The holiday season is right around the corner, which means plenty of snow and tourists flocking to Alaska. One of the perks to traveling to Alaska during the holiday season are the off-season rates, which means you can save up to 50%! Winter in Alaska is full of all sorts of outdoor activities as well as festivals that you can only find in the Last Frontier. Though the days are shorter and most definitely colder, there is still plenty to do.
If you’re planning a holiday vacation to Alaska, you’ll want to keep these helpful tips in mind to make the most of your trip.
Book Your Flights Early
As with any airline ticket, the sooner you book, the less expensive your ticket will be. Purchasing your ticket at least 50 days before your trip will keep more money in your pocket. Studies have also shown that tickets are cheapest around 3:00PM EST on Tuesdays. If you’re planning a family trip, be sure to purchase each ticket separately.
Aside from booking early, you’ll also want to choose the right airline for your needs. Make sure that to look into their policies and see what your rights as a passenger are. Think about it: If your connecting flight is cancelled, you’re going to want to know what happens when Delta Airlines airlines cancels a flight and what you’re options are for changing your flight route (and any fees that apply to that).
Temperatures in Alaska during the winter are typically around 20 degrees. But, if you head towards Fairbanks, expect even colder weather that often dips below zero. When it comes to cold weather, layers will be your best friend. Some must-have items including a parka, long underwear, thick socks, hiking boots, and of course, gloves and mittens. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also recommended, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. Despite the cold temperatures, sunburn during the winter does happen. In fact, the sun exposure is intensified by the light reflecting off of the white snow.
Packing wisely will keep you from being absolutely miserable on your trip. If you’re not used to cold weather, you’ll want to ensure you’re as warm as possible.
Set an Itinerary
Creating an itinerary before heading off on vacation always makes things much smoother. In Alaska you’ll find all sorts of things to get into, including ski races, winter festivals, dog sledding tours, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, and so much more. Top attractions during the holiday season include:
- Christmas Arts & Crafts Emporium in Anchorage
- Winter Arts Faire in Ketchikan
- Juneau Public Market
- Petersburg’s Festival of Lights
If you’re like most travelers heading to Alaska, you’ll most definitely want to check out the Northern Lights. The natural phenomenon is truly magical. The best places to see the auroras are Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Brooks Range. Check the weather forecast for your trip and be sure to head out on the clearest night to get a once-in-a-lifetime view of the aurora. It’s said that you can best see the dazzling lights between 10:00PM-2:00AM solar time.
Remember, during the winter months, Alaska gets 6-12 hours of daylight. This means you’ll want to head out early before the sun sets. The good news is that there is still plenty to do once the sun goes down. Enjoy local food at one of the hundreds of restaurants or head to the sloops for some night time skiing.
Consider a Tour Guide
While there is plenty of information online to build an itinerary on your own, sometimes it helps to enlist the help of a local who knows the ins and outs of Alaska. Some towns in the state close during the winter months and certain activities may not be available. It may help to work with a tour guide to help solidify your itinerary. This way you can ensure that you’ll make the most out of your holiday vacation.
Traveling to Alaska during the holiday months is an exciting experience. The scenery is at its peak and you can enjoy all sorts of discounted rates. As with any trip, be sure to book in advance and have a game plan for checking off all of the boxes on your to-do list. Happy travels!