We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

San Francisco...
2 posts
Save Topic
7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

Hi, I am wondering if a Minivan would be good for a group size of 7, traveling in Alaska or should I go for a full-size SUV. I understand the price difference but my concern is more towards convenience in driving, safety, luggage space and performance on the Alaskan roads.

I could really use some advice here.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
43,171 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

I guess that would depend entirely how much luggage and personal gear that everyone is carrying - some folks travel light, some not at all. I would contact a car rental agency and see how much exactly fits into what vehicle - ie: exact # of suitcases, backpacks etc. The minivan would probably get better gas mileage - either would do fine on Alaska roads. :)

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
Level Contributor
12,401 posts
214 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

I don't think either a minivan or a full-size SUV will be comfortable for 7 people and their luggage. In both vehicle types you will be using 3 rows of seating and that results in minimized trunk room (certainly not likely room enough for the luggage of 7 people).

I'm thinking a passenger van or 2 cars would be a more comfortable option.

USA
Level Contributor
9,465 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

What is the configuration of your group? 5 small children & 2 adults? Car seats? 7 large lumberjacks?

Kingston Springs...
6 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

My family just did it with a Mini - van that had stow & go. Chrysler Town & Country, which is what we got. the grand Caravan has the same. Stow & Go; using soft duffels; packing for 5 days and willing to do laundry. Now, 2 were children ages 6 & 4 using child seats. Also, our two sons were good at packing the minivan. We used all space and were comfortable even buying a cooler and having room for it in the area between the from and second row. You will find good storage under your feet in the second row.

you must make this work as the alternative is 2 vehicles which splits up the family and adds cost and gas. Another alternative is a 12 or 15 passenger van but the cost is really huge.

We rented 40 miles away in Wasilla where the rate difference was so great that the cost of getting there was cheap. $75 - 90 sending one or two to get the minivan.

Unless it is 7 adults, you can do this. we did it for 17 nights in late June until July 4th. You will have the trip of a lifetime and you can cut costs because we did.

Mentioned in this post
Wasilla
Wasilla
Alaska
Central Florida...
Level Contributor
1,300 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

We traveled to WY last summer with 6 adults. Rented a Suburban, and it was great. I went to a large used car dealer and looked at the various cars we were considering. I measured the rear luggage storage space, and made the decision based on that. We did have a rule, only one soft rolling duffel per person, along with a backpack and camera gear that each person kept near their feet. If some of your group are kids, a Suburban is fine. From my experience, what rental companies call a full size SUV is Jeep Cherokee size, and would be too small. A mini van with lots of rear storage may work too. Take a look at them.

Edited: 30 July 2014, 23:00
fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,825 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

A Suburban is different than a full-size SUV I believe. It really depends on how much luggage you have and the configuration of the group - some smaller kids will help.

We had nine people including 7 teen guys last summer and ended up with two minivans. All the SUV's we looked at didn't hold 7 people. We had a lot of luggage since we were camping and had a ton of groceries as well, and we really used the space in the vans. However, we reserved our vehicles 9-10 months in advance so got a really good deal on them.

San Francisco...
2 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

Thank you all for your recommendations.

We are 7 adults, and would like to be in one vehicle. We are planning to keep the luggage limited. So, a bag per person is all we are looking at.

Someone did suggest a Suburban but I'm not sure about the luggage space.

Bristol, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
4,683 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

A Suburban would work for luggage space but not sure if you would find one. A mini van has moire storage space than an SUV in my experience. The stow and go feature works well and there just seems to be more floor space. With all that being said three adults are going to be tight in that seat in a mini van for a long trip, I hope they like each other a whole lot.

Bridgewater
Level Contributor
799 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

I own a large luxury SUV and would never put 7 people in it for a long trip, nor a short one. Unless you have luggage racks for the top, there is no room for luggage, even under the seats. And it is a gas guzzler. There's more room in a van, but even that will be tight. I've also had a suburban, and although tight, could possibly fit 7 with luggage, but it is not a comfortable ride in the back for your passengers. You feel every bump. The gas alone on a suburban would be equal to 2 regular cars.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
Level Contributor
12,401 posts
214 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 7 people | First time in Alaska | Minivan vs Full-size SUV

With 7 adults I'm more convinced about considering 2 vehicles. It would allow travelers to do 2 things at once if people were interested in different activities (e.g some may want to go fishing while others do a hike).