Despite the circulation of US Dollar, Alaska is not usual America, it's simply another world. Totally different towns, stunning wildlife untouched by humans, sincere smiles of locals, and good beers. So how to survive it?
RVs are everywhere in Alaska, so get yours too. Why? Because of savings and freedom!
When it comes to savings, you may think like, well, RV is pricier to rent than a regular vehicle, and it also consumes more gasoline. But try to think differently: RV is your vehicle, your hotel, and your kitchen. Alaska is one of the most expensive states. Remote hotels are costly, and there are no restaurants in the woods. Even when you find one, a nice dinner for two with a couple beers may cost you around 100$. But if you're on a tight budget, you might consider using your RV as a kitchen on wheels! We've spend 200$ for 2 persons on our 2-week trip. Nothing fancy - eggs, pasta, fish, veggies, ice creams and beers, but we could have a nice lunch any time when we've been starving after a long hike. I don’t even mention how much we’ve saved on our morning coffee!
And what's with freedom? Oh, RV is a freedom! Don't plan too much (I mean plan, but not too much), have a chat with locals in a gas station, turn off the beaten path, borrow a canoe by the lake, just enjoy the nature, sunsets, sunrises, and camping in the middle of nowhere. You can't do it all without worrying about how to get back to the hotel before the night falls if you are not at home already - in your own RV.
And RV is easy to operate. Ok, starting from the second day... When you get a hang of it, it's just like operating any regular yacht, trust me! And you always get a room with the view.
Hiking hiking hiking. The nature of Alaska is stunning, you will see a lot of it from your vehicle window, but nothing will substitute a view after the two-hour climb to that steep hill above the treeline with the lake beneath it. It will take your breath away. And it’s good for your waistline!
There are hundreds of hikes to choose from. It's hard to recommend one, but I recommend not to miss as many as you can. Rivers, lakes, glaciers, meadows, hills, sounds, canyons, and rocks - you can only see most of that on your own foot.
Meeting 2 other cars and 4 moose while riding the main highway for three hours is priceless. Golden leaves, fogs, rivers full of salmon - oh yes, this is Alaska in September! Yep, you can expect rain, some closed parks, roads, and non-operational RV parks. But just pull your RV on a little parking lot on the side of the road, and watch the Northern lights all night!
Respect it. Don't approach a moose. Don't attract a bear. Don't throw your leftovers for a wolf to eat. Talk to a ranger how to behave in case you meet some of the big ones. Leave nature as you found it. And don't expect too much civilization - a typical town in Alaska looks like a crossroad in the woods, with a gas station in the middle. But that's the best part of it! Special bonus: you will appreciate that one or two nights in the local bar much more!
Honestly, you don't need a lot. Proper hiking shoes or rubber boots, raincoat, water bottle, simple backpack to throw your snacks in, mosquito spray, and some fleeces. Gloves and cap, if you are traveling at the end of the season. Yep, many people go to Alaska to see some wild animals and bring 2-meter-long camera lenses. Yeah, you can do it too, but the most important things - the wind, all those smells, chilly weather, and a smile that hurts your cheeks - cannot be captured by any camera.