. responsibletravel.com believes these authentic experiences give visitors the opportunity to take home lasting memories of more than just the lights, as they offer a deeper connection to the people and places they will meet along the way.

Responsible Travel managing director, Justin Francis, says “Although the Northern Lights are an ancient phenomenon, the mass marketing of them is still relatively new.

“Seeing the Northern Lights has become one of those horribly-named ‘bucket list’ things to do, and sometimes trips are bought impulsively as a result.

“However, it is a holiday which will take tourists to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems, and into contact with indigenous cultures which need preserving. As such a Northern Lights holiday deserves careful consideration and research, both for the benefit of the destination, and to give the tourist a more memorable holiday experience”.

5 things travelers wish they'd known before booking a Northern Lights holiday

- Don’t set expectations too high. Even on clear days there is no guarantee the lights will appear, so rather than planning everything around the lights travellers should plan a good holiday in general, with plenty of daytime activities. Seeing the Northern Lights is then the icing on a very delicious cake.

- Connect with the Sámi. The indigenous inhabitants of northern Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia are becoming more and more dependent on tourism and can offer tourists fascinating insights into traditional life and culture in the Arctic Circle.

- Consider snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and reindeer sleigh rides as an alternative to snowmobile safaris. Snowmobiles may be vital to everyday life, but snow-shoes, skis and sleighs are a much less polluting, peaceful way to appreciate the frozen wilderness.

- Avoid mid-late December if you’re not after the man in red. Families flock north for the festive season, so travellers wanting more seclusion and less Santa should travel outside this time.

- Book early and research options carefully. The winter of 2014/15 is set to be one of the best times for Northern Lights sightings for the coming decade. Research carefully to ensure a responsible trip, and as the best accommodations and activities book up quickly, plan early to not miss out.


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