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Anchorage-Denali-Fairbanks...one way car rental?

Anchorage-Denali-Fairbanks...one way car rental?

Old Apr 27, 12, 3:23 pm
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Anchorage-Denali-Fairbanks...one way car rental?

We will be in Alaska for 10 days in late May, early June. I have researched the train to do this trip, but it seems slow, and pricey. The busses are too expensive and I have not found a rental car company that will allow the one way rental without a very expensive drop off fee.

I do have a coupon in the Northern Lights book for the train and am looking for a coupon in the Tour Saver book for ONE way ANC to Denali, then I can take a bus from Denali to Fairbanks perhaps.

Thoughts on transportation on this route?
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Old Apr 28, 12, 12:46 am
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I would rethink the train, despite the extra cost. It is certainly a lot more relaxing than driving, and you'll see scenery that you might not otherwise see. Also, if there are weather problems, it will be a lot easier on the train.

I would also add that I have found rental cars in Alaska to be a bit of a pain. Last time, after standing in the checkin line for maybe 30 minutes (no preferred service), one of the major companies wanted me to agree with their assessment of existing minor damage on the car. So when we got to the car, we inspected it and found additional nicks, so then we had to waste more time going back into the terminal to document the problems. Then we went through the reverse procedure in returning the car. There is certainly the potential for minor road damage from rocks etc. And on our last trip to Fairbanks, we were right behind a car that hit a moose. The moose got away, the passengers were OK, but the car was a mess.

Anyways, have a great trip. Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks (and points in between) are all wonderful. If you have an extra day in Fairbanks, you might want to think about an overnight AS trip to Barrow, just so you can be in the most northern city in the US and see the Arctic ocean.
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Old May 1, 12, 11:24 pm
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fti
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Originally Posted by PIONEER View Post
I would rethink the train, despite the extra cost. It is certainly a lot more relaxing than driving, and you'll see scenery that you might not otherwise see. Also, if there are weather problems, it will be a lot easier on the train.
Wow, I have to respectfully disagree. I find that you see MORE by driving than on the train. If the Mountain is out or if I see wildlife near the road, or if I see something else that interests me, I can pull over and spend as much time as I want, something you can't do on the train. I love stopping in Talkeetna in one direction, Byers Lake, the Veterans Memorial and more.

Originally Posted by PIONEER View Post
I would also add that I have found rental cars in Alaska to be a bit of a pain. Last time, after standing in the checkin line for maybe 30 minutes (no preferred service), one of the major companies wanted me to agree with their assessment of existing minor damage on the car. So when we got to the car, we inspected it and found additional nicks, so then we had to waste more time going back into the terminal to document the problems. Then we went through the reverse procedure in returning the car. There is certainly the potential for minor road damage from rocks etc. And on our last trip to Fairbanks, we were right behind a car that hit a moose. The moose got away, the passengers were OK, but the car was a mess.
Tip - almost all rental companies have free membership into their programs that offer an "express" line, kind of like a priority check in line for airlines. And whether in Alaska or anywhere, I always thoroughly inspect the vehicle, almost always finding knicks, dents and scratches that were not recorded. Happens anywhere I rent a car.

One other main advantage to renting a car is that I find it a huge advantage to have a car in Denali. I have more and cheaper lodging and eating options in Denali with a car. I can drive the first 15 miles of the park road in the evening when I have my own car (excellent chance to see moose and other wildlife).

Are you dead set on returning the car in Fairbanks? Perhaps you could drive back to Anchorage and fly home from there or fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks and rent a second car there. The flight cost ANC-FAI is not all that expensive compared with the one-way car rental drop fee.

I have taken the train before, but I greatly prefer the flexibility of having my own vehicle. Plus it is almost always way cheaper. I have been planning my own late May/early June trip to Alaska since last fall. Car rental prices kept bouncing around, but finally about 5 weeks ago I nabbed a deal with Avis at the ANC airport for $75/week plus taxes and fees for an intermediate car. Total for our entire trip is $245 plus gas. Besides being needed since we are going to some places that don't have a train option, it is much cheaper for two of us than the train just to Denali and back.

Originally Posted by PIONEER View Post
If you have an extra day in Fairbanks, you might want to think about an overnight AS trip to Barrow, just so you can be in the most northern city in the US and see the Arctic ocean.
If you do consider this, even more than the "most northern city" is to find someone to take you to Point Barrow, the northernmost point in the US. I found a guy last September who took me there on an ATV. Rental cars can't go there since it is basically beach sand. I enjoyed my 12 hours in Barrow, but I am glad I used airline vouchers and miles given to me for service issues. I personally would not have paid the fares commanded by AS for the trip.
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