If you are like most working people, you have about 2 weeks at a time for a vacation. And, if Alaska is your destination for a 2-week trip, the planning can be overwhelming because of the sheer size of this state as well as the countless choices for attractions and activities. Below are some suggestions that may make the planning process less stressful and more exciting.
1. Alaska cannot be seen in its entirety in one trip so don’t try. You’ll spend most of the time driving and go home exhausted and frustrated if you do. Instead, pick one or two destinations only and explore within that limited range. A popular itinerary for people on a time crunch is one week exploring the Kenai Peninsula and one week exploring the Denali National Park and surrounding areas. You can always come back another year and explore a different part of Alaska. Alot of people come to Alaska multiple times.
2. Rent an RV. There are quite a few RV rental agencies in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Some companies will give a discount if reserved far enough in advance or if you plan to travel outside of peak season. If you plan to rent a car, get hotel/cabin reservations in advance. Many people traveling by car have stopped in late at night desperately looking for a place to stay and we are all full. The spontaneity wears thin real fast when you’re stuck sleeping in the car.
3. If you plan to travel in June, July or August, make reservations in advance for RV parks and attractions.
4. Take every opportunity for experiencing the elements. Take a boat tour in Seward, ride the park shuttle and go on guided hikes at Denali National Park, take a flight-seeing trip over Mount McKinley, go on a rafting trip down the Nenana River, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The Denali Chamber of Commerce in Healy and the Alaska Tourism Board can send you information.
5. Research the cost of things before you get here so you know what to expect. Some things are more expensive in Alaska. When visitors have not done their research, they are upset by the cost of things and respond with bargain shopping and that’s too bad, because they waste alot of precious time and energy trying to find cheaper prices that they will not find.
6. Bring clothes for all types of weather. Alaska can be cold and/or wet. Pack water-proof shoes and gear. You don’t want to wait out a spell of bad weather with just 2 weeks. There’s an old saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” so pack accordingly. I’ve seen more wildlife on rainy days, so there are perks to “bad” weather.
I hope this is helpful in decreasing the stress associated with planning a trip to such a huge, far away state. Alaska is unique in its size, its vistas and its opportunities for adventure and is worth any amount of time and energy you use in coming up. Have a wonderful journey and maybe we’ll see you.