Before You Go
It pays to do some planning before your trip to Alaska, especially if you’re heading into remote bush parts of the state. This is a massive state, and unless you have months of time and a big bank account, you’re wise to pick one region to explore.
Ferry travelers to Southeast Alaska will need to develop their travels around the ferry schedule since several days may pass before the next ferry arrives. Many travelers fly into Anchorage and launch out from there by rental car, RV, train, or bus.
Lodging, meals, and travel will eat a big hole in your budget, but you can avoid some expenses by camping and finding places where you can cook your own meals. Book well ahead for bus trips into Denali National Park and for lodging around the park.
Do your research by reading this travel guide, checking out the websites of places you might want to visit, and requesting a copy of the Alaska State Vacation Planner, distributed by the Alaska Travel Industry Association (907/929-2200 or 800/862-5275, www.travelalaska.com)
What to Take
Summer visitors will want to bring a light waterproof jacket and rain pants plus a sweater or polyproplyene pullover for warmth. Hiking boots are recommended if you plan to spend any time in the backcountry, but good running shoes are fine for many purposes. Hikers in Southeast Alaska will need rubber boots and heavy-duty rain gear.
Winter visitors should be prepared for the cold and bring appropriate winter wear for extreme conditions, especially anyone planning a trip to Fairbanks, where temperatures are often well below zero, sometimes plummeting to -40°F.
Southcentral winters are milder, with Anchorage temperatures often in the teens or single digits in January. Juneau and other Southeast Alaska towns have relatively mild winters with a mix of rain and snow.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition