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Old Dec 8, 12, 3:05 am   #1
 
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Driving in Alaska

Hello,
We're a family of three (ages: 26, 30' 57), and planning a trip in Alaska.
Our planning includes: Landing in Anchorage, driving to Denali and Wrangell st. Elias national Parks, visitng Valdez, Haines, Juneau- 3 weeks in total.
I have 2 questions:
1) Where is the best locations for picking up and returning a rented car? we thought about Anchorage and Haines...
2) Which car rental companies offers the best option for such a trip?

Thank you in advance,
Ziv.
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Old Dec 8, 12, 9:12 am   #2
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Originally Posted by Zivco09 View Post
Hello,
We're a family of three (ages: 26, 30' 57), and planning a trip in Alaska.
Our planning includes: Landing in Anchorage, driving to Denali and Wrangell st. Elias national Parks, visitng Valdez, Haines, Juneau- 3 weeks in total.
I have 2 questions:
1) Where is the best locations for picking up and returning a rented car? we thought about Anchorage and Haines...
2) Which car rental companies offers the best option for such a trip?

Thank you in advance,
Ziv.
Welcome to FT, Ziv!

Anchorage is the best pick-up spot for rental cars, and be mindful that one-way rentals are extremely expensive, so I'd plan on some kind of "loop" trip so that you can return the car to the rental location. The rental car companies are quite competitive, so there is no general "best/cheapest" recommendation possible. Note that a number of roads in Alaska aren't paved, and rental companies tend not to approve their cars for use on gravel roads.

You also need to have a careful look at a road map of Alaska. There is no road access to Juneau, and getting to Haines requires a very long drive through Canada. If you want your visit to Alaska to include places in the Southeast Alaska "panhandle," you should probably look at touring Southcentral/Interior Alaska (Anchorage, Denali, Kenai, Prince William Sound, etc.) then flying to SE Alaska (Juneau the easiest place to reach) and doing a ferry-based tour from there.
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Old Dec 8, 12, 1:56 pm   #3
 
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Dear gardyloo,
thank you for your quick response.
we have already made our homework, and built our main plan for the trip, and the long drive to Haines is something that we want to do.
I just have problem with finding a carr rental company, that allows one way drive with thier viechle. i do realize that there is a penalty for that.
driving back to Anchorage seems like a waste of expensive time.
from your personal expirience:
1. Is it possible to pick up a car in Anchorage, and drop it off in Haines?
2. Is our itinarary is logical? ,
Anchorage- Denali - wrangel st. Elias - Valdez- Tok- Haines - Glacier Bay - Juneau - New York City
best regards,
Ziv.
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Old Dec 8, 12, 7:03 pm   #4
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I would try various national chains for one-way rentals (Avis, Hertz, Budget, etc). But some of those don't allow their cars on the ferry.

If it were *me* I would do two local rentals - one in Anchorage and return to Anchorage then one in Juneau and take the ferry to Haines, as Gardyloo stated.

Driving back to Anchorage is a "waste of time" but driving all the way from Valdez to Haines is not?!?

You can take a ferry from Valdez to Whittier and see the VERY scenic Turnagain Arm on the way to Anchorage. Then fly non-stop from ANC to JNU. I would leave at least 3 nights for Juneau, depending on your activities. Also leave a minimum of 3 nights for Denali (maybe more if you are hikers or photographers). Two nights minimum for Kennicott and McCarthy. Then another 2-3 nights in Haines, plus various travel times. It will easily use up 3 weeks!
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Old Dec 8, 12, 8:31 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zivco09 View Post
Dear gardyloo,
thank you for your quick response.
we have already made our homework, and built our main plan for the trip, and the long drive to Haines is something that we want to do.
I just have problem with finding a carr rental company, that allows one way drive with thier viechle. i do realize that there is a penalty for that.
driving back to Anchorage seems like a waste of expensive time.
from your personal expirience:
1. Is it possible to pick up a car in Anchorage, and drop it off in Haines?
2. Is our itinarary is logical? ,
Anchorage- Denali - wrangel st. Elias - Valdez- Tok- Haines - Glacier Bay - Juneau - New York City
best regards,
Ziv.
Avis allows one-way rentals between Anchorage and Haines (or Skagway if you want to include Whitehorse in your itinerary.)

The itinerary is logical depending on how much time you have to allocate. You realize I assume that you'll have to connect in Seattle to get from Juneau to New York.
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Old Dec 8, 12, 8:44 pm   #6
 
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Be aware that distances on Alaska maps seem MUCH shorter than they actually are. It is an enormous state.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 4:58 am   #7
 
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we have done the lower half of the state via cruise and will be doing the top / inner part via RV next year. 3 weeks is really NOT very long for Alaska. As someone has said the state is huge and there is lots to do other than just drive the roads.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 10:33 am   #8
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Originally Posted by moeve View Post
we have done the lower half of the state via cruise and will be doing the top / inner part via RV next year. 3 weeks is really NOT very long for Alaska. As someone has said the state is huge and there is lots to do other than just drive the roads.
Isn't that the truth. I see some people with these huge itineraries that have them driving all over the place, spending a night (or maybe 2 nights max) then driving on. It is a shame because those kinds of people see the Alaskan roads but not much more. Less is more with Alaska. On a 10-day trip next June I am going to Matanuska Glacier, Denali and Portage Valley/Turnagain Arm. That is it, but it will give us time to explore those areas.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 7:32 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
I would try various national chains for one-way rentals (Avis, Hertz, Budget, etc). But some of those don't allow their cars on the ferry.
Also, ensure the company you rent from allows their vehicles in Canada. Avis (the only company with an outpost in Haines) does, but if you end up driving to Haines and doing a loop to return to ANC, this is something to be aware of. For example, Dollar and Thrifty do not allow their cars out of the state of Alaska.

I've driven the Alaska Highway three times and would say that nothing between Glennallen and Jasper National Park in Alberta sticks well in my memory (except the signpost forest in Watson Lake, but that's hardly worth driving thousands of miles for, or the long northern route up to Dawson City, which is massively out of the way). On the limited time you have, I'd suggest skipping the drive to Haines; see Haines by ferry but don't bother driving there.
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Old Feb 2, 13, 4:56 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Also, ensure the company you rent from allows their vehicles in Canada. Avis (the only company with an outpost in Haines) does, but if you end up driving to Haines and doing a loop to return to ANC, this is something to be aware of. For example, Dollar and Thrifty do not allow their cars out of the state of Alaska.

I've driven the Alaska Highway three times and would say that nothing between Glennallen and Jasper National Park in Alberta sticks well in my memory (except the signpost forest in Watson Lake, but that's hardly worth driving thousands of miles for, or the long northern route up to Dawson City, which is massively out of the way). On the limited time you have, I'd suggest skipping the drive to Haines; see Haines by ferry but don't bother driving there.
I have to strongly disagree with you on that one. The stretch between Haines Junction and the Alaska border (in either direction, either going towards Haines or going north to "regular" Alaska) is probably the most beautiful stretch of the Alaska Highway. It is well worth seeing...the Yukon Territory has some remarkable terrain in that area. Kluane Lake alone is worth a visit.
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Old Feb 8, 13, 2:25 am   #11
 
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We are planning something similar this year BUT we did the lower part of the state via cruise ship and are doing the upper part via RV this year and we are using 3 weeks just for the upper part and even we have said we will probably only see a small part of the upper part in those 3 weeks.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 2:37 am   #12
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Anchorage is the most convenient place for rental cars, You can get good and cheap rental services In Anchorage. you can get an SUV in $50 price for a day.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 10:50 pm   #13
 
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Anchorage is the most convenient place for rental cars, You can get good and cheap rental services In Anchorage. you can get an SUV in $50 price for a day.
I have never seen a SUV rental in Alaska for $50 in the dead of winter, let alone summer. Where did you get this rate from?
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