Anyone rented RVs in Alaska

Jul 8th, 2003, 08:38 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 217
Anyone rented RVs in Alaska

My extened family is going together on a trip to Alaska next summer. We are considering renting RVs. Each family would get thier own and we would travel as a group. What is the good, bad, and ugly about renting RVs?

Anyone have a company they recomend?
Anyone rented them in CA and drove them up? I saw several companies had deals if you would do that.
What do we need to know?
What do we need to avoid?
What does it cost to park them at night, dump the water and sewer, fill them, etc?

Thanks

areinert is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 12:35 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We did that last summer (flew up) and LOVED it. It makes you completely flexible which is good because you don't really know how much time you want to spend in each place until you get there.

The only places you would need reservations are inside Denali N.P. and the Russian River national forest campground on the Kenai Pen. This c.g. was the closest to wooded camping (not a parking lot) we found and is one of the best places to salmon fish. That is if they are running when you are there and you are interested.

Camping is cheap--usually $10-15 a night. That is, if you don't stay in resort type RV parks. Water and sewer dumping are free. You will also save a lot of money if you cook a lot of your meals and it can be fun.

I have heard of companies giving a great price break to drive the RV up and then you would fly home.

How much time do you have for this trip? It takes a while to get there and then you need to give yourselves plenty of time to visit. It is a LARGE state.

If you do a search here you will find a few RV companies named over and over and lots of other good info.

Another good web site for RV travel info is www.rv.net/forum
Connie is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 01:54 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 314
We rented one in Oregon, it worked well for us.

Pros are you have your bed, bath and kitchen with you. So if you are hungry you can stop (or not if someone fixes for the driver). Saves money on food. Allows for flexibility in schedule. Some allow pets (we had 1 dog and 2 cats, they loved it)

Cons are that it is much slower than a car, gas is expensive (rental isn't cheap either). It is very difficult to pack for, especially if you fly and rent. I have great camping supplies which saved us headaches but trying to remember all the pots/pans, dishes, and can openers without anything to base it on would be very difficult. Some companies have packages of dishes they rent, you might check into that. They are also cozy so be sure you give each other patience and space.

As a group it would be good to decide ahead of time the types of places you want to stay. Some people will only stay in beautiful campgrounds, others a parking lot is fine if it is just for sleeping. Do you want a rustic (no electricity, potty, dump, water) or full hookup? Just some ground rules.

The technicalities are fairly easy, most campgrounds have hookups or at least a dump station. I would imagine in Alaska that there would be good coverage for this.

Mileage is expensive you may prefer to fly and rent. It sounds like a good trip actually, a good way to do it. You may want to rent for a weekend at home and try it out before you decide.
SaraLM is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 04:10 PM
  #4  
 
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In August 2001 we rented an RV from Great Alaskan Holidays 888-2-Alaska (225-2752) or in Alaska
907-248-7777 3901 West International Airport Rd, Anchorage, AK
They provide everything in the RV -- linens, pots, pans, utensils, even salt & pepper. I don't have their website listed, but I think it might just be their name. If not, try a google search. They are a very helpful, family owned operation. The RVs are VERY clean and they show you a video on what you need to know (if you've never driven one before). I believe they even provided maps. However, your best bet is to purchase a book called The Milepost before you leave. You can get it at many bookstores or order it online. It gives you what to expect as you are driving to an area and along the way.
The state parks are relatively inexpensive and allow free dumping if you camp there overnight; there are many RV parks all over. We rented for one week and traveled from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back, stopping along the way. (This was the end to a 3 week trip to the NW) Camped in Denali for 1 1/2 days on the way to Fairbanks (did the 6:15 am bus to Toklat River) and overnight on the way back. If you're there in August, you should stop and see the state fair outside of Anchorage -- vegetables grow to enormous sizes because of the long daylight hours. It's 10 pm and still daylight!
Be ready for LONG drives. The distances are great but the scenery is gorgeous! That's why the Milepost is useful -- it tells you where the next gas station is located. You'll need that information when you're running low and there is no town in sight. If you superimposed a map of Alaska over the lower 48, the distance would cover the east coast to the Mississippi.
Search on this forum, if it goes back that far, to RV's, Alaska. I got some great advice then and I'll pass it on to you now.
GBelle is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 04:49 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 115
We rented a truck camper from ABC Motorhomes in Anchorage in late May. The company also rents conventional campers in a wide range of sizes and picks you up at your hotel and drops you off at a hotel or the airport.

We completed our trip before June 1 because the rate was about half what it was in the summer.

It was a fabulous trip and we loved the camper. It enabled us to be very flexible. I wouldn't do it any other way. Normally, we would camp in our tent, but Alaska is too cold for us and I was concerned about bears.

The camper came well equipped except for the kitchen stuff, which I found kind of skimpy. No rubber spatula or baking pan, even though it had an oven. The refrigerator worked really well and kept stuff frozen solid. The heater was fine. I would rent from them again in a heartbeat. There was no extra charge for the bed linens, towels and kitchen stuff.

There were no cons, only pros, to this trip. We stayed some nights in remote places like the Denali Highway with no one else around. In other places, we weren't comfortable just pulling over on the highway, so we stayed in state and municipal campgrounds. All do not have dump stations. In fact, some had pretty minimal facilities, which was fine with us since we had everything we needed in the camper. Blueberry Campground at Thompson Pass on the road to Valdez was stunning. In Seward, there was no charge to dump at the municipal campground on the waterfront, but at the Palmer municipal campground, there was a charge. Since we had to get the camper back by 10 a.m., we spent our last night at Centennial Campground in Anchorage, which is run by the city. While the spaces were close together, it had trees and was a lot quieter than I expected. It did have dumping facilities. We dumped a few times at gas stations, where there was a charge. I think the charges were around $5 per dump, and that included filling up the water tank too. Except for Centennial, which was $15 a night, we paid about $10 or $12 a night to camp in state and municipal parks.

We dislike those parking lot affairs that people call RV parks, and while they have hookups and expensive prices, we would not consider staying there.

I think the time factor and cost of gas would deter me from renting outside of Alaska.

Our truck camper averaged about 10 miles per gallon. It was able to keep up with traffic just fine, and we never had a string of vehicles tagging behind us as so many people complain about. The truck was a Ford F250 with a 10-cylinder engine. It was brand new and very plush too.

ABC provides unlimited mileage, so there was no charge for miles. Actually, we averaged just over 100 miles a day for our 13-day trip, but we weren't out to see everything and do everything. We spent some very pleasant afternoons reading while gazing out at snow-capped peaks.

We also did not buy the Milepost because it's way to big to carry around. I had a Moon guidebook and got information off the Internet at alaskajourney.com. It was more than sufficient. I also found useful information on the BLM website about the Denali Highway.

Hope this helps. I wish I had the trip to do all over again. We talk about it every day. But, I'm already planning the next one.
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