Are you planning a road trip to Alaska? We’ve put together some hints, learned after our years of traveling the state. We hope it helps you to have a great trip! As always, if you have questions, use the comment section or our contact form.
- Passport: If you are driving to AK, you’ll need your passport in order to cross the border from the US into Canada and then again into Alaska. Don’t forget it – being detained at the border is NOT a relaxing way to start your trip!
- Extra Spending Money: Prices in Alaska can be from 25% – 35% higher than the Lower 48 depending on where you are and the time of year. Be prepared to spend a little extra on necessities like gas and food.
- Water and Snacks: Driving throughout much of Alaska will remind you there are still undeveloped, untouched places in the US. If you are traveling before Memorial Day, all of those towns you see on your map may or may not have stops that are open for business. So gas up at every opportunity and be sure to have enough provisions in case you find yourself hungry, thirsty and running low on petrol.
- Spare Tire: Again, much of Alaska is open road and the nearest garage could be many, many miles away. Bring a spare along and the tools and know-how needed to complete the job.
- Layers of Clothing: What will the weather be like in Alaska during your summer trip? Easy answer: from 20F-85F. Your best bet for dressing no matter what the activity, is layers. Then you can take off and put back on, keeping comfortable no matter which way the weather turns. Note: It is almost always cold on the water, so if you plan on a sightseeing day cruise, dress for it! Fleeces, jackets, rain gear, and hats are a must to have on hand.
- Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer, Wipes: Most Alaska sightseeing stops will have facilities, a large majority of the outhouse variety. In many parts of Alaska, there will be a substantial distance between these stops. Best to be prepared for emergency stops – enough said!
- Bear Spray: If your plans include hiking or camping and you will not be carrying a firearm, bear spray will offer some peace of mind should you startle one of our large resident furry friends. Make noise whenever you are in secluded, wooded areas and know what to do should you encounter a bear.
- The Milepost: This magazine will take you mile by mile through Alaska using the road system – a must for road trippers. It offers information on every stop: small towns, campgrounds, eating establishments, fill-ups, parks, overlooks – literally everything you need to know. A new Milepost is published each year and even we residents try to keep a semi-updated copy for our own explorations through the state.
- Bug Spray: Yes, the rumors you’ve heard are true: Alaska mosquitoes swarm by the millions each summer and are pretty doggone angry after being dormant all winter. If you plan to hike or camp it is especially important to prepare for the buggy onslaught. Buy deet and use it, or you may miss out on some of the state’s most beautiful places in your swatting/scratching misery.
- Camera: Why are you on this road trip? To come face to face with Alaska, of course! We have lived here 11 years and still take hundreds of pictures every year. Words cannot adequately describe the wonders you will see that are only discovered in Alaska. The wildlife and scenery will without question take your breath away. Don’t miss a minute of it: SIM cards and camera batteries will have you ready to aim and shoot – everyone is a photographer in Alaska!