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Need ideas for trip to Anchorage - with kids

Need ideas for trip to Anchorage - with kids

Old Jul 12, 13, 8:07 pm
  #1  
Used to be "MariaP"
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Need ideas for trip to Anchorage - with kids

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Old Jul 12, 13, 9:40 pm
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One thing that was fun was to rent bicycles and take the path by the bay. You have the water next to you. There are playgrounds for kids along the way.
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Old Jul 13, 13, 9:27 pm
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fti
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The "where to stay" part is probably the biggest issue for budget-conscious travelers. Do you have some hotel points you can use? If not, you are looking at sticker shock for lodging unless you can find something like a private room in a hostel.

How long are you going for? Will you have a rental car?
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Old Jul 14, 13, 8:24 am
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Old Jul 14, 13, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by MariaP View Post
I did just look at the hotel prices and, yes, I am having sticker shock. I am hoping to score something with Priceline.

I have no hotel points.

We will have to get a rental car but I have not begun t price that out. I think we will be there for four days. We had put the dates in on a lark, not realizing that we were booking tickets so I am not really sure what we booked. I can change the tickets once then arrive though.
Hotels in ANC are not going to be price-friendly. I always advise budget-conscious travelers to go the last two weeks of May or the first two weeks of September--the peak tourist season starts pretty abruptly on June 1 and ends pretty abruptly at the end of August, so anything in between those dates is just going to be killer (if you can even find something). Even the Motel 6 is $140/night. I'm trying hard to think of something that will help, but I'm drawing a blank even after working in the tourism industry there for 7 years and living there for 17. Maybe check airline/travel industry discounts to see if they can knock something off the price?

Rental cars are also going to be just as bad. The second half of July is prime fishing season, and an unbelievable number of cars, SUVs, and minivans are swooped up by people looking to score the big one. FlyerTalk has a treasure trove of information about rental car coupons, though, that might help to take some of the sting out of that.

If you can change the tickets to September, you might be better off. Check hotel/rental car rates before changing your tickets, as the rental car/hotel rate cliff isn't as sharp of a drop-off at the end of the season as it is at the beginning of the season, so you can play around with the dates to find a set that's affordable for you.
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Old Jul 14, 13, 10:59 am
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Old Jul 14, 13, 2:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MariaP View Post
Thanks for that info Jackal. When does it start getting cool/cold? I don't do cold if I can help it.

I would have to fly into ANC but would I be better off purchasing tickets and heading to another city from there? Or is it the same issue everywhere?
With four days, you probably can spend a night in Anchorage then drive to Seward. Lots of budget-friendly things to do on the way between Anchorage and Seward. Great scenery, gold panning is pretty cheap, Winner Creek Trail is unique with the hand tram, Wildlife Conservation Center, Byron Glacier Trail, Portage Glacier boat tour, Begich Boggs Visitor Center and more. Most of that is free or quite inexpensive.

Then once in Seward there is the Sealife Center and the excellent Kenai Fjords NP boat tours.

If you changed to September, make it the first half of the month. By shortly after Labor Day a lot of touristy type activities start shutting down. There is a reason the prices drop

It should be pretty pleasant through 10-15 September. After that it can definitely get cool, especially at night. But if you don't venture off north into the interior like Denali, it should be pretty nice weather still in early September.

You might look into the private cabin at the Girdwood Hostel (about 1 hour south of Anchorage). It is really nice, totally self-contained with kitchen, shower, toilet. For three people I think it is $100 or less. It wouldn't be ideal to base yourself there if you go to Seward, but if you get into Anchorage early enough in the day, you can stay in Girdwood instead of Anchorage, greatly reducing your lodging costs.

Book some rental car now. You can always change/cancel it later for no charge. Keep checking rates once you book since prices can drop. autoslash.com can also help in this regard.
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Old Jul 14, 13, 3:00 pm
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Old Jul 14, 13, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
If you changed to September, make it the first half of the month. By shortly after Labor Day a lot of touristy type activities start shutting down. There is a reason the prices drop
Yeah, forgot to be specific about that. Touristy stuff is pretty much open May 15-September 15. Before or after those dates, a lot of the options for things to do are shut down or operating on an extremely limited schedule. There's a two-week window in each month (May and September) where things should be open and running but with lower prices and less crowds.

Originally Posted by fti View Post
It should be pretty pleasant through 10-15 September. After that it can definitely get cool, especially at night. But if you don't venture off north into the interior like Denali, it should be pretty nice weather still in early September.
I took a group of FlyerTalkers to Denali a couple years ago August 30-31 and the weather was still great. I think the first two weeks of September are fine; much past that, though, and there will definitely be a nip in the air and leaves will be falling (or completely fallen). Not sure how that affects the wildlife in Denali, too.

Originally Posted by MariaP View Post
Is there any better education than seeing the country though?
I am extremely grateful that my grandfather had that mantra. I've learned far more traveling around the world with him than I ever learned in school. Your kids will be better for it (and hopefully, if not now, then someday, grateful).
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