Seeing Stars: Our Top Astro Tourism Event for 2024

Last updated on 05/28/2024

With more and more light (around 10% per year, according to Dark Sky International) making it harder to see the stars on a clear night in more populated areas, astro tourism is a growing travel trend in 2024. Also known as dark sky tourism, this kind of travel is essentially going on a trip specifically to enjoy a natural, dark sky full of stars and free of manmade light sources. If you're an astronomy enthusiast—or you just want to sit in awe of the cosmos—we have an idea that could inspire your next adventure.

Book a Cruise to See the Northern Lights

We recommend that you travel to see the Northern Lights. It could be what many people think of when they first hear about astro tourism, and for good reason; when the aurora borealis paints the sky, it can be a moving sight (not to mention an opportunity for incredible photographs).

One of the best ways to plan this trip is to book a Northern Lights cruise. While you can certainly see the lights without going on the water, you may prefer this option because you're away from the city lights (which might take more time to achieve if you were to try seeing the lights on a horseback excursion leaving from Oslo, for example). A longer stay aboard a Northern Lights cruise, as opposed to a few hours on an overland activity, may give you a greater likelihood of seeing this beautiful natural phenomenon in action.

When to Go (and Where to See) the Northern Lights

If you're going to travel to see the Northern Lights in 2024, their typical season runs from late September to early April. That means an autumn or winter trip may be your best option if you want to go in 2024; otherwise, you could plan for the new year instead.

That timing is due to the locations where they're most visible—typically high-latitude regions in or around the Arctic Circle like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska, or Northern Canada. Depending on the time of year, some of these areas experience full days of sunlight, rendering the aurora borealis invisible. That's why, if you dream of going on a Northern Lights cruise in 2024, we don't recommend you depart until autumn (at the earliest).

How to Enjoy Northern Lights Adventure

First, going on a trip in that autumn-to-winter time frame means you can expect your Northern Lights cruise to be chilly, so make sure you pack your coziest hat, coat and gloves, scarf, and boots (you may also want to make sure they look nice for your selfies with the aurora borealis).

Comfort is important, but how much fun you have on a cruise of any kind can often depend on the activities. When you're researching cruise lines, see if you can find out what on-board entertainment they offer for those times when the Northern Lights aren't visible. Depending on your interests, you can find ships with formal and informal dining, live shows, and more.

However, you should never forget why you're on your cruise in the first place: to see the Northern Lights. They're usually most visible at night, which means you may either find yourself up very late or up very early (i.e. before sunrise). Always set your alarm, or check with your cruise line to see if they have a wake-up call system that will inform you when the lights are active.

Protect Your Stellar Trip with Travel Insurance

When planning your astro tourism adventure, we also recommend that you consider cruise travel insurance. In general, travel insurance may be a great solution for any vacation because it could protect you financially if obstacles like delayed flights, lost or damaged luggage, or needs for medical attention arise during your trip.

Once you book your plans to travel to see the Northern Lights, you can compare your coverage options on As the world’s first travel insurance comparison website, we are a source of unbiased information you can use to learn about different types of plans like travel medical or trip cancellation insurance, and then generate quotes and compare quotes from top providers. Thanks to our dedicated Customer Care team, you can also directly connect with licensed professionals who can answer your questions about cruise travel insurance and other forms of coverage.

To get started, begin a quote on our site, then enjoy your trip to see the Northern Lights.