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Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Dallas, Texas
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Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Hi,

We are planning to do a trip in Alaska in Mid August for a week or two?? We are six in our group including two children. What is my best option - RV or Minivan + Hotel??

Any advise on what places we can visit?? We are very interested to see the fjords, iceberg and mountains. What are my options there???

This is my first trip to Alaska and on a tight budget. Any possible thoughts very much appreciated.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Are you coming this August or next year? :)

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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2. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Welcome to the forum.

First I suggest you read the pinned post about FIRST TIME POSTERS. Secondly we have lots of questions (plus the ones mentioned in that pinned post):

>>We are planning to do a trip in Alaska in Mid August for a week or two?? We are six in our group including two children. What is my best option - RV or Minivan + Hotel??

As was asked, which year? Ages of the kids? Only you can decide if RV or car + hotels is better. You will need two hotel rooms each night since very few places will be big enough for 6 people.

>>Any advise on what places we can visit??

You need to decide how long you are coming for. An itinerary for 1 week will look a lot different than an itinerary for 2 weeks.

>>We are very interested to see the fjords, iceberg and mountains. What are my options there???

Read through some trip reports to get some ideas for itineraries for a week or two. Mountains are all over. By icebergs do you mean glaciers? Or do you really mean icerbergs? Fjords can be seen with a Kenai Fjords boat tour from Seward as well as from several options in SE Alaska.

>>This is my first trip to Alaska and on a tight budget. Any possible thoughts very much appreciated.

What is a "tight budget" to you? For some that is $50/person/day (which means tent camping, no meals out, etc). For others it means $500/person/day and not staying in the Ritz Carlton (of which there isn't one in Alaska anyway!).

Duluth, Minnesota
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for Cabo San Lucas
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13 reviews
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3. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

to chime in on one of your questions...if you're advance planning for next year (and excellent idea, btw) then you can save $$ with an RV rental, providing the 6 of you are able to put up with each other in confined spaces:) 6 adults gets a little tight, but 4 adults and 2 kids should work in a large RV.

At full price, the RV vs hotel/rental car debate has merit, but if you can book well in advance (this fall at the latest) the major RV companies offer very good discounts that pretty much make it easily the better way to go, dollar wise.

Edited: 03 August 2013, 00:43
Dallas, Texas
5 posts
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4. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

This August...

Dallas, Texas
5 posts
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5. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Thanks for your reply. I should be more specific.

I am planning to visit this year. My girls are 9 and 16. I agree, I need at least 2 rooms if I choose Hotels.

If my dollar stretches, I like to spend 2 weeks otherwise only a week....

You are right. Its Glaciers.

I afford to spend max $4000 in this trip including car, gas and meals. I did some research and people are mentioning Alaska is quite expensive compare to other state.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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39,930 posts
44 reviews
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6. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

To save $$, you should have booked your car months ago, but I would surely book asap. Not sure about RV rentals - I think the cost would be pretty equal (RV vs car/motel) for a family of 4, but not sure how close you want to be in an RV with 6 - depends on the size. If you get this booked and have some exact days, we can better help with your itinerary. :)

Chugiak, Alaska
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7. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Do you have plane tickets already? Maybe flying with friends who work for the airlines? Otherwise I'd think that flights would be pretty spendy only a couple weeks out.

Once you have exact dates (and if you can tell us date and time of arrival and departure it helps a lot), we can help you out a bit more.

And yes, Alaska is more expensive than the lower 48 for a couple of good reasons. Nearly everything has to be shipped here and shipping is expensive to get things here and the tourist season is incredibly short compared to say, Texas, so things like hotels, rentals cars, etc get expensive during the three month window that most people come up here.

Those of us who live here pay the extra expense all year, so we get it, but thems the breaks. My flight to go to see my family at Christmas is jacked up to twice what flights cost in the Summer, so the airlines like to mess with locals plenty, too.

Edited: 05 August 2013, 06:53
Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

We are planning to fly from Dallas on Aug 16 and Return home on September 2nd.

I did not buy flight ticket yet. I checked on Kayak, it shows around $500 per person. Other than my flight tickets, I have around $3000 to spend. I appreciate for all your help.

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
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9. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

Get the flights booked, rent a car, decide where you want to go (look at map, research each town to see which offers you activities you want) and book your accommodations.......get busy !

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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15,519 posts
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10. Re: Alaska Trip Plan for a first time visitor

So three of you for 2 weeks? A budget of $3,000. So that is about $70/person/day. That is a very minimal budget. If there are four of you (since you mentioned 2 hotel rooms) then you are down to about $50/person/day. I did that earlier this year (June) with a group of nine of us. Rented minivans (booked 10 months in advance), tent camped and stayed in hostels, only ate out once, used discount coupons for any tour we took (Portage Glacier was really the only "tour"). We had a great trip, but most people wouldn't do what we did to spend $500 for a 10-day trip to Alaska. Having said that, we all had the time of our lives.

I would really try to look into an RV. That way you have your transportation and lodging all set. Plus you don't need hotel rooms or to plan a detailed itinerary except for Denali. Also, you can cook most of your own meals (the only way to stay within your budget).

If you can't get an RV for a good price, I would try to fit into one room. One large room will still be way cheaper than two smaller rooms.