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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Alaska

 > Just beginning to do homework

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Land Yachters

Philadelphia

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Posted: 08/13/21 08:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Considering going to Alaska Summer of '22 and looking at tour/rally packages and if better to do trip on our own, or not at all. We are from East Coast so budgeting 2-3 weeks to drive out and back and about 8 weeks going through AK. Any experiences and input are welcome. It is quite a commitment in terms of $$ and time. Wife and I are just returning from almost a year on the road in our 35' Tiffin DP. We think we are ready for new adventure. but we've been wrong before.


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Dick_B

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Posted: 08/13/21 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We flew to Alaska and took a 10 day boat/train tour which was wonderful. Able to see much with no strain. A possibility for you?


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DrewE

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Posted: 08/13/21 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you like the comradery and social aspects of a tour, or really don't like planning things for yourself, then that can be a fine option. Otherwise, I'd generally suggest doing the trip on your own as you'll be able to choose where you want to spend more or less time and what you want to see, rather than what the organizers think is best. You'll also have the option if you desire to stay at some smaller and less-developed (and often less expensive) campgrounds, such as state parks or boondocking sites, of which there are quite a few in Alaska and the northwestern parts of Canada.

Two weeks to drive an RV from the east coast to Alaska round-trip is really pushing things.

Here's a rundown of my trip from Vermont to Alaska a few years ago; maybe it will be helpful for your planning and dreaming. I had an absolutely fantastic time.





Rocky2

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Posted: 08/13/21 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would second the comment about the amount of time to get to Alaska from the east coast. I think you will find that you will spend more time in Canada than you plan. From the west coast, I generally take a solid 3 weeks traveling through BC and the Yukon on the way up and about the same returning if I include the Cassiar and Alberta.





MORSNOW

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Posted: 08/13/21 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having lived in Alaska for 26 years, I can only recommend doing it on your own. Those tours are on a tight schedule and limit your visit tremendously. Choose your own locations and spend as much or little time at each. There is also a ton a free camping spots that are incredible compared to overcrowded RV parks (Denali Highway is the big one). Those tour groups always seem to waiting in lines when I saw them, lines at the RV parks waiting for spot assignments, lines at every fuel stop, lines at pullouts, etc. Like others have said BC and the Yukon are worth spending time in also, they are incredible as are the people.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 08/13/21 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Caravan: Not our cup of tea. Don't mind the people to hang out with but we can find people to hang out with on our own. Keep in mind, if you have a major problem, they will likely contact a local shop but they aren't going to stop the group to wait for you.

As others have said, 2 weeks is way short. It's about 4300miles Philly to Anchorage...that's 310miles per day every day or about 6hr of driving per day. Even 3 weeks is hitting it pretty hard. A month would allow you to see some sights along the way and not feel like you are just driving and driving...

We are tentatively planning on the same trip from Michigan next year and we are looking at around 2 months (not counting a side trip on the Demster Hwy) to get to Alaska but we are planning to see the sights along the way (Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff//Jasper among other stops).

If we run out of time, we will look for a place to store the rig and fly out to return in 2023 and finish.


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PA12DRVR

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Posted: 08/13/21 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Being an almost (except for 10 years in Ewe-stun) lifelong Alaskan, I'd second what MorSnow said: doing the trip on your own opens up lots of possibilities that simply aren't there with a caravan. Perhaps a silly example but in SC Alaska, halibut fishing is typically closed to charter fishing on Tuesdays / Wednesdays (although only Wed this year). What if your group is in Seward on Wednesday and you want to go halibut fishing? No-go.

Can't really comment on the travel time: I think 2 weeks is long enough to drive to Alaska from Philly but probably not long enough to enjoy the sights in the Rocky Mountain states, BC, YT or other places along the way. While the Rocky Mountain states will "always" be there, there's some spectacular spots in Canada that should not be shortchanged.


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CA Traveler

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Posted: 08/13/21 12:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We observed a tour which has advantages. CGs are arranged, no lines or check in the tour quide escorts you to your site. Some major sightseeing is arranged including transportation. Some group meals. You're briefed on sights to the next CG, leave a CG and arrive at the next when you want. ie You don't drive nose to tail hence no congestions for fuel etc on route. Some days on your own.

I though they were very expensive, however looking at post trip cost it was much higher that anticipated. Pros and cons of course but it's a option to consider. Our trip started as a bucket list item and turned into an amazing adventure far exceeding any other trip.

* This post was edited 08/13/21 12:55pm by CA Traveler *


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RetiredRealtorRick

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Posted: 08/13/21 01:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dick_B wrote:

We flew to Alaska and took a 10 day boat/train tour which was wonderful. Able to see much with no strain. A possibility for you?


We did exactly the same thing, and I'm glad we did. Very stress-free, and we saw everything we would have if we had planned our own itinerary and taken the tremendous extra time (and plenty of extra $$).


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SideHillSoup

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Posted: 08/13/21 02:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Isn’t camping (RVing) an adventure, where you do what you want and when?
Before I retired my wife and I tried doing either a “long” cruise or spend 5 weeks in Maui. We made a budget and mostly stuck to it, we do the same for “long” camping trip adventures.
For camping trips we budget $150 per day for fuel, and $50 per day for food drink etc... and $50 per day for campsite. Now when we dry camp in the bush or park our butts someplace for a few days or decide to go out for a nice lunch / dinner and or take a tour the amounts I wrote down change a bit, but not much. Like when your in a campsite for 4 days, your not spending $150 per day on fuel, but you may go on a tour or go out for dinner, or like we do just carve a hunk or wood and read a book sometimes, then your not spending nothing but maybe for a campsite.
So we budget $250 everyday, plus ‘approximate” the number of days that we will be gone from home then there is THAT number $$$$ that we see before we even leave the driveway, so we aren’t surprised when the credit card bill comes in.
My wife keeps a travel log ( she’s a book keeper) and when we first started the big long camping trips our daily budget was $175.00, times have changed in 23 years.
I worked a lot of multi million dollar Maintenance Shutdowns where I used to work. Every contractor that put in a bid on a particular job always added ‘fluff” to the dollar figure, not that we didn’t cut that fluff out, but they tried... grin...
Well I figured that that works well when your spending your own money, add more dollars to the budget, that way you don’t have a jammer when you total the costs up at the end of your trip.
One last comment on price of a trip.
All those years that we traveled to Maui or on a long cruise, there was a couple guys at work never went anywhere, they said they were saving for retirement. Well I have run into both of them from time to time since we all retired. I asked both of them, have you guys done any traveling.... they both said... “do you know how much a trip to xxxx costs?” So I travel the world ( before COVID) they sit at home counting their money and drinking coffee.
I would never do a guided RV tour, heck we only did the tours that the cruise ship offers, when we can’t find a tour on our own when we hit ports.
Have fun on your adventure
Soup.


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