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First trip to Alaska

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Wilsonville, Oregon
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First trip to Alaska

I haven't actually booked a trip as of yet, but have thought for a long time Juneau as a great place to start. I have been reading all the posts and there is a great deal of great information. When I go I will be by myself and on a budget, but interested in light hiking, seeing some wildlife (safely) and really want to see the glaciers. Interested in the history of the native life also. Looking for inexpensive but decent lodging and great food. Being a first timer any advice on good hotels and must see attractions. All advice is great!y appreciated.

Bristol, Connecticut
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for Alaska
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27 reviews
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1. Re: First trip to Alaska

How much time will you have and how do you plan on getting around? Will you fly or take boats/ferries? Any interest in other parts of the state if you have time?When will you be traveling?

Wilsonville, Oregon
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2. Re: First trip to Alaska

I will probably rent a car, but don't know if in budget yet, and will fly in. Lots of interest in other parts of the state and was thinking of traveling in summer, don't have all the logistics yet, thats why I am trying to get advice to see about best times to go. Boats and ferries are great too. Hoping to have two weeks travel time or at least 10 days!

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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15,375 posts
28 reviews
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3. Re: First trip to Alaska

Not sure what you consider "decent lodging" but the hostel in Juneau is great - clean, friendly and very economical. I have stayed there multiple times in the past.

With your interest in glaciers and wildlife, I would take a whale watch tour and the Tracy Arm tour. I use Harv & Marvs for whale watching (small boat, longer tour on the water than any other company I have come across, free stop at Mendenhall Glacier). Tracy Arm will give you the glaciers you are looking for. Adventure Bound does this tour. It is a great tour, but their office staff tends to be very inept. Just confirm, reconfirm and re-reconfirm your reservation and even ask for the boarding pass to be sent in advance.

You might consider venturing off from Juneau if you will be there for 10 days or two weeks. Haines and Skagway both have great hiking and both also have economical lodging (hostels). Gustavus/Bartlett Cove/Glacier Bay is another place you might consider spending a couple of nights. Lodging is not cheap (unless you bring a tent then it is free at Bartlett Cove). Great day trip (boat tour) from there deeper inside Glacier Bay National Park.

Wilsonville, Oregon
10 posts
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4. Re: First trip to Alaska

Thank you for all the great information, definitely gives me places to start checking into. The hostels sound like a great way to go. I appreciate all your help!

haines, alaska
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5. Re: First trip to Alaska

There are hostels in both Skagway and Haines, too.......the one in Skagway is right downtown but the one here in Haines is about 1 1/2 miles from downtown........having a car in each place would really add to the enjoyment of your trip, but there are also bicycle rentals in Haines.......

http://www.haines.ak.us/

If you add Glacier Bay to your itinerary....... the ferry goes to Gustavus (Glacier Bay) twice a week and there are flights through Alaska Air from Juneau......smaller planes link Gustavus directly to Haines and Skagway as well, but are more expensive than the ferry....... http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/

Wilsonville, Oregon
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6. Re: First trip to Alaska

Thank you for the information, I will probably rent a car but definitely take advantage of the ferries. I really want to see Glacier Bay, so that's a definite part of the itinerary. Thank you for the information on the hostels, some great information, I appreciate it all and will be of great help!

Winder, Georgia
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7. Re: First trip to Alaska

Last year I flew Alaska Air to Gustavus & stayed 4 nights at the Growley Bear. Nothing fancy, but convenient & has a shuttle. Renting a car here is very expensive & really not needed since most lodgings offer shuttle service. Go on the Glacier Bay day tour & whale watching with Taz. There are places to hike or go kayaking. Took the ferry to Juneau for more whale watching, then flew on to Wrangell for 3 nights. I went to Anan Bear Observatory twice seeing so many bears, & also went on day tours to LeConte Glacier & Skitine River. It was a wonderful trip.

Wilsonville, Oregon
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8. Re: First trip to Alaska

Nice to know about the shuttles, would rather not rent a car unless had to. Your trip sounds fantastic, will definitely be looking into the whale watching and have to see some bears. Will look into Taz! Thanks!!

9. Re: First trip to Alaska

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fti
MN
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for Alaska
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10. Re: First trip to Alaska

Nat_Infinite, hostels are pretty expensive? I am not sure what you think is "expensive" but in Juneau the hostel is $12/night, the Spenard Hostel in Anchorage is about $30-$32/night. I would not call that expensive.

Based on your screen name and the link you provided, it seems like you have an interest in that business. TA's rules say you should disclose that if it is indeed the case. Also, a 17-day trip for $2,600 PLUS all the "optional" expenses doesn't seem like a budget trip to me. I get by on about $100/day including everything - transportation, food, lodging, tours, etc. The tour I looked at through your link shows mostly camping, which I often do in Alaska. But I mix it up with hostels and even hotels or cabins on occasion.