I read travel magazines, books, and blogs because I am always thinking about my next trip. Recently, I read that the “average” price per couple for 7 days in Alaska is $6,000.00 which is $857.00 per day. This caught my eye because the amount seemed ridiculous given that I was on a “budget friendly” travel website. If you sign up for every excursion aimed at tourists, you can definitely spend that amount of money and much more. However, anyone can travel to Alaska and see plenty of beautiful scenery and grizzly bears for far less than the “average” price quoted on that website.
A few years ago, my husband and I went to Alaska and the Yukon Territory. We spent 13 nights and our trip cost about $350.00 a day. We traveled at the end of May when the weather was mild and prices were lower. Peak season usually starts around June 15 and runs through September in Alaska.
Here’s how we did it:
We used frequent flyer miles to travel from St. Louis to Anchorage. We paid $50.00 total in taxes for our flights.
After traveling all day to Anchorage, we spent one night at the Dimond Center Hotel. This hotel was close to the airport, clean, and comfortable. I booked in advance and received a good rate. We also spent our final night in Anchorage at the Dimond Center so that we could easily get to the airport for our early morning departure. The cost for two nights was $300.00 total.
We were picked up on our first morning in Anchorage by Sabine from Amazing Accomodations Alaska. We rented a camper van for 11 nights which cost a total of $1,045.00. The van was outfitted with a very comfortable mattress, sleeping bags, pillows, towels, cooler, and all of the camping supplies you would ever need. We didn’t end up using most of what Sabine provided but it was good to know we had it. The camper van was our transportation and lodging for 11 nights. Campgrounds cost between $15.00-$30.00 per night throughout Alaska and the Yukon Territory. We spent a total of $220.00 for campground fees. So for a total of $1,265.00 we had transportation and a comfortable place to sleep for 11 nights. Amazing Accomodations rents both camper vans and small recreational vehicles. Check their website for complete information on rentals and specials. Sabine was a pleasure to work and I have no hesitations about recommending her family owned business to other travelers.
Food and gas were our next biggest purchases. Honestly, gas was not as expensive as I had thought it would be. We drove a total of 2,540 miles and spent about $500.00 for gas. Gas was higher in the Yukon Territory than Alaska. We used the cooler in the camper van and stocked up at Safeway before we left Wasilla. We usually eat out a couple of meals a day while on vacation but knowing that restaurants were likely to be few and far between at times, having basic supplies for easy breakfasts and lunches was important on this trip. Our restaurant meals cost anywhere between $14.00 and $69.00 for two. The $69.00 dinner was a splurge and it was worth it. We could have saved even more money if we had cooked more at our campsites.
For approximately $350.00 a day, we had a great time exploring Alaska and the Yukon Territory. This included the camper van rental, campground fees, 2 nights hotel in Anchorage, a full-day Kenai Fords Excursion, 2 full-day bus tours in Denali National Park, gas, food, laundry, toll roads, and a lengthy ferry crossing on the Alaska Marine Highway. Even though these prices are from a few years ago, I still believe any budget traveler can enjoy the Alaskan wilderness without spending a fortune. Plan ahead, travel during the shoulder season, and enjoy all of the free scenery the Alaskan wilderness has to offer.