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10 days in Alaska as a solo female traveler

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Mar 31st, 2012, 12:13 PM
  #1
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10 days in Alaska as a solo female traveler

Hi there,
I'm in my mid 30's and booked my trip to Alaska, from June14-June 25. I want to plan carefully and see as much as possible with a tight budget, although, I want to do few expensive things: Alaska by air, by sea and land ( flying around McKinley with glacier landing, bear viewing, a cruise to see the glaciers and wild life, and by rail to Denali).
Here is my plan, but I'm not so sure is possible, so I'm open to discussion:

June 14- arrived at 11:45pm (day is over, but I got a great deal for car renting from June 15 @ 12 AM-June 18 @ 11 PM). Pick up rental and head over to a cheap hostel (must find one. Is Alaska Backpackers Inn a good choice?)

June 15- after a early breakfast, hid the road to Homer (4 1/2 hrs), and with few stops, I should consider like 6 hrs drive. Stay overnight in Homer. (search for a hostel there)

June 16- hope to book a bear viewing trip (all day). I should be back by 8pm, and pick up the car to drive 3 hrs to Seward ( must look for a cheap hostel there as well).

June 17 -Rest well and get ready for a 10 am glaciar cruise (preferable a 6 hrs one- must search for a good one- Kenai Fjords Tours?) . Spend the night in Seward (2nd night at the same hostel).

June 18 - morning, visiting Seward Sea Life Center (optional) , drive by Wildlife Conservation Center, on my way back to Anchorage ( should be there by 11pm to drop off rental car). Book the same hostel for the next 2 night (same as from the first night).

June 19- Anchorage: visit the Native Heritage Center and Green Market. (any other ideas for what to do by foot in Anchorage? )

June 20- at 8 am go by train to Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour with K2 Aviation ( later in the afternoon ). Overnight at a cheep hostel (must find one closer to the train depot, if possible).

June 21 - 10:45 am back on the train, on my way to Denali (YEEEY). Hope for a deal with the hostel+ train (discount booking together). Wonder around park entrance until a shuttle bus is going to pick me up to take mo to hostel. Then, finally chillaxing. (I have in mind Denali Mountain Morning Hostel -10% off for train and free shuttle).

June 22- Denali -shuttle to Wonder Lake all day. Then back to the same hostel (after I'll decide which one).

June 23- Denali- go for a sled dog kneel demonstration , then back in the park to explore some more. Later at night, back to hostel.

June 24- at 12pm get the train back to Anchorage. Arrive there around 8pm. Have dinner and then catch the plain back home at 12:45am on June 25.

So, is it way too much? I have concerns for the first days, when I have the rental car (already arranged that- great deal!!). Please advise. Many thanks, Betty
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Mar 31st, 2012, 03:30 PM
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Sounds fantastic to me. Sorry, I can't help with hostels, but you should have long daylight hours in June, so at least you won't be driving in the dark. Have a great trip.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Thanks emalloy.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 06:53 PM
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In Seward, the longer you go out on the boat tour the more wildlife and glaciers you will see. It sounds like a long time but the shorter tours don't go far enough and you will be wishing for more.

We've used Kenai Fjords and Major and both were excellent. They don't do a certain path but talk to other boats and go looking for wildlife.

Just north of Seward, stop at Exit Glacier. It's a quick, easy walk up to the face of the glacier.

Denalis bus shuttle-take the park shuttle buses. They are cheaper and there is only one route anyway. Take snacks and water. It can get very dusty so you might want to take a wet wash cloth in a baggy to wipe away dust from you and your seat. Binoculars are a must to see wildlife.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 09:25 PM
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Great tips, Connie. Thanks. I am debating between glacier tours( Prince William Sound) and Kenai Fjords (wildlife). I wish I could do both, but I have to choose one, considering the time (I agree with Connie to take the longer cruises) , distances and mostly, the beauty they have to offer. Am I going to be able to see glaciers in Kenai Fjords similar with the ones in PWS? I read that it can be boring to watch for 7 hours pretty much the same look-alike glaciers. Also, the motion sickness is common on the Kenai Fjords cruise. Bear viewing is another difficult choice. I'm debating between Alaska Bear Adventures with K Bay Air and Bald Mountain Air that go to Brooks Fall to watch bears catching salmon (but, what are the chances the salmon reaches the falls when I'm going, in mid June? )
So much to think about it, but with your appreciated feedback, I can make some decisions and ultimately have a wonderful trip.
Best wishes.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 04:51 AM
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Sounds like a reasonable plan. Since cost is a concern, just make sure you budget for high cost of everything in Alaska - even simple stuff like a cup of coffee or grocery store food. Think perhaps 25% more than the real world - and fewer deals/sales than many other places. It makes sense since the tourist season is so short and transportation costs to get anything to Alaska is high. Glad you got a rental car deal since that is often a budget-killer.

We spend some time talking to a pilot at Talkeetna who was telling us about high rate of weather-cancellations for flight-seeing, so make sure you can get a refund rather than a credit for another day if you can't wait for the weather.

We did Kenai Fjords tour - the longer one -and certainly not boring. I was one who got motion sick, but I am very prone to that and soon discovered the motion sensation was exaggerated by looking thru binoculars and camera lense. Took some meclizine, had some coffee so I would stay awake, and was fine after an hour. (Should have taken medication prior to trip)

There are some day hike trails right near Anchorage - sona nd husband took a hike of a few hours and actually saw a couple of bears on the hike - a bit more excitement than they had planned for.

Seward - we spent an enjoyable morning just walking around looking at the fishing ships and talking to a few local people. We had about the same amount of time on Kenai and were advised by posters here to just stick to one town rather than trying to see Homer and Seward. That is what we did so no clue if we missed anything special - but if you did that you could take the train from Anchorage to Seward and skip the rental car.

Have a great trip. As far as title to your post - although we went as a family, I would have no safety concerns in Alaska as a solo female - seemed very safe to me and at that time of year it never really gets dark anyway.
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 10:28 PM
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@gail- your feedback is very helpful. Now I'm pretty sure I want to book Kenai Fjords tour and I'll make sure to take some medication before. I am scared of the high prices, and that made me choose the hostels, even so I've never stayed in one before. I'm thinking to get adventure ticket with Alaska Railroad to Talkeetna (people said the views are not so spectaculars) and then upgrade to GoldStar Service from Talkeetna to Denali. Because of the high cost, I am not sure if can can book a train ticket from Denali to Anchorage. I'm considering the motor coach as an option, although people recommend the train.
Still not convinced the trip from Anchorage to Homer is possible for me. I am not used driving long distances, but I want to get to Homer so I can get from there to see the bears. This is so tough.
Also, found difficulties in finding place to stay one night in Talkeetna. Any recommendations for a cheap and decent place, if possible, near the train station (if there is such a place around).

Thanks .
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Boat tour suggestion---I had read to wait until the day before our tour to buy tickets so we could check the weather. We've done that twice and have had no problem getting tickets. Then you don't have to worry about refunds or get stuck going out on a really bad day.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 10:13 AM
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One more thing--we didn't find the boat tours boring at all. We were wishing for more.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 11:10 AM
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My cousin did the K Bay adventure and loved it- saw lots of bears- I didn't go- too pricey for me.

We went whale watching from Juneau- saw lots of whales "bubble feeding" It is amazing to see- you can YouTube for videos - would not have missed that for the world.

I loved Talkeetna - very cute little town- we happened to be there on the 4th of Jul so lots going on in town.

In Denali we went to Husky Homestead for the demonstration- it was very interesting and fun- we got to hold the babies.
We did the bus tour of Denali- had a grizzly right beside the bus-

From Homer we went to Halibut Cove- another very special place. You have to take a boat from Homer- have a great restaurant there- the Saltry" so had dinner there. They leave you enough time to walk around a bit after dinner- there are several artist studios to visit. You said you may have to skip Homer, but if you go, check out Halibut Cove.

Have a great trip
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:49 PM
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I'm beyond exited to pay half the price for Alaska Bear Adventures with K Bay . It was something I couldn't afford to pay it in full.
http://www.groupon.com/anchorage/?ut...ogle&dl=d47388

@sunbum1944 : Thank you. I would love to go to Halibut Cove in Homer but I have a feeling is expensive that helicopter ride. I will have to research some more, since it was mentioned twice, which means, IT IS WORTH IT.

Now I'll keep an eye on Kenai Fjords tours.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 09:17 PM
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How exciting to get the bear viewing trip 1/2 price. They also do 1/2 price trips on a standby basis - wish I had known that earlier and I would have tried to go.

I don't recall the trip to Halibut Cove being expensive- will see if I can find a link. We went for a walk after dinner and out of the corner of my eye I saw this fast moving object- which turned out to be an eagle swooping down on a poor little duck and flew off with it. Happened so fast we hardly knew what happened.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 09:28 PM
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We went on the 5PM boat and had dinner- they make a reservation for you but you can go and not have dinner- which would be a shame to miss but then you can't do everything. The restaurant has a great outdoor fireplace built into the rocks

http://www.endofthespit.com/14-saltr...libut-cove.php
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Apr 4th, 2012, 07:07 AM
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While in Seward I can recommend Mitch Seavey for a dog sled ride....he has won the Ididaride in years past and his son won this year. http://www.ididaride.com/
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Apr 4th, 2012, 07:13 AM
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Also, we took a seaplane around Mt McKinley with a glacier lake landing that was memorable! http://www.flyrusts.com/alaska-flightseeing.html
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Apr 4th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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You can fly to Homer from Anchorage, as well.
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Apr 4th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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agree with above- we flew to Homer and rented a car for the few days we were there and dropped it off in Anchorage -but the drop off fee is very high- I wasn't paying so did not worry so much.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 08:13 PM
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@sunbum1944 : Thank you again. Because I'll be spending all day watching the bears, and then driving straight from Homer to Seward that same day, I doubt I'll have time to spend at Halibut Cove. But I will keep in mind and if I'm not too tired, I'll do it. Flying from Anchorage to Homer is not a bad idea, and I appreciate it, but I really got a very good deal for 4 day car rental, and nothing can beat that price.

@cd: I've booked with Talkeetna Air Taxi a ride with glacier landing. Oh, it wasn't cheap , and with the bear viewing , even if is 50% off, is already too much for me, considering I will do the Kenai Fjords (did not booked that one yet- I'll use AAA discount, but is still expensive).
Now, I want the dog sled ride as well, but I'll try to hold my horses for a while. I have this one on my to do its, and I'm biting my nails if I won't do it, but I'll wait for a better deal.

Thank you for listing all these great places and activities to do. I want to do as many as possible, if I can. I'm still open to suggestions. Wish the locals will give me some tips as well, but I am grateful with the precious advises from previous travelers as well.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 11:17 PM
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I'll take few grocery shopping suggestions (stores location) around Anchorage or Seward, where the prices are decent.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 09:21 PM
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For grocery shopping, the locals might have better ideas, but we just went to Walmart, bought a styrofoam cooler and loaded up with lunch provisions.

I know you've already settled on it but I'll still echo those who say a Kenai Fjords glacier/wildlife cruise is worth it. We loved it. But do take dramamine. Also while you're in Seward, you might hit Exit Glacier -- you can walk to it.

Also keep in mind that like everything else, gas is more expensive in Alaska.
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