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    How much does a trip to Alaska cost? Low cost tips to save

    Who I am
    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    By hearsay we all know that Alaska is not one of the cheapest destinations and that both the flight and the overnight stay and on-site activities can be a bit expensive for many budgets. This is partly the truth, thanks to the harsh climate that reduces the tourist season almost exclusively to the summer months, but also and above all the vastness of the territory and the scarcity of connections, which increases travel costs.

    At the same time there are two factors to be taken into consideration to reduce costs and enjoy your holiday to the fullest. The first is that, when traveling under two weeks, it is more logical to focus on one or two regions of the state, and not try to visit it all: long journeys waste a lot of time and definitely affect the budget. The second is that to save a little you can, as in many other destinations, slightly lower the standards of accommodation and fall back on some more affordable motels.



    With this article we will try to give an idea as close as possible to the reality of how much does a trip to Alaska for two people, considering a 2 week stay.

    Index

    • Flights to Alaska, how to save?
      • Internal flights
      • Flight + hotel
    • Ferries to Alaska: when is it convenient to take them and how much do they cost?
    • Car rental: where is it convenient and how much does it cost?
    • Hotels in Alaska: how much do you spend on accommodation?
    • Health insurance
    • Meals
    • National parks, activities and organized tours
    • Alaska travel price: how much does it cost in all?

    Flights to Alaska, how to save?

    If you have already read our article on how to organize a trip to Alaska, you will have realized that depending on which area you choose to visit you may find one airport more convenient than another. In this paragraph I will always refer to Anchorage as a destination airport, being the main and busiest in the state and being in the central area to leave for almost all the Alaskan regions. The biggest exception is that of the Inside Passage, for which I advise you to look for flights to Juneau or those to Seattle o Vancouver, depending on which port you intend to board a ferry from.



    We assume that there are no direct flights from spain, but there are always at least a couple of stopovers. There are also routes with a single stopover, but it is not certain that they are cheaper either in terms of price or duration. Taking the month of August as an example: a return flight from Rome to Anchorage with a single stopover in Chicago (Alitalia + AlaskaAirlines) costs over € 1700 per person and lasts between 22 and 38 hours, due to the long wait at the airport. The same-day flight with two stopovers in Amsterdam and Seattle (KLM + Delta) costs around € 1000 and lasts between 18 and 21 hours each way. Starting from Milan instead of Rome, a relatively cheap solution is the one with a stopover in Dublin and Seattle (AirLingus + AlaskaAirlines) which costs less than € 900 and takes 21 / 25h each way.

    There are also cheaper flights, but it is difficult to go below € 800, especially in summer. The cheapest month is usually October, but I recommend that you read our article on the climate of Alaska to understand, depending on your area of ​​interest, which season is right for you. Thinking that a trip of this type can be organized well in advance, thus buying the most convenient flights, I will consider 1000 € as an average price.

    Our tips for finding a flight to the USA

    Internal flights

    Alaska is huge and internal flights can have very different costs, depending on which airports we consider. On a two-week vacation, it's likely to take a domestic flight to move from one region to another. The most likely is the one that connects Anchorage to the Inside Passage, so I will refer to the route Anchorage-Juneau. The direct flight is operated by AlaskaAirways and has a return cost of almost € 300.



    I will not dwell in this article on the costs of other internal flights, considering that there are many small airports and that the airplane is one of the main means of traveling in Alaska over large distances. If you plan only one flight, the price will still be similar for another destination.

    Flight + hotel

    A way to save is to take advantage of the discounted flight + hotel rate for Alaska. Considering the duration of the flight, even if Anchorage is not the most beautiful of the Alaskan places it is almost a must to spend at least one night there. Booking the hotel together with the flight, you have a discount coupon on the final price or even one or more free nights. Only restriction: the return flight must be in the same city (for example: outbound Rome Fiumicino - Anchorage, return Anchorage - Rome Fiumicino). The fact that most of your stay will not be in Anchorage, however, does not affect the offer.

    Compared to a tour of other areas of the USA, where it is easy to land in one city and leave from another to make a traveling trip, this solution lends itself well to a trip to Alaska, where it is almost safe to always arrive and depart from Anchorage. To give a practical example: by booking a return flight Milan-Anchorage in August after two weeks, with the first two nights in Anchorage, many hotels are completely free and in other cases you have one discount on the total price up to 500 €.


    Our tips for finding a flight to the USA

    Ferries to Alaska: when is it convenient to take them and how much do they cost?

    For some areas of Alaska such as the Inside Passage, Prince William Sound or the Aleutian Islands, the ship is the best way to get around. The Alaska Marine Highway System offers a very widespread ferry service along the entire southern coast, even reaching Washington State with some stops along the Canadian coast. Prices obviously vary depending on the route. Let's give some examples, using the basic prices, without adding the surcharge for cars, bicycles or other means of transport. For short trips: the route from Valdez to Whittier is around 68 €, while that from Homer to Kodiak is 75 €. If we wanted to make a very long journey of over 4 days of navigation from Bellingham (the port north of Seattle) to Whittier, the cost is € 610.


    For a two week trip that has Anchorage as a home base, we can consider the return ferry trip to the island of Kodiak or a itinerario circolare on the road nel Prince William Sound. In this case the car in tow would increase the price, but the route would be unique. To make an average for the purpose of the indicative final bill, we could budget 150 €.

    Car rental: where is it convenient and how much does it cost?

    Renting a car is a great way to visit the central part of Alaska. On this page we have suggested some ring road itineraries starting from Anchorage. Furthermore, the car is an essential means of embarking on the adventurous Dalton Highway, but in this case both the car itself and the driver must be well prepared. If your intent is to take the Dalton, keep in mind that many car rentals prohibit you from venturing there, so pay attention to the clauses. Also, in this case Fairbanks is the recommended place to rent it.

    For the rest, The ideal is to rent a car in Anchorage. Contrary to what happens in many other cities, rental prices at the airport are on average higher than those in the city center: for this reason, given that you will need very little car in the city, I suggest you use public transport to reach your hotel after landing and rent the car only the day you need to leave Anchorage.

    In August, the rental of a medium car (I exclude the smaller ones, not suitable for many Alaskan roads) for a week it costs between 500 and 700 €. For an SUV you charge € 1100.

    Our guide on how to rent a car for the USA

    Hotels in Alaska: how much do you spend on accommodation?

    Hotels in Alaska are not cheap, when compared to other US states. What makes the difference, in addition to the logistical issues that lead Alaska to have prices higher than the US average in almost every service, is also the fact that competition in some cities is very low. We must therefore accept the fact of spending a considerable amount, or sometimes adapt to more spartan solutions, such as camping.

    It is very difficult to calculate how much it can cost to spend two weeks in Alaska, because the price varies greatly depending on the city. Two weeks in Anchorage in August, in good hotels of at least 3 stars, cost no less than € 900 per couple. In other locations with less alternative, € 1500 per couple is not enough for the same number of nights. Considering a traveling trip, always sleeping in the hotel, I suggest you budget at least € 1300 per couple. If, on the other hand, you want to opt for camping or other particular solutions, the price can go down a lot and it changes from case to case.

    Health insurance

    As with all travel to the United States, it is advisable to take out health insurance to be safe during your time on the Hawaiian Islands. The cost of an insurance policy varies according to personal needs: prices for a week can go from 35 to 65 € per person, but the figure is subject to many variables. Check which insurance offer is right for you with our USA Health Insurance price comparator.

    Our guide on how to choose insurance in the USA

    Meals

    Even for meals, Alaska isn't the cheapest place in the world. Comparing with the rest of the United States, the price of large fast-food chains can be up to 30% higher. To understand how much you can go to spend on food, you need to understand what you want to eat. In a fast-food restaurant you can have lunch for € 10, but consider that three courses in an average restaurant will cost you around € 35. Obviously, in high-end restaurants the prices are considerably higher, like everywhere else.

    Speaking of a mostly itinerant trip, I would consider spending a moderate amount at lunch, focusing above all on a sandwich, a fast-food or in any case a quick and cheap solution, leaving the meal at the restaurant only for dinner. Then there is breakfast, when it is not included in the hotel. In this way, one could calculate an average of 45 € per day per person, without considering meals in expensive restaurants.

    Many hotels are equipped with small kitchenettes in the rooms, as well as it is quite easy to find apartments, more functional than the normal hotel for the possibility to cook independently and therefore save considerably on the cost of food. My suggestion, especially if the stay is long, is to take advantage of this option at least for a part of the nights and thus reduce the cost. By making an adequate mix between self-management and the restaurant, an expense of € 500 per couple for two weeks.

    National parks, activities and organized tours

    Most national parks in Alaska do not have paid admissions, therefore, the parks card is not convenient as in other US states. One of the most visited, the Denali National Park, however, has an entrance ticket of 13€ ($ 15). To this you have to add a shuttle, if you do not limit yourself to the first part of the park, which depending on the route varies from a minimum of about € 30 to a maximum of € 56. To make the calculation I will take into consideration the shuttle to the Eielson Visitor Center which, in addition to being one of the most used, has an average cost: € 37.50. A visit to Denali can therefore be said to cost around € 52.

    In general, most of the natural areas of the state can be visited almost exclusively with guided tours. If we exclude the more expensive tours, most of the more popular activities such as whale or bear watching start at around € 130-160. Others, such as helicopter rides, start at around € 300. If you don't go to Denali, chances are you will join a guided tour at another park or rent a kayak or participate in similar activities.

    I will budget € 350 each for this type of activity, considering doing two or more low-medium cost activities.

    Alaska travel price: how much does it cost in all?

    Here finally how much does a trip to Alaska cost for a couple for two weeks (Note: all costs are calculated for two people in August).

    • Return flight Spain-Anchorage: 2000€
    • Internal return flight to another area: 600€
    • Return ferry for internal travel: 300€
    • Car rental for 7 days: 700€
    • Hotel: 1300€
    • Certainly: 500€
    • Health insurance: 120€
    • National parks, wildlife sightings or other activities: 700€

    Total cost of the trip to Alaska: € 5500 (€ 2250 per person). The result is not the exact sum of the previous items, because it is difficult to opt for domestic flight, ferry and car rental at the same time.

    To better organize your trip to this beautiful state you can refer to ours section dedicated to Alaska, where you can find in-depth articles on the destinations to be preferred and tips for organizing an itinerary.

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