My third trip to Alaska in three years…
Since I arrived back from my short winter trip to Alaska in March 2008, I’ve been thinking about heading back up in the summer of 2009. I am on a budget like a lot of folks, so I started saving for this trip during the summer of 2008.
There are a number of activities & adventures on my life’s ‘to-do’ list that I desire to achieve and Alaska seems like a great place to accomplish them.
- Ride & sleep on a Ferry (maybe see a whale or two)
- See the Southeast Alaska ; Ketchikan , Sitka , Juneau , Haines & Skagway
- Relax in the Hot Spring
- Go whitewater rafting
- Glide on a zip line through the trees
- Go deep sea fishing (for halibut, however, I would settle for any kind of ‘huge’ fish
- Drink a cold Alaskan Amber Beer and Midnight Sun Beer
- To spend more time at Denali National Park , hopefully see some wildlife & Mt. McKinley again
- Maybe hike on a glacier?
- Spend more time at some of my favorite locations again; Homer, Seward
- Spend time with my co-worker in Anchorage and meet her baby
This time the planning was easy & quick since I knew what resources to reference; The Milepost, Eyewitness Alaska Guide Book & the internet.
I planned to use my frequent flier miles to fly & to save on that transportation cost. However, I was thinking of starting the trip by taking the Alaska Marine Highway starting in Bellingham , WA and finishing the trip in Anchorage , which would lead to a direct flight home (which I prefer.) I learned that one can not use your frequent flier miles one-way, it had to be round-trip. So I simply changed the itinerary to fly round-trip from Minneapolis to Seattle & back. My best friend lives in Seattle and the chance to see twice within a few weeks would enhance the trip more, plus she would be the first person I’d call to tell her how the trip went! I contacted her to find out if we could stay with her and if she would drive us up to Bellingham , WA – wasn’t a problem.
Then I navigated around the Alaska Marine Highway reservation website to book my ferry rides. I realized if you want to stay & sightsee at a location like Ketchikan, you must get off the ferry and take another one to the next destination. It’s not like a cruise ship where they dock for a day and sail at night. The ferry stays at port for a designated time frame and then continues to its next destination. The duration of the first portion of the trip was determined by the ferry schedule.
I learned from my first trip to Alaska to book early for deals & guarantee space. We booked/reserved the following on Jan. 25, 2009
- All Ferry rides w/ berth accommodations with the Alaska Marine Highway
- Redeemed frequent flier miles with NWA round-trip from Minneapolis to Seattle
- Alaska Airlines Flight, one-way flight from Juneau to Fairbanks (with layover in Anchorage )
- Alaska Airlines Flight, one-way flight from Anchorage to Seattle , WA
- Alaska Railroad from Fairbanks to Denali, then Denali to Anchorage
- Rental car in Ketchikan , Sitka , Juneau , Fairbanks & Anchorage
We waited until the end of March to book the rest of our hostel stays and adventure activities. The trip is now finalized! I organized & coordinated this entire trip. The Type A Personality in me created a trip-tik with schedules, correspondences, confirmation numbers and had it bond so it was organized completely and it stayed in my backpack throughout the entire trip as a reference guide.