Alaska may be the greatest vacation spot in America for outdoor enthusiasts. Ecotourists flock to Alaska each year to see the melting glaciers, to kayak across the icy waters, and to observe wildlife living in their natural habitat.
One of the best ways to see this great State is to travel it by RV (also known as a motorhome).
While fueling an RV can be expensive, the cost is offset by the savings on food and lodging.
Most RV lot rentals are cheaper than hotels, and travelers can save a small fortune by buying groceries to cook in the RV instead of eating out for three meals a day.
The following are some tips for making the most of an RV trip in Alaska:
Pick up an RV in Anchorage.
For most Alaskan destinations, use Anchorage as the starting point in your drive.
Major airline flights to Alaska are routed through Anchorage, even if the ultimate destination is elsewhere in the state.
Save money on airline tickets and start enjoying the scenery sooner by getting off the plane in Anchorage and picking your RV from a local rental company.
Make Reservations in Advance and Compare Rates Carefully.
There are a number of companies providing RV rentals in Alaska, but during the tourist season the reservations fill up quickly.
If you don’t make reservations in advance, you may find yourself having to rent a much larger or smaller RV than you need.
There are a number of companies offering motorhome rentals in Anchorage, so compare rates online before making a reservation.
Remember to look not only at the daily rental rate but at whether there is a separate fee for mileage.
A good deal on RV rentals can usually be found at Alaska Vacation Motorhome Rentals, LLC.
Shop at Grocery Stores.
Why pay traveler prices for food along the side of the road when you can carry your food with you?
Prices at grocery stores are always going to be cheaper than restaurants, vending machines, and gas station snack stands.
Stock up the RV before you leave Anchorage with enough supplies to get you through at least several days of your trip.
Remember that outside of Anchorage, Alaska has a very low population, so grocery stores are small, few and far between.
Reserve Spots at RV Parks.
While there is a lot of fun to be found in just hitting the road and seeing where you wind up, the reality is that RV parks can fill up very quickly.
Without a reservation, you could find yourself without a place to park for the night – a dangerous situation in many parts of Alaska.
Most of the RV parks are fairly large and can accommodate many travelers, but late arrivals without a reservation could find themselves being sent on down the road.
While there are many RV parks to visit in Alaska, make sure that your travels include a waterfront stay at Sea Otter RV Park on the waters edge in Valdez at 2787 South Harbor Drive.
At Sea Otter RV Park, you can park your RV within a few feet of the water and grill outdoors near the water’s edge.
Watch for the bald eagles that like to perch on the power poles around the park.
Keep the Gas Tank Full.
If you remember one rule when driving through Alaska, it is to keep your gas tank full.
If you drop below ½ of a tank, you stand a very good chance of being stuck on the side of the road with no gas, no cell phone signal, and no idea how far you would have to walk through the roadside wilderness to get help.
This advice is particularly important if you plan to drive from Anchorage to Valdez or Fairbanks, as you will travel across both the Glenn Highway and Richardson Highway to get there.
The scenery is breathtaking, but you don’t want to be stuck walking down either of these roads.
Buy a Digital Camera.
If you are still using a film camera, now is the time to stop.
When traveling by RV in Alaska, you will quickly run out of the film.
A good quality digital camera is essential for photographing the amazing scenery awaiting you.
It would also be wise to either bring extra data cards, a laptop computer, or some other way of uploading the photos, as you can expect to take hundreds of photos each day in Alaska.
• Include Stopping Time in the Travel Itinerary.
While Mapquest says one can drive from Anchorage to Valdez in around 5 ½ hours, it will actually take much longer because there is simply too much to stop and see.
This is where the digital camera fills up quickly.
Give yourself plenty of time to stop along the way to relax and photograph this wonderland.
Dump the Tank.
No, you won’t get through your RV vacation without dumping the waste tank, so stop deluding yourself into thinking otherwise.
While emptying the tanks is a smelly task, it is not unbearable as long as you don’t get in a rush and do something stupid.
Follow the instructions, wear rubber gloves, take your time, and you’ll be fine.
The first time can be a little tricky, but other travelers are always glad to help a first-timer do it right.
Just remember to return the favor to any struggling newcomers you see further into your trip.
Plan Excursions away from the RV.
Take your RV everywhere, but don’t be tied to it.
While in Alaska, make sure to go on wildlife day cruises, kayaking, hiking, and fishing.
There is more to do in Alaska than any one article can cover, so watch for οθρ upcoming articles on Alaskan vacation activities.