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Visiting Alaska? part 1

July 1, 2010

The Alaska mountain range as seen from the Richardson highway near Fairbanks

Sometimes I forget that my blog is read not only by family and friends but by total strangers the world over. They visit my blog because they are looking for information that is not covered in normal travel web sites. I feel I have been remiss in that I have used my forum for whatever stray observation stuck in this old man’s head. Indeed, sometimes I feel like the gentleman from Shakespeare’s sonnet that said…”It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. For those of you who enjoy these random thoughts emitting from my cabin’s keyboard, I ask you patience while I address the topic of ‘Visiting Alaska’.

To those fortunate few who are planning a trip to my state welcome. Let me first present my credentials for writing an article on Alaskan travel. I have none other than traveling the state in 1995 for almost six months filming an outdoor adventure series and later transporting fishing and hunting clients around the state for three years. Who not only wanted the adventure they booked, but they also wanted to “see” Alaska.

Everyone and I mean everyone wants the best deal possible when they are booking travel to remote places. Well this article will deal only with the best deal in the world, doing it yourself. One of the reasons I moved up here from the East coast was the people of Alaska. They are honest and helpful and open to strangers. Other than one of our bigger cities I never worried about crime and that’s a big plus considering you could spend months here without ever going there and still have the trip of a lifetime.

First you must consider how long you will be able to spend here that leads to what you want to accomplish during that time. My first suggestion is a minimum of 10 days. When you take off the first and last day’s for travel to the state you will have 8 days to accomplish your goals. The next thing you should consider is how much you want to ‘rough’ it. This will directly affect the cost of your trip. The lowest cost would be if you could utilize our great parks and campgrounds. The next level would be a small RV combining campgrounds with the occasional Bed & Breakfast. At the top of the list would be a large RV to travel the state in comfort.

All of these choices are adjustable as far as meals, another large expense. You must remember that we have a limited tourist season and those business who only source of income it visitors to the state must make all there income, for the year, in just three months. So the more you can do on your own the more economical it will be. Once you have decided how long and what comfort level you can live with you are ready to map out your visit based on what you want to do.

I ((strongly)) suggest that you buy a copy of a book called the ‘Milepost‘. It list every attraction on every mile in Alaska. It list almost every stream, litter barrel, turnout and place to get great pictures you could want. It has plenty of advertisers so you can plan where to re-supply your trip and where you will stop for the night. It is one great resource, no let me say it is a necessary resource if your are planning on traveling the state on your own.

With these decisions made you can plan a safe, custom tailored, all inclusive trip to the great land we call Alaska. In part Two of this article I will outline a trip that will expose you to most of Alaska and be able to do it within those ten days I spoke of.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Daddy permalink*
    July 3, 2010 2:02 pm

    I agree. A driving tour is by far the best way to see Alaska, you get to see a lot and you can augment it with a few short air hops to get to those places that lack roads. But the biggies have roads and if it is a limited visit, you can spend your time really experiencing Alaska by car.

    On our road trip, we drove a Toyota Camary and enjoyed 30+ MPG, comfortable driving, and enough storage for my wife and I to stay at various B&B’s and hotels throughout our trip. While an RV lets you park IN a park with no camping needed, I think there are enough beds available that make a car a cost, effective choice. Plus, part of the fun was meeting and spending time with the locals that ran the B&Bs.


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