Trip to Alaska

Jun 10th, 2006, 08:46 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Trip to Alaska

Hi. I am researching a trip to Aslaska and finding it a bit overwhelming. I will be traveling solo, 40 yr old male. I am a very inexperienced traveler, and have actually never been on a vacation I needed to plan. I've been on vacations that have planned themselves---Club Med, Disney, Vegas.
The only thing I know is I tend to get motion sickness, so no cruises, though I might chance a local glacier cruise or something.
Any help is appreciated? Are tours good? Do I not do a tour, but maybe do a daily tour-thing here and there? Any best websites to do reserach?


StuQ is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Stu - this is one of the best places to find Alaska information. If you are not familiar with the Fodor search function, type in Alaska in the search box at the top of the screen. Once you have absorbed the information from that, you can search on locations, activities, and other keywords that will bring up a ton of information.

There are many experienced Alaska travellers and residents who will be happy to answer specific questions for you but the searches will give you a great deal of information to start with.

I'd also look at
dwooddon is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Stu, many posters on this board are more than happy to help. Do not worry! With your help and involvement we will get you on a road to Alaska for your unforgettable first trip. Even without cruising there is so much to experience in this amazing state. Let's start planning.

1. Follow an excellent suggestion from Dwooddon and read posts on Alaska right here on this forum. Take notes of things that look interesting to you.

2. Ask questions and responded to messages posted by the others right here so we know at what directions your planning is going

3. Tell us more about when are you going, for how long? Are you flying directly from NYC to Anchorage? Do you have your tickets already? What time are you scheduled to arrive in Anchorage? What time would you depart from ANC? Are you going to rent a car? What kind of accommodations do you prefer, B&B, cabins/chalets, hotels, inns, RV camping? What is your budget per night for accommodations? What are your interests? As you already know Alaska is all about outdoors activities but you still need to include time in Anchorage, IMHO, to familiarize yourself with a fascinating history and culture of Alaska. Are you hiker, wildlife watcher, scenery seeker, bird watcher, photographer (amateur or not, it doesn't make that much difference)? Are you fine with flying in small planes to see more wildlife in more remote areas or view Mt. Mckinley in Denali Park?

4. Go to your local bookstore and browse through books on Alaska, get Milepost. You will get an idea why this huge advertisement book is recommended if you are going to drive in Alaska.

5. While in the bookstore try to look up in Frommer's Alaska first chapter which lists the best things in Alaska. Make notes what you would want include in your trip

6. Let us know what you are interested in

7. Post more questions
Pat2003 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Head to your library and get Fodor's Alaska and Frommer's Alaska, no need for a lot of book purchases.

Then post- how much time you have and your touring preferences. I do suggest you might want to take precautions- consult your health care provider- and get out on the water. A whole different perspective of Alaska travel. I highly recommend PWS and Kenai fjords.

As a suggestion itinerary. Include- Anchorage- Seward and Denali park- at least 2 nights, Talkeetna 1 night.

A car rental would give you the most freedom.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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BudgetQuee often likes to repeat what someone already said. For the first time visitor IT IS possible to visit without going on cruises. Please give a man a break! Cool it, BudgetQueen. Why do you always push Kenai fjords cruise? Without it there is a lot to see. Not everyone has to do what you want them to do.
z is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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This is a strange and unwarranted slam on BQ, the best poster on this board. Her advice is almost always solid (even if she drives a bit slow ) and if her posts seem redundant to some, I think most regular readers would see it as confirmation or a second from a recognizable and reliable Alaska expert.

As for ``pushing'' Kenai Fjords cruises, that's easy. For many Alaska visitors, the Kenai Fjords trip is the singular top experience of their trips. Unless a visitor's motion sickness is extreme, it's worth wearing a patch or taking a pill to view.

Can you have a great trip without a cruise? Sure. The more info the OP provides, the better advice we (including BQ) will provide.

repete is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I spent a goodly amount of my 20 years in the Coast Guard on ships that were much, much smaller than those used on the Inside Passage route. I have sailed on those humonguous cruise liners and believe me, there is no comparison. They hardly roll at all...I wouldn't be surprised if some of them have billiard tables.

One caution...check the routing of any Alaska cruise you might consider...if they go up and back via the Inside Passage, fine...but if they come back by cruising west of Vancouver Island you might need those dramamine pills.

I have taken a tour of Resurrection Sound out of Seward and the experience was very much like my days in the USCG.
Bobmrg is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Stu, Not to worry! I am also in my fourties and traveled Alaska solo. I had a great time traveling the Alaska Marine Highway which is a system of Alaska owned ferry ships but you said you get motion sickness so best not to go to the Alaska Panhandle (there are no roads).

Travel in central Alaska. Good luck.
jorr is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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The Resurrection Bay trip and Inside Passage cruises are two very different animals on two very different types of boats.

But bobmgr brings up a good point for potential cruisers: If you're on the unsure side about motion sickness, then avoid the cross-gulf route, the west of vancouver routings and other unprotected area. Most cruise pamphlets will show route.

But it should be noted that Resurrection Bay conditions vary greatly. It can be incredibly smooth one day and nasty the next. Marine forecasts and buoy reports make it a lot easier to know what you might be getting into -- any operator should share that info with you. Before I bought a larger boat, I took a 12-foot Zodiac to just about every nook and cranny of that bay and beyond.
repete is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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I do not knwo if anyone can answer this question. Btu based on soem of the guide books I have read, like Fodors and Froemmers, it may be too late for me to put together a decent trip for July or early August. In that things fill-up. one of hte books even said that it may be impossible to get a seat on a bus/van that goes through Denali? Is this true? Am I better off plannign this trip now for next summer?

StuQ is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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Stu-I have made a couple of very short notice trips to Alaska-less than a week from decision to departure and have never had any problem with reservations or accomodations. The only part I cannot answer is the availability of the Denali bus tours.
dwooddon is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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StuQ, about the Denali bus. If the early morning buses are full, you could try to get on the later ones. You could see wildlife almost any time of the day. We took the 8:30 a.m bus and saw wildlife but in a distance. We hopped on and off different buses out there and talked to those folks. It turned out the 11:30 a.m. bus saw the most wildlife--all close up! Grizzly bears walking right by there bus, sheep and caribou came down the road.

And with nearly 24 hours of daylight, don't worry about coming back late. Just hang out there as late as you want. The later buses had only a handful of people.
JC98 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Hi, StuQ! Boy, you have gotten some great starting advice here already.

For the shuttle busses in Denali, use this link to check availability of seats, dates, and times of the tours you might be interested in.

My DD gets motion sickness even from short rides in the car, so before our trip to Alaska, we got a prescription for Transderm Scop (pronounced scope) patches which she wore behind one ear (one is good for 3 days). We did several water activities in Alaska including sea kayaking and the NW Kenai boat tour, and our DD was able to enjoy everything we did without even the slightest amount of motion sickness. (BTW, we HIGHLY recommend both the Kenai boat tour and sea kayaking.)

You can click on a user's name to see their past posts. I would recommend doing just that with folks like dwooddon, repete, BudgetQueen, and Pat2003. All offer great advice about traveling in/around Alaska, and they helped us create the trip of a lifetime last summer.

You'll love Alaska!
BayouGal is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I just put together a coworker's trip 3 weeks ago, leaving tomorrow for 18 days. So yes, you do have time, if you want to go this year. But get going with your plans now.

As for Denali Park seats. They hold back 35% of the bus seats and release them 2 days prior, at 7am. You just call the reservation number and order them, pick them up prior to your trip, or the bus driver will have them. I have done this the past 2 years. BUT VERIFY, this is still in effect. 1-800-622-7275
BudgetQueen is offline  
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