I remember taking a vacaction to Alaska in 1995. Our tour pulled into Fairbanks, which is pretty far north, and having someone tell us that there had been a spectacular aurora the night before, and he expected something similar that night.
I got up every hour to look, including getting dressed and walking the two or three blocks it took to get beyond the street lights. Lots of stars, but no aurora whatsoever.
I've looked for them so many times, and failed, that I'm beginning to classify them with snipes.