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Panning an Alaska Vacation Part 2

Written by: Posted on: December 20, 2016 at 12:00AMPosted in: Main Topic

Planning an Alaska Vacation
In Five Parts:

 

Part 2: Making Travel Arrangements

Alaska covers a lot of area. You not only need to decide how to get here, but how to get around once you’ve arrived. You have a lot of options for getting around the Great State. Alaska has areas that are only accessible by float plane or boat, and some of those only during the warmer months.

 

Starting Out

  • Again, I suggest contacting local visitor information centers or convention and visitor bureaus for info and brochures on any area you think you may want to visit. They’re a great starting point to see what kind of transportation is available not only to and from the area, but also while you’re in the area.
  • Call or email the visitor centers and you’ll get to talk with someone who most likely lives in the area year round. Alaskans are typically proud of where they live and love to tell others about it. You’ll get really good insight on local transportation specific to that area.

 

Research Flights

  • Next, visit a travel booking website or two.  It’ll allow you to get an idea of which airlines are available from your area to your destination and the differences in pricing.
  • Sometimes you can find a booking website that offers deals if you book your flight and lodging together.
  • When flying to different areas of Alaska allow extra time on your return. It's not uncommon for flights to be delayed due to weather. You don't want to cut it so close that you miss your cruise, flight, train or tour bus. Give yourself at least one extra day for a buffer.

 

Consider Alternate Transportation Options

  • If you have the time a road trip can be a great way to see a lot of area. You have to opportunity to stop is you see something of interest to you.  You will need to consider the extra expenses of  lodging, fuel, dining and possible vehicle maintenance if you decide to drive.
  • Renting a recreational vehicle would allow you to bring your lodging with you wherever you go. You’ll have the convenience of not having to repack every time you move on to a different area.  If you go this route you’ll need to do a little research on overnight parking.

 

You’ve Arrived, Now What?

 

  • Once here you'll need to figure out how to get from the airport to your lodging, bus or train etc.
  • Contact your hotel or B&B to see if there is a shuttle or pick-up service from the airport or other point of departure. If not ask for advice on ground transportation.
  • Rent a vehicle if you plan to drive to other destinations or if you just like the idea of doing some sightseeing on your own. 
  • If you come to a small area, like Kodiak, you may not want to rent a vehicle for your whole stay. You might plan on taking some tours and renting a vehicle only on your free days.
  • If you'll be in a larger area check out the public transportation options. Public Transportation can be much cheaper than renting a vehicle during the summer months in Alaska. Do they offer daily, weekly or monthly passes?

 

Getting from Here to There within the Great State

  • Once you arrive you need consider options to get from point A to point B and all points in between.  The Alaska Railroad, tour buses and vehicle rentals are good ways to get around on mainland Alaska. For more remote areas you might consider flying, either commercially on a smaller charter flight or taking the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) or (ferry). It's a good option for areas like South East Alaska and Kodiak. They even go out the Aleutian Chain as far as Unalaska/Dutch Harbor once a month during the summer.
  • The Alaska Railroad has a wonderful system set up for passenger travel and tours. It’s a relaxing way to travel and well worth looking into.
  • Traveling on the ferry allows you the option of being a walk-on passenger or bringing a vehicle. You can rent a cabin to sleep in. If you're adventurous and want to save your hard earned money for other activities plan to camp-out onboard. You can even bring a small tent and pitch it on the deck.

 

This concludes Part 2: Making Travel Arrangements. Check out next week’s topic, Part 3: Finding Accommodations, for some great suggestions on finding comfortable lodging once you arrive in Alaska.

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