In 2012 I already tried to catch them in Finland but did not succeed. On New Years Eve 2016/17 my biggest dream became true at Žingvellir National Park in Iceland. For me this phenomenon is the purest form of magic you can discover on planet Earth, and I always wanted to see them at least once in my lifetime. Well, now it is almost an addiction. Whenever I can I try to travel to the Nordics and go out for an Aurora Borealis hunt. If you should ever consider hunting the northern lights on your own heres some (hopefully) helpful advice:
1. You need patience. Northern Lights do not appear because you want it. They are unpredictable. As already mentioned above, I hunted them for five days in 2012 in northern Finland, but the sun was inactive the whole time. There were no solar flares on the sun or any solar winds. If this happens, don't be disappointed and make the best out of your holidays. There are many other exciting things to see in the northern regions.
2. You need warm clothes. I am not a person who is freezing easily when I am excited about something, but others travelling with you might. So, take into consideration that you will be out in minus degrees for quite a while (several hours). If you are not used to this, dress up accordingly.
3. You need the most important Aurora Forecast Link: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/aurora-30-minute-forecast
NOAA shows a 30 Minute Aurora forecast on their website. This will help you to identify where northern lights will show up.
4. For Iceland I also recommend the official Aurora forecast: http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/
This page shows you the weather forecast and the chance of an Aurora Borealis spotting. Northern Lights are not visible when it is cloudy, you need a dark, clear sky in an ideally quite moonless night.
For Norway I recommend the official weather forecast side:
I like this side a lot especially as it shows you the different layers of cloud coverage.