Cost Of Travel To Alaska (Including 11 Budgeting Tips That Will Save You TONS Of Money!)

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Dreaming about a trip to Alaska but worried about the cost? Then this post is for you.

If you're wondering how much it even costs to travel to Alaska, I crunched the numbers for you, and I have an answer.

The ballpark figure for Alaska travel costs $200-$300 per person per day. 

How much does a trip to Alaska actually cost? Find out as I break down the costs of travel to Alaska, cruises, flights, car rentals, accommodation and much more.

You can go higher or lower. Keep reading, and I'll show you how I reached these numbers. By the end of the post I'll show you how you can see Alaska on a shoestring budget of $62 a day.

Our trip to Alaska 

I had our trip to Alaska all planned out back in 2015. I knew what we wanted to do and where to go. Our route was all set up. Then I started booking things, and whoa! Sticker shock galore! We took a long trip in the Lower 48 instead, which was awesome but not Alaska.

Fast forward to 2017. This time, my mind was set: We're going to visit Alaska and be able to afford it. And we did. We had a fantastic trip, and it was much cheaper too.

Yes. You read that right.

Much cheaper.

How did I do that? Read on. I'll share all of the tips and tricks I used to make the cost of traveling to Alaska stay within our budget.

In this blog post, I'm going to talk about

  • Why Alaska is so expensive
  • The costs associated with the main budget items:

    • Flights
    • Cruises and Ferry rides
    • Driving to Alaska (including gas and car rentals)
    • Accommodation
    • Food expenses
    • Activities and excursions

  • Suggested travel plan for various budgets (including as low as $62 a day per person).

So, let's begin. And feel free to use this table of contents to jump around within the sections of the post (I know it's a long one).

Why is Alaska So Expensive?

Alaska is a Bucket List destination. Glaciers and mountains, whales and Grizzly bears. If you love nature, you're going to LOVE Alaska. It's the wildest and probably prettiest of all US states. Having traveled in 45 US states (and several Canadian provinces too), I can also vouch for the following statement:

Alaska is expensive.

Very expensive. There's no getting around that fact. It's expensive to live in and even more expensive to travel in. Before I explain how to reduce the costs of your trip to Alaska, I want to talk about why it's so expensive. Understanding the reasons will help you reduce the costs.

Location, Location, Location

You know how that joke goes. The three factors of pricing a real estate property are Location, location, and... location.

It's the same with Alaska. The state is up in the north, separated from the Lower 48 by two huge Canadian areas: British Columbia and the Yukon. They're HUGE. Trust me, I drove across them. Both ways.

Approximately 2,300 miles (3500 kilometers) separate Anchorage from Seattle - the nearest US city outside of Alaska. This means anything that's not locally produced must be shipped across that distance into Alaska. Whether by plane, truck, or boat - that's a lot of distance to cover and expensive.

Being so far up in the north also means Alaska has sub-arctic winters that heavily affect infrastructure. Private properties suffer too, including hotels, for example. It's more expensive to build and maintain a building in Alaska than in most US states.

As if that wasn't enough, the travel industry also has the added challenge of a short season. With most visitors coming between June and September, tourism is a seasonal business - and prices reflect that.

This is why Alaska is expensive for us visitors (and not cheap for locals either).

Here's the thing. You can do a lot to reduce the costs of a trip to Alaska and make it much more feasible.

Let's break up the costs and see how that can be done.

Getting to Alaska

I already mentioned how far away Alaska is. So, how do you get there?

Assuming your starting point is the Lower 48, there are three ways for you to get to Alaska:

  • A cruise along the coast
  • The ferry from Seattle to Alaska
  • Flying into Alaska
  • Driving in a car or RV

You can mix and match - and many travelers do - go to Alaska one way and return using another. Many people cruise to Alaska and then take a flight back home.

Let's start breaking down the cost of each of these options.

Cost of Cruise to Alaska

Cruise liners offer you more than the ability to reach points A to B. They usually include a variety of amenities and offer stops in the more "touristy" harbors along the way. Cruise liners include generally Glacier Bay National Park in their itinerary too.

Cruise ship in Alaska

My point is that cruises may not be cheap, but they could still be suitable for some vacation plans.

What do I mean by not cheap?

As you'll see in the following table, we checked many companies and starting points. The price is indicated by night, and the trip duration is 7 nights if you take the cruise from Seattle.

Depending on the level of "luxury" and amenities offered and the season, a cruise going out from Seattle will cost you between $700 to $2500 per person.

You could opt for a cruise that starts in San Francisco or even Los Angeles. Add 3 nights at sea for San Francisco departures and five for a cruise starting in Los Angeles.

All in all, we're talking about roughly $1,500 per person. That comes to a total of over $6,000 for a family of four. And remember, this is just one way.

Cost of Ferry to Alaska

Taking the ferry can be cheaper - but not by much, especially if you're hauling your car along with you. The route is the shortest and most economical one between the towns along the Inner Passage. So you won't get into the smaller bays to view wildlife or stop to see glaciers calving. The views are going to be spectacular all the same.

Ferry to Alaska

If you take the ferry from Bellingham (near Seattle) and embark at Whittier (not far from Anchorage), you'll have to pay $791 per adult. And that price does not include a berth (like on a cruise). If you want to add a berth, that's extra.

For a couple of adults, we're talking about $1782-$2,381, depending on the size of your berth. And that's without facilities, i.e. no private bathrooms/showers. There are public ones available, and the Ferry People suggest camping out on the ferry.

It is perfectly acceptable to camp out on the ferry. During the summer, people will often pitch tents on the deck and during the colder months it is typical to see families sleeping on blow up mattresses, individuals wrapped up in sleeping bags on the lounge chairs, etc.

It sounds kinda lovely but a far cry from a cruise.

One of the advantages of the ferry is that you can bring your vehicle along. Unfortunately, that costs $1,937 for a midsize SUV (16 ft in length).

When we planned our trip to Alaska, I checked this option as well. The idea was to drive one way and take the vehicle back with us on a ferry. With no camping gear, we would have opted for the 4 people berth.

Our boys, being over 12 years of age, would have meant paying a total of  $6,379 for a week at sea, with no private bathroom or any of the amenities of a cruise.

By the way, with the ferry, you can hop off and on at any port, so I still think this could be a good option for some people. Just not very cheap.

Cost of Flights To Alaska

No doubt, the fastest way to get to Alaska is by air travel.

Is it cheap though? Well, the price of a flight can be ok and more affordable than the alternatives.

Flying to and from Alaska

For a more comprehensive price analysis, we sampled prices along several dates. We checked the price of one-way tickets between Anchorage and three popular destinations: New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (in LAX) in the United States and, for the benefit of those arriving from Europe, London (Heathrow airport - LHR).

 CHEAPEST Return Flights From Anchorage to the Lower 48 and Europe (For 1 Adult)
  Anchorage, AK (ANC) - New York, NY (JFK)
January (4, Fri)  Alaska Airlines: from $248  Alaska Airlines: from $191  Icelandair: from $589
 Delta Air Lines: from $253  Delta Air Lines: from $195  Alaska Airlines + Air New Zealand: from $857
March (30, Fri)  Delta Air Lines: from $241  Delta Air Lines: from $208 Alaska Airlines + Virgin Atlantic: from $619
 American Airlines: from $248  United Airlines: from $211  Alaska Airlines + Wow Air + Aer Lingus: $620
June (1, Fri)  JetBlue + Alaska Airlines: from $265  Alaska Airlines: from $192  Alaska Airlines + Condor + Lufthansa: from $839
 Sun Country Airlines: from $269  Delta Airlines: from $195  Alaska Airlines + Ethiopian Airlines + Aer Lingus: $872
 July (4, Wed)  American Airlines:  from $253  Alaska Airlines: from $191 Alaska Airlines + Norwegian + British Airways: $623
 Alaska Airlines: from $257  Delta Airlines: from $195  Alaska Airlines + Norwegian + Vueling Airlines: $625
August (3, Fri)  Alaska Airlines: from $291  Alaska Airlines: from $207  Sun Country Airlines + KLM: $635
 Alaska Airlines: from $293  Delta Air Lines: from $239  Sun Country Airlines + Norwegian + Air France

Keep the following in mind:

  1. These are the cheapest rates sampled simultaneously for different dates in the future. Looking for flights a few months in advance makes you more likely to find the cheapest ones.
  2. You should add baggage fees to these prices. Most airlines charge around $25 for a checked bag.
  3. This is a blog post and not a flight search engine, so obviously these prices may no longer be available when you search for flights. Or you may find cheaper rates.

Budgeting Tip #1

You can get the best rates on airfare by being flexible. If you can, base your travel dates NOT on your preference but on which days have cheaper airfare. There are other considerations, but overall, flexible dates mean more affordable flights.  Shoulder seasons (May, June, September, and October) are more likely to have cheaper flights to Alaska.

Budgeting Tip #2

Search for flights early on. I'm not saying you should book your flights way ahead of time. There's an ongoing debate on whether you should book your flights as soon as the flight becomes available or wait until the last minute for the airline to drop their rates if they can't fill up the plane.

I don't think there's a good answer about when flights are cheapest. I do believe that if you're traveling solo, you probably have more leeway to wait for last-minute deals. As a family of four, I can't rely on last-minute deals that may be available for just 2 or 3 seats on the flight. So I prefer to book ahead of time - the sooner the better.

Either way, searching well in advance will at least give you a good sense of the prices during your date range. This would help you snatch up a reasonable price should it show up.

Cost of Driving to Alaska

Finally! Driving! I'm a road trip addict and fully admit that. For us, driving to Alaska and back was the easy choice! We enjoyed that road trip as much as we enjoyed Alaska itself.

Driving to Alaska - what are the costs?

If you're considering driving, remember that this is one long road trip. This is awesome for road trippers like us but could also be a nightmare for anyone who isn't.

We took three weeks to drive from Los Angeles to Alaska and another three weeks to drive back. You could do it in half that time but then you won't be enjoying the way so much.

I have an entire blog post dedicated to driving to Alaska, so if you're considering the road trip option read that post first. I want to ensure we're on the same page: Driving to Alaska isn't about saving money. Don't do that if you're looking to save a buck.

Let's break down the actual cost of driving to Alaska with that out of the way.

We need to look at three components here:

  1. Cost of vehicle (if you're renting one).
  2. Gas prices.
  3. Accommodation and expenses along the way.

1. Renting a vehicle (or not...)

If you live in the US, you could use your own vehicle to drive to Alaska and back. You don't have to own an SUV or a truck. A sedan will do just fine. Just ensure the vehicle is in good condition because towing the car to the nearest garage could be expensive.

If you're not an American like us, you must rent a vehicle. That can consume a juicy chunk of your budget, so you should pay attention here.

Now, here's the thing.

American or not, if you're flying into Alaska you'll need to rent a vehicle once there. And - this shouldn't surprise you by now - renting in Alaska in season costs double and even triple what it would cost you to rent the exact vehicle in the Lower 48.

So, to assess the total cost of renting in the Lower 48, driving to Alaska, and spending some time there, you have to consider the difference in rental expenses.

Car Rental Costs In Alaska Compared to the Lower 48

If you're considering renting a vehicle in the Last Frontier state during July or August, be prepared for significant sticker shock.

This is what it would cost you to rent a vehicle in Los Angeles for one week during July:

Cost of renting a vehicle in Los Angeles during July

The same week in Anchorage? Check this out -

Cost of Anchorage ca

We're talking at least triple prices - usually much more.

So, basically, in terms of rental fees alone, you could rent in LA, drive up to Alaska, drive around, and return, and you'll probably pay less than if you were to fly into Alaska and rent there for the same period.

That was the huge motivator for us to turn our Alaska trip into a long-distance road trip.

Budgeting Tip #3

Avoid the high season and try June or September instead. There's a huge decrease in price during the shoulder season. Take a look at the prices during September, for example:

Anchorage car rental price during September

Still higher than LA, but that's only 50% higher. It's much more reasonable.

Budgeting Tip #4

Start looking for vehicles as early as possible, especially if you need to rent a larger vehicle like a minivan or full SUV. I can tell you from experience that these get booked relatively early in the season, especially if you need them for long-term travel (as you would when renting to drive to Alaska and back).

Budgeting Tip #5

Most car rental agencies allow you to book a car and then cancel at short notice. So, in addition to booking way in advance, keep an eye on vehicle rental rates. If a special brings prices down, you can always book that and cancel your original order.

I use RentalCars.com for all of our rentals. They're a booking agency that works with several companies, including Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty,  Hertz, and Budget.

In my experience, they have the lowest offers on the internet. What I like even more is that they have a lowest-price guarantee, which means that if you find a lower rate at any point in time until you take the car, they will lower their price to match that.

I did that once. I found a lower rate on a small, unknown website. I'm not sure I would have switched to that site even if RentalCars hadn't lowered their price simply because I had never heard of it before.

I decided to try it and sent RentalCars a copy of the lower offer, including screenshots and links. They reviewed it and matched the price. That way, I rented from an agency I know and trust AND got the lower rate, too.

2. The cost of gas

Driving to Alaska is going to eat up a lot of fuel. Be prepared to spend some cash on that, too.

The factors that determine how much you'll pay for gas are -

  • Your route (total length, including detours for sightseeing)
  • The make and model of your car and its fuel economy stats.
  • Price of gas along your route.

The length of your trip will depend on your starting point in the Lower 48, but either way, we're talking thousands of miles here—each way.

Your vehicle's fuel economy is super important for understanding the costs involved. Driving a large pickup or a full-size SUV will cost you more gas expenses than driving a small sedan would.

Finally, the gas price along your route is - in my experience - difficult to calculate. Running the route from Los Angeles to Anchorage using the gas calculator for a midsize SUV results in under $400.

The same GasBuddy calculator setup throws out $990 in gas fees. We have not kept close track of what we paid for, but I think it was somewhere in the middle.

So, what to do?

If you want to budget for gas accurately, check your vehicle's fuel economy stats and the route you'll take, and start by calculating how much gas you'll need. This should be your starting point.

Of course, there's still the issue of how much gas costs in these northern parts of the continent. Generally speaking, it's more expensive in Canada and Alaska than in the Lower 48. So, let's talk about the cost of gas in Alaska.

Cost of gas in Alaska

The Alaska Oil Pipeline near Fairbanks
The Alaska Oil Pipeline near Fairbanks

Here's a fun fact that might surprise you. Alaska is known as an oil-producing state. So, that means gas should be cheaper there.

Hmmmm.... actually, no.

Alaska is one of the states with the highest average price of gas. How come? Well, consider this. Oil companies still have to take the raw product out of Alaska to their refineries in the lower 48.

The crude oil needs to be processed into commercial gasoline. Then, it needs to be shipped back to Alaska, which is why it's expensive.

Gas prices change depending on the station's location, but generally, expect them to be in the California city range. That's very high, by the way.

Along the Alaska Highway, rates can get even higher. Whitehorse and other towns are okay, but gas stations in the middle of nowhere charge more, with prices being double and even triple what you would pay in a town.

3. Cost of Accommodation along the way

We'll discuss the cost of accommodation in Alaska in a bit. We're still comparing the costs of getting to Alaska via various methods (flying, boating, or driving). So, it's worth mentioning that driving to Alaska also means finding accommodation.

Depending on your point of origin and how much sightseeing you'll do along the way, getting from the Lower 48 to Alaska will take 7-14 days. If you're driving an RV, you can boondock along the way in some areas, but you'll probably want to find actual campgrounds with facilities, at least for some of the nights.

Driving in a car, you'll probably need a motel when you stop driving at the end of the day. And yes, you can even camp in your tent - in a campground or other designated spots. Remember that you'll be in bear country most of your route, so stick to bear safety rules when camping.

Here's the kicker, though -

The price of accommodation along the way is relatively reasonable!

Unlike in Alaska itself (we'll talk about accommodation rates there in a minute), we found rates to be budget-friendly along the Alaska Highway.

A motel room for four people in places like the Fort Nelson Motel 6 in the tiny town of Beaver Creek in the Yukon was cheaper than anything we could find in the Lower 48 and just as adequate for our needs.

I did make reservations for some of the places along the route, always with Booking.com and always with the option to cancel 24 hours before our arrival. We ended up canceling some of them when we had anticipated a change in plans for the following day.

The bottom line:

If you're driving to Alaska, you can budget an average of $100 a night for accommodation. Most places will be cheaper, but a few may be more expensive (especially in Whitehorse itself), so an average of $100 should work out fine.

Made it to Alaska - now what?

So far, we focused on the cost of getting to Alaska. It's time to talk about your expenses while visiting the state itself.

We'll break this into accommodation, food, supplies, and things to do.

1. Food Expenses in Alaska

Regarding food, it’s safe to estimate that you’ll pay an average of 50% more for your meals in Alaska compared to the same eating style in the Lower 48.

It’s safe to assume that a full dinner would be at least $20 per person, while a lovely (yet conventional) breakfast the following day would be at least $10 per person. Expect to pay almost $10 for a fast food combo deal and around $20 at a diner like Denny's.

The Denny's in Fairbanks
The Denny's in Fairbanks - just like other branches - is only more expensive.

If you're planning on carrying all - or some - of your food from home with you, note that some cheese, meats, or fruits are not allowed across borders.

Budgeting Tip #6

We save a lot of money by buying groceries. Yes, supermarkets are more expensive in Alaska, too, but if you carry a cooler (ice is still free in motels), you can buy fresh food like vegetables, fruit, yogurts, and fresh bread. It is healthier and cheaper than constantly eating out.

Supermarkets in Alaska
Supermarkets in Alaska have a selection of fresh produce - but it may not be cheap

2. Accommodation Costs in Alaska

If you want to experience Alaska without breaking the bank, where you stay is one factor where you can save a lot of money. Simply because accommodation rates are just very high over there. Anything you can do to save on that - will significantly lower the cost of your trip to Alaska.

Budgeting Tip #7

Make your reservations in advance. And I mean way in advance when the properties are open to take them. I have found this will reduce our costs by up to 50%. Yes, that means less flexibility - but it could mean huge savings, too.

Booking in advance means you have a greater selection of available rooms. That alone means you can choose the more affordable ones.

But wait - there's more.

I have found that the same rooms were priced at more than half the price when reserved almost a year in advance!

For example, I booked the Microtel in Anchorage in August 2016 for our August 2017 stay. It cost me $91 a night for a room for four people.

If we were to book the same room on arrival, we would have paid over $200 a night! How's that for savings? It is an excellent motel, one of the best we stayed in during the entire trip.

Microtel Alaska Anchorage
Our room in Anchorage - a bargain at under $100 for four people in August

And yes, that low rate still included a cancellation option, so we had nothing to lose by booking so far in advance. We did the same in other locations, saving over 1,000 dollars on accommodation alone.

How can you beat that?

Budgeting Tip #8

Visit Alaska during the shoulder seasons - or even during winter time. Once the crowds are gone, accommodation rates go down.

While hotel rates hover between $150 to $400 per room during July and August, if you come in September, you'll get the same rooms at half the price or even lower.

Budgeting Tip #9

To lower your expenses, you can try other types of accommodation. If traveling from the Lower 48 by car, you may want to bring your camping gear and camp out occasionally.

Priced at $20-$40, staying at a campground could cost you a fraction of a hotel room, and you may enjoy it more, too. Campgrounds may be your best bet if you’re the adventurous type who tends to get more comfy in a tent than in a real bed.

Budgeting Tip #10

Last but not least - Couchsurfing! We have been members of the Couchsurfing community for many years, and I wouldn't say I like recommending Couchsurfing to save money.

This isn't about freeloading. It's about getting to know local people and making more out of your trip. To enjoy Couchsurfing, switch to slow travel mode, spend at least 2 nights with your hosts, and get to know them.

We were on a tight schedule, so we didn't get to couch surf while in Alaska, but I did check the database, and there are TONS of hosts there. If you're already a seasoned couch surfer, check Alaska for hosts.

If you're not, check out my post about Couchsurfing as a family. There's a lot of information there about how to couch surf and host. Try it out - even as a host - before contacting potential Alaska hosts. It's always good to have an active profile with many positive reviews before seeking a couch.

3. Sightseeing - It can get expensive!

There is so much to see and do in Alaska! And so much of that is EXPENSIVE! If you can afford it, you could spend your Alaska vacation taking guided tours, boat cruises, flights, heli-skiing, glacier hiking, ice climbing, river floating, and kayaking with orcas. Something new every day. However, each of these excursions is going to cost you money.

A cruise costs around $150-$250 for 6-8 hours. Most other activities will take 2-3 hours to complete and cost roughly $50-$100 per hour. You could easily spend $2,000 (!) a day on a family of four if you have the budget for it. We certainly didn't.

So, here's what we did.

I decided we would take just two "paid excursions," and both were national park tours. The first was the Kenai Fjords National Parks cruise, which I blogged about here.

I did get a blogger discount of 25% on that one, but we would have gone on the cruise anyway. We took the six-hour cruise, which cost $159 per person; for the four of us, that would have been $636. It was worth it, and I wish we could have enjoyed more excursions of this scale, but that was out of our budget range.

On board the cruise to Kenai Fjords

The only other "excursion" we went on was the bus ride into Denali National Park. That's an excursion for me because even though we took the shuttle bus (not the guided tour), we enjoyed tour-level narration throughout the ride.

You can read about our Denali visit here (including some videos where you can hear our driver narrating the scene). Shuttle tickets to the Eielson Visitor Center cost $40 for anyone over 16. Our boys were under 16 then, so we paid $80 for the entire family, which is not bad.

Budgeting Tip #11

If you intend to experience more attractions, consider investing in one of the famous Alaska coupon booklets. Both the Alaska TourSaver and the ADC - -Alaska Discounts offer a collection of 1+1 deals and other discounts on hotels and activities. The books aren't free, though. The TourSaver is $95.50, and the ADC is $55.

For a family of four, we would have needed two books, so that's quite an expense in its own right. Some coupons are also limited, so they're not always a good fit for hotels. That said, if one of the books covers two or more activities you planned to take anyway, you could save money by using them.

Summary (And a couple of examples)

That was another long post; whew!

I hope you now have a better grasp of how much a trip to Alaska can cost. There are many variables and ways to do this, and the budget range is almost infinite. Here are two extreme examples:

Alaska on a Shoestring Budget

A traveler flying into Alaska in September for three weeks. Flexible flight dates, renting a small vehicle, Couchsurfing along the trip, and relying on supermarkets for food can allow this person to see the state for as little as

  • Flights: $300
  • Vehicle rental for one week: $270 (Hitchhiking and using public transportation on other days)
  • Gas: $100
  • Food: $600 (at approx. $30 a day)

Total: $1300 or roughly $62 a day.

Luxury Alaska

Three weeks in July or August. I took a cruise one way and traveled by car for two weeks. Not applying the budgeting tips, so paying more for hotels and food.

  • Flights: $300 (one way)
  • Cruise: $2500
  • SUV rental in Alaska for two weeks: $1700
  • Gas: $250
  • Hotels for 2 weeks at $300 a night: $4200
  • Food: $850
  • Sightseeing activities/excursions: $2000

Total: $11,800 or just over $560 per day

A "Middle Road" Approach

I won't use actual numbers here because, as you probably realize by now - there are personal choices to be made here.

Are you the kind of person who couldn't care less about the vehicle size you're driving but must try gourmet food in a new destination? Or maybe you want to put your dollars towards sightseeing while exercising frugality in all other aspects? It all depends, you see.

I hope the discussion and budgeting tips here help you reduce the cost of your trip to Alaska -  whatever your travel style and choices are. If you can come up with more saving ideas, please share them in a comment below!

Or just let me know what you think of these tips - I love hearing from blog readers. So, if you have questions, comments, or anything you like to say, share it in a comment.

And speaking of sharing. A lot of work has gone into this post. It's taken several weeks of research for my assistant and me to gather and put all the data into a post.

I hope you'll appreciate the effort and help me spread the word about my blog by sharing this post - and others - on social media. Thank you!

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  1. Go helicopter flight seeing and dogsledding on the glacier near Juneau. It is pricey but worth every penny.
    Passports are needed for Canada travel I believe for US citizens and there may also be a vaccination requirement. I would check on that also.
    Your post is helpful and interesting reading. I have travelled all the miles of the Alaska Railroad and highly recommend that for the service provided, the awesome scenery and viewing animals off the beaten path. Met many interesting people and enjoyed hearing about their lives and travels also during the trip.
    My advice is see Denali. I found is to be the most beautiful place and I have seen all fifty states, several provinces and Mexico. Spend time in Denali National Park. Raft the river. See it from the air if you can. Every view is enchanting.
    If you have time admire the beautiful flowers at Fairbanks and then soak in the hot springs at Chena and close your eyes and dream about Denali.

  2. Your post is exactly what I have been looking for. We are planning a trip from Seattle to Anchorage or further starting June 2023. Do you more current information on costs and availability of campgrounds along the way? Thank you so very much for this valuable information

    • Hi Melvina,
      I was just telling my husband we should repeat the trip because my posts are getting outdated. I believe the budgeting tips still hold, but I have a feeling everything is probably more expensive this year due to the inflation. June and July are already “high season” for Alaska, so I would try and book places ahead of time (or at least call them to find out more about potential availability). Have a great trip!

  3. Perhaps I missed it, but no mention of renting a camper. Our first trip, for 4 of us, we drove throughout the Kenai Peninsula, up to Denali (camped in) and onto Fairbanks, then down to Glenallen and Valdez; total of 2000 miles. We shopped at grocery stores, camped along the roads, and had no deadlines or concerns about where we were going to eat or sleep. The flexibility was what we needed and all linens, cooking gear, et. Al, even grills and camp chairs were included. The company was amazing. They will pick you up from airport and drop you off. We even stayed in the camper the night before our very early next morning flight.

    • Thanks for that comment, M percin! That’s great input there! As far as I know, renting a camper in Alaska in high season isn’t cheap, but for those who enjoy RV’ing, it can be a wonderful option, for sure! I’m glad you enjoyed the trip!

  4. Hi Anne,

    Wow, that is quite an epic post with lots of helpful information. One thing I noticed though is your link about bear safety is broken (leads to a 404 page not found error). That’s the link with the following text:

    stick to bear safety rules when camping

    Hope that helps.


    • Good catch there. Thanks for letting me know! I prefer to link to authoritative resources, so I found the NPS guide instead.

  5. Thank you for your excellent post. My wife and I are considering driving through Canada to Alaska. Your post answers MANY questions that we have. Marked your post so I ca refer back to it. Again, Thanks.

  6. Cost2Drive came in so low because it only shows the cost of the gas you bought in the USA. It seems to think you don’t need any gas in Canada!

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Good point, that probably explains the discrepancy. Though it does total the mileage including the Canada part of the drive, maybe the calculator’s algorithm doesn’t actually factor in the cost in that section.

  7. Great information and very helpful as we’re planning an RV trip to Alaska next year. Your efforts are very much appreciated!!

  8. Great post! As Alaskans our family camps a lot. I think it is the best way to see the beauty (and maybe wildlife) of Alaska. When planning a camping vacation be aware that our national and state park campgrounds (we think the most beautiful) do not have showers or running water for that matter. Most have a hand pump with drinkable water and pit toilets. You also need reservations at many of them now. Some do have first come first serve. Private campgrounds have more amenities but not usually scenic. A great resource is The Alaska Milepost. It has very comprehensive mile-by-mile logs of the highways.

  9. I am in the process of planning a trip with my husband and two children 20 and 17 to Alaska end of July . Wish we could be more flexible with our dates but we can not. I can not begin to thank you enough for your page. It has been so helpful! I’m in the process of starting to book everything and all of your advice has been so helpful.

    • I’m so happy to hear that, Krisitina! Thank you! At least in July you should have great weather and everything will be open long hours. Enjoy!

      • Love your posts, so full of information! Wish we had known about a lot of that info before our first trip to AK! This trip will not be a tour, so we can definitely refer to your blogs in the planning and execution! Thank you!

        • Thank you, Lindsay! I’d love to get your feedback once you’re on the road (or back!). It could help future travelers too. Safe travels!

  10. We live in Nashville tenn. area this trip has been something we have wanted to do. Just my husband and I. Loved your post. The information was helpful. Thinking of flying and driving to see the area. Love to know which is best places to see if this will be your only trip there. Thanks

    • Hi J Green, so glad you found this post helpful!
      I have another post about my Alaska Bucket List. I wrote that before we left and it helped me focus our own trip. I still think it’s a great bucket list for any Alaska trip, so I hope you’ll find it helpful as well.

    • Hi J Green
      I’ve lived in Alaska for 14 years. I came up here for a two-week adventure in 2004 and I’m still on my adventure.
      I’ve lived in Whitter, Fairbanks, Sitka, Kodiak, Ketchikan, Prince William Island, and I currently live in Anchorage. Ivie worked in and visited many cities in the state from Ketchikan to Prudhoe Bay to Bristol Bay to Kodiak to Anchorage.

      If you’re going to make only one trip to Alaska, you should go to Denali National Park, spend the 4th of July in Seward, do some combat fishing on the Russian River, and fly out to Katmai National Park.

      There’s a lot of things to do in the state and it all depends on the amount of time you want to spend here and your budget.

      Don’t plan to do too many things because you won’t be able to enjoy them, and your mind is going to be trying to adjust to the endless sunlight.

      Since you’ll be driving, I’d pick three things I must see and then look at the map of the roadway system to see what other little attractions are between my sites.

      • Hi Mr. Williams, My husband and I are from Alabama we are going to fly into Anchorage around the 2nd week of September 2020 we are planning on staying for 3 weeks we are very seriously thinking about renting an RV. I want to go to Denali but not sure what else to do. We love seeing wildlife, beautiful lakes and waterfalls. Oh and I want to see the Northern lights. Could you give me some ideas? It would greatly appreciated. Thanks

  11. Thank you for the great post. My family of 5 is flying into Juneau on frequent flier miles, spending 5 nights there, and taking the ferry back to Bellingham. If anyone has done this trip and has budgeting, touring, or “don’t miss” activities or sights, please let me know!

    • Hi Dan, I’m so glad you found the post helpful!
      Sounds like an awesome trip to me. Have you looked into AirBnB options in Juneau? Since you’ll be staying in the same location for 5 days this might be a good option for you. I wrote about vacation rentals vs. hotels for family travel here. If you sign up for AirBNB with my link you’ll get $41 that you can use for your reservation.
      I don’t have other recommendation as we haven’t visited Juneau in our trip but I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time – I’d love to hear more from you after you return!

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