Alaska Travel Tips for Your Trip
Alaska is a definitely a great place to visit, but Alaska travel also has some unique challenges. Here’s some of my best Alaska travel tips for your trip: what to wear, how to deal with the weather, family travel tips, what season to visit and general tips to maintain your sanity by having a stress-free, enjoyable trip!
What to Wear, and What NOT to Wear
When you’re in Alaska, you want to be prepared for different temperatures, and precipitation (rain or snow can fall in any month of the year, depending on where you are in Alaska). The weather up here can turn on a dime.
- Dress in Layers: This lets you put on layers or remove them as weather and temperature dictates, to avoid sweating and building up moisture, keeping you dry.
- Avoid Cotton: It holds moisture, takes forever to dry, and doesn’t breathe.
- Hardshell or Softshell: These keep the rain and snow off, while keeping you dry. They also breathe way better than traditional rain coats which don’t let moisture out.
- Fleece is Your Friend: A good fleece keeps you warm on a cool night, dries really quickly and goes great under your hardshell keeping you warm in winter weather.
- Bring a Hat: The majority of your body heat loss is through your head, so if it’s cold out, a nice hat keeps in the warmth.
WEATHER You Want To or Not
One of my biggest Alaska travel tips I share with people visiting is about the weather. It goes something like this, “The weather can do anything, so be prepared to get out there, rain or shine.” If you wait for the perfect weather, you might be waiting awhile! Some of the best trips and hikes I’ve had are when I pushed through and did it any way, dressed for the weather of course. You’re rewarded with fewer crowds and most of the time, much more dramatic views and experiences.
Traveling with a Family
This is where we fit as my wife and I have 2 little ones. Basically the same general rules of family travel still apply: be flexible, have plenty of snacks, dress your kids as noted above in the clothing section, and frequently take bathroom and play stops. The only difference is that up here, once you’re out of the Anchorage and South Central area, there’s not a lot of bathrooms and places to eat between towns, so plan accordingly.
Which Season Should I Visit?
Obviously everyone has a favorite season, personally I like spring and fall. But, maybe I can share some quick travel tips and things to consider.
Your best bet for summer sun is July and August, although the weather is always up for grabs. May and June, as well September can be pretty rainy. However, summer time is prime time for the Alaska tourism industry, so that’s also when everything is priced at a premium.
There’s a little-known, or little-used, secret about Alaska travel though… the shoulder seasons. In the shoulder seasons (April, May, September and October), travel is cheaper. Everything from cabin rentals to car rentals to hotels and tours are cheaper. They’re not quite as low as the winter rates, but it’s definitely cheaper than peak summer rates. Shoulder season travel isn’t for everyone as it is a bit cooler, and the weather is a little less predictable. But, it works out great for us as I like spring and fall the most, and it’s more affordable for our little family.
And Finally… Be Flexible
My last tip is to be flexible. Alaska has a lot of unique challenges (your Denali flight-seeing tour could be postponed because of sudden weather conditions, or highway travel might be shut down for a couple of hours due to an avalanche), but you will be rewarded for your flexibility. Roll with the punches and have a good time no matter what you do. Sometimes a random walk down to the river can reward you with unbelievable views…
Alaska is beautiful and rugged place to visit and hopefully these Alaska travel tips will help your trip to be stress free and enjoyable.