Unless otherwise stated, all prices in this travel guide are in U.S. dollars. Tipping (usually 15 percent of the bill) is expected at most sit-down eating places fancier than snack bars or takeaway counters. Tourism employees, fishing guides, and others providing personal service often depend on tips for their real income.
I travel almost exclusively using credit cards and an ATM card, but a few people still prefer traveler’s checks. The major credit cards—especially Visa and MasterCard—are accepted almost everywhere in the larger towns. This is probably the easiest way to travel, especially if you can get airline mileage credit at the same time. Note, however, that credit cards may not be accepted by businesses in bush Alaska, so call ahead if you aren’t traveling with cash or traveler’s checks.
Traveler’s checks from American Express, Bank of America, or Visa are accepted by most businesses; but don’t arrive with traveler’s checks in non-U.S. currency since they’re only accepted at a few banks. In some remote villages, even traveler’s checks may not be accepted.
Some Canadian and U.S. cash will make your first few hours in the neighboring country less of a hassle. Note that there are no exchange facilities at the borders; Canadians take U.S. dollars at a poor rate, while Alaskan businesses often refuse Canadian dollars (they do, however, take the coins at an equal value with U.S. coins). Most Wells Fargo offices in Anchorage and some other cities will exchange Canadian dollars, Japanese yen, and euros for U.S. dollars.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition