Did you know the number of tourists visiting Alaska is increasing? In 2017, the region hosted around 1.93 million tourists, a 4% increase since last year. The year 2018 was another healthy year, and it’s only expected to rise by the end of 2019.
We can’t blame these tourists as Alaska is a beautiful state with different experiences to offer to different kinds of tourists. Whichever type of tourist you are, though, you must always study your destination to know what you can expect.
To make it easier for you to get familiar with Alaska, read on for our 10 tips for travelers visiting Alaska.
1. Mind the Midnight Sun
If you’re heading out to Alaska in summer, you’ll have to consider its long days, especially when you’re a light sleeper. During this time, the sun rises so early in the morning and sets so late at night, hence the term midnight sun. On average, the sun is out for 20 hours (or more) each day.
The days are longer, which means longer hours of adventure. It’s a nightmare for people who can’t sleep unless it’s pitch dark, though.
Some hotels have blackout curtains to counter this, but inns in some smaller towns might not. Plan your trip accordingly.
2. Plan Your Diet
You might have heard of Alaska’s giant produce, but that doesn’t make it a good destination for vegetarians and vegans. This region has a short growing season, and so fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t abundant.
You’ll have to prepare your food before every trip, especially if it’s out of the city. Fresh produce is even scarcer in those parts. Buy in advance in big cities, and buy some vegan snacks while you’re at it. This ensures you have something you can eat in case you can’t find food later.
3. Taste the Local Seafood
The waters in Alaska produce some of the best seafood in the whole country. You can’t miss this experience, so whenever you can, order some fresh, local seafood. Try everything you can, you can’t go wrong with seafood from Alaska.
You can even go fishing, which is an activity that’s popular in Alaska. You can find various fishing trips to the lake or even to the ocean.
4. Dress Like an Onion
What we mean here is – dress in layers. This tip is invaluable in the summertime when the weather can be fickle. It may be 90 degrees Fahrenheit one day and then 40 degrees Fahrenheit the next. The next day may also bring driving rain, and sometimes, you may even see the mountains lined with snow.
If you’re planning a lot of outdoor activities for your whole trip, bring clothes you can layer. That way, you can add or remove a piece of clothing until it becomes suitable for the weather.
5. Rent a Car
When visiting Alaska, it’s always recommended to rent a car. Alaska has a lot to offer; with a car, you can switch between places with ease. It also allows you to travel to some remote places and make stopovers whenever you feel like it.
Even with a car, though, the drive may still be challenging. Distances here are vast, and the road system is interesting. The roads are often winding with some rises and sinks.
6. Keep the Gas Tank Full
With that said, make sure to not let it go dangerously low. Gas stops are scarce while you’re going to do plenty of driving.
If you have a chance to stop at a gas station, take this opportunity to fill up on gas even if you’re not close to empty. You may not see another one until you’re running low.
In line with that, take a bathroom break every chance you get, too.
7. Visit the Zoo for a Wildlife Guarantee
Alaska has a long list of majestic wildlife, some of which you can read about in this article. However, seeing these animals in the wild isn’t going to be easy.
Don’t expect them to see them strolling about like the animals in Australia. There’s a chance you might not even see a single animal in its natural habitat for your whole trip.
If you want a guarantee, go to the zoo instead. But going on tours increase your chances of seeing one.
8. Look Out for Wildlife at the Side of the Road
While this is not so common like travel articles want you to believe, there’s a chance you’ll see some wildlife on the side of the road. A huge clue is a caravan of cars parked on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
If you see even one car that’s parked, pull over, too, and get your camera ready. This might be the chance to see the majestic wildlife you’re looking for.
9. Don’t Leave Food in Your Car
Parking your car? Get all your food and bring it with you. You don’t want to see wildlife this way.
Such incidents are far and between. It may also be only true for popular campsites wherein bears have learned that people store food in their cars. However, it’s a good habit to practice wherever you are in Alaska.
Bears have a strong sense of smell. When they smell a snack, there’s no getting in their way. The safety a car provides is only a minor inconvenience to them.
10. Go Anytime Between September and April for the Northern Lights
The summer months may be Alaska’s tourist season, but this isn’t the time to view an aurora. The best time for that is winter – when the weather is at its coldest and the day is at its darkest. However, fall also presents opportunities for you to see them.
If this is a priority for you, go in the dead of the winter. But if you can’t, at least time your trip to be between September and April. It’s going to be cold, though, so you better prepare.
Prepare the Essentials When Visiting Alaska
If you’re visiting Alaska anytime soon, make yourself acquainted with its weather, the best tourist spots, best tours, and other activities you might have interest in. The 10 tips above will help you with your trip, but make sure you’re prepared even if your plans go wrong.
Check out more travel tips with our blog posts today.