General Information & FAQs

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About Travel In Alaska

When is the best time to visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska depends on your interests. Most tours are only offered during the summer months from mid-May through mid-September, with a limited amount offered in the winter. Summer is the most popular time to visit, with July being the busiest month. The warm weather and long daylight hours allow you to enjoy all that Alaska has to offer. In addition, services at the state and national parks are open, fish are abundant and the bears are out of hibernation. From November through March, Alaska is a beautiful, winter wonderland. Prices are lower and, with fewer visitors, the availability is better. There are numerous outdoor activities, such as dog sledding and skiing, Alaska hiking tours, and the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is visible. You will also find many unique events, such as the Iditarod and the World Ice Art Championships. Regardless of when you visit Alaska, you are sure to have an adventure to remember! Check out our great selection of Alaska Winter Tours.

What are my options for Alaska Cruises?

AlaskaTours.com offers both large and small ship cruises of the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park. Each type of Alaska adventure cruise has its advantages. The large ships are so stable, you hardly feel as if you’re moving. They are elegant and have all the facilities onboard that you would expect, such as a swimming pool, fitness center, shopping, fine dining, and more. Entertainment is provided onboard, as well as all your meals. The smaller ships typically have fewer than 100 people on-board, giving the cruise a more personal feel. They are less ritzy and offer fewer on-board amenities, but are more personable than large ships. Due to their small size, these ships can navigate right up to the face of glaciers and into narrow passageways that the larger ships cannot reach. This allows for visits to less “touristy” towns and to be closer to the wildlife along the way. Find out more about our exciting Alaska Cruise Tours.

What do you mean by 'Independent Touring'?

There are numerous ways to tour Alaska: cruising, group tours, and independent programs. Independent Touring can include a rental car or scheduled transportation such as rail, plane, bus, or ferry. While you may be with a group during a day excursion or train ride, you are not with the same group of people each day, nor is there a tour leader with you. Independent touring offers the flexibility of traveling at your own pace, as well as allowing for customized itineraries. It is also often a more economical and leisurely way to travel.

Should I drive or take the train?

There are many travel methods for the large state of Alaska. The two most popular ways to see the state are by renting a car or riding the Alaska Railroad. If you choose one of our Self Drive Tours they include a rental car, and you have the advantage of being masters of your own schedule. With our fully pre-planned itineraries you will know where you are staying at night, but you can make stops along the road for scenic lookouts, go for a hike or take an one of many possible excursions along the way. If you choose to travel by railroad, you will be able to admire the scenery without worrying about doing the driving. Also, there will be a guide on-board to inform you about the state and its history, point out wildlife and answer questions. Our Alaska Railroad Tours are a great choice for many visitors who are also taking an Alaska Cruise Vacation.

What are the benefits of traveling with an 'Escorted Group'?

If you enjoy having a knowledgeable guide handle all the details of your tour, then our Alaska Escorted Group Tour is for you. The group size of no more than 50 people allows you to build relationships with other travelers who share your interests. Since your tour leader handles all the arrangements, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your vacation without having to worry about where you are going next or when you need to be there. Informative city tours and some meals and day excursions are also included.

Where will I be staying?

AlaskaTours.com has access to a large inventory of hotels, Alaska Lodges and B&B's throughout Alaska. With our tour packages, we offer the choice of standard or upgraded accommodations. Depending on the city, standard accommodations may be the only option. The main difference between standard and upgraded accommodations are the amenities offered. For more information, contact us.

What should I know if I am renting a car?

AlaskaTours.com uses reputable, nationwide car rental agencies, positioned throughout the state for your convenience. All car rentals include unlimited mileage and taxes. Additional insurance coverage such as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) / Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and additional liability coverage is optional and can be purchased directly from the rental agency. U.S. car insurance policies that include comprehensive and collision coverage usually cover rental cars in Alaska; please check with your insurance provider to be sure. For travelers without U.S. car insurance, please let us know and we can add the required insurance for you.

Most of Alaska's roads are two- to four-lane paved highways, but we also have smaller dirt roads that are regularly graded. Winter driving is safe - the main roads are cleared, though certain highways are closed throughout the winter. Rental car companies do not allow their cars to be driven on the Denali Highway, Dalton Highway and McCarthy Road. For current road conditions, you can call 511 once you reach Alaska or visit 511.alaska.gov.

NOTES: A valid driver's license and credit card in the driver's name is required for ALL drivers and must be shown when accepting the car. Typically, drivers must be 25 years of age or older. Canadian residents are not allowed to rent a car in the U.S. and cross the border with it into Canada.

Car Category Accommodates Sample*models
Compact 4 adults; 1 large and 1 small suitcase Chevrolet Cobalt
Midsize 4-5 adults; 1 large and 2 small suitcases Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Corolla
Full-size 5 adults; 2 large and 2 small suitcases Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Camry
SUV 5 adults; 2 large and 2 small suitcases Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, KIA Sorrento
Minivan up to 5 adults with luggage Chevy Venture
* This is a SAMPLE of the vehicle model/type for each category. The actual vehicle model is not guaranteed!

What should I pack?

The general rule for Alaska is casual, comfortable clothing that can be worn in layers. The first layer should be something thin and next to the skin (try to avoid cotton). The second layer adds warmth and allows you the option of removing if it gets warmer (mostly fleece or similar). The third layer should protect you against rain and wind if necessary. For day cruises into Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park, for example, we recommend an extra layer including a scarf, hat and gloves, as it can be chilly on the boats. Comfortable walking shoes or water repellent hiking boots are also important. A day pack is a particularly useful item to bring. Other personal items we suggest are: small flashlight, hair dryer (most hotels rooms do not have them), insect repellent, binoculars, adequate supply of prescription medication, photographic film and camera. You will find a duffel bag or soft-sided luggage is the most practical for Alaskan style of traveling, particularly when in small planes and boats. Restricting yourself to one piece of luggage is recommended.

General Information About Alaska

What is Alaska like?

Geography: Alaska is impressive for its sheer size. It accounts for one fifth of the United States' total land area with more than 580,000 square miles. From rainforests to deserts and gold-bearing river valleys to the tallest peaks in America, Alaska’s natural beauty is extensive. In fact, 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska, with Mount McKinley peaking at 20,320ft. Click here to view read more about the different geographic Regions of Alaska. Alaska hosts 15 national parks, preserves, monuments and national historical parks. Additionally, the National Park Service plays varying roles in the administration of 13 national wild rivers, two affiliated areas and a national heritage area. Alaska is also home to 49 National Historic Landmarks and 16 National Natural Landmarks. Click here to read more about Alaska's National Park's.

Wildlife in Alaska: A great variety of wildlife is found in Alaska. Some of the largest land mammals, including moose, caribou, and bears can be seen throughout the state. Along the coastline, look for whales, porpoises, sea lions, seals and otters. Dall sheep and mountain goats can be seen nimbly scaling the steep roadside cliffs. Alaska is also home to hundreds of bird species, including the largest population of bald eagles in the US. The protection of Alaskan wildlife and its habitat is an important goal of both state and federal governments. Currently, more than half of all National Parks in the United States are found in Alaska. Click here to see our tours with great wildlife viewing possibilities!

History: It is believed that the earliest inhabitants of Alaska were Asiatic groups who crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska, near Nome. The descendants of these peoples are the present day Yup'ik, Inupiaq, Aleut, Tlingit and Athabascan tribes. In the mid 1700s, Russian sailors discovered the land of the Aleuts and named it Alyeska. The Russians laid claim to the lands that eventually stretched from the Aleutians to Sitka. In 1867 Alaska was purchased from Russia for a price of $7,200,000 or less than 2 cents per acre. In January 1959, Alaska became the 49th US State. Alaska is now home to 627,000 hardy residents.

What is the weather like?

Weather in the North can be unpredictable. Mid-June through mid-August is usually the warmest time of year, especially in the Interior, where temperatures can reach well above 80°F / 27°C; it is not uncommon to see temperatures reach 90°F / 33° C in Fairbanks. However, it is important to note that evening temperatures can still be cool in the summer. The southern coastal regions of Alaska can be wet and cloudy at any time of year. Average summer temperatures range from 40°F to 60°F (4° - 15°C). In general, Alaska and Western Canada temperatures average above 50°F / 10°C for at least four months of the year (mid-May through mid-Sep).

Winter temperatures can be extreme, dropping to –50°F / -45°C in the Interior. Typically, though, winter temperatures range from 0°F / 18°C to -30°F / -35°C from November to March. While it can rain throughout the summer, May is the driest month and September is the wettest.

Average High Temperatures in °F / °C
  April May June July Aug. Sept.
Anchorage 43/5 55/13 62/17 65/18 63/17 53/12
Barrow 7/-10 24/-4 39/3 46/7 43/6 34/1
Dawson Ciy,YT, Canada 35/2 47/8 58/15 62/17 57/15 45/7
Fairbanks 42/5 59/15 71/21 72/22 66/18 54/12
Juneau 46/7 55/13 62/17 64/18 62/17 56/14
Kodiak 41/5 47/8 54/12 58/15 60/16 54/12
Whitehorse, YT, Canada 33/1 45/7 54/13 59/15 56/14 46/7

What time zone does Alaska use?

Most of Alaska uses Alaska Time, which is one hour earlier than Pacific Time and four hours earlier than Eastern Time. Alaska participates in Day Light Savings Time. When and where can I see the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights? While the Aurora Borealis (aka the Northern Lights) is active year round, it is almost impossible to see during the summer when Alaska experiences nearly constant daylight. The best chance to see the aurora is in northern areas during the winter months of October through early April. Historically, the best viewing has been from Fairbanks north and on dark nights with clear skies. According to the Geophysical Institute, the best months to see the Aurora are February and March. AlaskaTours.com offers several winter Aurora viewing tours.

About All Alaska Tours

AlaskaTours.com is part of All Alaska Tours, Inc, which was founded in 1991. With over 20 years experience in Alaska vacation planning, the company has build its reputation as one of Alaska's leading independent travel companies. We enjoy living in Alaska and have a sincere interest to making other people's Alaska vacation the most memorable possible. Through AlaskaTours.com we are proud to offer the largest choice of online vacation ideas with the highest level of service at the best possible price.

So, why book with us?

  • AlaskaTours.com is the online division of All Alaska Tours Inc., an Alaska corporation since 1991. You can trust our credibility, strong reputation for quality service and history of serving satisfied clients. Just ask around!

  • We have over 20 years of continuous tour experience in Alaska and Western Canada, and are known as one of Alaska's premier independent tour companies. Our knowledge and experience is what ensures you will have the trip you've dreamed of.

  • We offer customized itineraries for independent and group travelers throughout Alaska and Western Canada. Your dream trip isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s what we offer. Customize the trip that is just right for you.

  • Our expert sales team knows Alaska inside and out. They are here to help you every step of the way from planning your trip to providing assistance during your visit. Imagine the time and stress you’ll save. Let’s face it, planning the perfect vacation can be a lot of work. Let us help out! Not to mention, we are a trusted and safe resource for you once you are here.

  • We provide detailed travel documents including a daily itinerary with local information and attractions, hotel list, driving directions (if applicable), and convenient travel vouchers. Just more ways to save you time and keep you organized and stress free.

  • We offer 24/7 on-call emergency travel assistance during the busy summer travel season. You literally never have to worry, we have your back and are here to help.

  • We pride ourselves on providing fast, friendly, reliable service and helpful information based on your travel needs. And that makes the whole planning experience a lot easier and more fun for you!

  • We are a Tour Operator member of the National Tour Association (NTA) and accredited with the Airlines Reporting Corporation and IATA; all of which require bonding and financial qualifications along with years of proven relevant travel management experience to be associated. Trust us, that’s all good!

  • Our Alaska travel trade partners include the Alaska Travel Industry Association, as well as the Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Mat-Su and Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureaus. Our partnerships benefit you because we can get our hands on the most up to date information of everything going on throughout Alaska that may affect our client's experience.

Contact us

Contact us today via e-mail: MyTrip@AlaskaTours.com or call us today at 1-866-317-3325 to learn more about unique Alaskan family, luxury or nature adventures, pre and post cruise packages, land, sea, wilderness and rail tours, wildlife and whale watching trips, or glacier viewing and shore excursions. Start planning your Alaska vacation with All Alaska Tours today!