March 30th, 2016 post by Kelly Mwila
Have you ever been curious about what details might be involved to prepare for a trip to Alaska? For every one of our guests traveling to any of our destinations we provide a list of frequently asked questions and wanted to share Alaska’s with you today! Please check it out and let us know if you have other burning questions about tShis incredible destination. We’d love to get your feedback. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise to respond personally to each of your emails.
Salmon Fishing in Alaska…You’re invited!
FAQ’s DESTINATION ALASKA
What are the requirements for my passport?
Passports are not required for travel to Alaska for US Citizens unless a portion of your travel takes you to any destination in Canada. However, a valid government ID is required for flying.
Do I need a Visa?
No, US Citizens do not need a visa to travel to Alaska. For citizens of other countries, a visa may be required.
How do I deal with money / banking?
There are plenty of banks and ATMS in the airports, stores, etc., and most retailers accept common credit cards: AMEX, VISA, Mastercard etc. We recommend traveling with some cash when traveling long distances via rental car. For example, when traveling from Anchorage to Denali etc. Be sure to inform your financial institutions that you’ll be traveling to Alaska so they don’t suspect fraudulent usage of your credit and debit cards and freeze your accounts.
What about my safety / security?
Alaska is generally a very safe place but normal precautions are wise. Lock your vehicle with any valuables out of sight, use hotel safes for important valuables, and be aware of your surroundings. Take any safety warnings seriously and if it’s deemed a safe area to hike in, be sure to make noise and talk to each other to avoid surprising any wildlife.
What is the time difference?
Most of Alaska is on Alaska Standard Time (AKT) UTC -9. It is 4 hours earlier than the East Coast of the USA and 1 hour earlier than the West Coast.
What’s the weather like?
The weather will depend on which month you are traveling and which part of Alaska you’ll be in. Interior Alaska (Fairbanks etc.) has one of the widest temperature ranges of any city in the world. It is generally dry and can be as hot as 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit (or colder) in the winter. South Central Alaska (Anchorage etc.) has much milder weather ranging from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit during the peak tourist months of June-August. Southern Alaska is generally rainier than the interior and the weather throughout Alaska can be unpredictable. It can be very chilly out on day cruises as well so it’s important to pack accordingly: layers are KEY!
What should I pack?
LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!!! Alaska weather, even in the summer, can vary dramatically from warm and dry to wet and chilly. One thing that can ruin a vacation is being cold while trying to enjoy the sights! There are also more daylight hours than most are used to so sun protection is advisable. Additionally, Alaska is fairly informal so casual dress is appropriate almost everywhere, including most restaurants.
Suggested Alaska Packing List (You will also be sent this list in an email during the weeks prior to your departure.):
Warm sock/fleece hat (this is a life-saver!)
Sturdy shoes for hiking (NOT NEW! Please make sure they’re broken in well before travel)
Sandals or open toed shoes for hot days
Socks: Wool and Cotton
Lights shirts – Tank tops/T-Shirts
Long Sleeve shirts (long underwear can help keep out moisture and keep warm during chilly days)
Long pants (convertible pants are GREAT for Alaska)
Swimsuits (for spas/float trips/lakes etc.)
Fleece Jersey/Jacket (A middle layer to be worn over the inner layer)
Rain jacket (This should be a general outer layer that fits over the inner layer and fleece jacket
A day pack/regular backpack (to carry jackets, water bottles, etc.)
What are the luggage restrictions on charter flights? What are the luggage allowances?
For flights from home to Alaska the airlines have various luggage allowances, so be sure to check with your individual airline prior to packing. If you will be on a charter flight within Alaska, we will send you weight restrictions separately. Duffle bags are preferable, but a soft-sided roller back works as well. If possible, one large bag per person is best as well as a backpack as your carryon.
What do I need to consider in order to rent a car?
Make sure to have a valid driver’s license and make sure to have insurance. If you have travel insurance, often times it will cover car rentals if you request it, so double check with your insurance.
Can I use my cell phone?
Generally, if you have a national cell phone plan you can use it domestically in Alaska. Due to the relatively spread out population and remote locations of some lodges, there are areas of limited or no cell phone coverage as well. Many locations also have wifi for wifi calls as well.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is HIGHLY recommended. Unexpected health problems, worldly events, and weather are only a few examples of why travel insurance is so important.
What are your suggestions on tipping / gratuities?
Tipping is not required and is based entirely on your discretion. For restaurants a 15-20% tip is customary. For a private fishing guide, $40-60 for a full day is a good tip. If he also flies you out somewhere to fish, an extra $10-20 is nice and they will usually split it with the pilot. For other guides and drivers a modest tip is customary as well.
How early should I check in for my flight?
For international flights, check in at least 3 hours prior. For domestic flights, it’s a good idea to check in 2 hours prior to flights. If you can check in online, this will save you some time at the airport.
Should I reconfirm my flight?
It is always good to check on your flights a few days in advance, though if anything changes the airlines should call you if you booked your flights yourself. They should contact us as well if we booked your flights for you.
What are the rules on wildlife and safety when staying in Alaska?
Alaskans truly respect the environment, wildlife, and nature in general. Do not ever approach or feed any wildlife you encounter in Alaska unless a professional guide is directing you in order to get a better look. Always dispose of your trash properly and if hiking or elsewhere, carry out your trash. Listen to the guides’ safety instructions and follow their directions for a safe trip.