ALASKA TRAVEL GUIDE
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WELCOME TO ALASKA!
Alaska – “The Last Frontier” state, is the largest state in the USA and home to 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve. Entered into the USA as the 49th state, Alaska’s capital is Juneau, but the largest city is Anchorage.
Alaska is home to 17 of the 20 largest mountains in North America. It has more volcanoes than any other US state, and being situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, it has its share of earthquakes.
Alaska has 3 million lakes, 12,000 rivers, and about 100,000 glaciers. It also has more coastline (34,000 miles) than all of the USA combined, and the only state to have coastlines on three different seas (the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Bering Sea).
POPULAR THINS TO DO IN ALASKA
All of those mountains, lakes, rivers and expansive coastline offers some of the best hiking, biking, climbing, ice climbing, camping, kayaking, fishing, wildlife and marine life watching, northern lights watching, glacier touring, and boating in the USA.
Alaska has all forms of transportation, including Carpoolworld, Uber, Lyft, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis and rental cars, of course.
In addition to U.S. holidays, the State of Alaska may observe additional state or local holidays. It may be a good idea to check what state or local holidays they celebrate to see if there are any public service, school, or other closures as this may impact your tourist itinerary, ability to obtain travel or other services, or it could mean more tourists and/or higher prices in your Alaskan destination. Take a few moments to see if there are holidays specific to Alaska to better help you plan your trip.
TIPPING IN ALASKA
See tipping guidelines in my USA Travel Guide for tipping in Alaska.
ALASKA TRAVEL BOOKING
ALASKA ECOTOURISM TIPS
There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Alaska. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.
ECO-FRIENDLY AIR TRAVEL
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
ECO-FRIENDLY GROUND TRANSPORTATION
Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for USA Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for USA certifications.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge. Finally!
MORE ECO-TRAVEL TIPS
ALASKA SAFETY TIPS
HOW TO TRAVEL ALASKA SAFELY
Please see my U.S. travel tips. In addition, if you are planning on going hiking, backpacking or doing any other activity that will take you into remote places, please ensure you research the local travel and weather advisories in advance and respect warnings not to travel; let people know where are you going and provide them your itinerary; and, ensure you have safety and emergency measures provided for in your travel belongings.
ALASKA BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
BEST TIME TO VISIT ALASKA
Alaska’s summer is short. Mid-June to August has driest and warmest weather but weather can still be nice in the shoulder season from mid-May and to mid-September. The least expensive time to visit Alaska would be October to April, but winter months may wish to be avoided unless looking for particular events or activities. For best chance of weather and to beat most of the tourists, book well in advance for the shoulder season months.
It goes without saying that Alaska is the one of the U.S. states off the beaten path for most tourists. It takes longer to get there and warm, sunny weather is in shorter supply than most states. Still, this state is a must to visit. After living on the West coast for many years, I finally got my behind up to Alaska, albeit only for a short visit. Due to the shortness, I was not able to go to Denali National Park, so that is still on my bucket list. I was, however, to enjoy Anchorage and the drive to Seward – with beautiful scenery and stops the Seward Highway has to offer, along with a boat trip the Kenai Fjords National Park and kayaking. I lucked out on weather at the end of summer – it had been raining for 30 days straight in Alaska which broke for me during my long, holiday weekend only to begin again the day I left. This was a lovely little trip I designed for myself and would recommend to anyone, especially families with children. A friend of mine and her family actually did the same trip and said they had a wonderful time.