Frequently Asked Questions
WHY WOULD I WANT TO TRAVEL IN A GROUP?
Alaska is far more vast and varied than most visitors recognize, and traveling independently can be quite challenging. Reservations are required long in advance for most lodging and activities, as the summer season is so short. Our past clients, many taking a group trip for the first time, express appreciation for the convenience of planning that a set itinerary offers, as well as for the professional experience of what and where truly is of interest. While many options exist for visiting Alaska, small group travel is among the most rewarding, combining the ease of travel arrangements with a very personal experience, highlighted by the perspective of knowledgeable guides. As the quality of experience for each participant is our overriding goal, group size is limited to six persons on some itineraries, no more than eight on most, and ten on select tours.
WHO ARE YOUR TYPICAL CLIENTS?
Our customary clientele is quite diverse, ranging in age from 9 to 84 years. Certain itineraries attract different ages, with groups often mixed between couples and individuals traveling alone. We do not require that individuals pay a “Single Supplement” if willing to share accommodations, though they are available if desired. We’ve had numerous honeymooners (and even a marriage en route!). Some itineraries are popular with families, and we can try to arrange to pair similarly aged children if possible. Increasingly too, we have had the privilege of multigenerational travelers.
WHAT ABOUT PRICES?
Travel options in Alaska obviously vary widely, and are generally more costly than elsewhere. When making comparisons, consider how the size of the group might help define the experience that you are looking for, and that the costs are necessarily spread accordingly. Our trips also include a full first and last day of activities, which is not the industry norm. Many companies also do not include meals or have “hidden” options. If you’re traveling as a single and are willing to share accommodations, we also don’t charge a forced, “single supplement”. It’s your wallet but it’s also your vacation.
HOW STRENUOUS ARE THE TRIPS, REALLY?
It depends on the itinerary you choose. “Tours” stay only in established accommodations and dine in local restaurants, with light hiking an option. They are quite comfortable and are enjoyed by a vast range of ages. “Adventures” involve wilderness travel and camping and can be somewhat more rigorous by nature. Some destinations offer only rustic accommodations, and of course we aren’t always able to guarantee the weather or unforeseen circumstances of travel. No special skills are required and beyond good health, the only requirement is a keen spirit of adventure and a true desire to appreciate what is unique about these lands. Adventure Alaska trips are not for everybody and should you have any questions as to the suitability of a trip, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’ll gladly recommend a competitor rather than steer you toward a trip that you might not fully enjoy.
HOW DO WE TRAVEL?
Most itineraries involve a variety of means of travel in order to give a better feel for the particular area we are exploring. From trains to boats or on foot, each is integral to the overall experience. While all involve some road travel, we will be in specially equipped 15-passenger vans with never more than 10 persons.
WHAT ARE THE TOUR LEADERS LIKE?
We go to great pains to find those that believe in what they are doing, because they are the basis of your experience as well as ours. This means that each is older than the industry norm and extremely knowledgeable on the areas visited, as well as the activities involved, and not simply a college kid from somewhere else, looking for a summer job. All are more qualified than you might expect, from safety training to natural history to just plain interesting.
WILL WE FOLLOW THE ITINERARY EXACTLY?
We attempt to stick as close to the itinerary as possible, but due to the wild nature of Alaska and the remoteness of some of our destinations, occasionally weather conditions, road construction delays and other unforeseen events require us to alter our plans. Flexibility is the key to fully enjoying your trip.
CAN YOU ARRANGE PRE- AND/OR POST-TRIP LODGING AND EXCURSIONS FOR US?
Absolutely! We would be happy to recommend quality accommodations in Anchorage, as well as make all the arrangements for add-on trips prior to or after your trip. See the Trip Enhancements page for some suggestions.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ALASKA?
Every summer month has something special to recommend it: late May and early June may still have snow on the ground and fewer leaves on the trees. This makes spotting wildlife (with their Spring newborns) easier. Late June and July feature stupendous wildflowers (including our famous fireweed) and, generally, warmer temperatures. This time period also offers the opportunity to experience Alaska’s midnight sun. Berries are the stars of August visits to Alaska – and with berries, come the bears who eat them. Visitors in late August may be able to glimpse the first displays of the Northern Lights of the fall season, as well as the beautiful fall colors starting to spread across the tundra.
Those wishing to experience the “real” Alaska should travel with us on one of our winter itineraries. We provide the arctic winter gear; you provide a sense of adventure.
CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE MY DIETARY RESTRICTIONS?
Tours use established restaurants and guests may choose what they wish off of the menu. Most establishments offer vegetarian options and do their best to accommodate special requests. Please keep in mind, however, that at many of the remote locations we visit, access to the freshest fruits, vegetables and gourmet items is limited.
Adventures rely upon a combination of restaurants and camp cooking. Our camp recipes use some beef and fish, but vegetarian modifications can be made easily by your guide upon request. We strive to provide reasonably healthy and tasty meals with ingredients chosen for maximum energy, transportability and durability.
Most tours stop at a grocery store on the first day so that you can purchase any items, including snacks and alcoholic beverages, you require. Please note that you will need to purchase your own cooler, if needed, as the group coolers have only very limited extra space.
Please contact us if you have questions about your specific dietary needs.
WHAT ABOUT THE MOSQUITOES?
Alaskan mosquitoes are the stuff of legends…at least that’s what you’ve heard from others who have visited. While it’s true that at certain times and places in the summer, the flying insects can test the patience of even the most trail-hardened veteran, many find that bugs are worse where they come from! If particularly sensitive and you find yourself in one of those areas of “concentration”, here are a few tips that will make your visit more bearable.
- Use an insect repellent with DEET and re-apply frequently. Though there are legions of natural and non-DEET repellents on the market, research in Alaska has shown that only DEET is truly effective, and lasts the longest.
- Wear light-colored clothing.
- Bring your own head-net or, if traveling with us on an Adventure itinerary, borrow one of ours.
WHAT KIND OF PRECAUTIONS DO YOU TAKE AGAINST BEARS?
Almost all of our destinations offer the opportunity to view bears in their natural surroundings. While this is an exciting and memorable experience, we will be required to take certain precautions when hiking and camping in bear country. Your guide will teach you the proper techniques to use in bear encounters and while camping. In a nutshell, you will not be permitted to store food, drink or anything with a scent (including toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm) in your tents.
We do not carry firearms as we firmly believe that following the appropriate steps and using good bear sense are the best techniques for sharing the wilderness with these wonderful animals.
HOW DO I BOOK A TRIP?
Give us a call or e-mail us to check availability. Upon reservation, we will hold your space up to 10 days in order to receive your deposit of $600 per person. We will send a confirmation and detailed trip information when we receive your deposit.
The balance of your payment is due 60 days before the trip departure , subject to the cancellation policy, below. Payment for lodging and add-on excursions is due at the time of reservation, subject to separate cancellation policies.
Payment by credit card is subject to an additional handling fee.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
- Any time after booking: $100 per person
- 60 to 45 days before trip departure: 50% of tour cost
- 44 to 30 days before trip departure: 75% of tour cost
- Within 30 days of departure: 100% non-refundable