Alaska’s roads can take some getting used to. Distances can be much farther than you realize, and it’s possible to go miles and miles without passing anyone (though that is rare in the summertime). So here are a few essentials for anyone taking a road trip anywhere in Alaska.
Alaska is Big—and Remote
One of the more obvious features of Alaska is its size. Alaska is huge. And because of this, our towns and cities are spaced far apart, and giant areas of No Service exist between them. Make sure you’re prepared, both on the entertainment front and the necessities front, because you could find yourself without the information you need, and no way to look it up until you get there.
Download your music to your phone and create a playlist, and make sure it’s long enough to last your whole drive. You won’t be able to switch to Pandora or Spotify in the middle of a long drive, because the likelihood of your playlist ending in an area of no service is pretty high.
For the same reason, you should download a Google map, or, better yet, rent a Milepost or buy a road map. You’ll need an offline way to show you how to get from here to there, especially if you take a wrong turn in an area with no service.
You should also be aware of where the nearest gas stations are. There can be very long stretches without access to fuel, and making sure you’ve got a full tank before driving all the way from Anchorage to Fairbanks, for example, is a good idea. Also, the price of fuel goes up depending on how rural the location is, and how desperate people are going to be when they get there. The gas just outside of Denali National Park is pretty expensive, but gas prices are fairly reasonable in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.
We mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. Bring soft-sided luggage. It’ll be much easier to maneuver in and out of the storage bin, and large hard-sided suitcases won’t fit anyway. You can rent some from us if you forget or don’t have your own. We also recommend bringing a small daypack that you can keep out on the seat or near your feet. You’ll be able to grab it and go, especially if you see a trailhead that beckons to you as you pass.
Got something to add? Tell us in the comments!