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The classic choice for most people visiting Alaska by land (i.e., not by cruise) is using a rental car as a main form of transport. Alaska has other means of transport, and you’re welcome to read about them here, but public transport is quite limited. Generally speaking, life in Alaska is very vehicle-oriented. The same goes to western Canada, with the exception of large cities such as Vancouver and Victoria, where public transport is well developed.
Visitors to Alaska and / or western Canada enjoy a wide selection of rental companies, as well as some smaller locally owned operations (some really good, some really not so much). Exploring by car allows more freedom in terms of schedules, and opens up destinations that are not serviced by public transport.
Many first-time visitors worry about long driving distances and poor road quality. Both worries are legit but could be easily avoided.
Alaska is indeed very big, but the road system covers only about a quarter of it (and this is the area in which most travelers spend their time). We strongly advise against long driving days. However, with some planning, it’s fairly easy to set a limit of no more than 4-5 hours of driving per day. These are still lengthy drives and you should definitely come prepared (get those playlists ready), but it’s not like you’re going to cross the Australian outback. Of course, there are plenty of places to stop and explore along the way.
Road quality is not a major issue – at least not most of the time. The vast majority of roads are well maintained. Summer is construction season in this area of the world, so occasional delays should be expected. In any case, you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle unless you want one (SUVs are popular here), and no off-road drives are needed unless you actively look for them.
Alaska and Canada offer a fantastic combo of remarkable landscapes and fully-developed infrastructures. The roads are well signposted, navigation is easy and the vehicles are usually in excellent condition. In other words, as long as you plan correctly in terms of itinerary and driving distance, you’ll enjoy a nature trip in convenient conditions.
What we offer
The bulk of our work consists of planning self-drive trips, either pre-planned (here) or customized (here). In most cases our itineraries will include a combination of driving days with day tours guided by local travel companies. Besides booking your land services, we will also prepare a detailed trip portfolio that includes recommendations about interesting locations along your route, recommended treks, restaurants, etc.
The result is a personalized trip, suited to your rhythm, planned according to your needs, relying on our knowledge and planning.